Dead Horses run free to see the light in Epiphanies

A long time ago when the Ship sailed on a different sea a few topics were stampeding all over the forums, trampling interesting discussions on other subjects under their hooves. With thread after thread, the same arguments were repeated and it seemed like this would continue unchanged until the end of time. In their wisdom, the Ships' Crew devised a clever plan, set up a corral where these topics could gallop without restriction while on the rest of the Ship other discussions could flourish. Dead Horses was born, and those topics which dominated the Ship and other forums took on a new life there.

Time passed, the Ship sailed on through new waters and what had been passed into history. The Crew of the Ship realised that most of the topics which had been a problem on the Ship were no longer likely to swamp out other topics. It's time to let them out of the corral they'd been running in, to rejoin the rest of the discussions without being marked out as special. In reaching this conclusion, the Crew have been helped by significant feedback from Shipmates on the continuing scope and value of Dead Horses.

At the same time, thanks also to much thoughtful input from Shipmates (in Styx threads), the Crew have also realised that for a few subjects the Third Commandment was becoming difficult to enforce in the same way, that in some cases it was no longer possible to clearly divide the subject from the person. To tackle this difficulty, we have created a brand new forum which we're calling "Epiphanies" for topics where the subjects under discussion are inseparable from the personal identity of those involved. This is an annex to Purgatory, and the guidelines for Purgatory will also apply to Epiphanies, but hosting will be more active and more alert to disruptive lines of argument.

To summarise the changes:
  • The Dead Horse forum will be closed and the threads there retained for reference and eventual archival.
  • The Epiphanies forum will be opened for those topics involving personal identity: initially threads relating to sexuality, gender and abortion. The Crew may move individual threads where identity is the subject of discussion, at our discretion.
  • Discussions on the nature of the Bible (Inerrancy and/or Infallibility etc) will now belong in Purgatory. Kerygmania will continue to be a forum for discussion of specific Biblical texts and themes, and not these more general subjects.
  • Purgatory will also be the natural home for discussions of Creation and Evolution, and the theology of Communion.
  • Ecclesiantics will be the natural home for discussions of music in church and the practice of Communion.

The guidelines for Epiphanies will follow in the next post, as well as being posted on the new forum.

Comments

  • edited August 5
    Epiphanies Guidelines.
    This is our space to discuss issues where people are personally invested, and where academic detachment just isn't possible.

    1. This forum is for topics where issues and identity significantly overlap, plus threads moved from other forums if the Crew think this is appropriate.

    2. This forum is for serious discussion of these topics and will be allowed to reflect all widely held views, even if they are considered offensive by some. It is not intended to be an echo chamber, nor yet a pillory. Purgatory Guidelines also apply.

    3. This forum will be more closely hosted than the rest of the Ship. For example: Some phrases or sources may be ruled off limits on a particular thread as they are seen as unhelpful. Circular discussions may be closed. Tangents redirected. This change doesn't alter the other forums - hosting will still be light in Purgatory, Kerygmania will still be for discussion of specific passages and themes and explicitly not for discussion of inerrancy/infallibility, etc.

    4. Shipmates are encouraged to PM a Host about material that is, in their opinion, of dubious provenance or from overly partisan sources.

    5. Thread titles need to be clear so people know exactly what they’re getting into. Unclear thread titles will be amended.

    6. Your Hosts here are @Barnabas62, @Louise, and @Gwai.

  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    Brilliant idea.
    Thank you for doing this- looking forward to reading the new forum and maybe even commenting.....but there again that requires having something meaningful to contribute so don't hold your breath!
  • This looks like a very good solution.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Farewell Dead Horses - you worked hard and well. Now it’s time for a happy retirement in green pastures.
  • I think that Dead Horses probably will retire to Elysian pastures ... A great idea, so long as it is well hosted and avoids those tedious circular discussions and comments such "I simply cannot believe what you inferred from her allegedly offensive remarks about the way X had understood Y's replies to the points raised by Z ...".
  • Well done team.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    I think that Dead Horses probably will retire to Elysian pastures ... A great idea, so long as it is well hosted and avoids those tedious circular discussions and comments such "I simply cannot believe what you inferred from her allegedly offensive remarks about the way X had understood Y's replies to the points raised by Z ...".

    Noted!
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate
    Alan, your introductory post reads like CS Lewis meets Tolkien meets Star Trek. Loved it.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    In the distance, we can hear ghastly hooves gallopping towards the horizon, set free to rest at last.
  • "Ghastly" or "ghostly"?
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    I’d like to thank the DH hosts past and present for all their work and wisdom especially during my stint as a Hell Host.

    I reckon Epiphanies is a good thing, but I’m not sure how the extra fundamentalist topics will go in Purgatory. Best wishes to all the hosts.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Well, now that I've recovered from the shock of finding "Creation and Evolution" heading up the threads in Purg this morning, it seems likely that a thoughtful solution has been found.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited August 5
    One that probably ... evolved! (Hears tread of rapidly approaching Host, ready to strike him on the knuckles for being naughty ...)
  • "Ghastly" or "ghostly"?

    Both, I guess - but the pong of rotting horseflesh seems to have been muchly dissipated...
    :grin:

    It'll be Interesting™ to see how Epiphanies pans out, and also to see how other boards are affected (or not).

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Dunno what to think. On one hand, the thought and effort the hosts put in is appreciated. One the other, hosting on the Transgender thread is part of what triggered all this.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    hosting on the Transgender thread is part of what triggered all this.
    As we have effectively acknowledged, the discussion about hosting the transgender thread informed our decisions backstage. There was clearly a difficulty hosting that thread within the guidelines of Purgatory, hopefully within a slightly amended set of guidelines in Epiphanies a different hosting line, that avoids the problems of robust discussion of deeply personal topics, may be easier to find.
  • It does strike me though that the most important thing necessary will be for posters to exercise a generous spirit in their comments, even though these issues may touch us at very tender and painful places.
  • MaryLouise wrote: »
    Alan, your introductory post reads like CS Lewis meets Tolkien meets Star Trek. Loved it.
    We were hoping for some echoes of Babylon 5 as well.

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    It does strike me though that the most important thing necessary will be for posters to exercise a generous spirit in their comments, even though these issues may touch us at very tender and painful places.
    The problem is that the generous spirit has typically been requested of those touched and not those questioning. Which is why we are here.

  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    Thanks to the H&A for giving thoughtful consideration to these issues.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    hosting on the Transgender thread is part of what triggered all this.
    As we have effectively acknowledged, the discussion about hosting the transgender thread informed our decisions backstage. There was clearly a difficulty hosting that thread within the guidelines of Purgatory, hopefully within a slightly amended set of guidelines in Epiphanies a different hosting line, that avoids the problems of robust discussion of deeply personal topics, may be easier to find.
    I’m not sure it was the guidelines as much as not getting the problem.
    I hope the new setup drives awareness and works well.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Barnabas 62, Louise and Gwai, thanks for taking this on - I think your chocolate rations should be doubled.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    Alan, your introductory post reads like CS Lewis meets Tolkien meets Star Trek. Loved it.
    We were hoping for some echoes of Babylon 5 as well.

    Could easily be either Delenn or Susan Ivanova speaking. Needs a little Zathras, though! ;) (And Becca and Romi and Trance, from "Andromeda"! Then there's "Farscape"...)
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate
    Thank you to the H&A in general, and to @Barnabas62, @Louise, and @Gwai for taking on the new board. This seems a sensible solution.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    Alan, your introductory post reads like CS Lewis meets Tolkien meets Star Trek. Loved it.
    We were hoping for some echoes of Babylon 5 as well.

    Good work. Grouping threads that all consider identity is an epiphany itself. Thank you for that. My brain is gearing up for warp drive.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited August 6
    Epiphanies was the title of Babylon 5, episode 7, series 4. It contained this quote by G'Kar to Franklin.
    I have seen what power does and I have seen what power costs. The one is never equal to the other.

    Something to be borne in mind when considering Epiphanies topics.

    But tbh it got chosen as a forum title because we liked the sound of it. Particularly those who liked Babylon 5.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited August 6
    OK, so here is a concern.
    In the Homosexuality thread now in Epiphanies, Pangolin Guerre and I were interacting. A little sarcastically on my part.
    B62 made a host post about respecting PG's queerness. However, his anecdote doesn't have anything to do with being queer, nor is my response an attack on (or confronting in any way) queerness.
    PG's queerness has nothing directly to do with the anecdote. It is still a problematic statement for the same reasons no matter the gender or sexuality of the speaker.
    I appreciate the being more cautious, but I do not agree that this needed to be cautioned.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Just a comment not necessarily a criticism. It's taking a bit getting used to the fact that topics that I routinely ignored since they were in DH are popping up in Purgatory. Although I think DH had outrun its initial raison d'etre it felt comforting that these topics seemed to be corralled beyond the pale.
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    OK, so here is a concern.
    In the Homosexuality thread now in Epiphanies, Pangolin Guerre and I were interacting. A little sarcastically on my part.
    B62 made a host post about respecting PG's queerness. However, his anecdote doesn't have anything to do with being queer, nor is my response an attack on (or confronting in any way) queerness.
    PG's queerness has nothing directly to do with the anecdote. It is still a problematic statement for the same reasons no matter the gender or sexuality of the speaker.
    I appreciate the being more cautious, but I do not agree that this needed to be cautioned.

    Thanks for raising this. The Crew hopes all Shipmates recognise that these are early days for the new Epiphanies Forum. While we are agreed on the general principle that Epiphanies provides a safer (not safe), less abrasive environment for discussing issues of personal identity, we will be working out what that means in detail for a while.

    Barnabas62's specific ruling didn't name any Shipmates or ban the use of sarcastic or dismissive comments. The ask is for Shipmates to be careful about making them in discussion about sensitive issues and recognise the negative effect on the flow and tone of conversation they can have.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    Nice move, some of those horses seemed far too alive and current to be considered deceased.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited August 9
    For sentimental reasons I miss having Dead Horses. Coming off other Christian discussion boards in the early 00s it seemed an eminently good idea and one of the things that made the Ship distinctive. Still I suppose it's not exactly unrestful to keep a board around solely because we've always done it this way.

    That said one of the differences between Dead Horses and Purgatory was that Dead Horses was much more willing to have one really long thread on a subject and refer new similar discussions to the old thread. This is off putting in Purgatory if one ought to read the whole thread before jumping in. I think if allowing lots of similar discussions on a subject clogs Purgatory that's an argument for re-opening Dead Horses for that subject.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    It should still work that way in Epiphanies, Dafyd, for the ex DH topics which got moved there. For the two topics which got moved to Purgatory, and for those in Epiphanies, folks are free to stay with the general purpose threads or spin off separate sub topics, as they were in DH. Changing the forums doesn't change the thread options.
  • This seems an eminently sensible solution. Well done folks!

    I was puzzled by the title 'Epiphanies' though. It sounded like a board for people to post threads where they say, 'I used to think X but now I've seen the light and think Y ...'

    I'm sure it'll work and soon become part of the Ship's tackle and trim.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Hope springs eternal, Gamaliel. But as I said above, the influence of Babylon 5 was strong!
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    For sentimental reasons I miss having Dead Horses. Coming off other Christian discussion boards in the early 00s it seemed an eminently good idea and one of the things that made the Ship distinctive. Still I suppose it's not exactly unrestful to keep a board around solely because we've always done it this way.

    That said one of the differences between Dead Horses and Purgatory was that Dead Horses was much more willing to have one really long thread on a subject and refer new similar discussions to the old thread. This is off putting in Purgatory if one ought to read the whole thread before jumping in. I think if allowing lots of similar discussions on a subject clogs Purgatory that's an argument for re-opening Dead Horses for that subject.

    I too think it was ill advised to close the Dead Horse Thread.
  • We have no evidence that any subjects are clogging up Purgatory. Therefore a forum to prevent that isn't needed. Should we find that that's happening, in the way that happened 20 years ago, we'll look at what needs to be done. In the meantime we'll monitor Epiphanies and will tweek how we manage that forum if needed. There seems no point in maintaining two special interest forums for a small set of subjects.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    "special interest"?
  • Caissa wrote: »
    "special interest"?

    If you look at the old boards, the forums were divided into groups - Ship's Business, Community Discussion and Special Interest. Plus Ship's Locker.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Ok. That's makes sense.
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