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2012-10-24
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PhilPapers writers with no professional status have to wait for their forum posts to be ratified by an academic, as many of us already know. My posts sometimes take over three weeks to be ratified and appear, even if I have expressed some urgency concerning them. Late ratification makes it difficult to maintain a discussion and is a source of frustration. In my own case, I write here to hone my conceptual skills in preparation for a PhD (Kant and Wittgenstein; transcendental philosophy).

I do not know if different forums have different ratifiers. If this is so, it may be the reason why posts aren't regularly scrutinised for ratification. Another reason may be that post ratifiers are academics and so may be unable to attend to forum posts as often as they would like to because of their heavy work load.

Could there not be some sort of work-around? Here is one idea. I like to think that my posts demonstrate a fair degree of scholastic prowess and have generated some interest among readers here. Would it be possible to set a probationary period for regular writers such as myself and, following a succesful trial, to allow their posts to appear without incurring the default of late appearance?

2012-10-25
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I have the same attitude.

2012-10-31
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I also have the same wish. 

Another compromise would be placing refereed posts at the end of the thread and not at the point in the discussion where they were first posted. When placed in date order posts appear in the past and are not noticed.  

2012-11-02
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Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I think it would be a good idea to add the posts at the end of the thread. I will look into this when I have a chance. Regarding the delays--indeed we're very busy. We'd like to approve contributions faster but it's not always possible. We are thinking about ways to improve the system. 

2012-11-12
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Reply to David Bourget
My posts do not have to be moderated but I also find the delays frustrating. Discussion is a two-way thing and if the people I'm talking to can't get their replies up for two or three weeks, discussion just can't happen. (And I can sometimes see by the beginnings of posts that the points being made seem interesting.)

There's really not much point to these threads if discussion ends up being so irregular and sporadic.


DA



2012-12-02
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Philpapers does not follow an appropriate management model. The current disinterest of contributors confirms this judgement. In order to avoid decrease in philosophical standard one could imagine better ways, the suggestion discussed here is one among several possible improvements.

I think that demanding that contributors either are involved in an academic cursus, or have obtained a University degree would suffice to filter enough of poor discussion attempts. The delay for approval could be reserved for people not involved in any cursus.

Listening to the questions that come to minds of students will always be beneficial to established philosophers. On the other hand, students don't have any interest in lowering the level, so they will do their best.

This site is great, contributors are often very interesting but one feels a little bit as if philosophy was separated from real life and intrumented for professional achievements.   

2012-12-02
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Reply to Emmanuel Rens
Yes this sounds like good idea. Certainly something needs to be done.

DA 

2012-12-02
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Reply to Derek Allan
Yes but we have to be patient,a different response pattern can be difficult to set up too.

2012-12-02
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I think that the problem that faces the organisers here is a problem that arises for all university-structured texts, particularly in philosophy - how to present anecdote without necessarily incorporating it. Anecdote can be the source of new ideas but its transient nature threatens all structured texts and precisely, the problem is that any presentation by a university text is a potentially dangerous incorporation into that text. Anecdote - to include non-professional contributions -  is both dangerous and either valuable or irrelevant. Any solution to the problem of anecdote will be an uneasy compromise between stability and development of the university-structured text.

The stability of the university texts is maintained by a relationship between academics and students that is consultative. It could, therefore, be considered appropriate for students to have to wait for an academic (professional) to ratify their contributions or posts or respond generally. This consultative relationship is important because it protects the University, its disciplines and its texts, from the transience of anecdote.
However, I also suggested that this consultative model represented only one half of the professional remit and could not adequately provide for the development of the university text nor could it provide the whole basis for a student/academic relationship. Also needing to be taken into account is the development and assesment of new ideas into the University texts. The consultative relationship is not well-suited for this as its scholastic exchanges are marked by temporal inertia, the assumption of scholarly privilege, and lack of a public profile. These criteria protect the discipline of course. However, the consultative role can also be destructive for the bard and anti-philosopher who take a very bleak view of scholastic privilege and without whose contributions philosophy would be greatly impoverished and, it also fails to adequately present valuable anecdote for scholarly consumption.

2012-12-02
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Messages are now listed by date of acceptance. We continue to think about alternative ways to manage the discussions threads, but we hope that this will help in the short term. Thanks to everyone for bearing with us as we try to improve things. 

2012-12-02
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Even if I don't understand perfectly what you call anecdote here I think you're absolutely right to take it as a philosophical problem.Again I'm not sure about what is a text in your sense but your remark makes me think that electronic communication in all its speed has the effect of making our living communication ironically static. But adding some delay to the fact doesn't change anything in my opinion (and makes a good example of analytic failure by the way), it won't make us write letters in the old fashion. Maybe David Bourget made a point in stating somewhere that not telling what he believes describes the attitude of a faculty philosopher. Amazing isnt'it? A real agora leaves much lesser doors closed in that respect. 

2012-12-02
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Reply to David Bourget
Hello, as I navigate in your neiberhood this afternoon, may I suggest that the Google widget should display messages really sent instead of the first message in each subscribed thread? That would make the tool much more useful and friendly.
All the best!
(sent in reply to the previous message of Mr David Bourget)

2012-12-02
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Reply to Emmanuel Rens
By anecdote I refer to the academic presentation of any item of knowledge that isn't found as a structured item in the structured texts of the university. University texts are structured - dates, ideas, history, authors, style, etc are linked together in a single net.  Anecdote falls outside that structure and so it is not scholarly to present it. Unfortunately, anecdote is also the chief source of new or developing ideas. I wrote a post on this, here somewhere.

For example, the methodolgy or texts of science do not allow anecdote. To be included in the texts of science anecdote must be incorporated within a ratified experiemental procedure or be ratified by an academic, who alone can integrate the anecdote into the net of scientific discourse. Integration of anecdote means linking it to other nodes in the net such as dates and personage. This is achieved mostly by referencing, in scholarly papers, books, etc.

2012-12-02
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In deed your discourse seems in plain agreement with the local protocols you criticize. Overestimating the importance of academies in knowledge won't help us find our way out of the present situation. Ttruths can be found in the streets and errancies in books, book writers dream to change the stucture, etc. I wouldn't keep such a barrier between real life, real talk, and knowledge.

In my opinion the problem is much more practical, for the maintainers of this site the point of view is dominant, à la Bourdieu: how can we open sufficiently for our discourse to disseminate? how can we close enough for our leadership to continue unrivalled? Quine took academicians for the examplification of a class of relations with funny words. The present situation shows some unsteadiness.

There is also the question of spots, but you can't have a real dicussion without spots - i.e. not nice things - here and there as you can't keep a white shirt too long without washing. Here we have practical means to fight the destructive force of durability too. (It's funny to put these words together, see static life leading to some inverted values.) There are fora where the possibility of editing your own posts remains forever, and it works well. We could also imagine fora where this possibility would remain as long as no answer would have been brought [ sorry for any past and future error in the sequence of tenses ] . But surely all this has already been discussed much. In any case it's a pleaure for me having this talk with you.


    


2012-12-03
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If messages are now listed by date of acceptance then I'm happy. (Thanks David) I don't think the site should be opened up to non-pros even though I am one. 

2012-12-13
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I suspect that if one graphed the level of overall activity on PhilPapers discussion threads since the beginning, one would see a steady decline. At the moment we seem to be approaching zero. Why is this, I wonder?  One reason, I suspect, is that for many would-be participants, delays in seeing their posts appear are far too long. Discussion delayed is discussion denied.

DA