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Monday morning dumpster dive


RationalWiki Community Survey 2017 (sticky)[edit]

I want to know more about who actually writes RationalWiki. To that end, I made a community survey (RationalWiki Community Survey 2017) that covers identity, religion, and politics sections. The religion and politics sections are both based on academic literature, so I'm interested to see how RationalWiki fares (results here). If nobody has any objections, I'd like to put the link into MediaWiki:Sitenotice for a week or so. Mʀ. Wʜɪsᴋᴇʀs, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 20:14, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

I second the motion. —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 16:33, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Likewise. Nerd271 (talk) 16:42, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't really see the point personally, didn't we do one of these earlier in 2017? Christopher (talk) 17:11, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@Christopher I had about 10 people take a draft version. Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk) 17:57, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Oh, so it was just a draft. I didn't get that ping btw (they don't seem to work in non talk namespaces). Christopher (talk) 18:32, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@FuzzyCatPotato Sure.-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 22:48, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Also, make sure to fix this broken link from page 4 of the survey.-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 22:56, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

I still think the questions from 1 to 9 are quite poor and it's very US-centric (I took the survey without submitting and had to look up "British equivalent of high school" for instance). Christopher (talk) 08:34, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Yep. I could feel the American-ism from the values test. And we have a North Korean editing this site?????? —ClickerClock (talk) 10:31, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Dear comrades, let's sail right into the dustbin of history! Nerd (talk) 15:46, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
We apparently have an editor in North Korea who, being a white Hindu, is unlikely to be a native of North Korea and might well have clicked on Korea (North) instead of Korea (South) by mistake. That brings me nicely to what I was going to say. It would be nice to have separate choices for country of origin and country of residence. I live in Taiwan but I'm not Taiwanese. And previous Saloon Bar conversations suggest that we have some Brits living in Spain editing here. Spud (talk) 06:29, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
I took it even though it's hosted by Google. Surely you can do better than that? But certainly some of the later 1-9 questions didn't seem applicable. I suspect the last ones probably apply mostly to particular country? —Kazitor, pending 11:07, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
As whoever it was said - being born in a stable does not make you a donkey. Anna Livia (talk) 22:48, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Some person apparently is 150 and living in North Korea. Seems legit!Do You Believe That?-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 00:02, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
@DiamondDisc1So that's where the food and medical aid went. They have a doctoral degree, too, and are a committed Marxist-Leninist until they sail their submarine towards the U.S. coast to either immigrate or start a war. Nerd (talk) 02:12, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Someone needs to tell Norway that Bouvet Island isn't uninhabited anymore.-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 02:42, 22 November 2017 (UTC)
This is why I joined RationalWiki, I get to meet people from so many interesting places and laugh about it. GrammarCommie (talk) 02:58, 22 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm glad this wiki lets nonexistent people edit!-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 02:36, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

I'm going to close the survey this Friday. αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 08:21, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

@FuzzyCatPotato this is like the third time I've had to put this topic back. Please fix Archivist :) —Kazitor, pending 04:21, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

Survey results[edit]

Survey is closed. I'll publish results tomorrow. αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 04:38, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

Still waiting...-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 02:23, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
I was wondering about that too. Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 21:11, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
FuzzyCatPotato is still in a meeting with David Rockefeller at the Eiffel Tower. He will be back when the NWO takes over. INFO WARS *WHAAAAAAAAAM*€h33s3βurg3rF@€3 (talkstalk) 21:15, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
@FuzzyCatPotato€h33s3βurg3rF@€3 (talkstalk) 22:26, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
@FuzzyCatPotato-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 02:36, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
@FuzzyCatPotato I smell a conspiracy. Cosmikdebris (talk) 03:46, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
@FuzzyCatPotato Do the results somehow contain evidence for the Illuminati?-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 05:22, 27 November 2017 (UTC)
i suspect its taking some time to make the results appear interesting and not blindingly obvious 12:07, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

@FuzzyCatPotato, what do you mean publish them? They're already viewable. Christopher (talk) 15:42, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

sorry everyone -- i thought i'd have a chunk of free time to nicely sort & graph the results. i promise by next monday! Mʀ. Wʜɪsᴋᴇʀs, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 03:41, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
So no evidence for the Illuminati?-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 03:30, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

I've got the results ready (in an un-pretty form). However, I thought it might be nice to release the survey results + editcount results on January 1st, since then we could compare the 2017 survey and 2017 edit patterns in one go. Does anyone vehemently oppose releasing both results on the 1st? Sir ℱ℧ℤℤϒℂᗩℑᑭƠℑᗩℑƠ (talk/stalk) 02:08, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Sounds like a plan to me. GrammarCommie (talk) 02:43, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
I can wait.-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 05:10, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't see why not. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 05:24, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
Likewise. Nerd (talk) 01:59, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

Merging Iron Chariots Wiki (sticky)[edit]

Older RatWiks may know that RW merged in EvolutionWiki, a wiki dedicated to documenting evolution science and debunking intelligent design / creationist arguments, after that site became inactive and lost the funds to host itself (see EvoWiki and RationalWiki:EvoWiki).

Iron Chariots Wiki appears to be on route to suffer the same fate. Iron Chariots is an explicitly atheist wiki dedicated to documenting arguments for and against god and about atheism in general. The site hasn't had any edits since September 6 -- two months ago. The forums are offline. The bottom of every page proudly displays two PHP error messages. Relevant links:

In short: the site has gone Citizendium'd. Do we want to try to contact Iron Chariots Wiki and merge in their content? (@Tmtoulouse, @David Gerard, @Human, @Reverend Black Percy, @Spud) Mʀ. Wʜɪsᴋᴇʀs, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 14:07, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

I would have no objections. SpacePriusIs always watching 15:49, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
My opinion is irrelevant but I'd say yeah. Christopher (talk) 16:57, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Same here. We are legion, for we are many. Nerd271 (talk) 17:13, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Copyright is the issue. Everything is born "all rights reserved" by default. If it wasn't under any licence, we have a problem unless we get permission from each individual contributor. (We sort of arsed it through with EvoWiki ...) - David Gerard (talk) 17:15, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

It appears to be licensed under Creative Commons but it's an earlier version (2.5, we're 3.0) theirs and ours are compatible though aren't they? Christopher (talk) 17:38, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
It looks like copyright isn't a problem. OK. Merge them into us and salvage anything useful from them. Spud (talk) 18:00, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
@Christopher Thanks for finding that. The Iron Chariots Wiki license is CC-BY-SA-2.5, better if anything than EvoWiki's CC-BY-NC-SA-1.0, and definitely compatible with our CC-BY-SA-3.0. αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 19:10, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
It seems like a reasonable merge to me and can follow the strategy used for EvoWiki. What we did with EvoWiki was to move EvoWiki onto our server then have it exist there for the duration of the porting process. Editors who were interested would take non-stub pages and convert them into RW style within RW and include a category link indicating that it was ported (Category:EvoWiki ports). After the port was complete, the EvoWiki page was replaced with a redirect to the corresponding RW page. @FuzzyCatPotato knows the details of this better than I do. Bongolian (talk) 19:15, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
If the copyright issue can be solved (and it looks like it can) this sounds like a decent idea. Boredatwork (talk) 19:48, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Soounds good to me! RoninMacbeth (talk) 20:17, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Let's do it. —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 23:52, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

I'm glad there is interest in this getting done. I was the main contributor to IronChariots over the last few years. I have not had any response from the server admin Russell, my main contact, on updating Mediawiki software or getting more disk space, which I suspect is the underlying problem. They don't seem to have the time to commit to the project although Matt Dillahunty occasionally plugs the site. I'm still wondering what my involvement will be or what will happen to the site eventually. I will consider continuing to work on this within RationalWiki but the tone of RationalWiki is a little different :) TimSC (talk) 21:50, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

You're welcome to stay here, good sir. RoninMacbeth (talk) 22:55, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
If the site owners have no issues, go ahead. — Unsigned, by: 195.235.239.101 / talk

There are a few issues. The first, and most obvious, is whether the current owners think such a merger would be appropriate.

The second is the fact that RW is not explicitly an atheist site. To all intents and purposes it is, but we have historically avoided describing ourselves as such. I'm guessing that would have to change if we incorporate Iron chariots.

There is the question of the differing tone of the two sites - though RW's tone seems to be rather less jokey these days.

Finally there is the question of the work involved in incorporating the material. Saying "let's do it" is fine, but are those who are in favour also volunteering to do the work incorporating the articles? Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 11:10, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

There may be a plurality of non-believers on RW, but it is by no means an atheist site. There are other users here with a variety of religious beliefs. It should also be noted that some religions are not incompatible with atheism (e.g. Hinduism). I think that regarding the tone difference between the two wikis, it would be worthwhile, @TimSC, to compare the tone in our Category:Logic pages, which I think tend to be more in line with those at Iron Chariots (lower levels of snark). Bongolian (talk) 21:38, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I had similar thoughts, but we do actually have pages for a lot of the same topics as Iron Chariots already. They fit in with RW's mission in the sense that these arguments often invoke pseudoscience or questionable logic. (There are also already some pages on RW that seem to exist primarily because people here are interested in atheism and apologetics, rather than because they directly relate to RW's "mission" regarding crank ideas.) With some tweaks, we could absorb much of Iron Chariots without making RW any more atheist-leaning than it already is.
I think that the real problem is that the TAE folks probably wanted Iron Chariots to be viewed as a somewhat "scholarly" resource, and RW's snark would undermine that image. So even if they're OK with content being copied over, they might not want Iron Chariots to be swallowed whole by formally merged into RW. Quantheory (talk) 00:13, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

I have IronChariots (and RationalWiki) pages linked in several easy copy pastas I give to people to refute certain categories of arguments or teach them the underlying logic; IC sometimes covers thing in greater depth than RW and for my purposes I IC's tone is much better. I suspect many others share my appreciation for a "scholarly" go to resource to refute theistic claims; on RW you're always two clicks away from goat jokes. Lord Aeonian (talk) 23:26, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Decided to actually have a look at it, and there seems to be some good info. I think our main issue is lack of organisation, no doubt most of their pages are similar to ours but look! It's so organised!Kazitor, pending 11:14, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

I have no strong interest in atheism, myself. But given that we appear to have reasonably congruent articles on most of the subjects they cover, it might help just for the sake of priorities to make note of articles they have that we don't. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 01:52, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

This comment is to prevent archivist from archiving for a while. —Kazitor, pending 04:27, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Dropped?[edit]

The original thread's been archived. Just wondering, has this idea been dropped? 87.192.220.205 (talk) 15:54, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

It shouldn't have been -- Archivist is acting up. Cømяade FυzzчCαтPøтαтø (talk/stalk) 16:22, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Reminder to self Cømяade FυzzчCαтPøтαтø (talk/stalk) 23:29, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

Aww[edit]

Your little atheist playgrounds can't survive on their own? What ashame. :P 73.91.2.168 (talk) 03:49, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

The size of one's fanbase does not necessarily correlate with how correct they are. ΛίνΡ (ομιλία) (συνεισφορές) @ 03:54, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Never said it did, but remember that next time numbers are in your favor. 76.3.172.194 (talk) 03:58, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
They want a resume in order to edit it. No wonder they are practically dead. Good riddance, one less cesspool on the internet. 76.3.172.194 (talk) 04:06, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

Anyone tired of hearing about sexual assaults in the media?[edit]

I cared the first hundred times I heard about sexual assaults to people when reading media. But like murder cases, I simply stopped giving a shit about it. While I'm proud that the victims are stepping forward, does the media need to be a mouthpiece for it? Is this an unpopular opinion? Maybe.—€h33s3βurg3rF@€3 (talkstalk) 20:41, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Funnily enough, I have the same weariness of hearing sexual assault case after sexual assault case. I'm hoping the "coming out" allegations the media loves to lap up doesn't backfire or start having a jaded effect on people. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 20:46, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I think the media does need to be a mouthpiece for it, even at the risk of backfiring. In many cases, the victims have few alternatives when the statute of limitations has expired for the victimizer but the risk of libel upon the victims is ever present. The multiple public accusers at once approach gives weight to the evidence and reduces the likelihood of libel proceedings. Bongolian (talk) 22:01, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
This is an inevitable feeling and the news media recognizes that feeling and will soon back off on pursuing other major sexual assault claims for a while. Which... I guess is just how life goes. Hopefully some kind of systemic progress was made in this burst of activity, but I'm not holding my breath. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 22:36, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

It's really fucked up. I want to hear more women testify against guys like Moore, but then I realize I'm hoping for more human misery to be found. At the end of the day, exposing the misdeeds of only significant persons may accomplish nothing for women. When it comes to the manager at McDonalds, who cares in the media?Ariel31459 (talk) 00:06, 22 November 2017 (UTC)

Reporting crime to law enforcement is perfectly normal. I am, however, a little disappointed to see that many people have forgotten that the accused remains innocent until they confess or are proven guilty. Nerd (talk) 00:34, 22 November 2017 (UTC)
i believe i have mentioned before about how deeply uncomfortable i am with the way these allegations are reported. i am deeply uncomfortable with allegations like 'he put his hand on my knee at a dinner party' being reported as the same ball park as 'he raped me'. I am deeply uncomfortable with the way these allegations are presented not as allegations but as fact, that a mere allegation will result in the destruction of careers. these are allegations that have not resulted in court cases, have not resulted in police investigations. the reporting of the reporting of these allegations seem to me to make it impossible that any could wind up in court - how could any of the accused hope for a fair trial when they have been declared guilty so comprehensively in news media. i cannot investigate these claims - i am not the police, i cannot even question them. we are told we must believe the victims of sexual assault. we must not doubt them. thats all well and good if an appropriate party ie the police, then goes on to investigate the claims, but here there are few or no investigations. claims are made, regurgitated verbatim thoughout the news media and we cannot question them. to do so makes us monsters. any claims of literally anything else, we would question them. any other claim from a group people i would not trust to accurately describe their breakfast i would read with a raised eyebrow and a hefty pinch of salt at the he said/she said. i am not comfortable to do so here. some of the claims are horrific. some of the claims are so minor that id question that it was even sexual assault/harassment. some are just plain outlandish. i understand that statute of limitations makes this the only option for many of the victims, but is this really the way to go? there are so many claims, about so many people, they cant really all be true can they? someone said the risk of libel is a very real threat to the accusers - is it though? the accused could win but their career and reputation would still be trashed. i am uncomfortable about all of this. i uncomfortable withn the fact that i am convinced of the guilt of some these people purely because i read report of an allegation. i am uncomfortable that i could be excusing some truely awful crimes. i fear the deluge of claims will become so widespread, so common, that while kevin spacey is airbrushed from his films and weinsteins career is finished, a year from now we will read about some star groping an extra and go straight and watch his latest box office smash. we will believe the claims if we dislike the person, if we like them we'll and believe its just a publicity seeker. but i guess thats the status quo - michael jackson died a paedophile while statutory rapist david bowie died a rock legend. i just dont see how justice is served by this perfect storm of celebrity and righteous indignation when the end result is likely not just a jaded public, but a disbelieving oneAMassiveGay (talk) 01:56, 22 November 2017 (UTC)
I hate the way this country treats artists. What would contemporary America do to Van Gogh or Picasso, I wonder?
And to the extent I am a liberal, I am an old fashioned ACLU liberal. Due process and the presumption of innocence are more important to me than any moral panic, no matter how 'feminist' it is.
The other thing that occurs to me is that it's much easier to wrong-foot Democrats and liberals by this sort of thing.
Republicans and right-wingers will, of course, circle the wagons, as we're seeing in the case of Roy Moore. For Alabama voters, the choice between a child molester and a liberal is a difficult moral quandary. Roy Moore may have chased children, but he stands up for the piss-ant god they worship down there.
On the other hand Democrats have to at least pay lip service to "feminism", whatever it means anymore. These things target key Democrat constituencies. They implicate Democratic human-resources pieties and 'professional' standards. They have invested a great deal in that kind of elite etiquette. It's much harder for them to shake off these charges levelled against their leadership, no matter how stale or how trivial they may be. There isn't a level playing field when it comes to this sort of carrying on. It didn't get Hillary Clinton elected, for one thing. Then again, she was a uniquely compromised bearer of any message about men behaving badly. There does come a time when you have to swallow everything you've been taught and root for the home team. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 02:34, 22 November 2017 (UTC)
this is an interesting read AMassiveGay (talk) 22:20, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes Hamburger. What could be more tedious than famous popular figures and politicians being exposed for sexual harassment and rape. I certainly don't want to hear more about hundreds of women putting their career and personal lives on the line to expose predators and hopefuly put a permanent door stop in front of extreme apathy and disbelief of abuse. What could be less interesting than a major social shift slowly unraveling. Every time I read about a new public figure denounced by a dozen women, I'm like...hello...that news is like so October 2017! My greatest hope is that the whole story just goes away and we can get back to not giving a shit about murders and political corruption and police abuse and banking fraud. 87.218.198.157 (talk) 02:45, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, you're not wrong (going by your intent because you're obviously being sarcastic).—€h33s3βurg3rF@€3 (talkstalk) 04:07, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
I've seen 'believe the victims' before. It tends not to end well. Inviting people to re-remember thirty year old memories as outrages they weren't at the time, and then using these half-remembered tales to destroy the careers of a variety of public figures, couldn't possibly go wrong, now could it? - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 18:34, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
But why now? Why do people have to wait until after someone is famous to raise accusations?—€h33s3βurg3rF@€3 (talkstalk) 18:49, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Is that really what is happening? In the Roy Moore case, many of the victims had told people about Moore's behavior long ago. It is only recently that media bigwigs have been sending their reporters out to look for them. "See? The system works," etc.Ariel31459 (talk) 14:48, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Roy Moore is an outlier here. AFAIK he doesn't have a talent that ought to cut him some slack. He also has the whole hypocrisy going for him: he wants to regulate other people's sex lives, which I'm against as well. (And I try to make that principle a 'seamless web'.) He's exceptionally easy to hate, which lends his accusers credibility if you hate him as well. He still deserves the same grace of due process, and leaving the distant past lie, that everybody else deserves. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 18:37, 25 November 2017 (UTC)

I think that this is a good thing. The media coverage of Cosby and Trump and Ailes and O'Reilley and Moore and Franken, etc. does pose the danger of making us jaded but maybe making this commonplace is not a bad thing. Women did not speak up at the time because they feared that they are alone or that they would not be supported. Perhaps, if harassment is recognized as commonplace, women will not be as reticent to speak up. That doesn't mean we shouldn't draw a distinction between President Bush Sr and (the allegations against) Moore -- Taking advantage of being in a wheelchair to make a lewd remark is not on the same level as what Moore is accused of -- but I hope this all leads to women (and girls, in Moore's case) feeling empowered to act, should they find themselves in similar situations (albeit, one action would entail a reprimand and the other would hopefully entail arrest) --Bertrc (talk) 22:45, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
And now Senator Al Franken has resigned because of this crap. I wonder if the 'feminists' realize that they've scored an own goal. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 19:31, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I just hope the senate democrats didn't push Franken out thinking it could make Alabama voters come to their senses. Moore may not win, but I doubt the Franken affair will will have anything to do with it.Ariel31459 (talk) 01:51, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm okay with Franken's move. His statements and his actions have been exemplary; I can't imagine this not, ultimately, driving us in the right direction. I always tell the young'uns to show patience so I guess it is time for me to practice what I preach. Times like this remind me why I am glad I'm a Christian. Faith that God can not only fix the messes we make, but actually transform them in their entirety (even, retroactively, the making of the messes, themselves) into something good keeps me from despair.  ;-)  :-P~  :-D I just hope we don't have to be stuck in this Babylon for 70 years . . . --Bertrc (talk)
If the criminal justice system decided to proceed against what Franken actually did, it would have gotten pled down to a minor misdemeanor at most. And that would be the correct resolution by law and precedent. This is how we reward someone who gave up a life of successful minor celebrity to serve his country. If this is what feminism demands, then fuck feminism. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 04:43, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

If Islam didn't exist[edit]

I've been wondering lately, what would the world be like if Islam had never been invented? —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 21:06, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

There would be just another religion invented and that'll also happen to subjugate women and mistreat other minorities. People will just continue killing and oppressing each other as they've always have done. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 22:17, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
A quick look at Wikipedia reminds me that the dominant religions in the Middle East before Islam were Zoroastrianism and Nestorian Christianity, which split from mainstream Christianity over doctrinal differences about the nature of Christ; one of these would have become dominant in the region, and, as LMG suggests, would have almost certainly have become politicised and oppressive. How this would have affected the development of science and mathematics (which made advances in the early Islamic world) I have no idea, without digging into obscure books and journals on Zoroastrianism and Nestorianism's attitudes to science, education etc. It's one of history's biggest "what if"s: what if Islam had never taken off? Would we have a safer world now, or would there still be violence, but about something else? Boredatwork (talk) 22:39, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
Don't forget there was also Judaism in the area; many of the khaleeji tribes were Jewish and the others mostly followed Arab pagan beliefs. Zoroastrianism was confined to the north of the najd and Christianity to the coastlines and west of the hejaz, i.e. Africa. The question about science is good, since the European Enlightenment was kick started by Arab developments, but those developments took place largely because of the strong and patron rich Abbasid caliphate, which created a rich climate for scholars all of all fields in Baghdad and Alexandria. This was, of course, largely allowed by the creation of the Umayyad caliphate after Islam had unified the Bedouins; whether one tribe would have unified the others without Islam is an open question, but maybe not a crucial one. A restored Persian empire or Egyptian empire, or even a resurgent Byzantium, unchecked by the Arabs, could have had the same result. All that was needed was a powerful, stable and reasonably sane super-state in the region. Lord Aeonian (talk) 23:08, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
You think religion may have reinforced the power and stability, which was essential for development of scholars? --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 00:03, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
During the golden age of Islam as a civilization, this seems to have been true. All sorts of Greek philosophical and scientific texts were preserved in Arabic translation, and many textbooks from classical antiquity are preserved in that form. The Crusades (a little) and the Spanish reconquest (a lot) put dozens of texts full of obviously useful material into European hands, and a great effort was made translating the books from Arabic into Latin. The great tragedy of Islam was the Mongol sack of Baghdad, which produced a reaction against scholarship and curiosity and hardened both Islamic theology and culture into a culture of 'honor' and warrior virtues, which remain part of the problem today. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 04:22, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
You two have a really Orientalist view of the period, which was developed during the concurrent and post-crusade period in other to justify those religious wars. Namely, you seem to think Islam was very important during the Golden Age; every notable (and court funded) poet from Khayyam to al-Mutanabbi wrote about the decadence of the Abbasid and earlier Umayyad rulers, at the least they were very heavy wine drinkers, and many philosophers attacked Islam. A large portion of al-Ghazali, Taymiyyah, and Qudamah's anger was directed against the academic class; their books feature long descriptions of how atheist professors convince wealthy college students to abandon religion with their emphasis on reason and logic.
And so to do we see the end of the Golden Age, it had nothing to do with the Mongols (who were so ideologically pragmatic that they quickly converted to Islam just to better gain their new subject's loyalty) and everything to do with Ghazali and his friends creating an environment that saw madrassas become more respected than universities. This brief piece and its linked academic paper does a good job showing how madrassas overtook universities when the Golden Age ended, and the percentage of Arabic language books on science decreased greatly in favor of religious books. Most of this happened before the Mongols arrived at Baghdad, by the way. Lord Aeonian (talk) 05:47, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
What about the religions that existed in the Arabian peninsula during Muhammad era? Panzerfaust (talk) 12:53, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

For whom Nobel tolls[edit]

How do we interpret the Nobel Prize paradox: despite representing more than 1.5 billion muslims, Islamic culture has produced only 3 prize winners in physics and chemistry, and none in medicine.Ariel31459 (talk) 14:07, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Nobel Prize "paradox" might be a problem of physical characteristics rather than actual talent. I mean, look at the women... --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 20:22, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
India has one chemistry, 2 physics, and 2 medicine laureates[1] and of those 5, one was ethnically British, 3 were citizens of the US or UK, and the remaining one won while India was still under British rule. So either Indians are equally backward or there is another explanation. --Gospatric (talk) 12:36, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
Backwardness is a vague term. Anti-science traditions perhaps is the answer. There are five Chinese Nobel Prize winners in science and medicine. They may also be hindered by ancient cultural traditions. Contrast China with Japan, perhaps the most modern Asian country, having 22 Nobel Prize winners in science and medicine.Ariel31459 (talk) 13:43, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I an certain the Nobel Paradox is in no way due to the various committees being historically full of white Scandinavians. The fact that 58 prizes have gone to Scandinavians (one of whom won for the "invention of automatic regulators for use in conjunction with gas accumulators for illuminating lighthouses and buoys") is entirely coincidental. Boredatwork (talk) 18:30, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I am also certain of that being irrelevant to the question.Ariel31459 (talk) 15:37, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Somehow, I find the "China loves ancient tradition" explanation leaving a bad taste behind my mouth and overall unsatisfactory, like it's a stereotype of China that is hastily and not carefully thought up and then applied to a complex phenomenon. I think other factors go into play here, not "China is 'anti-science'". In fact, wasn't traditional Chinese medicine (like acupuncture) in decline before Mao hopped along and decided it should be cool again to stimulate medicine or something? Besides, Japan also loves tradition; the collectivist conform culture is pretty similar to China's. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 00:33, 2 December 2017 (UTC)
The "X loves ancient tradition explanation" was neither stated nor implied. Traditionalism opposes modernism, the optimal environment of science. The fact that Japan is more like a modern western state than is China is not debatable.Ariel31459 (talk) 15:32, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Moderator elections (sticky)[edit]

Judging by my calendar, we're about due to start another round of moderator elections this week or next. This sound good? The FCP Foundation (talk/stalk) 18:16, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

Sure. Though didn't the Avenger-Ballot-Stuffing controversy last year prompt some reforms? We should probably go over those as well. RoninMacbeth (talk) 18:23, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Goodpost.gif Good, let's agree on election rules before the election, especially given last year's attempted election hack. Bongolian (talk) 04:30, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Yay[edit]

  1. Sure.—€h33s3βurg3rF@€3 (talkstalk) 18:31, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
  2. I look forward to this election. GrammarCommie (talk) 18:32, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
  3. Not going to run, but will finally be allowed to vote. RoninMacbeth (talk) 20:49, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
  4. Assuming you don't have to be 18, I may run (and lose). —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 21:28, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
    You don't have to be 18, IIRC. And I plan to nominate you, so best of luck with the campaign! RoninMacbeth (talk) 01:09, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
  5. (comment expressing support pending)—Kazitor, pending 04:25, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
  6. Go for it. Regards, Cosmikdebris (talk) 14:20, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
  7. -⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 05:17, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
  8. Nerd (talk) 02:20, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

Nay[edit]

  1. Things are fine, move along please.Ariel31459 (talk) 19:26, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

Goat[edit]

  1. Anybody heard from Aging Hippie lately? Alec Sanderson (talk) 04:53, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
    Too pure for this sinful wiki. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 17:19, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
    OK, cool. Alec Sanderson (talk) 22:42, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Elections[edit]

So, did this change anything? It'd be good to discuss this, given the shitfest that last year's election became. RoninMacbeth (talk) 19:00, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

Re: Changing voter requirements: AFAICT it's not easy to add a "has edited X times within last Y seconds" limiter to the "eligible" usergroup. See [2][3][4][5]. The only extension [6] does not appear to be applicable. As such, the only other option is to increase total edit counts. I don't think it's worth it to restrict voting rights unless we think fraud is likely -- if the field of candidates is all good, then this shouldn't be a problem. The FCP Foundation (talk/stalk) 19:40, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Don't you (let's be honest, you do everything and will probably end up sorting out the mod election technicalities) see who's voted for who when you look at the file containing all the votes? It should be fairly obvious that something dodgy is going on if a bunch of accounts with the minimum number of edits who last did anything in 2013 all vote for one or two candidates. Christopher (talk) 19:50, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
No -- each vote is appended a user id # that can be looked up in the user database, which I don't have access to. Cømяade FυzzчCαтPøтαтø (talk/stalk) 21:49, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
One of the more noteworthy, but still open, proposals was to block sysoprevoked users from being nominated. This might have been a good idea last year, but most of the users here are either blocked or gone. RoninMacbeth (talk) 20:37, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
Based on the straw poll, that we conducted then, of the 5 proposals, only "No BON/un-autoconfirmed nominations" passed. This is a rather weak rule for the elections in my view. Bongolian (talk) 04:30, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
It might have been useful last year, when we had Avenger almost win through shenanigans. But since that's unlikely to happen again, we probably don't need it this year. RoninMacbeth (talk) 14:01, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't think assuming it won't happen because Avenger appears to be gone is a good idea. This was a systemic problem that Avenger exploited. Bongolian (talk) 19:33, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

New Rules[edit]

In order to avoid the problems encountered last year, we should go over some rules. Currently, the eligibility requirements for franchise are as follows:

  • Have been registered for 3 or more months
  • Have 75 or more edits

I believe there are no problems with the eligibility requirements, but there should be more requirements for candidacy.

Now, I personally believe we should add the following rules:

  1. Candidates for Moderator must have greater than or equal to 150 edits.
  2. Candidates for Moderator must have spent three months on the wiki by the date of the vote (e.g., If the vote is on January 1, they must have registered no later than October 1, 2017).
  3. Candiates for Moderator cannot be in sysoprevoke by the time of voting.

I support the above reforms. RoninMacbeth (talk) 19:17, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

They make perfect sense to me. GrammarCommie (talk) 19:22, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I also support these rules. Bongolian (talk) 19:33, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
They have my support. —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 20:00, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
Sure, but I think candidates for moderator should have spent 6 months on the wiki-3 seems too short to me.-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 05:14, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with @DiamondDisc1. Nerd (talk) 02:25, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

I think the total editcount for moderators misses the point:

  1. In the past, some moderators have run a platform of inactivity -- usually in defense of a particular "Old Guard" ideology that moderators shouldn't exist/be active.
  2. What we're really interested in is a pattern of consistent, recent activity. Ideally, we'd want something like "average of 1 or more edits per day for the past year, maximum of 7 consecutive days with no edits".

Oppose the editcount requirement. FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 20:16, 30 November 2017 (UTC) I oppose it. If a candidate is popular, they shouldn't be disqualified on a technicality. Christopher (talk) 20:36, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

If they're popular enough, then they can go to the coop or the basement asking for removal of sysoprevoke. RoninMacbeth (talk) 20:44, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Noting that I have been around since 2010 or something, and approaching 276 edits, but I’ve only recently started to make some minor contributions again after a 5+ year hiatus. If we want to use edit counts or time since registration as a criterion for the franchise, that makes some sense because bots and sock-puppets are less likely to swing an election. They make a lot less sense when setting criteria for a candidate, because in that case you presumably want to look for active community participation, and these ”lifetime” stats don’t have much to do with that. Or if you don’t care about the kind of community involvement that is captured by edit counts, why bother? Quantheory (talk) 04:24, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

I think another requirement should be "must have edited sometime in the last month" and the edit of nomination doesn't count.-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 05:22, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Eh, it'd still be easy to just make some pissy change somewhere and call it a day. —Kazitor, pending 05:52, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
OK, since it doesn't look like we're getting anywhere near consensus on changing rules, can we at least put up a caveat message for future voters that election results are subject to forensic examination to assure that there was no ballot stuffing, vote rigging, etc., so as to deter such behavior? Bongolian (talk) 07:46, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Sure.-⇂ɔsᴉᗡpuoɯɐᴉᗡ (talk) 05:38, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

Techs[edit]

Tech positions haven't been handled very democratically recently. Instead, they've been given out by mods as mods see fit. This is particularly worrying to me for three reasons:

  1. Techs have more influence: The editfilter (blocks edits with certain words/patterns) alone probably has affected RationalWiki more than any "moderator" activities (asking people to be less dramatic).
  2. Techs have all the community management powers (eg, user-rights) that moderators have, and when they use these user-rights powers people don't usually call them out on it.
  3. There are a lot of techs: Special:ListUsers/tech. Only ~6 were elected.

TLDR: Techs are mini-mods. I suggest that we [1] combine mod and tech positions and increase the number of mods elected (from 6 to 8 or so) and [2] remove community-management powers from appointed techs. It doesn't make sense to have "moderators" without tech powers or "tech" users with community management powers.

I'd be happy to hear alternate suggestions or responses. Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk) 20:35, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Agreed. Techs shouldn't have the powers of mods when they're not. They should only have rights related to the edit filter and servers, and we should reduce the number of techs to 2-4, and these should be elected. RoninMacbeth (talk) 20:44, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
How about we just strip techs of community management powers, and transfer editfilter rights to the mods? Anyone skilled enough should get the role. —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 20:55, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, moderation should be the job of the coolest heads, those who have demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy and adept at keeping discussions nice and tidy and have had the trust of the community placed in their hands as a result. Tech-hood should be for those who have experience with editfilters, servers, etc. and can keep the technical part of the wiki under moderate control. Sometimes these skills do not coincide, so it's best to keep the two positions separate. RoninMacbeth (talk) 23:27, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
Exactly why they should be separate. But still, strip them of community management. But they should still keep the editfilters. —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 00:13, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Wait, didn't you say mods should have editfilter rights? If you're not saying that, then I guess we agree on that. I still think we should elect techs, though. RoninMacbeth (talk) 00:24, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

So here are the questions:

  1. Should tech exist as position independent of moderators?
  2. If so, what rights should techs have and what should mods have?
  3. If so, should techs be appointed (by moderators, as we do now) or elected?

FuzzyCatPotato!™ (talk/stalk) 01:27, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

  1. Yes.
  2. Techs should only have rights for technical work (nothing for moderation), while mods should have rights for modding.
  3. Status quo.
Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 02:00, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Can anyone point to any actual problems with tech behavior that their membership or rights should be addressed at this time? If not, let's concentrate on the moderator election. Bongolian (talk) 08:22, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

One question, is it particularly difficult to use powers tech's normally have? FuzzyCatPotato implies that it is not particularly difficult. Also, the argument that mods are trusted because they can solve their way out of a conflict while techs should handle the technical stuff... But by giving techs some power to edit MediaWiki pages, isn't that the same idea, that the potential tech is competent and cool headed enough to wield some power? I am not sure if the power division is really needed, especially if FuzzyCatPotato accraretly describes the low-key work, if you even call it that, that techs do. Again, is tech work particularly difficult and demands special knowledge of web function or MediaWiki stuff? --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 09:01, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Responding to FuzzyCatPotato's questions:

  1. No. As far as I've seen, the actual work techs do are low-key and don't seem to be highly technical. This isn't particularly different from the bureaucrat rank in other wikis I go to, where they have access to MediaWiki pages they can edit and also contacted for settling disputes. If it's assumed a mod is competent enough to keep things in order, I think it's not far to assume mods are competent enough to use tech tools too. I don't think the power divide is ultimately that necessary. This is all based on what I've read what FuzzyCatPotato has said about techs and from my own experience at editing small things like mediawiki drop-down text and using the "edit strings to edit multiple articles" function.
  2. Does not apply.
  3. Does not apply.
--It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 00:27, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

Stabby's hot take[edit]

Oh hey, I'm not on the board anymore, so I'm free to be a rude piece of shit! So here's my hot take: the community can keep its fumbling little pseudo-anarchist hands off of techs. Techs have access to more tools in the toolbox because that's how websites work. This isn't a traditional organization, where the IT staff's powers can be neatly separated from HR (or whatever the hell moderators are comparable to). It's a website—everything is tech-related. Every feature is related to a tech's duties. To even pretend you can separate those duties from other institutional powers on a website is utterly moronic.

Also: You already have your democracy. That's what the board elections are for. Now, the board—whom you elected—gets to decide who is or isn't a tech, and what powers they have. The fact that they haven't is because they make a point of being hands off with the community (and also they're lazy as hell and not relying on autopilot for something would entail, like, effort on their part), but that is entirely up to them.

Did you hold an "election" to make someone a tech? Sweet! The board can overrule that and say "no, we have enough" or "no, we don't trust them enough" if they want. Are you going to hold a referendum to strip techs of certain powers? That's great! Then the board can create a new user group (suggested name: "These people possess expertise, which they use to keep the wiki running, and they get access to whatever tools they need to do so"), give them all the old tech powers, and tell you all to go stuff yourselves. (Or, more likely, not say anything for a month, then explain only when pressed by a community member who wants to know what the heck is going on. Oh snap I got hot takes on the board too!) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:10, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

P.S. Techs seem powerful compared to moderators because RW's moderators are exceptionally weak compared to mods on pretty much any other functional internet community out there. The answer to this is not "hamstring the techs because my trashbag principles demand consistent fecklessness in all aspects of site management". Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:10, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Duly noted. RoninMacbeth (talk) 02:34, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
@FuzzyCatPotato @RoninMacbeth Should we just keep the status quo? —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 03:10, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Stabby overstates the role of techs. They aren't usually editing our software or ensuring the servers are online -- 95% of tech activity is just editing the edit filter or fiddling with MediaWiki-space. Yes, they should be competent. Yes, mobocracy is less important than competence here. That doesn't mean that techs shouldn't be elected, or that techs and mods shouldn't be merged. FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 06:05, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Should we even change anything?[edit]

Yes6
No10

Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 19:01, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

@Stabby the Misanthrope, RoninMacbeth, and FuzzyCatPotato Thoughts? —Fake News™ (talk/stalk) 21:37, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't know. At this point, I really don't care if the election changes. RoninMacbeth (talk) 23:14, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
The status quo for techs is fine. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 04:32, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
I have to agree. The elections start in less than two weeks and I really don't care about tech rights at this point. —Fake News™ (talk/stalk) 12:35, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

A timecube... documentary(?) video[edit]

So this was recently uploaded, and it was interesting to me, so I thought other people might like to see it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7lWCqbgQnU I've known of and tried to read timecube before but I never knew much about the guy behind it and hadn't heard him speak or anything, this video goes into a fair amount of detail on all that and does some decent digging around to find old clips and speeches and such he's given. I wasn't sure whether to put this on the timecube/Gene Ray page but it seems generalised enough that it should go here instead. Anyway, enjoy 45 minutes of trying to make sense of the nonsensical. X Stickman (talk) 22:03, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

I love Time Cube rants, they're always good for a laugh. GrammarCommie (talk) 22:18, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't really find Time Cube funny, Ray was clearly ill. Christopher (talk) 16:46, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
After enduring listening to 20-odd minutes of Michael Hughes' interview with a flat Earther, I wondered whether crank magnetism is indicative general mental illness. Bongolian (talk) 03:59, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Put out the fire![edit]

This week's flaming bag of garbage is Angela Merkel. —Goat-Emperor Bigs (Words of Wisdom/Achievements) 20:04, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Weren't most of the attacks either committed by people who entered the country before 2015,or had been raised in the country? ShiningSwordofThoughts (talk)
@ShiningSwordofThoughts RW:DUMPFake News™ (talk/stalk) 03:44, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
Angela Merkel is quite possibly the world's least interesting politician. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 17:29, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
I see your Merkel and raise you 1 Emanuel Marcon. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 17:31, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
interesting politicians usually means a shit show. good politics should be tedious AMassiveGay (talk) 00:41, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Probably just being a devil's advocate because this is rationalwiki and we all do it, but tedious politics usually means a disinterested electorate, leaving only the spite voters to decide everything. And then you get a trump. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 18:29, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
the political climate has been far from mundane in the US long before trump. Probably more of a contributor to trump than a disinterested electorate. AMassiveGay (talk) 19:55, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

Trump and Jerusalem[edit]

Self-explanatory. Thoughts? @Aeonian? RoninMacbeth (talk) 00:07, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Would people have supported him if he had recognized Jerusalem as the twin capitols?
At the moment, waiting for the other shoe to drop. So far, just the usual effigy and picture burning, but I'd have expected a riot or two. As for long term consequences, I get the impression that most of the most offended people are people that weren't exactly friendly to the US to begin with, so I'm not exactly sure if much drastically changes as a result of this. CorruptUser (talk) 00:33, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
There is some question as to whether it matters what the US recognizes as long as Trump is the President. None of the US allies will follow.Ariel31459 (talk) 15:43, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Correct me, but as commented in Patheos (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/12/07/donald-trumps-jerusalem-declaration-is-another-gift-to-the-religious-right/), this looks like a gift from Donald Duck Trump to those Fundie friends of him (you know, prophecies and all that stuff). Panzerfaust (talk) 00:20, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

When isn't there violence in the middle east?[edit]

Not trying to sound right wing but, there is always violence in the middle east. Not matter what- treaties, supporting Israel, aganist Israel, supporting Kurdish people, against Kurdish people, peace keeping efforts, giving money, and so on. It does not matter. Might be wrong but all I hear is about violence in the mid east. --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 02:01, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Yes and no. A lot of the violence ongoing is a result of the Iranian revolution (which was secretly supported by Carter), in that they keep funding every other insurgency in the region. Without them mucking things up, a very uneasy peace could have been possible. To be fair, we still haven't quite learned never to trust the religious nutters, so you can't really fault him too much for that. Also to be fair, the revolution was in part because of British and American greed, plus cold war geopolitics, so we aren't exactly innocent. Saudi Arabia gets more blame than they deserve, and while their funding of the Salafi madrassas is probably the second largest roadblock to peace, well ok they deserve a huge amount of blame but not quite as much as they receive. Going forward, well, I'd really love a Kurdish state, but that's not going to happen while Turkey has any say in that. CorruptUser (talk) 03:00, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
'in part because of british and american greed...' - entirely because of british mand american greed. we installed the shah. AMassiveGay (talk) 11:44, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
This is stupid, USA didn't get any financial change from that except more debt. You did it as part of your plan to use religious theocracies to combat the spread of Marxism in the Middle East. Lord Aeonian (talk) 20:02, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Well, no. Iran wanted to nationalise their oil industry. Since AIOC was a british concern we werent too happy with that. The marxist thing is just what we told the americans to get them to stick their oar in. so, yeh basically greed. AMassiveGay (talk) 00:51, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Cannot explain Western support of theocracies in all the countries conspicuously lacking oil resources, nor those without the infrastructure to harness their oil resources for that matter. And I find it hard to believe anyone was told about the Cold War element, since every Westerner I come across parrots the oil narrative without delay. Lord Aeonian (talk) 04:34, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
wasnt trying to, just the shenanigans in iran and how easy it was to get the yanks to do the dirty work if you tell em reds are involved. AMassiveGay (talk) 00:42, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
And also 'Mrs Smith had a peaceful/enjoyable day' is not news but 'Something terrible/YouTube meme happened to Mrs Smith' is.
With #most# inhabited places in the world if you want to film a documentary 'There is (much unpleasantness and problems) here' you can do so - and also a travel documentary 'The delights of charming Olde Worlde Y' etc. 2A00:23C4:F505:4F00:8DE:2F0D:9B70:A697 (talk) 12:03, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Don't forget the Saudis. $2-3 billion a year funding Wahhabism. Of course, now it seems to be coming back to bite them in the ass.Teurastaja (talk) 12:59, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

To answer your question, both sides could have come to an agreement long ago but it is fundamentally an ethno-religious conflict, and so there is no room for compromise because you don't "compromise" with the kuffar. Lord Aeonian (talk) 20:02, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Fundies are their own worst enemy[edit]

As you know, I have no problem with religion. That being said, if you have rules in your churches/church schools that are ultra strict and have no room to do anything fun, you will have people leave a church/religion for atheism or a more liberal faith. Hell, where I live, many fundie churches closed due to low attendance. The other churches (Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist and so on) are doing just fine. Maybe if these places didn't make strict rules unrelated to the bible, they would probably have more members. Thoughts? --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 18:56, 7 December 2017 (UTC)

Many leave those denominations, but those who stay will listen to your every word. —Fake News™ (talk/stalk) 19:04, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. That's also the problem with my idea to redirect asteroids into the Vatican, Mecca and Jerusalem (so that it looks like God destroyed them). The moderates and decent people will leave. The crazy rabid literalists will be the ones who remain. --TeslaK20 (talk) 19:29, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
"That being said, if you have rules in your churches/church schools that are ultra strict and have no room to do anything fun, you will have people leave a church/religion for atheism or a more liberal faith." I'm not at all sure that is true. For example ISIS had no problem picking up followers. It may the case where you live, but that doesn't mean it's a general rule.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:08, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Seconded. In the Assemblies of God we had a 2m-wide board upon which the folks who ran the church let you know exactly what media was forbidden: Ghostbusters, Mighty Mouse, everything Disney, Murphy Brown, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Blockbuster Video (crime: stocking unrated titles!), Dungeons and Dragons, to name just a few. I have fond memories of asking questions in Sunday School (Mrs. Cain, etc.) only to be physically beaten by my fellow students afterwards, which the pastor framed as being my fault for asking questions to begin with. The totalitarian approach is the appeal for people who don't want the real enemy, doubt, in their lives or minds. Semipenultimate (talk) 17:02, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
The other churches (Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist and so on) are doing just fine. You know that Pensacola Christian College and Liberty University are Baptist, and Bob Jones was a Methodist, right? You must be talking about straight up cults like Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, and Scientology. 73.91.3.45 (talk) 19:48, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

While I'm not Canadain I don't quite know how I should feel on this[edit]

More sources would also be appreciated also. http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/politics/plan-to-deal-with-returning-isis-fighters-sparks-fiery-exchange-between-scheer-pm-1.3698183 ShiningSwordofThoughts (talk)

Sounds like the longer debate in the UK about how to deal with British ISIS fighters, which ranges from calls by right-wing politicians and populist media for them all to be shot[7][8] to calls (particularly from Muslims) for them to be rehabilitated[9][10]. The British government already has deradicalisation programs that people can be forced to attend.[11][12] There's a lot of teenagers, including some women/girls, going out there and realising it's not what they thought it would be like and wanting to come home (but Isis isn't too keen on that);, the authorities have declined to press charges against at least one young man who joined Isis but changed his mind.[13] Jailing them isn't ideal because prisons are one of the main places that Muslim terrorists are radicalised.[14][15] And the security services don't have a good record when it comes to monitoring returning people and stopping them turning to terrorism.[16] The obvious solution is to do what the justice system does (or tries to do) in other situations, not treat everybody the same but differentiate hardened terrorists from kids who've gone astray. --Gospatric (talk) 10:00, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

Was Airline Deregulation good or bad?[edit]

ShiningSwordofThoughts (talk) 01:35, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

An absolute catastrophe. I refuse to fly. Why would I buy a ticket if the ticket isn't guaranteed to get me a seat on the flight I bought it for? Why would I buy anything without some assurance that the advertised price is actually what it costs? These problems are compounded by the humiliating 'security' pantomime, of course. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 18:00, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Anytime I see "deregulation" I think "open gates for the free market to screw everyone over". --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 04:43, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Or basically "deregulation" is a recipe for disaster. S.H. DeLong (talk) 08:01, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Counterpoint: the deregulation of alcohol. There's a reason there's been an explosion in microbrews in the past few decades (in the US at least). Mock hipsters all you want, but there is no compelling reason to prevent hundreds of varieties of beer from existing. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 09:19, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
All depends the way said deregulation is executed and the presence of laws that control it (for consumer protection, safety, etc), as well as those that prevent the formation of oligopolies, etc (things free market bullshitters despise despite being common sense). That said, essential services (water, electricity, etc.) should not be deregulated or at the very least laws to protect those who are in poverty, so they can have access to them, must exist. Panzerfaust (talk) 14:01, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

I think deregulation usually winds up badly, either as a confusing maship or what is a natural monopoly (i.e. the "fake markets" like utilities) or gratuttious price gouging and asset stripping of former state bodies, or the exploitative shitfest that is outsourcing.

However, I think airlines are one, perhaps pretty much the sole, exception to this. Whilst there definitely needs to be some - and more - regulation of aspects of the airline industry when it comes to passenger rights and also minimum acceptable physcial conditions on board (i.e. minimum seat pitches and widths to ensure safety and wellbeing) - the overall reregulation *has* led to a lot of new routes opening (especially in the EU), *much* lower fares and way more choice of carriers.

Another thing I would point to is the simplicity of the ticketing mechanism for airlines. I can buy a ticket online for an inter-continental flight and show up, no paper tickets of any kind needed - all done from a phone or computer. Compare this with booking train tickets in Britain, which have also been privatised and somewhat reregulated, and you do get one good example of how deregulation *can* work.... and how it - far more often - doesn't. TheEgyptian¿Dígame? 15:11, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

Your Thoughts on UBI?[edit]

I was watching a Kurzgesagt Video on UBI and it made me actually think for a moment your thoughts? — Unsigned, by: ShiningSwordofThoughts / talk / contribs

Ransomware "customer service"[edit]

Here's an interesting report from last year that I just stumbled on: a evaluation of the "customer service" provided by 5 different ransomware "families".[17]

The customer care that the criminals provide appears to be effective and something that many legal web shops and more traditional businesses could take lessons from. I hate to say it, but these crooks appear to deliver what they promise. You can even negotiate with them. It’s mass crime, conducted in business as usual fashion.
—Erka Koivunen, Cyber Security Advisor for F-Secure

Bongolian (talk) 05:09, 9 December 2017 (UTC)


It is bad when criminals can provide better costumer service. --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 15:26, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Ah, I see these crooks plan their crimes with sustainability. This is both impressive and deeply saddening. GrammarCommie (talk) 16:03, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
It makes sense. If they provide good customer service - something that's difficult to find from legitimate businesses - their marks are much more likely to come back. But I agree with the above, very depressing. 98.110.112.28 (talk) 16:21, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Onion marketplaces have a couple websites, such as deepdotweb.com, to rate markets that can sell illegal content. So yes, this is a thing.—€h33s3βurg3rF@€3 (talkstalk) 21:51, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

This should be a lesson to businesses[edit]

Provide better services. --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 14:05, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Nationalist China[edit]

What do you guys think would've happened if the KMT won? And yes, it was possible, and likely would've happened if a certain someoneWikipedia's W.svg hadn't fucked it all up! And yes, I am aware it would still be pretty shitty afterwards, due to authoritarianism and the whole "Tibet and Xinjiang" thing. But in the end, it would probably be better than our China. Bigs (talk) 22:21, 9 December 2017 (UTC)

Given the cold war tensions at the time, I'm not sure it'd have ended much differently. The Communist forces were huge, and the absolutely massive and mostly remote border with the USSR would have made it impossible to have stopped them being constantly resupplied. The USA had minimal interest in getting sucked in to an intervention, so I think the KMT were only ever really playing for time in the hope someone would help. To be honest, Taiwan is lucky to have survived as long as it has - long enough that we now live in a media age where the PRC is more conscious of it's reputation and what it would loose in terms of respect if it directly and blatantly invaded. Had China had the naval power it's now accruing 30-40 years ago, Taiwan would be destroyed.
As it is, I think Taiwan now is probably in a position to bargain, and within the next 10-15 years will have little choice. China isn't as interested in Taiwan as much as she is access to the Pacific. Taiwan may well be able to cut a deal for de-jure independence (perhaps retaining some symbolic gesture, ie. making the status quo official and permanent) in return for ceding control of the Pratas and Orchid Island groups. These would give China the strategic locations it's wants. The Pratas is undoubtedly the most strategically important spot in the South China Sea, whilst the Orchid/Green Islands would allow the PRC to have naval bases facing directly into the Pacific, without having to risk a diplomatically and militarily costly invasion of the Taiwanese main island. If I were in the PRCs shoes, this is definitely would I'd be angling toward, and if I were in the ROCs group, what I'd be preparing for and thinking about what sort of deal I wanted. TheEgyptian¿Dígame? 00:36, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
The KMT were criticized by General Joseph Stilwell for being corrupt and ineffective, so their capacity to win was questionable, as well as for their capacity to form a non-corrupt government that would do anything to improve the lot of the peasants. Chiang Kai-shek essentially was the dictator of Taiwan until 1975, and was himself responsible directly or indirectly for millions of civilian deaths.[18] Bongolian (talk) 19:58, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

Medical Education: Current Standards or based on pure competence?[edit]

Watching Grey's Anatomy, the character George O'Malley fails his intern exam by one point and stays an intern yet is a good doctor. That leads to my question: Should medical education be based on competence? It just got me thinking about it. What do you think? --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 00:37, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

"Should medical education be based on competence?" I don't don't understand the question as worded.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 20:12, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

Reworded: Should there be less emphasis on paper tests and more on practical skill?[edit]

I think that professional education should be based on if you can do the job than doing a test --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 18:10, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

I want my doctor to be thoroughly versed on as much as possible (an enormous human brain library of every tiny corner of the body, problems with the body, treatments, medicine, side effects, alternatives, risk and so on. My friends who studied medicine basically said they had to memorise enormous lists of body parts, chemicals, treatments etc and that it is all very useful.
As far as I know...the practical part starts once someone is a resident. They begin by observing and doing very little and then spend a few years doing increasingly more important tasks. And once that is over, at least in the European countries I know, you still have a couple years as an initiate before you can take your final training and examination in the specialty you decided. I am not sure you have to prioritise either. Studying enormous lists of theory first. Practice later (with some more theory on the go), back to studying a topic deeply, then practice with some more studying. A doctor never stops studying and is constantly adapting to changes in medicine. This is all second hand information but my various friends who went through the residency say it makes sense. 87.218.199.123 (talk) 18:52, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Here's your(Ratzombie's) problem: thinking critically and understanding the world through application of theory are important skills that have very little to do with most careers but positively affect people. Tests aren't a particularly powerful way to examine that, neither are homework, nor essays, or presentations. But in aggregate, they show something about what students are taking away from a class. You don't want to live in a world of job-doing robots, especially since actual job-doing robots are just over the technological horizon. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 19:36, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
I am a rat now? I am cool with it. Anywho, I didn't mean getting rid of tests. I am just saying- focus more on practical skill on the graduate level. Undergraduate testing, I have no problem with. I admit I worded what I meant wrong. --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 14:04, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
But ... at some point you have to assess how good that skill is. You need some way to assess it, some way to test it.
I suspect that what you are getting at is something like the difference between practical skill and abstract knowledge.
But (I suspect) that the balance between the two things will be different depending on the specialty. (This is also going to be true in other areas of life in addition to medicine.) For example if you are a surgeon a taxidermist or a pianist than practical physical skill is going to be at a premium - though obviously theoretical knowledge is needed too. On the other hand if you are a pneumologist an academic historian or a musical composer then actual physical skills will be less important.
But even if you only focus on physical skills - you're still going to have to test those skills if you are going to give people qualifications. Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 21:31, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Why is the term Orient offensive?[edit]

I just thought why is reffering to someone as Oriental a bad thing? I can really only see it offensive in the sense that it generalizes a large group of people.— Unsigned, by: ShiningSwordofThoughts / talk / contribs 16:25, 11 December 2017

Firstly, please sign your posts on talk pages with ~~~~ (usually shift and the key above the left tab). That'll automagically sign you username with a timestamp.
I googled your title, got the following; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orient#History_of_the_term. The basic reason is it was used as a slur for long enough to become one, and hasn't been reclaimed even to the extent that the quite analogous n* has been.Daev (talk) 09:47, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
PS The term 'Orient' not so much offensive as out-dated. Referring to someone as '(an) Oriental' is the problematic usage.Daev (talk) 09:53, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
It also seems to be a problem that only exists in North American English. Does anybody refer to Middle Easterners as 'southwest Asians?' - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 16:31, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
So are these people offside? Anna Livia (talk) 16:48, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

Dumpster dive[edit]

This week's is internet (why do I even bother to post these here?) Bigs (talk) 03:56, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Cheerful company? GrammarCommie (talk) 04:01, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
It gets more eyeballs. Bongolian (talk) 06:51, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

As 2017 draws to a close, let's reflect on the positives and negatives in the world[edit]

To make it clear: Not all of these are Rationalzombie's opinions, some have been added by others, I think this way of doing it is stupid personally. Christopher (talk) 18:29, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Positive

  • New mental health civil rights laws
  • Zimbabwean dictator Mugabe removed from power
  • Australia recognizes gender-neutral marriage
  • Final defeat of ISIS in Iraq
  • Defeat of the China-Canada free trade deal
  • U.S. withdrawal from the TPP
  • Continued net gain of jobs in the U.S.
  • Detection of gravitational waves emitted by colliding neutron stars allowing for better understanding of the origins of heavier elements
  • Synthesis of antibodies capable of targeting 99% of HIV strands
  • Considerable progress in the investigation of Russian election meddling headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller
  • Fun toys:
    • Commissioning of some vessels belonging to the latest variant of the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyer and the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78), the lead ship of her class
    • Launching of the HMS Audacious, an Astute-class nuclear-powered fleet submarine (please cue the opening theme of The Hunt for Red October "Heart of Oak")
    • Commissioning of the JS Kaga, the second Izumo-class aircraft carrier helicopter-destroyer
  • We are still here (and possibly more peaceful in a few places that weren't so at the beginning of the year)
  • Despite predictions to the contrary, WWIII has not happened yet (so don't get too excited but prepare for war nonetheless)


Negative

  • Communist China expands Internet censorship
  • Donald Trump Presidency
    • U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement
    • Possible falling-out of the Iran nuclear deal
    • Potential loss of Net Neutrality
    • Extraordinarily ill-considered tax cut for the rich in a time when economic divides are greater than they've ever been since metrics have been collected
  • North Korean ballistic missile tests
  • Regional accreditation of Bob Jones University
  • 2017 being potentially another extremely hot year on record

Grey

  • American recognition of Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel
  • The '#me too' movement, a 'feminist' moral panic over stale claims of sexual harassment that does more political damage to Democrats than Republicans
  • Renegotiation of NAFTA underway

Note- add your thoughts :) --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 14:23, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

It seems to me that the negative aspects of this year outweigh the positive or even neutral aspects. Perhaps we should take this as motivation to do better next year? Although it would seem that we have nowhere left to go but up as it stands. GrammarCommie (talk) 14:31, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
@Rationalzombie94 I hope you don't mind me editing the list directly. Nerd (talk) 15:37, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
@GrammarCommie Do better? Don't you dare spread the Red Virus globally! It is good to be able to distinguish between the things you can change and the things you cannot. As for the former, have the courage to make a positive difference. Nerd (talk) 16:30, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
those positives seem largely 'meh' at best, being rather nebulous and jumping the gun somewhat. and the negatives - you think its only the states that got hammered by bad weather? AMassiveGay (talk) 16:01, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree and specifically the launching of more super-expensive military equipment in the US doesn't seem to facilitate any particular goal right now. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 16:59, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Move my additions here if you prefer. Anna Livia (talk) 17:19, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Mugabe's out, but I'm pretty sure Zimbabwe is still a dictatorship. Christopher (talk) 17:29, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Leaving the TPP is grey IMO. Bigs (talk) 18:09, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

The bad: The rise of effing lootboxes, sexual harassment crap (Me Too is potentially good but it sucks that Democrats are held to a higher standard than Repugnicans; Repubes can just shrug off that their senators are pedophiles while Al Franken did the right thing while the Democrats all oppose him), Roy Moore Roy Mooreing. The Confederate statue thing and the fallout of Charlottesville. Failed promise of infrastructure spending. Failed repeals of ACA and replacements being horrendous versions. Mass shooting in Vegas, being among the worst in history. My friend got diagnosed with leukemia and my paternal grandma is finally dead. :(

The good: Super Mario Odyssey!!!! My friend also eventually recovered from leukemia, thanks to chemotherapy. Also, most nations have signed the Paris Accord. Donald Trump wants to crack down on Scientology. Me being active, perhaps? --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 19:57, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

if you think this year saw the rise of loot boxes, then you really havent been paying attention. AMassiveGay (talk) 21:51, 12 December 2017 (UTC)