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The Complexity Conundrum
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Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

Watching the Observers
Accounting for quantum fuzziness could help us measure space and time—and the cosmos—more accurately.

February 22, 2018

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Looking Forward: FQXi Forum Discussions [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jan. 18, 2013 @ 22:26 GMT

On behalf of Max Tegmark and Anthony Aguirre, FQXi Directorate ---

As we start the new year of 2013, we at FQXi have been looking over the past year and evaluating our plans for the future. As part of that review, we'd like to take a moment here on the forums to discuss some important institutional issues with our readers. In this post, we would like to go over our plans for maintaining the high level of helpful, useful and interesting discussion in our forums. (By forums, we include the discussions and comments attached to every blog post, article, and essay on our site.)

The FQXi forums have evolved and grown a great deal since the website launched, especially so in the past couple of years, thanks in part to our essay contests. With the growing community of users comes a need to reaffirm the purpose of the forums, and the behavior we expect from users. In brief, we provide online forums for scientific and educational purposes. Participants should always keep these purposes in mind.

We have updated our Terms of Use, which every user should read before posting anything. In order to maintain an appropriate level of civility, we have strengthened the Terms of Use and its Appropriate Content Rules by lowering the bar as to what constitutes unacceptable behavior. We ask you, the community, to help us by flagging posts that violate this code of conduct; we will also try to be more diligent in our own monitoring and removal of such posts.

In addition, we will soon require that you be logged in to post comments. No 'anonymous' commenting will be allowed. Particularly egregious violations of the forum rules may result in loss of posting privileges, or loss of 'posting-as-member' privileges if applicable.

We want to emphasize that our concern here is not the scientific content of posts, but the form and tone of users' comments. We do not want to hamper productive discussions, even of controversial (scientific) topics. We simply ask that all users conduct these discussions in civil, courteous, and constructive ways.

And now, we look forward to the discussions.

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 02:39 GMT

One prerequisite for maintaining a solid and fruitful dialog, that doesn't degenerate into everyone arguing over their pet theories and peeves, is a regular updating of the subject matter. Which is where the administration has to come through. It's not as though there have been no potential subjects. The firewall debate seems to be the topic du jour among the members of the establishment who have grown bored with multiverses. Suffice to say, my one comment on the subject was deleted from Peter Woit's blog. There is also Lee Smolin's book coming out this spring, but I suppose that is a subject you will post on, when it does come out, given that it was initially funded by FQXi.

Also on NPR, this afternoon, I happened to catch snatches of an astronomy discussion, in which they were describing a second generation star that was over 13.5 billion years old. How any legitimate cosmologist can't be starting to question current theory, I don't know, but they were sticking to script and talking about how fast that first generation of stars must have coalesced and burned out. It definetely will eventually be a subject for foundational questions, but I suppose not until the herd has no choice.

Pictures from Mars are awesome, but they don't raise any foundational questions.

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John Merryman replied on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 02:41 GMT
Sorry. Brendan.

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Bee replied on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 07:10 GMT
Over the years I've said it like half a dozen times: Your feed that I pipe into Google reader is really, really badly formatted. It doesn't have any paragraph breaks and most of the times the titles are missing. For me this is a main reason why I don't read what's posted here. Try reading a text three pages long without any paragraph breaks, when you don't know what it is about because you don't have a title. And, no, I am generally not in the mood to open another webpage, that kind of defeats the purpose of subscribing to begin with. I mean, I have like 100 feed subscriptions and yours is the only one with that problem. How difficult can it be to fix that?

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 19:25 GMT
Sadly... too little, too late.

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Anonymous wrote on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 22:26 GMT
Hi Brendan,

I think it is a good idea to not allow posting to the forum without signing in. That is the standard procedure for most web based forums. But not for blogs. However, many of your blogs are really more like forum discussions so signing in to post comments for your blogs is good also.

Now, as far as moderation goes, you know that anyone that is signed in can delete a post (report post as inappropriate) and it will disappear immediately whilst waiting for moderation. Are you going to change the behavior of that? Because it seems like people have abused that in the past knowing that it might take some time for a moderator to review it and they usually don't reappear anyways. Since with the new rules that you will be able to block abusers from posting because they will have to sign in, I think FQXi should not make a post disappear right away when it has been flagged. Let the moderator decide if to take the post down. You indicated above that FQXi was going to be more deligent about moderation.

At this point I would also like to offer my services to FQXi if they need more help moderation-wise as I am a moderator for the UseNet newsgroup sci.physics.foundations so do have extensive experience.



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Fred Diether replied on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 22:46 GMT
That was me. Something else that needs to be fixed. :-) I got logged out before I was done writing the post.


Fred Diether

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F. Dobbs replied on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 02:10 GMT
One suggestion.

Perhaps anyone who has engaged in taunting others or being in any way uncivil on these forums-- for whatever reasons, should not be considered for a position as a moderator, regardless of their moderating experience elsewhere.

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Fred Diether replied on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 03:30 GMT
LOL! We really need FQXi to implement the having to be logged in to post rule soon.

A moderator on FQXi should always recuse themselves from moderating on a thread they are involved in. Unless it is an administrative thread like this one.

This post can be deleted if the personal attack by F. Dobbs is deleted. Sheesh! Didn't you read the new rules... no personal attacks.

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Domenico Oricchio wrote on Jan. 19, 2013 @ 22:41 GMT
I think that is better the anarchy between intelligent persons.

I understand that the web unleashes the worst instincts in a free debate, if there is not an identification; it is a pity.

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Constantinos Ragazas wrote on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 03:56 GMT

Logging in before posting makes sense to me.

If we are looking to improving FQXi, may I also suggest the site allows space for discussions to be initiated by anyone? Having discussions always attached as comments at the end of a particular forum, article, etc. is too restrictive. Often, comments digress from the topic out of necessity. Simply because there are no alternative ways of engaging others on an idea unrelated to the article.

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Georgina Parry replied on Jan. 20, 2013 @ 10:18 GMT
Thank you Brendan for passing on the news of those changes. I appreciate very much that more effort is being made to keep the site a nice place to visit and participate in discussions.

Although there have been some problems the number of people who have left unpleasant comments is very small in comparison to the great amount of friendly conversation, interesting discussion and good natured argument that has happened over many years.

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doug replied on Feb. 2, 2013 @ 13:57 GMT

I hate logging in

no logging in

I can't log in - too mentally frustrating

...why it takes everything out of me

1 vote against logging in; 1 vote for pure freedom = anarchy = Guy Fawkes

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Zeeya wrote on Jan. 22, 2013 @ 17:05 GMT
Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone and that we're looking into all your suggestions now. Bee, we're trying to sort this tech issue out in the next couple of days.

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Zeeya wrote on Jan. 22, 2013 @ 19:37 GMT
Another quick message to say that if any of you want to open a new thread, please drop an email to suggesting the topic and its source (an academic paper, conference talk, news item or blog post). We'll look over the suggestions and try to open new discussion threads where appropriate.

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Feb. 2, 2013 @ 12:12 GMT
Thanks Brendan -

We all value your efforts at fqxi keep its forums open for free respectful and relevant discussion.

Fixing two technical issues with the format will make it easier to use the forums:

1- When a page has scores of comments and many threads are hidden it becomes extremely difficult to locate and answer a given comment that had been posted. This can involve looking for the line line that says "show all replies". Searching the page for example by Command+F is useless if the text is hidden. Why not make all replies visible as the default, while making it possible, with one click, to collapse all threads on a given page, which is the default now? If this is not acceptable- please accent the line "show all replies" in bold and/or or with a mark on the left. Also the "report post as inappropriate" line can be put on the right of the same line to reduce clutter and wasted space.

2- I am still confused when typing links whether the http:// should be included after [link: or not! The pop up instructions page on links does not mention that.

Best wishes,


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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster replied on Feb. 4, 2013 @ 22:05 GMT
Hi Vladimir, thanks for comment #1. I also have had that issue sometimes. On #2--no, remove all the http://. In the instructions, it gives an example of listing, and you can see that it omits all that pre-stuff.

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Zeeya replied on Feb. 5, 2013 @ 16:01 GMT
Hi Vladimir,

Echoing Brendan's comment that the issue that you raise in point (1) is a good one that we should look into.

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