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On Moderating Online Discussion Groups


Ban-happy moderators: a dramatic saga and soap opera in installments. 1

On Posting and Moderating. 1

Posting rule: Must attempt to write clearly.  On moderating. 3

Paraphrasing, moderating, debating, controlling, influencing. 4

Evaluating file uploads to discussion site. 7

Stopping the discussion group, need Weblogging format 7

Switching to a Newsletter/Blog group.  New unmoderated group. 8

Stated vs. actual scope of JM discussion group. 10


Ban-happy moderators: a dramatic saga and soap opera in installments

Peter Kirby's discussion group gained 20 members before even a single message was posted.  Now there is 1 message and 26 members.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kirbynews -- "This is the low-volume announcement mailing list for Peter Kirby, author of various web sites including Early Christian Writings, Early Jewish Writings, Christian Origins, and Gospel of Thomas Commentary. ... The only posts to this group are occasional news from the owner, Peter Kirby."

Last night in the Christ Conspiracy discussion group, I responded to every point and objection raised to my defense of mystic religion against the emotional scorched-earth rabid demolishers of all things other than modern ordinary-state science, a scorched-earth broad-brush hatred of all religion -- and often in the discussion group, broad-brush loathing of all spirituality and mysticism too -- that makes the book Christ Conspiracy loved among the simplistic populace and abhored by religious scholars. 

If Acharya weren't so emotionally condemning of religion, scholars would respect her work more, but I suppose fewer people would read her book.


I'm still waiting to see if those messages go through, after Acharya welcomed me back when I magically reappeared, arisen from among the dead.  In any case, the messages are visible at my discussion group.


On Posting and Moderating

I have been prevented from posting in so many discussion groups, sometimes with no notification or explanation, that my attitude has become careless and flippant, posting things to a discussion group that are more extreme than if I felt I had a chance.  Since I feel like my posts have no chance of getting through, I've taken a "what the hell; might as well lay it *all* out on the line, since it is futile and the post has no chance of making it through.  If I'm destined to be censored, might as well not bother smoothing over what I frankly write to individuals."

But some of these posts surprise me and do make it through, and I think I would've written differently, more tailored for the discussion group, had I known it would make it through.  The element of predictability has been lost, and without predictability, it is harder to write my best.  I would be a better contributor if I had experience in a truly strictly moderated group which moderates every single post and requests that contributors improve their submittal and resend it.

Thankfully I don't have to worry about any of this in the JesusMysteriesDiscussion discussion group: there, I have always written exactly what I actually want to communicate, without having to strategically spin it to conform with expectations of moderators and mobs of members.

Acharya S can't understand why I waste my time following the JM discussion group.  Doesn't such a question cross the minds of many.  I would contribute further if I felt I *could* submit something and have it go through.  It is hard for me to understand that I can still *submit* posts for *consideration*.  I have actually felt entirely censored and silenced, and unfairly, because some among the mob dislike my form or content or method, although I pay more attention to the *stated* rules and purpose of the group than to the *actual* rules and purpose of the group. 

Every group wants me to write smaller, more evenly timed posts -- it is not natural for me, though I suppose I could learn, *if* moderators work to shape me and don't just dumbly black-and-white accept or reject all of my postings.  A good moderator shapes and develops their members. 

I think of one problem member as "oatmeal brain", contributing nebulous indeterminate posts, loose in meaning, but even there there can be some limited success by laying down the requirements, so that the contributor posts something determinate and worth reading.  My posting requirements at my group are actually too strict and focused, if anything.

I can only imagine what sort of posts the JM moderators must contend against every day!  It surely must feel like a thankless task.  I think the JM moderators are not far from doing a really good job.  They ought to welcome more discussion of Mysteries and mystic states, while working to shape and filter the contributions. 

A weakness of how JM is run is probably that some people aren't moderated, and others are; it's a crude on-or-off, black-and-white setup that doesn't have the fine control of a fully moderated group where every post is evaluated individually and rejected with instructions and requirements needed to repost a better version of each posting.

Neville Lindsay, a moderator of the JesusMysteries discussion group, wrote:

>>New members are moderated as they join. They are turned loose after they make some reasonable posts, and only placed back on moderation if they become likely to spring unpleasant, off-topic or unfathomable posts. You have been through this cycle, and being unpredictable, are on moderation and sometimes get rejections.

>>As you say, you are a seasoned campaigner. So you should not need the molly-coddling you yearn for. Can I suggest you self-moderate, as our mature members do, and write things in plain English so that it doesn't take ten minutes to attempt to decipher what you are getting at, and also stay on topic and within the reasonably broad rules.

>>We are not moderation freaks, and allow plenty of latitude. That latitude is not, however, licence to do as you please. If you stick to the topic and express yourself in straight language you should not get rejections. The onus is on you, not us. If you can't be bothered to make the effort as you say, don't try to shift the blame to us or other members. We welcome constructive, effective posters, tolerate the less talented and moderate or put on Read Only those who persistently cause problems. It is up to each member to self-select the category they end up in.

>likely to spring unpleasant, off-topic or unfathomable posts.

> write things in plain English so that it doesn't take ten

>minutes to attempt to decipher what you are getting at, and also

>stay on topic

>not, however, licence to do as you please. If you stick to the topic and

>express yourself in straight language you should not get rejections.

>We welcome constructive, effective posters ... and moderate or put on Read Only those who persistently cause problems.

Many moderators assume that entheogens, or determinism, or entirely mythic nature of religion is "off-topic" -- but that is exactly the issue, of what is the nature and relevance of these things; what is the real heart of the topic and what's relevant and what's not.  In fact, these 3 topics form a trilogy and are more tightly and profoundly united than any other.  You don't have any insight into determinism, or religion, or entheogens, if you don't recognize each as centrally on-topic for the others (when integrated). 

In practice, mystery religion is considered to be off-topic by the Jesus Mysteries moderators.  They don't actually discuss and permit discussion of actual mystery religion, with its actual concerns centrally including metaphorization of entheogens and determinism, which is why I call it "the Jesus Mysteries non-discussion group".  Then one must spend more time slipping past the censorious and knee-jerk moderators -- archons -- and the clueless complaining mobs, than speaking simply and directly. 

It's largely a double-bind situation: "write clearly and on-topic, but we won't permit you to post about determinism or entheogens or how metaphor encodes these, because determinism and entheogens are a-priori considered to be off-topic."

Posting rule: Must attempt to write clearly.  On moderating

Using too many ellipses is a slight infraction of the common posting rules for online discussion groups; the rules for the egodeath discussion group state essentially that one must express oneself in a clear, comprehensible way.  Random gibberish or an attitude of "I don't care at all about forming intelligible sentences" is full grounds for blocking posts in this and some other groups.  Allowing too much ill-formed gibberish drives away potential members who would contribute more than the worth of a hundred gibberish-post'ers. 

The principle of "maximize quality of the discussion group participants" logically implies "block postings that are extremely slack and bereft of the desire to make oneself clear".  I've had it with posts that are so don't-give-a-damn in their construction that I literally have to rewrite the posts just to make heads or tails out of them in order to possibly reply.  None of us has any time for such nonsense. 

This group would perhaps be much better if I blocked all writing that has an attitude of "I don't give a damn whether anyone can read these letter-combinations or not."  What's on the other end, a few thousand short of a million monkeys, or an intelligent sentient being who desires to be understood?  Monkeys are good at typing a period repeatedly.

I'm going to add to the posting rules -- which I haven't had to enforce -- that one must sincerely attempt to form coherent, grammatically intelligible sentences.  Brain-salad spewing of random words and punctuation is grounds for blocking.  What is to be gained by this policy?  A few far higher quality contributors than the mere hundred spaghetti-spewers who are turned away.

There is a special level of Hell for people who use too many ellipses in their postings: all the books have ellipses everywhere throughout.  Same with "don't-give-a-damn" unintelligible gibberish-writers: may they all suffer the torment of having to read that same type of excruciatingly bad writing they inflicted upon others.

There's nothing wrong with blocking as a policy of a moderator, as long as the rules are clear and are fairly and reasonably applied.  I'm not against moderators of other groups blocking, but rather, their lying about what their blocking policies are and what the purpose of the discussion group actually is.  Even if I started a Christ_Conspiracy_Unmoderated group, I suppose I would be fully ready to block postings -- but would be more accurate and honest about the blocking policies and actual purpose of the group.

The moderator who owns a discussion group is the omnipotent god and creator and authoritarian dictator of the group they own and gave birth to.  It's political; they have every right to block and to shape the group any way that they want.  Consider relations of moderator and members as contractual: if the moderator does what the agreed contract states, there is no ground for complaint by the members. 

But if the moderator breaks his contract, lying about the blocking policies, the members are in that case morally justified in being angry at the moderator and calling the group a rip-off and a sham, a bad investment of their time as contributing writers.

T. wrote:

>>I've just read Improving the quality of online discussion you have posted at http://www.egodeath.com/discuss.htm.  I've printed up a copy for my 16 year old to read.  He's taking his first English Composition college course this semester, having been home-schooled all his life.  He likes the Internet, and I think he'll benefit, as have I, from your thoughts on this subject.

No question about it: the topic of online posting and interpersonal relationships is fascinating and barely studied.

I've *always* written postings in the form of Weblogs; I've always thought of posting *not* as conversation, but rather, as casual low-overhead publishing of short articles.  This is one major reason why I'm such a highly controversial member of discussion groups.  I refuse to buy into the "posting as personal conversation" paradigm.  The posting-as-publishing paradigm is more ergonomic for a theorist, such as I.  I need to decide whether to terminate this discussion group format and switch to something that automatically posts to my website instead, with more traditional layout.

Paraphrasing, moderating, debating, controlling, influencing

I have finished writing about the *general* social psychology of flaming and online posting.  Here, however, I discuss the particular topic of assumptions about *enlightened* posting style. 

What is the right way to fill in the following statements?

Enlightened people interact with others in a style of _______________________.  When an enlightened person is working on developing a theoretical systematic model of enlightenment, including through online discussion, their way of interacting online is _____________________.  They always ____________.  They never ________________.  It would be unenlightened to _______________.  The ideal manner of posting about spirituality is to ______________________.  How would Jesus Buddha post?  If Jesus Buddha posted, his style would be ____________________.  If Jesus Buddha were developing a systematic model of transcendent knowledge online, his manner of posting and online interaction style would be __________________.  If Jesus Buddha were moderator of a discussion group, the scope of the group would be ___________ and the mode of interaction through postings would be _______________.

How do *you* define enlightenment?  What are the popular assumptions and conceptions about enlightenment, and what are my own, conflicting assumptions and conceptions about enlightenment and what it's all about and what it entails in terms of online posting style and theory content?

It's tricky, the relationship between my role as a moderator, and my role as a contributor of postings.  There is a huge but abstract and subtle difference between me writing "don't say that" as a moderator and "don't say that" as a participant in discussion.  I hope to keep these separate in some way, but it's inherently complex.  I'm extremely influential in the scope and direction of conversation both because I'm the moderator and because I post voluminously and forcefully. 

As a moderator, I'm very hands off in many ways, but I very strongly emphasize what scope of discussion is officially on-topic.  That's my philosophy of moderation: be super, extremely specific and clear about the intended scope of the group, and constantly remind people of it -- but try to avoid moderating (blocking or partially censoring) individual postings.  However, if action is needed to ban or block, don't hesitate. 

A moderator should not be wishy-washy and let problem postings persist.  In my mind, it is easy to distinguish between my moderation control and my regular influence as one participant among many.  I know what aspects of my control of the group are specifically moderator-related control aspects, and which aspects are participant-related control aspects. 

People object to several distinct things that operate toward a certain same direction.  They object to my tight boundary on what topics may be discussed and how (defined and controlled by me as moderator), and they object to my firm positions on topics as one participant among many, but as one particularly influential participant as many. 

It is understandable that people object to the founding constitution of this group, but that's too bad for them; go away to a group you like better, one with either a constitution & set of posting rules that agrees with your interests and focuses and writing styles, or one that has no clearly bounded scope of discussion or no particular posting rules. 

This group has a particular scope, a definite scope.  Any topic is on-topic if explicitly related, in a posting, to the core subjects.  Some groups have a vastly wider scope, so that just about anything is considered on-topic, and any kind of writing about any kind of spiritual or even non-spiritual topic is technically considered on-topic.

This group is narrowly focused, but flexible in that each posting can relate the core topics to any other topic.  In addition, my particular views and beliefs and positions as a participant are narrowly focused, but flexible in that I relate my core ideas I'm interested in to various other ideas or fields such as social interpersonal interaction style and mode of conduct. 

Another idea that falls outside my range of interests is meditation, but insofar as that is related to the areas I'm interested in, I discuss it in relation to the areas I'm interested in.  Am I too heavy a moderator?  Am I too intent on controlling the discussion?  Do my posted views on spirituality constitute "excessive control"?  To answer, we must consider what a broad term "control" is. 

The complaint largely amounts to "your views and your debate positions are overly dominant in this group".  Someone may write "you are a control freak who insists on controlling the views published in this discussion group".  I don't see it that way. As moderator, I pride myself on setting clear boundaries and scope of postings, while not moderating individual postings or mechanically blocking people. 

As a contributing writer, I am hell bent on winning debates here, not for personal glory but in pursuit of constructing a useful model of enlightenment that is more practical, straightforward, and ergonomic than today's other systems and models of transcendent knowledge.  I enjoy the opportunity to develop my ideas by interacting with the writings of other people -- not by "responding to other people", but by working with and utilizing the writings posted by other participants.

I invite everyone who wants a different charter to leave.  I invite everyone who dislikes my particular views I'm relentlessly advocating and developing to leave.  Please leave quickly and quietly and don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

The reason I paraphrase is to produce more valuable results.  My paraphrases are very accurate.  Let anyone who wants to, judge that for themselves.  If a panel judged, they would conclude that my paraphrasings are accurate in clarifying and preserving intended meaning, putting forward the assertions of the original posting more clearly than the original posting.  I will continue this profitable approach.  The result has proven valuable, and is only socially offensive. 

Rewriting for clarity and then replying has proven to have high utility for developing ideas about transcendent knowledge.  Social hurt feelings are an insignificant loss, and the gains in intellectual clarity have been substantial.  Many of the postings on which I've used the paraphrase technique were nearly incomprehensible, and in fact the only way I was able to understand what the author had in mind was by rewriting them to bring out the ideas. 

My paraphrasings are almost always much clearer expressions than the original.  I wouldn't reply at all, if I were not allowed to paraphrase for clarity and for ease of writing a valuable posting in response.  The value of a posting, in my view, is wholly separate from the social realm.  There are no people involved, by this measure -- only text; only ideas.  I'm entirely idea-oriented, *as a theorist* crafting a model. 

Some people criticize my posting technique.  I ought to tell more about my criticisms of their techniques. Most postings here aren't worth the time it takes to read them.  When I printed a couple hundred of the postings recently, there were about ten that had any value. 

Many postings are hardly intelligible at all, but my generous philosophy is that all but the worst postings contain seeds of value, and when I do the labor I'm forced to do to rewrite typical postings in order to make sense of them and set them up so it is reasonably easy to respond and critique the ideas buried therein, I prove that there is something of value buried in most postings here; I bring it out in its full potential -- but much of what that rewriting-for-clarity technique reveals is a lot of incoherent nonsense as well. 

The progression goes: someone writes a barely intelligible posting, then I post a rewrite to highlight the buried content (thus adding some value), and then I post a reply that has value and marks significant progress.  That provides the best possible substantial reply. 

My replies, through this technique, are the most valuable and substantial possible, and are in that sense ideal.  I leave behind the original posting, which is socially offensive, but that matters nothing, for my purely intellectual goals of theory construction.

My ideal for the mode of writing in this group is that people shouldn't be mean, they should try to accurately respond to what another writer intends, and they shouldn't be explicitly nice.  Be neither mean, nor nice -- just decent and straightforward, clear and accurate.  Distorting someone else's intent is a communication violation.  Modifying their words is not a violation, but modifying their intended meaning is a communication violation. 

However, strangely, it doesn't matter who wrote what, in my view -- this implies that it isn't important to reply to what someone said.  It is important not to make false claims about what a particular person said.  In other words, when I rewrite someone's posting, I could well prefix it with "Suppose someone wrote the following:".  Or I could write "Fred didn't write the following, but suppose someone asserted the following points which are more or less like what Fred wrote.  Here is my reply to those ideas."

It is of no importance to me what Fred *as* Fred wrote.  Fred can jump off a cliff for all I care; he as person doesn't register; I don't permit myself to register Fred as a person.  I don't deal with people here; I deal purely with ideas.  Fred put forth some ideas, I see some debate and development potentials with Fred's expression of those ideas, but to realize this potential efficiently, I will take Fred's ideas, rewrite them to clarify them, and then post a response to the clarified version of those ideas. 

When [person] first debated me, I was frustrated because he was not responding to the ideas I put forward.  He may have accurately literally quoted me, but that didn't matter at all to me. 

The only problem was that he failed to address my ideas... well that wasn't exactly the problem; the problem was that he grossly distorted my assertions; I would jump into the ring but he'd go throwing punches in some totally random direction, because he was intent on projecting pop nonsense ideas into my mouth, definitely attributing things to me that I never said, and more specifically, never *intended*. 

[person] was intent on refuting pop spirituality, which is good to refute, but he falsely attributed pop spirituality to me -- false attribution of ideas (not of words) is bad.

What is and isn't important?  It is important not to claim someone said something they didn't say.  It is *not* important to quote them verbatim.  It is not important to respond to someone's ideas; there is nothing wrong with non-response.  It is important to post valuable ideas.  These ideas could be a modified, and signifcantly altered version of what someone wrote.   That's ok; that can be valuable *as long as* you don't claim that Fred said something he didn't say. 

I am "guilty" of changing people's words, which is no guilt.  I am innocent of attributing to people meanings that they didn't have or that weren't clearly implicit in what they wrote.

Preserving someone's literal words is of no importance.  Claiming someone meant something they didn't, is a crime.  But there's nothing wrong with reworking someone's words and claiming the person meant those words.  And there's nothing wrong with reworking someone's words and changing their meaning and responding to that -- if you state that the meaning is now different than the original author intended. 

In this game, truth in meaning and attribution of meaning is important, but preserving literal words verbatim is of no import.  My paraphrases are almost always very accurate in terms of *meaning*, and they are easier to read and more explicit and streamlined, more to the point.  And I never have intentionally claimed that a person meant something other than what they actually meant. 

There is little risk with this technique, and much is gained.  Sure, authors are angry when my rewrite brings out into the light of day just how much absurdity was buried in their originally obscured, muddled expression of their ideas.  I take their muddled expression of nonsensical ideas, wipe away the muddle, thus revealing the nonsensicial ideas to the light of day. 

Go back and compare my rewrites with the originals, and you'll see this is so.  I do a good job of clarifying muddled expression of nonsense, to produce clear expression of nonsense, which is then easy to respond profitably too.  Today's popular spirituality thrives by cloaking nonsense in protective muddle, like an Escher fork covered with mud and put on a pedestal.  I wipe away the mud, and reveal the impossible nonsense, and authors get mad at what I did, understandably.

Not only that, but the particular style of interpersonal interaction idealized in the spirituality disussion groups is itself stunted and retarded, because imbalanced and uninformed by other aspects of enlightenment.  The result is the current impotent forms of spirituality, which are popular but fail to fulfill, because they attempt to reduce and distort the whole of enlightenment into a surface style of conduct.

I'm all for the development of interpersonal harmony, but that is not very on-topic in this theory-development group.  It's only on-topic to the degree that postings on the subject are explicitly related to the more core topics.

Evaluating file uploads to discussion site

I'm inclined to be easygoing as a moderator, regarding file uploads.  It's a matter of degree and judgment, which controversial topics or treatments of topics are on-topic.  Extremes of moderator policy would lead to extreme results: shapeless chaos, or complete refusal to accept anyone posting anything that violates some rigidly bounded doctrinal region.  One policy is to define what's acceptable and reject everything that doesn't meet the criteria.  A different approach, which has a certain practical elegance, is to accept the better 50% and reject the worse 50% -- relatively light-handed filtering.  Most people want neither extreme: wide-open chaos, or heavy-handed filtering.  This is partly a function of quantity: if participation is very light, which it has been, I'd be lenient, not ultra-selective and exclusive.

Stopping the discussion group, need Weblogging format

Weblogging is popular and often consists of only one person posting.  Monitoring and reading is approached entirely differently than discussion groups.  I'm considering stopping this discussion group and switching to a Weblogging approach, to have better control over formatting and webpage generation.  People have said that the only reason they follow this discussion group is to read my posts rather than others' posts.

I haven't blocked any posts in the group I moderate, except a couple spams, whereas I have been blocked *left and right* in other groups after posting perfectly fine contributions there.  It doesn't bother me that moderators of groups criticize my submittals; the problem is, they *block* my submittals, wasting my time.  I've had moderators of other discussion groups contact me asking for certain contributions, and then block those contributions because the moderators felt they were too controversial or didn't fit the spirit of the group.

The JesusMysteries group blocks very heavily and has 1,200 members though the group is not much older than the Egodeath group which has only 200 members.  Counterintuitively, blocking *can* increase the quality and thereby draw more and better contributors.

The Yahoo group framework is very easy but it provides awful webpage formatting and accessibility -- no one ever reads the archives, so all my posts go down a black hole, like a throwaway tabloid rather than journal publishing.  It's useless for anything more lasting than transient discussion.

Interacting with other people in online discussion works well for me.  That's the drawback of a Weblogging approach, lack of vital realtime interaction, but taking the big view, there could be even more vital interaction all told, through a Weblogging approach.

Switching to a Newsletter/Blog group.  New unmoderated group

I love analyzing the dynamics of online discussion, almost too much; I have to stop myself.  I swear I could write a whole website on the subject, like the great site

Flame Warriors


I'm curious about what it would be like to convert Egodeath discussion group to a journal/newsletter/blog list, where I would only post.  I don't like direct personal conversation online anyway, because it is hard to republish my postings when my posts are littered with debris like "What you wrote is largely correct, but off-base where you write that it..."  Personal conversation ususally has lower signal/noise ratio than blog-like "quick informal articles".  With personal conversations, I spend half my time writing corrections to people's misunderstandings which I already corrected three times before.

I also am considering starting a blog that is very similar to the Egodeath Yahoo group but which I have total control over for formatting and webpage location/URL.  I must host my own Web-based repository of blog articles.  I need to see more blogs.  Apparently some of them enable the wonderful feature of being able to type in a mail app and have other people receive it as email and everyone can also see the Web-page copy of the articles.

Maximizing membership of the group has always been specifically a non-goal.

I don't have time to post anything.  I have to format what I've already posted.  Maybe the message frequency would diminish.  This has been the record-breaking month for this group.

Partly, I just want and need to experiment.  I can't know what a 'newsletter' Yahoo groups setup would feel like.  Maybe I should tentatively briefly change the Egodeath discussion group to Newsletter/Announce-Only settings, with EgodeathUnmoderated as a separate group.


It's really hard to say, whether the pros would outweigh the cons.  None of us will know what it would be like until we actually try it.  I set it to newsletter for a minute today.  There are currently 206 members, but only a very few post and would therefore be affected.

I previously printed and read several hundred postings from other people, and only about one out of twenty was worth reading, compared to other materials I'm working on reading.  This seems to suggest two separate groups. 

Between people who can't communicate an idea in writing to save their lives, people like Garble (http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame80.html), people who I can't make heads or tails of until I rewrite their posts and ask for specifics, people who think others have ESP so they don't have to say what they're talking about, people who level the same bogus unhelpful and misplaced "helpful cautions" again and again, people who know absolutely nothing about visionary plants and yet confidently parrot propaganda against them, people who know nothing about the theory I've formulated yet lob way-off-base criticisms against what they fantasize that it says...

I don't see the current direction as a growth strategy for the group in any sense, in terms of quality and number of subscribers.  It's largely a waste of time to be bothered with them, distracted by such posts.  Patience with them is one thing, but time wasting is also a consideration.  We'll all be better off if I invested my time in the most profitable direction, paying attention only to that.

Point-by-point rebuttals of people operating from within other, received-view paradigms are a waste of time.  The only postings it's worthwhile to respond to are from people who are out to test the theory from within its own framework.  It's like when the web was new: I quickly became impatient with people who talked about "how to justify putting the company on the web": forget it; if they aren't committed already, then I have way better ways to spend my time than trying to convince the late-adopters.

I also have to protect the precious and valuable time and focus of the scholars who follow and who *would* follow the group.  It's 90% just me posting anyway, always has been a blog/newsletter group in the main, anyway.  It's paradoxical, but I have a hunch that everyone would enjoy higher quality by switching this to a newsletter group.  It's also likely that I'll switch to a totally different, blog-based format soon, where the webpages are auto-created at egodeath.com rather than at the Yahoo Groups website.

People will still be able to email questions to me, as they use the group for currently.  However, I'd like to develop the website to the point where I can effectively say "See page 27 in the book".  By now, for any basic question people have, I've already written the answer, if only they could locate it.

I just don't fit into the other groups at all -- even less than I always did in the past.

The entheogen groups hold nothing of interest, for a long time.  When I left, they asked for me to return, but what's in it for me?  And, how is that the best use of my very limited time?  I can do more for them off writing a book that clears up everyone's great confusions and predominant falacies clogging everyone's air.  I would just miss the immediacy of engagement.  Unfortunately the truth is, there is little possible engagement except with the leaders of the various fields. 

Exchanging posts with various netizens has certainly been rewarding and generally stimulating (though always aggravating due to near-constant paradigm-clash), but isn't the best, most efficient use of our time.

The determinism group has many uninspired posts, going nowhere. 

JesusMysteries flounders about in the dark, with sometimes an interesting thread breaking out despite it all; and half the people clamoring for more posts from me, and thanking me, and the other half, with the moderators, responding by a variety of flimsy excuses of how my posts don't measure up, though they let all sorts of worthless and directionless posts through from other people. 

The Christ_Conspiracy group asks for me to promote their theory, but blocks everything that I try to post to their group, because I'm not rabidly, foaming-at-the-mouth, anti-Christianity. 

Gnosticism2 is little bird-droppings of short, contentless posts -- with, as standard for the Net, maybe one out of twenty posts even attempting to contain any substantial content.  While others ponder puzzles and questions, I'm always writing in the mode of laying out the solution -- but without a full glossy presentation on the Web, my solution falls through the cracks of the received paradigm-of-bafflement, such as the complete inability of the Determinism group to think about mystic-state *experiencing* of determinism, or to imagine that there has been any other, earlier basis for defining and conceptualizing 'determinism' other than the modern, horizontal, domino-chain idea of it.

Hellenic_Philosophy_Symposium -- the usual one out of twenty posts is worth reading, and conversation often comes to a halt: monthly posts started at 104, then 31, 33, 12, 2, 1...

Even when I fit into a discussion group fine, I stop the conversation and dry up the group by posting the most substantial, "final word" posts, beyond the level of book-reading and writing and web-research that the other members are equipped for.

Responding to postings in my own group has been beneficial, but with possibly diminishing returns compared to what perhaps we'd get through my staying more focused on weblog articles and polishing webpage articles.

Clearly it is time to admit it's past time to move to a different mode of engagement.  I can no longer even pretend to engage with these conversation-oriented groups.  It's time to switch to the Weblogging paradigm which I have always used anyway, since the WELL around 1990, and the article-publishing paradigm.

Unmoderated Egodeath discussion group:


Who knows what the future has in store; what lies ahead awaiting in the future for these discussion groups.  We have to try different approaches; this group has been set up the same way now since June 2001.

>Flame Warriors - http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame1.html

>Garble - http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame80.html

>>Has my right to post to the Egodeath group been removed for some reason?

You must be trying to post, without having looked at recent Subject lines such as:

Switching to a Newsletter/Blog group.  New unmod. group.


I don't know if I have control over the "Reject/Can't post" message text.  Maybe I need to post a clearer message/subject line about this.

As an experiment in an effort to provide better value in my writings, I am trying out changing the Egodeath group to allow only my posts.  I'm focusing on clarifying my own writings, both reformatting old posts onto the Web, and concentrating on better new postings, without the distractions of directly responding to endlessly repeated misunderstandings in the postings people post in the Egodeath group.  I created a separate Unmoderated group, to be an unruly free-for-all. 


The Rejected message ought to have a link to the Unmoderated group.  I'll see if I can edit that message.

I don't know exactly how I'll handle these two discussion groups.  You certainly can post at the Unmoderated group.  I need more time to look into this.

I consider the Yahoo Groups environment to be temporary; I'm wanting a more custom or controllable interface.

Stated vs. actual scope of JM discussion group

The *stated* scope of the Jesus Mysteries discussion group is different than the *actual* scope of the discussion group.  Anyone who thinks they have found a solution to any question is automatically disqualified; the only acceptable members are those who think they don't have a solution. 

The group's actual goal is not to comprehend the mystery religions as the Hellenistic world did; it is actually the "Jesus Mysteries non-discussion group": you are allowed to puzzle over the origins of Christianity, as long as you don't speculate about the nature of mystery-religion as such, and about the mode of thinking involved.

The topic of origins of Christianity may only be discussed in such a fashion and mode that the subject matter can never be comprehended.

I have a specific theory of religion, therefore I am practically prevented from posting at Jesus Mysteries, even though multiple leading, respected contributors have clamored publically for more of my postings.  I have been forcefully shut out: the moderators invite me to contribute, but then reject all of my postings, which are certainly more on-topic than the permitted postings, as far as the *stated* definition of what's on-topic.  The stated rules are a smokescreen hiding the actual posting rules. 

Even Earl Doherty himself gave up posting in the Jesus Mysteries group, and now that Peter Kirby has discovered the ahistoricity of the Paul figure, I'm not surprised that Peter's postings have nearly ceased.  A workable workaround is to respond to the essence of the group, but in the Jesus Mysteries Discussion discussion group instead, which is unmoderated.

One of the worst standard crimes in today's pop discussion groups is to have a specific theory of religion.  Several groups automatically ban anyone who holds a specific theory of religion; one is only allowed to discuss religion if one lacks a specific theory of religion, and holds a general attitude of complete uncertainty and basically bafflement.


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