Joined: June 2006
Hello all --
I've been lurking on this board for a few weeks now. During that short time, I've witnessed the arrivals of Skeptic and Randy, as well as the degeneration of AFDave into complete lunacy.
While it has now become clear that AFDave was always a hopeless case, I think there might have initially been some hope for Skeptic and Randy (Randy in particular... we'll see if he returns). They both came in blustering about evolutionary orthodoxy, completely unaware of how ignorant they actually were. And unfortunately, an insulting entrance tends to elicit and insulting response on this board.
I certainly don't blame the regulars here. It's hard to hold back when someone who has no idea what he's talking about tries to tell you that your passion (or in some cases, life's work!) is bunk. But given the wealth of expertise on this board, I can't help but feel that with gentler and more focused handling, you might be able to educate a few of these ignorant internet wanderers.
If you feel that's a worthwhile goal, then I have a suggestion: coordinate your responses to brand new posters. Whether that means letting the first regular responder be the "point man" and following his lead, or using a meta-discussion to formulate responses, or creating a schedule for who should respond to new arrivals, or something else entirely, I don't know. But I believe that if a new poster were presented with a single, rational, patient response rather than a barrage of mockery (deserved or not), you might be able to reach some of these people. Respond as you would to a child: be calm, stress the basics, cover a single point at a time, expect ignorance, and ignore immature taunts. Once a poster has revealed himself to be either open to learning or a complete quack, this careful handling shouldn't be needed any longer, and the rest of the board can jump in.
I realize this suggestion is completely contrary to what a public discussion board is about. And it might be wishful thinking on my part to believe it would make any difference. Personally, though, I think it's worth a shot.