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A Message to the CM.com Community

Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 8:18 AM

To my community:

This past Memorial Day weekend, users in a forum thread asked if perhaps recent forum topics and replies, as well as general comments elsewhere on the site, had gone off mission. I am delighted to have the opportunity to revisit the extremely important topic of what this site is about and what it is trying to achieve.

I've received a lot of emails on both sides of this issue, and several others recently (involving religion, for example) where some members of this community want to wade into these waters again.  Some call these waters "conspiracy theory," but I prefer the term "belief-oriented material," because that more broadly includes other disruptive subject areas that can drag us off mission.

There were several prominent reasons why we made the decision to not engage in belief-oriented material, the most important of which were that this material provoked emotional responses on both sides and that nobody could clearly articulate how engaging in such discussions helped anybody navigate towards action.

They were always more "heat" than "light," created rifts, and never caused anybody to change their minds, as far as I could tell.

Our mission here is to move people from awareness to understanding and then to actions.  The Crash Course breeds the initial awareness, and our conversations here (should) help move us into deeper understanding, with the goal being definitive action.  Unfortunately, as is true everywhere else on the Internet, belief-oriented topics seem only to derail our efforts.

We recently polled ourselves here at headquarters and came up with this assessment of our efforts:

Our success at PeakProsperity.com has come from creating an open, strictly non-partisan environment that attracts readers from all parts of the political and economic spectrum.  Writing and content published on the site is linked to and reposted on far left and right blogs, sites of every religious denomination, and eco-minded and financial sites all over the web.

Of the 832 sites linking in to PeakProsperity.com, very few have anything in common.  In addition to our unbiased policy of open inclusion, our success comes from the trust readers have in the source of information.

Readers check under the hood, do their homework on the back story, and come to the conclusion that the message they are reading is being delivered from a very reliable, high-integrity, and hype-free source, which engages them more deeply in the material and community and provides living proof that the transformations they are contemplating are not only possible, but desirable.

Reaching a broad and diverse audience was my prime objective, and I am asking for your help in building on the incredible effort that it has taken to get to this point.  We are in the top 0.5% of all websites worldwide (measured by traffic and links), and your words, links, and comments really, really matter.

While I am sympathetic that such things as religion and having an organizing framework for understanding world politics (NWO, Global Government, Biderberger, Trilteral, etc.) are very important to some individuals (and may even serve to propel them gracefully into action), my assessment is that open Internet forums are simply not up to the challenge of handling such material.  Too much is missing somehow, as if real human interaction is required for some subjects.  This is not really a surprising idea -- it makes a lot of sense -- but it needs to be recognized here.

We have a great community here, along with some of the best discussions on the Internet, but like all things, this environment needs to be maintained and that takes effort.

My request is that we revisit the forum guidelines and rules and strictly adhere to them.

From that link, here are the Guiding Principles of this site; they are the heart of matter:

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The goal of PeakProsperity.com is to draw attention to the important messages in the Crash Course and also to create a safe and welcoming place for people to discuss its implications in an intelligent and enlightened way.

Together we will continue to hold this site to a higher standard than is usually found elsewhere on the Internet. We will be civil with each other, respectful, thoughtful, and considerate.

Anything that causes people to feel unwelcome or unsafe will be discouraged or removed, as will things that serve to detract from our high standard of intelligent discourse. Our mission is to engage, not to repel.

Posts must be data-rich, fact-based, and constructive, especially if they are critical. We ask that all critical commentary be accompanied by thoughtful suggestions for improvement—or not offered at all.

Creating a safe place for new individuals to interact with some very challenging material is my highest goal.  I wish there was a bright line dividing appropriate material from inappropriate material, but there's a fair amount of gray area, requiring judgment calls.  We'll make those calls to the best of our ability.

A quick review is probably helpful at this point to assure that we are all on the same page.  Again from the forum guidelines and rules, here's our position on Controversial Topics:

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

We have given careful thought to the mission of this site and how information is best presented here to preserve the focus and effectiveness of our central message, especially to new users who may be unfamiliar with the main purpose of the site.



The function of the main forums is to discuss energy, economy, and the environment, personal finances, preparing for a future of expensive energy and less abundant natural resources, and those topics most directly related to them.

Although we prefer free discussion, we believe that there are some topics that can give the first-time visitor a mistaken impression of this site and run counter to its primary mission.



The Controversial Topics forum area is a place where veteran PeakProsperity.com users can discuss topics which are outside of the main thrust of the site, and which, in our opinion, are controversial and/or might deflect a new visitor from understanding the central message of the website. 

We respect that there can be value in these topics, but have found that they can deflect new visitors who may not be ready to engage in this material.  We are not banning or limiting your ability to converse on these topics in any way; we are simply asking that these conversations happen at a location on the site where they will not be prominently displayed to every casual visitor.



Therefore, new threads covering the following topics may be created only in the Controversial Topics folder:

  • Global conspiracy theories
  • New world order conspiracy theories
  • 9/11 conspiracy theories
  • Guns and weapons
  • Global warming
  • Discussions on faith and religion
  • Other topics which are potentially interesting but not necessarily related to the purpose of this site

I am asking the moderators to be especially vigilant in applying the site guidelines.  All belief-oriented material will either be moved to the Controversial Topics area or removed from the site.

My personal assessment is that stress and emotions are running high, not just here, but everywhere.  Given the current levels of stress, extra caution is warranted, and best-behavior is requested from everyone.  If anyone feels that any given poster seems to be needling, provoking, or otherwise seeming to try and stir up an emotional reaction, I would ask that they be flagged as well.  If you have ongoing concerns about a particular poster, you can let us know by e-mail.  Now is not the time to try and stir things up, but to calm them down.  Extra civility is both expected and required.

Please help us do our jobs by flagging any and all inappropriate materials, comments, or threads.

Together we can continue to have the best conversations on the web.

Thank you,

Chris Martenson

Related content

78 Comments

karenpath's picture
karenpath
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2009
Posts: 8
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Chris,

Thanks - and I agree wholeheartedly that this site should strive for open, rational dialogue about the central themes of the 

Crash Course.  One question though - where on this website do I find the section you refer to as 'Controversial Topics'?

karenpath's picture
karenpath
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Posts: 8
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Never mind! I see it now...

that1guy's picture
that1guy
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Posts: 333
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

GO TEAM!!!

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
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Posts: 1232
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Chris,

Outstanding post, Chief!

Thank you thank you thank you. I'll do my part by being extra dilligent to flag CT posts outside the CT area for moderation. I encourage others to do so as well.

Erik

ms1213's picture
ms1213
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Posts: 2
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

well said--well done--thank you

PCars58's picture
PCars58
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Posts: 7
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Thanks Chris,

 I have visited the site daily for the last 2 years and it has definitely raised my awareness on the 3 Es. What I like is the intelligent discussions and the video links people provide. I have had a large net gain of hyper-learning info (ignoring the conspiracy stuff) without giving much as far as posts in return. So, in a way I feel a bit responsible if the tenor of the site being narrower because lurkers who may have something interesting to offer - like me - don't take the time to post. I'll work on that, starting with this post. And many thanks to those who do take the time to post. I am truly grateful.

  I would like to challenge the frequent lurkers out there to write one post this week and match me. It's fun! Hit the reply button and write a few sentences about what's on your mind, or show a link to a good site or video. One post, this week, - deal?  We're all in this together.

I also have a suggestion for the webmaster:

 Once you've been around the site and the Crash Course material, it's efficient, easy, and elementary (hah, I made a 3 E pun) to keep up with by clicking on posts located in the Recent Comments and New Forum Topics header columns. I suggest the 'belief oriented' topics/forum/posts could have their own hot link underneath the recent comments/new forum topics that will take them to the Controversial Topics forum directly. Also, and this is the important part, DO NOT show postings from 'Contoversial Topics' in the Recent Comments or New Forum Topics header boxes. This will help keep the new postings and responses on the main pages focused on the 3E mission posts.

Paul

xraymike79's picture
xraymike79
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 24 2008
Posts: 2040
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Chris,

    You seem to be a very intelligent, kindhearted, good soul. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the central mission of this website and other "investment" advice that is discussed here. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I gather that the central mission is this:

To help gather a world momentum toward a tipping point which will lead to an environmentally sustainable, socially just economic system/paradigm.

How can that be achieved if we are giving advice on investing in such things as, for example, oil in order to try and extract a possible windfall profit from another possible spike in price. It seems to me that we are continuing to entangle ourselves in the "old unsustainable paradigm" by engaging in such behavior. Frankly, it seems hypocritical. And in light of the unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf, very sad.

I've seen a few intelligent people recognize this contradiction in the forums (i.e Sofistek and V). I'm just wondering how you rationalize this.

Respectfully,

Mike

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

And since  everybody  LOVES  a tattle -tale . ...    best refresh our  memory on what are  allowable topics . 

Some people love an argument and will start one on which way is best to put your pants on .  IMHO  It is very entertaining to read those that  consider themselves a bit more intelligent than the average Joe, pick each other apart .     

Those  with  a LOT of time on their hands could be sharing more on what they have done  to change their little corner of the world .   We have very little power over the rest of the world  and  many of us  can not even cover our own Butts . Lead by example .   It is one thing to see a change a coming and another to prepare for it .   What good does it do to awaken those who are asleep if there is no action to take .

Take the speck out of our own eye before we take the log out of someone else's .

FM

Ps. I have one of those durn economy  vans for sale .  Totally  worthless to me . They even make it hard to change the oil and replace a belt on them.  I looked very silly carrying a bucket calf home in the back seat .

Dragline's picture
Dragline
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Posts: 54
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Way to stay on your message.  There are plenty of other places to discuss those other topics.  But this site offers a unique perspective.

This is why I keep coming back here.

VeganD's picture
VeganD
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Posts: 572
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Chris
Thank you for the reminder and for the guidelines. For myself, my goal is to start revewing the old threads to get more information on taking action, as well as limiting my posts to data rich information rather than my usual opinion laden remarks. Right now I am reviewing the definitive agrculture thread and it is good stuff!Thank you to you and your staff for all that you do.
Denise

piquod12's picture
piquod12
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Posts: 99
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Hi Mike

How can that be achieved if we are giving advice on investing in such things as, for example, oil in order to try and extract a possible windfall profit from another possible spike in price. It seems to me that we are continuing to entangle ourselves in the "old unsustainable paradigm" by engaging in such behavior

Something I've struggled with in the past as well and maybe the key is not to see things as quite so black and white? For me the answer is to have a foot in both camps, i.e. to still try to maximise investment success whilst also developing skills and a lifestyle that will help as and when we are forced to downsize.

So I'm learning how to grow veg whilst at the same time trading the markets!

Best,

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

xraymike79 wrote:

How can that be achieved if we are giving advice on investing in such things as, for example, oil in order to try and extract a possible windfall profit from another possible spike in price. It seems to me that we are continuing to entangle ourselves in the "old unsustainable paradigm" by engaging in such behavior. Frankly, it seems hypocritical. And in light of the unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf, very sad.

Mike - I'll chime in on this. I've come to the conclusion that the next 20 years are going to be completely unlike the last 20 years. I'm putting my oxygen mask on and taking the steps to deal with that different future. That said, financially I can't afford to do everything I would like to do. I'm earning 1% at the bank. If I can take a bit of my money and speculate at the casino(whatever the equity may be) and make more than 1%, then I can invest my winnings in soil, and growing food and solar panels and community, etc. And once my neighbors see everything that I am doing, hopefully that will create a tipping point of awareness around me. That's my thinking and I'm sticking to it.

bill.flinn's picture
bill.flinn
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Posts: 10
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community & Inflation/Deflation

Thank you, Chris, for bringing us back to central issues.

I have been puzzled by the inflation/debate because on both sides there are commentators whose knowledge and opinions I respect.

This last weekend I found a fantastic interview with Felix Zulauf on King World News (http://www.kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/King_World_News.html), which really hit me hard. For those of you who don't know of Felix, he is a highly respected financial professional who has served on the Barrons Round Table for over 20 years.

I found that by linking the ideas in this interview with the work of Chris in the crash course,  I was able to make some sense of it all. I have written up the interview, adding my own comments, some of which refer to Chris' work,  in my Weekly Wanderings column  at http://goldsurvivalguide.co.nz/felix-zulauf-on-inflation-vs-deflation/

Best wishes to all,

Bill

jamesdvetter's picture
jamesdvetter
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Posts: 51
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

I would agree with the previous statements.  I don't find there to be any "conflict" if you look at the big picture.  That being trying to survive the current "climate," maintaining and protecting assets through this rather stormy transition period AND understanding as best as possible how to shift gears into the next 20 years and to be as prepared as possible since no one has a crystal ball.  If one doesn't protect what he has now, there will be nothing to allow survival in the next phase of humanity.  Just my two cents.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 2099
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

joemanc wrote:

xraymike79 wrote:

How can that be achieved if we are giving advice on investing in such things as, for example, oil in order to try and extract a possible windfall profit from another possible spike in price. It seems to me that we are continuing to entangle ourselves in the "old unsustainable paradigm" by engaging in such behavior. Frankly, it seems hypocritical. And in light of the unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf, very sad.

Mike - I'll chime in on this. I've come to the conclusion that the next 20 years are going to be completely unlike the last 20 years. I'm putting my oxygen mask on and taking the steps to deal with that different future. That said, financially I can't afford to do everything I would like to do. I'm earning 1% at the bank. If I can take a bit of my money and speculate at the casino(whatever the equity may be) and make more than 1%, then I can invest my winnings in soil, and growing food and solar panels and community, etc. And once my neighbors see everything that I am doing, hopefully that will create a tipping point of awareness around me. That's my thinking and I'm sticking to it.

I was going to post something to the effect of what Joemanc says in the above paragraph, but he's clearly a step ahead.  Laughing  So I'll just say:  second that!

Viva -- Sager

plato1965's picture
plato1965
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Posts: 615
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Reflexivity applied to fora.

Mere legalism (rules. moderation) is vastly inferior to judgement and positive guidance..

If the MAIN topics were not "General discussion and Questions" + "Current news and events" (check the number of topics -  those two outweigh every other category by a mile... )

we could have a more focussed and productive ("actionable") forum.

If you want "actionable", then you need to "rig" the game in favour of action..the current structure invites navel gazing and inflamed "debate" if only by default.. mainly heat.. not light and certainly not motion.

The structure (titles of prominent categories) of the forum dictates the type of discussions,

which attracts a spectrum of people interested in those discussions,  which then feeds back into the type of discussion present..

it's a virtuous or vicious cycle...

That choice of  forum titles is profoundly important. The bait you use determines the fish you catch.

 "Where there is no guidance the people wander off topic..." - me.

Imagine if we had a "What I'm doing to prepare" category.. what sort of topics would be encouraged, what sort of people would be inspired to post. More personal, more inspiring, more actionable...

Those discussions do occasionally pop up, but they are quickly swamped by some news article or grand scheme of monetary reform..

.. and the last 10 posts feature ensure that our attention spans are brief... all too brief.

I love of2minds selection of forum categories.. it's a crying shame the hardware he runs is sooo painfully sluggish..

Bluemarble's picture
Bluemarble
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Posts: 14
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Although I have been a member for 1.5 years, I rarely comment here since I'm not qualified in dissecting and analyzing  the financial machine. I greatly appreciate the focus of this site on the three E's and I've learned a lot from here, both from Chris Martenson and from many of the comments.  To be honest, I would say that on this site Economics is really the big E, Energy is medium and the Environmental realm is generally less well analyzed here. I think that's fine...there are plenty of environmental sites that don't address economics at all.  These are all huge, complex issues and it is refreshing to have an opportunity to read financial analysis that includes some awareness of environmental constraints. 

And I also appreciate is the culture of discussion that Chris and others have cultivated.  However,  as an environmental scientist I have to say I am dismayed to see global warming in the same list as conspiracy theories etc, etc. 

It's not that I think it will be productive for this site to debate the pros and cons of the scientific evidence linking human activities to changes in atmospheric composition and climate. This is not Chris's area of expertise and there are plenty of sites that keep abreast of the most recent data.  So I would not want to debate this here.

But I am shocked and amazed to see Chris Martenson classifying global warming as belief based! There are plenty of forums where peak oil and peak resources is considered to be farfetched and belief based.  This site chooses to place these environmental issues at center stage and attacts those who pretty much agree that we face a resouce constrained future.  I wish global warming was just a belief based hypothesis put forward by some crazed, mad scientiists. Oh I wish that were true.  And I worry when I see that implied at a site like this.

compinthegroove's picture
compinthegroove
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Posts: 113
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

I hold the belief that a group of smart people working together are infinitely smarter than any one individual.  There's lots of smart people who contribute to this site, and the key thing that keeps me coming back is the diversity of ideas and opinions.  This site is a gold mine, and I think discouraging controversial topics would be akin to debasing currency.  Wouldn't it be healthier to agree to be civil about all this?

I have no problem with conspiracy theorists.  Conspiracy theory is a natural outcome when people search for the truth.  I don't agree with everything Alex Jones says, but I will freely admit I've learned a lot from him and others like him.  I take conspiracy theory with a grain of salt, just like everything else.  When there's no more gold to be found, I'll just dig elsewhere.  Shouldn't we all do this?

Scientists love to spout theories and mathematical relationships, but at the end of the day, it's all a ploy to sway your opinion.  You choose to agree or disagree.  In the end, isn't everything belief based?

Romans12.2's picture
Romans12.2
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Posts: 227
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

In the end, isn't everything belief based?

   Amen.

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Posts: 1543
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

plato1965 wrote:

If the MAIN topics were not "General discussion and Questions" + "Current news and events" (check the number of topics -  those two outweigh every other category by a mile... )

we could have a more focussed and productive ("actionable") forum.

If you want "actionable", then you need to "rig" the game in favour of action..the current structure invites navel gazing and inflamed "debate" if only by default.. mainly heat.. not light and certainly not motion.

The structure (titles of prominent categories) of the forum dictates the type of discussions,

which attracts a spectrum of people interested in those discussions,  which then feeds back into the type of discussion present..

it's a virtuous or vicious cycle...

That choice of  forum titles is profoundly important. The bait you use determines the fish you catch.

+1!   I also think that a  richer high-level topic outline could be designed to nurture more on-topic discussions that are consistent with the goals of the site.

Personally, I would still like having the Current News & Events and General Discussions topics as well.  I think the lack of fetters within these topics fosters creative thinking, new ideas and intellectual debate.   But I think they need to be incorporated in their proper place within a larger  infrastructure designed to encourage discussion consistent with the mission of the site.

capesurvivor's picture
capesurvivor
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Posts: 937
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Gravity?

Give me a break.

That's why there's a "controversial section."

SG

Doug's picture
Doug
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Posts: 2718
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Bluemarble wrote:

Although I have been a member for 1.5 years, I rarely comment here since I'm not qualified in dissecting and analyzing  the financial machine. I greatly appreciate the focus of this site on the three E's and I've learned a lot from here, both from Chris Martenson and from many of the comments.  To be honest, I would say that on this site Economics is really the big E, Energy is medium and the Environmental realm is generally less well analyzed here. I think that's fine...there are plenty of environmental sites that don't address economics at all.  These are all huge, complex issues and it is refreshing to have an opportunity to read financial analysis that includes some awareness of environmental constraints. 

And I also appreciate is the culture of discussion that Chris and others have cultivated.  However,  as an environmental scientist I have to say I am dismayed to see global warming in the same list as conspiracy theories etc, etc. 

It's not that I think it will be productive for this site to debate the pros and cons of the scientific evidence linking human activities to changes in atmospheric composition and climate. This is not Chris's area of expertise and there are plenty of sites that keep abreast of the most recent data.  So I would not want to debate this here.

But I am shocked and amazed to see Chris Martenson classifying global warming as belief based! There are plenty of forums where peak oil and peak resources is considered to be farfetched and belief based.  This site chooses to place these environmental issues at center stage and attacts those who pretty much agree that we face a resouce constrained future.  I wish global warming was just a belief based hypothesis put forward by some crazed, mad scientiists. Oh I wish that were true.  And I worry when I see that implied at a site like this.

There is still one climate change thread that hasn't been consigned to CT oblivion:  http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/global-climate-change-it-worth-brushing/5895

Doug

Edited to take note of developments.  In back tracking the above noted thread, I discovered there are a number of climate change threads under Chap. 18 of the CC.  I find this quite encouraging.  Thank you to whoever made this decision.

Doug

sofistek's picture
sofistek
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2008
Posts: 615
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

xraymike79 wrote:
How can that be achieved if we are giving advice on investing in such things as, for example, oil in order to try and extract a possible windfall profit from another possible spike in price. It seems to me that we are continuing to entangle ourselves in the "old unsustainable paradigm" by engaging in such behavior. Frankly, it seems hypocritical. And in light of the unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf, very sad.

I'm not sure that Chris's aim, in discussing investment issues it to extract a windfall. However, there certainly does seem to be a preponderance of financial and investment discussion on this site. As we head to a resource constrained world and one where environmental damage is at least as important as resource depletion, I'm disappointed that there is no great focus on actions to adapt to the predicament we find ourselves in.

Another poster pointed out that he doesn't have the financial resources to prepare in the way he would like and so is gambling (playing the markets) to obtain those resources. Financial gambles probably only rarely pay off, but there may be a category of reader who really do believe that they have way of preparing without having more money, and a section devoted to reasonably assured investment returns may be useful. I can also see that some people may have the financial resources but deem that this is not the right time to put them to use. In this case, maintaining those resources until the time is right, is important. But, when it comes down to it, we all need to be doing things differently (the next 20 years will be nothing like the last 20 years, as Chris points out) and so actions that target a sustainable way of living should be a focus, I would have thought.

Like another poster, Bluemarble, I am amazed that anthropogenic global warming is considered a belief-based topic, especially as Environment is one of the big Es. However, Chapter 18 of the Crash Course, starts out with, "Let me start right out by saying that this is not going to be about global warming. Instead, I want to focus on more linear, less complicated, and, I believe, more immediate concerns." So Chris doesn't say that AGW is controversial but he does say that he believes it is not an imminent threat. So this is confusing. Chris is consigning AGW to the belief-based topic area and yet chapter 18 of the course specifies a belief-based opinion (that AGW is not of immediate concern).

Tony

guardia's picture
guardia
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Posts: 592
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Bluemarble wrote:

But I am shocked and amazed to see Chris Martenson classifying global warming as belief based! There are plenty of forums where peak oil and peak resources is considered to be farfetched and belief based.  This site chooses to place these environmental issues at center stage and attacts those who pretty much agree that we face a resouce constrained future.  I wish global warming was just a belief based hypothesis put forward by some crazed, mad scientiists. Oh I wish that were true.  And I worry when I see that implied at a site like this.

Oops, you read that wrong Bluemarble... He listed "global warming" as a something to discuss in the "Controversial Topics" area. Then he said to post all "belief oriented material" in the "Controversial Topics" area. This does not make global warming a belief oriented material, but a controversial topic...

Samuel

cedar's picture
cedar
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Joined: Oct 7 2008
Posts: 96
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

It saddens me that global warming is a controversial topic here and elsewhere. I just finished James Hansen's Storms of My Grandchildren. He does a wonderful job of explaining the depth of the science behind the threat, how little time we have left to keep a planet hospitable for our grandchidren, and our only possible solution (replace all coal with 4th gen nuclear plus a carbon tax plus stabilize population). Probably the most important book I have ever read, and I read a lot. I don't want to start a debate because I understand Chris's position. It just saddens me.

Amanda V's picture
Amanda V
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Joined: Dec 31 2008
Posts: 259
Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

I think it is a great quality of the CC material that it sticks with facts only.

But it might be almost impossible to limit content of the main threads to the three E's only.  There are so many grey areas that merge in to topics such as preparation, emotional preparation, building community, and relationships.  These can touch on, or include many "belief oriented" topics, for example spirituality.  

I suggest what we do is try to keep to the "spirit" of the request rather than the "letter" of the request.  I suppose that is what the moderators will do. 

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Nacci
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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

cedar wrote:
It saddens me that global warming is a controversial topic here and elsewhere. I just finished James Hansen's Storms of My Grandchildren. He does a wonderful job of explaining the depth of the science behind the threat, how little time we have left to keep a planet hospitable for our grandchidren, and our only possible solution (replace all coal with 4th gen nuclear plus a carbon tax plus stabilize population). Probably the most important book I have ever read, and I read a lot. I don't want to start a debate because I understand Chris's position. It just saddens me.

Cedar, "Global Warming" may be a "Controversial Topic" but Global destruction is not, not unless CM would like to remove two of the three legs of his platform.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

I think a lot of people are missing the point about the forbidden list. Those subjects are not on the list because CM has deemed them crack-pot ideas or theories, they are on the list because we as a community have proven we cannot discuss them in a civilized manner. We are to blame for the black-list, not the moderators or Dr.M.  

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

This is certainly the reason climate change ended up on the list if I remember correctly. 

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

JAG wrote:

I think a lot of people are missing the point about the forbidden list. Those subjects are not on the list because CM has deemed them crack-pot ideas or theories, they are on the list because we as a community have proven we cannot discuss them in a civilized manner. We are to blame for the black-list, not the moderators or Dr.M.  

I don't disagree with your suggestion, but doesn't that line of thought lead to an "inmates running the asylum" mentality?  If the subject is inherently fact based, but some people have beliefs about it that are based on wide spread emotion laden misconceptions, sometimes fed by concerted media campaigns, then how can discussions be kept to a level of civility without overly burdening the moderators?

I think in some instances the best way forward is to self police our postings and, as Chris suggests, cite sources.  Then, of course, you run into the problem of determining which sources are credible.  That becomes problematic because some people will then make the claim that there is a logical fallacy in citing authority.

In my own mind, being a somewhat literal thinker, it's not a big problem because it comes down to honest attempts to weigh the objective evidence.  In the hard sciences that is frequently relatively easy as we have peer reviewed evidence to rely on, but such attempts become objects of derision by those not given to such examination.

I guess my thinking is getting a little circular here, but you get the idea.  How can you have rational civil discussions on important topics related to the three Es when many of the conversants have emotional/political/religious beliefs that are cast in concrete?  Do we just avoid the discussion or consign it to the CT fora?  Or, do we discuss it openly and let the chips fall where they may?

If we had someone of Solomnic wisdom and absolute authority moderating, then perhaps such issues could be resolved peacefully.  But, with all due respect to those who willingly give their time and energy making this the great forum it is, that may be asking a bit much.

Doug

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Overall, I don't have an issue with most of the topics that are listed as off limits, but do wonder how guns and weapons made it onto the list.  There are many folks that have never owned a gun and see having one as a necessary step in being prepared to protect their family. To that end, an open discussion on the issue of firearms is healthy.  This is the perfect site for that discussion because this is not a gun site.  This site is largely populated by intelligent people that want to find the best way of getting through the coming troubles and into whatever way society functions past that.

Buying and learning to safely use a firearm is a perfectly valid form of preparation and is no different that investing in PMs, planting gardens and storing food.  There are a lot of anti-gun folks on this site, but that does not mean this site needs to become anti-gun.  There are also a lot of folks on this site that believe in their right to defend themselves and they should be able to discuss how to safely do that.  Gun focused websites tend to have a different slant than is experienced here which makes this a great place for folks that new to guns to learn about them from people of similar mindsets.

Tim

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

JAG wrote:

I think a lot of people are missing the point about the forbidden list. Those subjects are not on the list because CM has deemed them crack-pot ideas or theories, they are on the list because we as a community have proven we cannot discuss them in a civilized manner. We are to blame for the black-list, not the moderators or Dr.M. 

+1 Jag

And when we post we all can do our own research and post the facts to support our own "concepts, beliefs, opinions and conclusions. In this way there is substance to support, or not, and it allows others to also challenge the facts presented to evolve the truth of our predicament.

Coop

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

There are three levels to the topics that we try and restrict or control around here.

First, there is stuff that is just flat-out banned.  This includes anything illegal, threatening, violent, or completely out of line with our mission, like the repeated attempts by spammers to initiate threads on helping you consolidate your debt with payday loans.

Second, there are topics that might cause newcomers to flinch and turn away.  Remember, all recent comments on all non-CT threads are displayed for every casual visitor to see.  So we try to balance our need to for open conversations that are seen by all with our mission to try and remain an open, safe, and approachable environment for newcomers.  We do have an open and running definitive gun thread, so we've not removed guns and weapons entirely, but I'd become extremely uncomfortable if a dozen new threads were being opened every day discussing weapons and tactics and such.  Our current gun thread is excellently maintained and so it stays out in the open.  Ditto for a couple of AGW threads.

Third, there are topics that, for whatever reason, have been demonstrated to create an unworkable level of friction within our community.  While in a perfect world, we'd have Solomon-like moderators with unlimited time and patience to skillfully negotiate a growthful outcome to every disturbance, the reality is that we simply don't have that much time and some people, for whatever reason, are not at all interested in growing or changing.  If the gun thread suddenly veered off and became violent or gruesome rather than instructive and helpful, then it would get moved to the CT area.  If the existing AGW threads suddenly devolved into a shouting match, they'd head over to the CT playpen as well.  

It is up to the participants here to monitor those threads and alert us with a flag if they suddenly veer off.  Sometimes the efforts of a single individual can derail a long running and carefully managed conversation, and our job is a lot easier if we can nip those events in the bud, before a whole lot of verbal slap-fighting happens and emotions get triggered. 

Remember, just because a topic is in the Controversial Topics area does not mean we've "banned" it or taken any other position on it, besides concluding that having it out in the wide open does not serve our main goals or mission.  Everybody who wishes to is just one click away from the CT area and having whateve sorts of discussions they want to have there, within the limits of the first condition above. 

=====================================================================

I will not respond to the numerous entreaties to explain my GW position at this time (because I need to put final preparations on the talk I am giving in a few hours to the MN state legislature), but will say that the decision includes a deep and well-thought-out strategy (born out of much experience) that serves the primary mission of this site.  To give a hint, I would invite anyone who is interested to consider that motivating people towards action is an act of transformation.  There are many paths to change.  Now think about the types of personal change that the GW community seeks to intiate - they probably include how people think and the actions they take.  Now go read the unsolicited testimonials that people have sent to us over the months by clicking this link.   Read 40 or 50.  Or more.  There are hundreds there.

As is always true, there are many ways to achieve the same goal.  Considering how humans are hard-wired (this is the biologist in me sneaking out), we can either spend our time shaping our efforts around threats that are immediate and directly observable by everyone, or we can try and make the case for a relatively distant threat, for which individuals may well experience daily environmental feedback that contravenes the stated threat.

That's the general framework for my thinking, but there's a lot more behind it, which we'll leave for another day.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Thank you so much! Well said!

You could go anywhere (like Yahoo! or CNN or AOL or wherever) and you suddenly see anonymous people trying to foist their political beliefs or religious beliefs on everyone.

And none of it is in any effort to educate or draw others together. It's always about blaming Obama or blaming Bush or blaming liberals or blaming neo-conservatives or blaming things on particular religious groups or whomever.

Those comments on those other sites don't serve to educate nor enlighten or make us feel welcome. Instead, their only purpose is for anonymous commenters to vent and to make their anger or biases or religious viewpoints heard/read by others who are either in the choir already or else feel greatly offended or mad. Very mad. Our political and economic problems are in great part caused by myopic selfishness in politicians of all stripes. Blaming only one set insults those who support that set.

So thank you for providing a safe place for us all. Both hippies and survivalists understand the need for self-sufficiency in food, having adequate financial resources. Both thsoe of faith and atheists alike want a world safe for their children.

Sincerely,

Poet

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Hi Chris,

All in all, a very reasonable post. I really appreciate the heightened level of discourse found on this site, though I don't post much myself. I must, however, take issue with your inclusion of "global warming" in the category of "belief oriented" material, though the fact of it has certainly proven controversial. Global warming has nothing to do with belief, other than, perhaps, the belief that continual economic growth is both necessary and uniformly beneficial. Global warming is a scientific fact, one which well over 90% of the world's scientists support (that number jumps close to 100% when only the subset of climate scientists is included).

Since you asked for data-rich posts, how about this: The 2000s were the hottest decade on record; the 1990s the second hottest; the 1980s the third hottest. The first four months (Jan-Apr) of 2010 have been the hottest Jan-Apr on record (going back to c.1880). The oceans are now more acidic than they've been in over 800,000 years, which threatens the base of the entire marine food chain, as well as countless humans who depend on the sea. The Amazon is rapidly turning first into savannah, then into desert, which will have globally catastrophic effects.

As Bill McKibben says, we live on a new planet; let's call it "Eaarth." Aside from declining fossil fuels (peak oil et al.), I'm hard-pressed to find another issue that is exerting more pressure on modern civiliation's resilience. Or lack thereof.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

I look forward to CM further explaining his global warming strategy. From my perspective peak oil and peak debt are serious problems that threaten our quality of life. Global warming, on the other hand, threatens our children's lives. It therefore seems logical to me that Chris should use his considerable powers of communication to convince people of the global warming threat, just as he convinced people that peak oil is not a tin foil issue.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

teyesahr

First, welcome to the forum.  It's nice to have another poster that recognizes climate change for what it is.  I'm interested in your assertion of the Amazon becoming savannah.  Although It makes logical sense, I haven't seen any studies showing that.  Can you point me to a source?

I'd suggest checking the CC forum, Chap. 18 for climate change threads.  There are a few and one particularly long one, first on the list.

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forums/crash-course/chapter-18-environmental-data

There's a lot of info there.

Doug

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

cedar wrote:

I look forward to CM further explaining his global warming strategy. From my perspective peak oil and peak debt are serious problems that threaten our quality of life. Global warming, on the other hand, threatens our children's lives. It therefore seems logical to me that Chris should use his considerable powers of communication to convince people of the global warming threat, just as he convinced people that peak oil is not a tin foil issue.

I agree with everything you wrote.  Unfortunately, even though it is our grandchildren who will be most affected by climate change, efforts to minimize its effects must begin soon.  I don't see any conflict between what we need to do to address peak oil and climate change, it just adds urgency to those efforts.

Doug

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Thanks Chris.  My main concern was that the current firearms thread (over 2000 posts) would disappear.  That thread is a balanced discussion of buying and safely using a firearm and has a huge amount of info that could be very helpful to new gun owners. Until about two years ago, we had no firearms in our house except a 22 caliber rifle that my father bought for me when I was 12.  Even that had not been fired in over 20 years.

I cannot contribute much to discussions of financial issues, but benefit greatly from them.  The firearms thread is one area where I hope to have contributed by relating my experience in introducing firearms into our household in a safe manner.

I appreciate all the work that goes into this site from many contributing members.  I hope to be able to contribute to some degree as well as we get through some interesting times ahead.

Thanks,

Tim

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Doug wrote:
I agree with everything you wrote.  Unfortunately, even though it is our grandchildren who will be most affected by climate change, efforts to minimize its effects must begin soon.  I don't see any conflict between what we need to do to address peak oil and climate change, it just adds urgency to those efforts.

Actually, we are doing (or are about to do) many things to address peak oil that strongly conflict with climate change. For example, corn based ethanol, cutting forests for biofuel production, tar sands, oil shale, and coal to liquids. We need a fully integrated view of debt, energy, climate, growth, and ecological overshoot before crafting any responses. For example, carbon capture and storage may sound attractive until you look at our debt situation and realize that we are too broke to ever implement this solution.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Thanks for the further explanation, Chris.

So it seems that AGW is not consigned to the controversial topics section, only AGW discussions that veer into the belief zone.

As there is a huge amount of evidence for AGW and resultant climate change, then it should most certainly stay as an uncontroversial topic (though there can be much discussion about the details and impacts - just like peak oil or any of the other threats we face).

However, I'm still mystified that you think climate change is not an immediate threat. What evidence do you have of that assertion?

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

I mainly lurk here these days but, as an old debater, I have to reframe that assertion as "climate change is an immediate threat." It is, therefore, YOUR assertion that you must prove.

The old debate adage is "he who asserts must prove."

BTW, this does not reflect my own thoughts on climate change, rather my own thoughts on  valid debate.

Back to lurking.

SG

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Our mission here is to move people from awareness to understanding and then to actions.

Thanks Chris for continuing to reiterate the mission.  Many folks want to hear the actions and jump right to them.  I think we're still in the baby stages of awareness and understanding, even for those who have been looking at the three E's for years. 

I tend to agree that economic (currency/funding failures) and energy (peak oil) are pending crises more likely to inflict pain on us in the near term than environmental (climate change etc).  The first two are very easy to define and summarize based on readily available facts.  E.g. our debt based, exponential growth dependnent economic system is unstainable. Peak oil must occur as sooner or later when demand rates exceed declining production rates. 

But try to define climate change - what is natural, what is manmade, which should we count?  The major climate cycles and minor patterns are complex and may not yet be fully understood.  What factors are we including or not including in models?  Which factors provide negative feedback and which don't?  To me it's easy to see how beliefs are easy to start creeping into any GW discussion.

The first two E's alone are enough to demonstrate there are impending risks we must not ignore. 

Tom

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Hello Cedar, Doug, and Sofistiek,

Let's not turn this thread into a debate on the science of global warming, please.

The reason why global warming is in the CT folder has little to do with the scientific basis of the theory (nothing to do with it, actually).  Global warming is a perfectly respectable theory, with perfectly respectable views on both sides, and the resolution to the debate has undeniable significance for mankind's long-term prospects on this planet.

JAG is much closer to the mark when he writes:

JAG wrote:
I think a lot of people are missing the point about the forbidden list. Those subjects are not on the list because CM has deemed them crack-pot ideas or theories, they are on the list because we as a community have proven we cannot discuss them in a civilized manner.

  That sums it up well.  Through hard experience we have found that global warming arouses fierce passions, pushes people's buttons, attracts users who come to the site for no reason other than to argue about it, and creates so much clamor that it  ends up detracting from -- rather than complementing -- the main Crash Course messages.

There are one or two global warming threads that have been well managed and were "grandfathered" into the general forums (like the Definitive Firearms Thread).  But generally we have found that global warming discussions go on interminably, and rouse passions that are similar to those we see during discussions of religion.  The argument has empassioned devotees on both sides who adamantly defend their views: the discussion either fizzles out with no resolution, continues endlessly, or degenerates into vile insults and name-calling.

Worse, these discussions tend to detract from one of the main missions of the site, as Chris said.  That is to focus people on definite actions that can be taken today to change our communities and private lives.

As part of our prerogative to guide the group discussion, we decided after much thought that global warming should join the other topics in the CT folder.  Not because any of them are crackpot ideas, but becuase we want to guide discussion in a positive way that retains the focus on the basic ideas of the Crash Course.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Nice post Chris.

My 2 cents. I think the friction boils down to a disagreement between what is belief and what is fact. I actually spend time investigating the claims of one world CT's and even I admit that an awful lot of factual material is presented. Where I disagree is the interpretation of those facts. I remain unconvinced that the facts decisively support the conclusion therefore I conclude that this is belief based.

Same with AGW. I remain unconvinced that AGW is an actual, real phenomemon. Now before I catch heck for this perhaps I should cite my ciriculum vitae. I am a research scientist, an engineer by training, complete most of my Ph.D coursework requirements, and actively engage in research. I am published, both in white papers and journals, and hold several US patents. Science is what I do. I know the scientific process, I understand probability, hypothesis testing, and what burden of proof mean in the scientific community.

I have seen fraud in my field over and over and over again. Particularly in academics where competition for research dollars can be incredible.

Furthermore, I consider myself an environmentalist,  and believe that resource scarcity is a much more serious issue than alledged global warming. In fact, the solutions required to address the former I believe need to be far more draconian than what AGW would require. So much for motive of my doubts.

If I, a research scientist, cannot challenge the hypothesis of global warming, then science, the very discipline that brought us to the 20th century, (good, bad, and ugly) is effectively dead. If, I am ostracized, shouted down, labeled a "deniar" ect, then our discovery of what is truth is no longer based on reason, but crowd passions. Unfortunately this is exactly what happens. And it will do the site no favors to engage in a dialogue here on it.

This isn't going to change here just because this site is on average, far more cordial and mature in it's dialog than most other sites. These are passionately held beliefs that will create strife, camp mentality, and argumentation. In that regard, I feel that discussion of AGW in the main forums would have the potential to overwhelm and swamp out other discussions where common ground exists and solutions-based discussion can blossom.

Anytime you have a topic that's belief -based, you're going see politics galore and emotions fly. Putting these topics in a forum where they can be discussed, but where they won't overwhelm other issues is in my opinion the right thing to do.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

AGW theory is most certainly evidence based. That some people, even the occasional scientist (after all, they're just people), remain unconvinced doesn't make the topic controversial. There is a preponderance of economic topics on this site and that is, to a great degree, opinion based (finding two economists that agree on economics is a difficult task) and yet economics is not regarded as a controversial topic.

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

sofistek wrote:

AGW theory is most certainly evidence based. That some people, even the occasional scientist (after all, they're just people), remain unconvinced doesn't make the topic controversial. There is a preponderance of economic topics on this site and that is, to a great degree, opinion based (finding two economists that agree on economics is a difficult task) and yet economics is not regarded as a controversial topic.

This is a belief Sofitstek. A consensus of scientists means nothing. When Einstein published relativity, he was roundly opposed by over 100,000 scientists around the world. The consensus was that he was wrong. There are soo many examples similar to that also. The science is NOT settled. 

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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

sofistek wrote:

AGW theory is most certainly evidence based. That some people, even the occasional scientist (after all, they're just people), remain unconvinced doesn't make the topic controversial. There is a preponderance of economic topics on this site and that is, to a great degree, opinion based (finding two economists that agree on economics is a difficult task) and yet economics is not regarded as a controversial topic.

As I believe Dr. Chris wrote above, the reason (almost all threads debating) AGW are in the CT area is not that it is proven/unproven/not-proven/not-unproven but rather that -- in general -- posters here have shown an inability to discuss the topic in a way that reflects the tenor of discussion upon which CM generally insists.  

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Amanda V
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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT ON  EARTH     AGW   STANDS FOR ??????????????

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britinbe
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Re: A Message to the CM.com Community

Amanda V wrote:

WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT ON  EARTH     AGW   STANDS FOR ??????????????

Anthropogenic (man made) global warming

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