|"I think the lesson here is that *posts* cannot be moderated for content, at least not very much. Instead the membership must be moderated to those who are capable of self-moderation for the relevant topic at hand." [Neil]|
I agree. But I think there is room for separate forums whose distinct purposes are: i) serious intellectual learning and improvement, ii) humor, fun, social interaction, rowdy joking, iii) activism, spreading objectivism. When the three things get mixed on the same thread (e.g., you are looking for carefully considered responses and all you get are jokes or easy putdowns), then people get irritated because they feel they ought to have a place for their approach and purpose to be honored.
Wetheliving.com tried to execute this with different types of lists (e.g., Atlantis vs. Owl vs. Atlantis revised/Hell's Kitchen), but it wasn't enforced or managed completely, it seems...and the flamers, spammers, and chimpanzees simply posted everywhere and every day.
Here's an important point that will be controversial: Having seen a number of them over the years, I believe that having an Objectivist forum or website that doesn't work or self-destructs is -worse- than having no forum at all. It will further discredit the philosophy, demoralize the advocates, and teach nothing.
I view all the failed projects over the years (wetheliving, objectivity, carolyn's enlightnment website, lots of other publications, the atlas society) as ENORMOUSLY DESTRUCTIVE because they were not done right or were 'amateur hour'...even more than being undercapitalized.
"Yeah, but I had fun and learned something." Yeah, but look at all the wreckage you left in your wake. [I don't mean you, Neil, but I'm speaking of many, many, many past projects over several decades of incompetence, hubris, and lack of professional advice.]
"I agree with Joshua here that there needs to be a financial model in place to make a site self-supporting and able to attract fresh viewpoints to keep it vibrant."
That would certainly keep down spam and winnow out non-seriousness...but it would only be for type i (or maybe iii) of the three types of site i mentioned.
"OWL would consume a minimum of 2 hours per day, and sometimes up to 4 hours ... It just wears you down."
I can certainly understand that. The reason moderation isn't appealing or winds down over time is you almost have to pay someone to take soul-wearying flak from angry people who have been censored or told they need a "do over".
( Especially Objectivists who are the world's worst people at taking criticism without flying into a moral fury.
Us being so perfect and all. )