Seems like the idol of reason isn’t so reasonable after all. Very interesting kerfuffle going on about RichardDawkins.net.
Start with Ruth here, then have a read of these two posts (for a very different perspective).
So: the forum was an active community with thousands of heavily invested participants (ten times bigger than the front page) which has now not just been shut down but largely deleted. If someone came along and deleted my blog – or if some technical problem deleted the blog – I would feel bereft. It was bad enough when I lost about nine months worth of e-mails last year when my PC died. So I can understand the mental anguish that this has caused.
Also, bluntly, if Prof Dawkins doesn’t make a very strong effort to fix this – and counteract the impression that he doesn’t care for all the people who have rallied to his cause over the last several years – then i) his leadership of same is over and ii) the cause he has been promoting for so long has been grievously hindered.
I hate to say it, but I’m on Dawkins side here. Unmoderated forums are a disaster … I can’t see anything strange in the managers / moderators of the site. (See comments earlier about democratic church … authority IS needed to manage.)
BTW it seems my problems with publishing comments are browser-compatibility related. (You no longer support older versions of IE it seems.)
When I say I’m on Dawkins side … I’m on the side of the managers of Dawkins.net closing off the current forum to comments and new threads whilst they re-set their arrangements.
Dawkins tone in his letter is his usual self-important arrogant self. The actions are perfectly reasonable, even though Dawkins is a twat 🙂
Dawkins forums were just a bunch of ass kissers commenting on a few random science stories and ‘offical’ news updates from Dawkins team.
Can’t blame him for making changes, especially if lazy journalists are making a few shillings by lifting stories from an Internet forum that bares his name.
Gledhill’s headline is quite funny. “Dawkins offended by … atheists” Like why is that headline news ?
Is this an admission that on the whole theists are more offensive than atheists, so this is newsworthy. I agree with theObserver this is just cheap lazy commercial journalism, Sam.
So, what if this were a Pub simply called, “Dawkins”, where people came to have discussions along the same lines as the forum. Suppose that at some point the traffic becomes so heavy that the pub can no longer accomodate all the people. So you say, “we’re going to shut down the pub while we remodel, and create some rules for how the pub is managed.”
You then find out that the pub is not just being remodeled, but it’s also going to moderate who gets into the pub, and dictate what they can talk about. They also decide that they’re firing all the bartenders and wait staff (who worked for free), and are replacing them with beer machines (like pop machines) and vending machines with microwavable food and chips. Not only that, but the bartenders and wait staff are no longer allowed to come to the pub. Of course, who doesn’t like spilling their stories to the bar keep who you’ve befreided over the years.
On the other hand, the patrons at the Dawkins site aren’t paying to be there (i.e. they’re not buying food and beer). So in this way the bill for the group having it’s existence is being paid for by Dawkins. On the other hand I’m sure some sort of advertising pays for the site (if not all), which wouldn’t be possible if people didn’t venture there in the first place, and perhaps Dawkins is even making money off this thing…
Sounds to me like they’re taking this nice public place and turning into a private boys club of official dawkins buttkissers. Or it’s just a fascism.
Then again maybe I’m way off.
I feel sorry for Dawkins, who would think people that idolise him would be intolerant of other people’s views?
Hi Grumpy … so the problem is in fact idolatry.
Neither Dawkins, nor the moderators need to act, are the actual problem – these are merely corollaries to the fine mess they (he) had gotten themselves into.