How to handle a shitstorm

From Maryanne Macy, in 2016, on the filing of Rossi v. Darden:

The situation of an $89 million dollar lawsuit between the field’s highest profile, highest paid inventor and his environmentally-inclined investors wasn’t akin to the adage of having an elephant in the room. It was like having an elephant with projectile diarrhea who had snorted a kilo of cocaine after mating with Donald Trump in the room. This was a worst case scenario, a four star sriracha-saturated shit storm that could distinctly prove unhelpful to the LENR world’s public profile at the time of its greatest collective acceleration.

For myself, the perpetual struggle for objective reporting was competing with shock. I’d hoped for the success of Rossi’s technology for so long and been so glad that someone like Darden had come along to support it.

The storm continues on LENR Forum, where personal attack has become so common, with even some moderators, or at least one, engaging in it — or tolerating it — that the normal and sane defense against the flood of flabbergas is to stop reading (and some realize that danger).

The basic problem is that users are allowed to derail topic discussions by introducing inflammatory comments, or, at best, irrelevancies to the topic. To handle this well would require multiple moderators, ideally in different time zones and with defined duty periods, to swiftly move irrelevant posts to the Playground or other appropriate threads, or, sometimes, to delete them if they are utterly beyond the pale, and to ban (permanently or temporarily) uncooperative users.

However, LF has never developed clear policy and procedure, and all we see are sporadic and often ineffectual interventions, then bursts of more drastic enforcement. There is no TOS (Terms of Service), and no developed policy, just Whatever a Mod thinks. And some Mods don’t think much, they just react. Continue reading “How to handle a shitstorm”

Wytte? Not.

On LENR Forum, Wyttenbach demonstrates his clarity of memory and thought. Not.

(Update: Wyttenbach was banned for two days because of this.)

(Update again: Wyttenbach unbanned, based on allegedly poor English comprehension. This is a reason for lifting a relatively harmless two-day ban? If poor comprehension leads to offensive behavior, why is this then a reason to avoid a minor slap on the wrist, of no long-term consequence, when the behavior involved actually goes back a year or so.)

Continue reading “Wytte? Not.”

Abd on Abd as the Center of the Universe

They are talking about me on LENR Forum again. While the history of my ban there is quite open, if one studies history on LF and looks at what I wrote here about it when it happened, it’s obvious that few actually know the history. LF Staff are far from transparent, which is a major part of the problem.

Let’s start with this: the Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (CMNS)  community needs to develop what are called, in my training, Structures for Fulfillment. From the beginning, the community was fragmented and ineffective, compared to what might be seen as possible. When I came into the field in 2009, I found no evidence of sane collective decision-making procedures that were anything more than ad hoc. Fund-raising was isolated and largely individual. Factions were fighting with each other, but aside from a few highly opinionated individuals, internal criticism was mostly missing. Experts in CMNS did not criticise the work of others, they would not even comment on it (and I asked).

I saw, in CMNS conferences, no mechanisms for finding and expressing consensus. So, from a social point of view, it was all primitive, and mostly the community was reactive, blaming the lack of progress on “them,” the mainstream refusing to accept experimental reality. But how was that reality being communicated? Was it effective and clear? Were experts in communication being sought, either as paid consultants or as volunteers?

Mostly not. Something was missing, and, since I could see it, it became my responsibility to create it. So, now, to LF. This will be long, because many complex issues are raised. Part of the problem is an intolerance of complexity. Complexity is not for everyone, but what I’ve found, many times, is that those who hate complexity will act to suppress it, even though they could simply step around it. What we do not understand, we try to kill, it is probably a basic survival instinct, xenophobia.

In a sane organizational structure, complexity is channeled. In an insane one, it is repressed, censored, or at least ridiculed and insulted. Continue reading “Abd on Abd as the Center of the Universe”

Bob Greenyer and the Temple of Doom

A topic appeared on LENR Forum, MFMP preparing some big announcement? In fact, the Facebook user, “Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project” is Bob Greenyer, and my training has strongly discouraged confusing individual actions and beliefs with those of a community, which MFMP is.

As is being pointed out, Greenyer has become manic. Continue reading “Bob Greenyer and the Temple of Doom”

And Abd’s favorite topic

Abd!

Being busy writing about Rossi v. Darden or mishegas here and there, I had entirely missed the LENR Forum trolling of Zeus46, joined by Alan Smith. I’m amazed at the research Zeus46 has obviously done, he must think I’m worth all that effort. I’m adding the More link before going on because the only importance that I see here, other than bringing up nostalgia for me, is how LENR fora attract really unpleasant people whom I have very little interest in ever meeting, and especially some moderators. However, there are others I’d love to spend time with. And some I have been blessed to meet in real life. Continue reading “And Abd’s favorite topic”

Pseudoskepticism vs Skepticism: Case studies:

There are some resident skeptics on LENR Forum. There is no clear dividing line between “skeptic” and “person interested in science.” However, pseudoskepticism, by the name, imitates genuine skepticism. The core of it is skepticism toward the claims and views of others, combined with apparent certainty — or at least practical certainty — toward one’s own beliefs. A pseudoskeptic may often assert that, no, they don’t believe in their own beliefs, but this is simply denial, and the belief is obvious to the discerning and knowledgeable.

“Pseudoskeptic” is not a complete description of any person. No argument is wrong because it is advanced by a pseudoskeptic and, in fact, most pseudoskeptics hew toward the mainstream, and a result of that could be that there is a substantial possibility that they are right. Continue reading “Pseudoskepticism vs Skepticism: Case studies:”

Age, the New Age, Believers, and Peter Gluck

After the new software version was installed on LENR Forum, the number of comments per page was increased to 30. This, of course broke all incoming links to comments as paged (sometimes done when there was a series of comments of interest at some point). More about this below. In my last post, I wrote about Planet Rossi; some users protesting about being identified with Planet Rossi are objecting to it as rude. However, this is a classic case of calling a spade a spade, i.e., pointing out the obvious. “Planet Rossi” does not mean, in itself, “collection of idiots.” However, there appears to be a high density of those willing to continue expressing preposterous positions, as if they were perfectly reasonable, while objecting to others pointing this out.

Here, Peter Gluck writes in response to Dewey Weaver. This is a long-term blogger on LENR arguing with someone who has actually supported LENR research with his own money, time, and effort. I find it of interest to review. Peter is, of course, welcome to comment, even though he normally rejects detailed, evidenced comments as being too long.

Continue reading “Age, the New Age, Believers, and Peter Gluck”

Zeus46 trolling

This is a study of a lenr-forum post by Zeus46. Zeus46 is quite likely the user who has commented here as Zeus45. Both of them sometimes make useful comments. Both also show possible troll behavior. Zeus46 is the user who asked me a question on lenr-forum, which I answered straightforwardly in context (as other users noted), and for which answer I was first banned.

(Asking a straightforward question which has a clear answer that can be seen as uncivil is a classic trolling technique. I have seen master writers with high experience sucked into answering. In a sane community, with sane administration, it would not be a problem, but … communities do not always have sane administration. This happens on Quora.com.)

He continued to troll, me and others, with no clear response from lenr-forum moderation. I previously looked at this behavior on Trolling on lenr-forum.

Summary: Zeus46 is Zeus45 here, and most of his commentary is trolling, often through presenting a fact that has an obvious and very misleading interpretation. Sometimes the “fact” is blatantly false, and he would reasonably know it. Trolls, however, are not necessarily reasonable. Continue reading “Zeus46 trolling”

SNAFU, LENR Forum “Improved”

So I looked at LENR Forum today and the look of the site had drastically changed. It looks much better.

The home page: http://lenr-forum.com. There is still the 403 error for a referred link from CFC, apparently this domain has been added to the .htaccess file to prohibit incoming links. So no change there. (Originally, I warned users about this, so they would not be puzzled seeing it, but then found that I could set my site, by default, to open a new tab and not allow a referer field in the request, so lenr-forum no longer gets information about access to that forum from this domain. It was basically a dumb move to attempt to suppress external commentary.

And, of course, that I tell them that a dumb move is a dumb move, they are “furious.” So they make more dumb moves. That’s how life works.

However, function has changed, and a change in function almost always takes a toll on users. Where did the Unread Posts option go? (It’s now a menu item.)

[Update, evening of the 16th: LF now apparently forwards the old links properly, so barty fixed what is described below. Still the 403 error though.]

However, something far more serious changed. All incoming links I have checked so far, to specific posts, created before today, are broken. Here, created last night to a post by Peter Gluck:

https://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/index.php/Thread/4745-Rossi-vs-Darden-developments-Part-2/?postID=45875#post45875

This link does not return the post, it is translated by LF to:

https://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/?postID=45875#post45875

The post now has the direct link:

https://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/thread/4745-rossi-vs-darden-developments-part-2/?postID=45875#post45875

All incoming links to lenr-forum, generated before today, are now broken. Links from Google? Broken. It will take a little while for Google to recover.

… This is almost certainly barty who did this. Barty did something with his own registration:

https://www.lenr-forum.com/user/1-barty/

One of the original LF administrators just registered, Jan 16th 2017?

From this profile page, Recent Activity is blank. His Likes show, though. His posts can be found in other ways. (Admin tricks have been used to hide other member activities, this is not the first time I have seen it.)

Checking out the user name 1-barty (which is the actual name for barty), on the Internet Archive, I confirm that this was his user name as of December, 21, 2015. The last site update is January 18, 2016. The site has apparently been set to not be archived. (robots.txt?) Sites do this to hide something, it is not the default.

He may be able to fix the links thing with a redirect, I’m not sure. Making changes to a site with a vast content would properly be done with great care. Experienced administrators would let the community know what is happening, such a shift would be planned and reviewed.

The only time I saw LF admin consult the community, they got a lot of comment, which they then ignored without comment.

Someone should tell barty that “court” is not “curt.”

One improvement I see. Looking at my profile there, I see a little lock symbol. That shows that my account is locked out. I can see one other locked user.

Attempting to log in to my locked account, to see if function has changed, I used the Facebook log-in option. It’s broken, Facebook won’t allow the referral. I try the regular log-in. Doesn’t work, password doesn’t match, it tells me. So I used the forgotten password option. It tells me a message is sent. No message shows up.

Not logged in, I cannot see the messages that were sent to me with the ban. I’m surprised that the Facebook login doesn’t work. What was happening before the site changes is that the log-in would be accepted, then all pages on LF displayed an error message, i.e,. the site could not be used, and logout was not allowed, so I had to kill cookies, etc, to log out.

This is all unskillful administration, and it has been highly resistant to suggestions. Indeed, no reason has been given for my ban, other than perhaps being annoying. and suggesting improved moderation procedures. Users who were blatantly racist, disruptive, and users who consistently post utter nonsense, laden with contempt, are not banned, now that I can tell. Goes to show.

In the words of the immortal Emily Litella:

Gilda, we miss you.

 

 

Lenr-forum miscellany, with a fast and clearly-earned ban

I’ve been cleaning up the blog, creating structure, having fun, and, today, mostly, I wrote for the private CMNS list. Then I looked at lenr-forum, and saw some Stuff. This is miscellany and I don’t know yet what I’ll call this, it’s just what hit me. Continue reading “Lenr-forum miscellany, with a fast and clearly-earned ban”

Ignorance is bliss

“Ignorance is bliss” is a reference to easy assumption that a site has free discussion. Even when it starts to become obvious that this is not so, it’s easy to make up excuses that allow us to think that everything is cool, moderation is a difficult job, nothing need be done, etc. All of that may be somewhat true, but it allows situations to fester and grow. After all, the community must support it, because if they didn’t….

If they didn’t, what? Why, they would just go away! Which may leave no visible sign of any problem. A site may be far less successful than possible, but who will know?

Most people, as well, will be afraid to “rock the boat.” After all, they might be next ….
Continue reading “Ignorance is bliss”

Commentary: Lenr-forum.com

I have been “permanently banned” on lenr-forum.com, a major LENR discussion site. I have already been commenting here on some issues raised there, this is now a necessity, if I’m to comment at all. Criticism and commentary is welcome here or there. I am continuing to watch lenr-forum.com at this time.

So this first post on lenr-forum.com will cover the ban. What preceded it?
Continue reading “Commentary: Lenr-forum.com”