Joined: July 2011
J-mac asks the hard but obvious question (http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/moderation-issues-6/comment-page-17/#comment-250628): “So, should TSZ fold then?”
If Alan, Neil, and DNA Jock remain as admins, that question will answer itself. As I noted previously, the arbitrary abuse of admin privileges does far more to reduce participation in a forum than the occasional rude comment. Alan, Neil, and DNA Jock have clearly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with those privileges. They owe apologies to keiths, Mung, and Elizabeth specifically and the TSZ community generally.
(Note that I’m only criticizing their abuses of admin privileges. When I was active at TSZ, I made a point of reading all of their posts and comments, DNA Jock’s especially.)
To answer J-Mac’s question, I would not like to see TSZ fold. I find Elizabeth’s goals and vision for the site to be admirable. They are worth working to achieve. There are three immediate steps that Elizabeth could take to realign with those. First and most important, remove Alan, Neil, and DNA Jock as admins. They’ve demonstrated that they are not supportive of Elizabeth’s vision and cannot be trusted to be unbiased. As replacements, she could do worse than keiths and Mung, both of whom have demonstrated far more dedication to Elizabeth’s goals.
Second, increase the breadth of topics to include everything mentioned in the first two paragraphs of the "About this site. . .” page: “My motivation for starting the site has been the experience of trying to discuss religion, politics, evolution, the Mind/Brain problem, creationism, ethics, exit polls, probability, intelligent design, and many other topics in venues where positions are strongly held and feelings run high.” There used to be a subset of posts discussing philosophy. Those and additional topics should be encouraged. IDCreationism is dead, but TSZ can live on.
Third, attract more new participants. Replacing the abusive admins is one part of that, but the front page of the site needs to be more appealing. J-Mac might have asked a good question, but his posts and those of some others make TSZ look like a crank site. Let anyone post, but by default show only the highest quality posts to new visitors. This is as simple as a switch on the page that flips between “Featured” and “New”. Yes, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth about what gets featured, but like porn, most people know crankery when they see it.
Elizabeth’s vision is worth supporting. I'd hate to see The Skeptical Zone become just another version of UD.