Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community



The post before this one was UD’s 9,000th.  Thank you to all of our readers for your support as we celebrate this milestone.

EA: I hear your thoughts, useful. Would say the current format of Yahoo help, where headlined news is in a top centre box, and cycles on an animation? What of that of ENV? Another format, with an example? KF kairosfocus
The news desk would easily accept any formula that did not interfere with the dissemination of news. News
Yes, DiEB, but that is just what happens when one installs a news desk. Your local newspaper is not likely different. If you count up the columnists vs. the stuff coming in off the wire or from beat reporters, you will see that the latter outnumbers the former. Many people greatly prefer the columnists, understandably, but it does not follow that they do not want to read any news. No one prevents anyone from commenting on a news story, but News
Now, Its over 9,000! kuartus
Barry: I appreciate all the hard work of the administrators and realize no system will be perfect. My $0.02: The format with the 4 semi-sticky posts is hard to read, kind of plugged into the middle of the page there. Indeed, it isn't obvious what these sticky posts are; I had suspected that they might be the most popular or something, but it doesn't say. Are these selected by how many views they got, how many comments they got, by how new they are, by administrator choice, or some combination of factors? More importantly, even with 4 sticky posts, the substantive posts get pushed off the first page very quickly because of all the news items that get posted (threads usually leave the home page within 2-3 days, which means we only get a chance for a once-or-twice back and forth on a substantive thread and then it is buried and, inevitably, forgotten). If possible, I would suggest that the news posts go into a separate sidebar. New ones can be added all day without impacting the substantive discussions. Then there could be two ways to deal with the news items that attract a lot of attention: either (i) have a sub-box with the top 4-5 recent "Hot News" items that generate the most comments, or (ii) after, say, 4-5 comments, elevate the news item to a post in the regular chain. Anyway, I don't know how feasible this all is and how much work would be involved, but I think it would be a much more friendly user experience: allowing everyone to see the interesting and important news stories that come out while still encouraging more in-depth discussions on substantive posts. Eric Anderson
So the number of 9,000 includes apples (2464 posts by News) and oranges (6536 posts by other contributors): Since April 30, 2011 - when the news service started - seven out of ten posts were news stories... DiEb
Thanks, Barry. A news desk cumulates news that would be especially interesting to the ID community, or tries to. So we feature a lot of (but by no means limited to): 1. Anomaly rather than same old same old. 2. Earlier than thought 3. Clear instances of non-Darwinian evolution. 4. What taxpayers are forced to fund that kiddies are learning at school. 5. Stuff about religion that is actually true but inconvenient to New Atheism (like that it is highly associated with better health) Incidentally, UD readers approximate the general population far more reliably than the readers of Darwin trollblogs in that respect. Maybe we don't go to the same houses of worship but we know that we are not the most intelligent beings around. 6. Political and media news that is or could become relevant to our community. 7. ID friendly papers getting published, or non-Darwin papers getting published. 8. The latest origin of life or human evolution claim. 9. Real physics and cosmology vs. crackpot cosmology (The difference between relentlessly chasing down the faster than light neutrinos claims and asserting that we are living in a giant sim but just don't know ...) And much more. Does everyone agree that all of this is important? Of course not. Why should they? It's the crossword puzzle principle: Your daily paper probably publishes a crossword puzzle and a sob sister. Do you do the puzzle? Maybe not. Read the sobs? Probably not. But someone you've never heard of could be toddling to the variety store for the last fifty years to buy the paper for the exact purposes of doing the puzzle and reading the sobs. There might be a hundred such people out there. A news service looks at overall readership and so long as ours is okay, it would make sense for us to just go on doing what we are now doing. News
Congrats from a new reader relatively. I think the news is very important and makes a bigger picture. Origin issues demands thoughtful people about complicated matters. Evolutionists should sharpen their wits here without malice. Evolutionists being on the wrong side means they are on the side where reason and investigation and revealed religion are against them powerfully. So they get more easily frustrated and bitter and here comes the malice,. I always find and its a expectation the evolutionists are not able to hold as long a decent contention. Just like any fight makes the wrong or bad guy more quickly lash out. this a good forum for evolutionists to prove their case or knock us out. Why can't they do it?? They should rule all conversations on these issues where facts and reason are the agreed rules. Someboy is right and somebody is wrong. Robert Byers
Commenters, Thank you for your comments. The management at UD has wrestled with the identified issues for over a year now. The problem is, like most decisions we have to make in our lives, there are no clear “good” and “bad” answers to these questions. Instead, you have tradeoffs. On the one hand, we know that the lifeblood of a blog is constant new content. On the other hand, we love the intense, largely civil discussions that go along with some of the more in-depth posts. So the tradeoff is between higher traffic (more posts) and more opportunity for discussion before the in-depth posts move down the page (fewer posts). At UD we try to achieve both goals though a system that is similar to the one KF suggests. You might have noticed that the four posts just under the lead post “stick” longer than the other posts. The reason for this is that the news posts do not go into this area. They are pushed down by any new post that comes along. The posts in the “sticky” area tend to be the more in-depth posts that draw more comments. We are trying to have the best of both worlds, higher traffic attracted by constant new content; and in-depth discussion of the posts in the “sticky” section. I am not worried about the comments-per-post data. As Denyse points out, that ratio was bound to go down when we added a news desk. I am also quite pleased with the quality of the discussions at UD. This is especially the case when I look at other sites around the web (all pro-Darwin), where the discussion is barely above schoolyard taunt level most of the time. All in all, while we continue to look for ways to improve, I am pleased with where we are at UD, and I am especially proud of Denyse’s news desk. She does a fantastic job for us. Barry Barry Arrington
Folks: DiEb has some rather interesting statistics. My thought is that we need to bridge the need for news and for views and forum-interaction, in a context that is reasonably free of the incivility that dogs too many sites, and the evasiveness and obfuscation that also destroy genuine dialogue from another direction. (For instance from 2010/11 we had a clear sock puppet and troll wave that sought to kill UD, and that is reflected in part of the statistics. Some of the die-off is due to the tail end of that wave.) My "ideal" suggestion is that a news clicker as is now increasingly common at sites like Yahoo may be a way to go, put at the top of the blog in a designated fresh news box. Below, we can have the views posts with comments; and that would be obviously slower moving. That gives us an effective news/views split. The news feed can then click to a "more" feature that goes to the news category, which would automatically give a latest at the top presentation. I think I agree with Mrs O'Leary's point that an ID-related news feature is a valuable service that will draw readership. Crevo news, from a creationist perspective, does something like that. I also agree that we need a strong views and discussion feature. (And of course I think we need to bulk up a bit on education features, correctives to weak anti-design arguments [the fussing and fuming and dismissing in the penumbra of anti- sites is telling . . . ], general FAQs, references and links to do a major de-spinning and equipping to think straight about origins science and design thought and science.) This is one case where I think we can have it both ways, but I am not sure if there is something off the shelf at WP that does the key thing. Hope this is helpful. KF kairosfocus
It would be nice if there were a research spot where ID’ers and their critics could hang out and discuss things like men, but there is not.
Given the success of the discussions at the Young Cosmos website during the summer of 2007, I have the acquired the domain: "CreationEvolutionUniversity" where I hope to host such discussion and exchange of papers. The idea was originally to provide a teaching tool, but this would also be a natural place for respected writers to publish there criticims of ID and various forms of creationism. Tops on the list of YEC critics would be SCheesman and Gerald Jellison. Tops on the list of ID critics would be individuals like Allen MacNeill or Nick Matzke or Joe Felsenstein, or any of the authors at TalkOrigins. It's healthy for the critics to be given the chance to argue their case as best as they can. Rather than a typical blog, in order to enforce scholarly standards, the contributions are posted by invited authors. Once an author is invited, he is pretty much the equivalent of a journal editor for his own work, but he is technically not an editor (as one considers editors in peer-reviewed journals). There will be a separate discussion forum where thread starters can invite who they wish to publicly dialogue with. As Tipler pointed out, at some point, it become ridiculous for journal editors to peer-review the works of authors who are far more versant in the field than the editors! In this day and age, I'll let the readers be the judge of which arguments are the best, not the editors. The model I suggest pretty much follows that of the Cornell Arxiv, whereby the intent is to host data flow and argument, not to have the editors settle arguments. scordova
SCheesman - I feel your pain. It is true that UD has morphed into a largely news blog. I think the biggest issue is not what UD has become (it's quite great to have a news service), but rather there is a lack of a medium for other discussions. If I have an idea I would like criticism for, I can post it here, but if people don't comment on it in the next 3 hours they probably never will. Telic Thoughts is still a decent spot, but it has a fairly closed membership (not that UD's is particularly open, but it is a bit more diverse), but it's posts are almost too slow. While 5 posts a day is probably too much to have a large discussion about, one post every 2-3 weeks just leaves you going around in circles on the same thing. So, we've lost PCID, ISCID, UD is now a news site, and Telic Thoughts is pumping very slowly. Does this mean ID is dying? No, on the other hand, it is professionalizing. There are starting to be conferences on ID, ID has a journal, and ID is starting to appear more in other journals (though not usually under the title "Intelligent Design"). It would be nice if there were a research spot where ID'ers and their critics could hang out and discuss things like men, but there is not. One possible solution might be to have a tag that the more research-y posts use, and then promote a link to that tag on the home page. Anyway, just some thoughts. johnnyb
FYI: Uncommon Descent developed a news service. The ratio of comments to posts would naturally fall to the levels expected in any news medium. Most people who have an opinion about something they read over breakfast do not write to the editor about it. News
Maybe the new format gets more visitors than it used to, but I’d be interested in seeing the stats, including comments per post, posts per month, unique visitors etc. over the last few years.
Here are some of the stats in which you are interested. DiEb
In that case, we want premier ecru. News
The Mayans predicted 10,000 will be reached by December 21, 2012 Joe
They said we could uncork the bubbly at 10,000. News
Here's to the next 9000!!! Blue_Savannah
Now I enjoy that sort of thing (like on Sal Cordova’s old “Young Cosmos” blog), but it’s hardly what UD used to be known for.
Thank you. I wanted to say those discussions motivated me to go back to school. I owe you a great debt of thanks. Even though returning to school didn't resolve the YEC debate by any means, I acquired new sets of skills and a sharper mind -- like introductory knowledge of General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology. :-) I no longer feel so completely in the dark on these important matters. The brief run at Young Cosmos has motivated me to work with others to form an open journal where individuals like yourself and Dr. Gerald Jellison can provide their critiques of YEC theory. Unlike my YEC colleagues who run creation conferences where criticism of YEC is forbidden, I value the critical analysis. Everyone benefits from the truth. God bless you Dr. Cheesman. Thank you for your patience with my lack of understanding, your encouragement, and your example. Sal scordova
I would prefer less banning as well. I miss DaveScot, Nakashima and some others who were banned. But whatever. Not my call. But more importantly, this means that the next post will be... OVER 9000!!!!!!! tragic mishap
I wish I could celebrate, but I fear 9000 is a reflection of a vast inflation in the number rate of postings in the last year or two, with a corresponding decline in comments. I owe a good deal of what I know today about ID from UD, both from a scientific and theological perspective, and used to enjoy the long threads and back-and-forth between proponents and opponents. But now, many, if not most posts get nary a comment, and the ones engendering some debate often are lost in the crowd. Since the recent purge of participants who failed to pass what amounted to a purity test, it's been pretty quiet here. The most lively recent discussion featured a debate between OEC's and YEC's. Now I enjoy that sort of thing (like on Sal Cordova's old "Young Cosmos" blog), but it's hardly what UD used to be known for. Maybe the new format gets more visitors than it used to, but I'd be interested in seeing the stats, including comments per post, posts per month, unique visitors etc. over the last few years. I miss the old days. I expect a lot of us do. SCheesman
Congratulations, UD. I wonder how many comments have been posted. material.infantacy

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