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So, I like this site, but I'm not an active user, more of a 'drop by and read cool questions and answers about philosophy so as to find interesting works to read' kinda guy. That said, I figured that somebody else was doing the 'active site' work and now I am concerned that possibly this in not the case. We have 2 nominees for this election cycle. One of them is obviously and patently unqualified (not that non-western Philosophy is wrong, unwelcome, or anything like that, just that the rep, site history, and sole meta post don't speak to capable moderation nor a good understanding of how SE Q&A works). That means this isn't an election, it's a confirmation hearing for Mr. Klöcking. Fortunately, Mr. Klöcking seems like a reasonable choice for moderator.

That doesn't diminish the fact, however, that that looks really bad for our site health. What's going on here, guys? Does nobody want to be a mod? Is our active userbase really that small?

  • Is this election for all or only one moderator? – fileunderwater Aug 1 '17 at 11:30
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    There are a lot of active users who didn't apply, and my guess as to why (being one of them) is because being a moderator is a job that comes with responsibility. I do care about this site and I care about making it a functioning place where good questions are asked and answered, but I also can't resist arguing with people in comments and that is something that a moderator cannot do. I'm trying to do that less, but right now I'm not in a position where I'd want to take up the mantle of being a moderator and cut all of that out that just to sift through recommended deletion flags. – Not_Here Aug 1 '17 at 17:49
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    And by that I mean, I don't think it has anything to do with the active user base being small (although its obviously smaller than a lot of SEs), I think it's whole heartedly that people don't want to to have the responsibility that comes with being a mod. You get yelled at, there are constantly people that come to the site who are anti western academia and just want to start fights, eventually someone's gonna call you a nazi for closing a borderline question, and you have to be on your best behavior always. It's not a fun job to have. – Not_Here Aug 1 '17 at 17:52
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    @Not_here: These comments would make a very good answer imho. There is indeed few gratitude vs. a lot of work and flame and trolling going on. At least that's what is expected. – Philip Klöcking Aug 1 '17 at 18:19
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    In agreement with Not_here and Philip Klöcking: there are many people who are making a big effort to keep this site clean and show newcomers around, and almost all of them do not have a diamond behind their name. That most of them choose to not run for moderator is an interesting fact but does not mean they are not doing a great job. – user2953 Aug 2 '17 at 15:25
  • @Keelan let's say none of them run. What then? That's only one person less than we had this time. – Please stop being evil Aug 2 '17 at 17:32
  • @thedarkwanderer let's answer that question when the situation arises, shall we? I think we will be good with four mods for some time. Also, when people see there is no candidate they like that works as an incentive for them to nominate themselves. – user2953 Aug 3 '17 at 5:34
  • @Keelan Western philosophy is going down the drain, and your maniac compulsion to hide any ideas about it just strengthen this tendency. I hope you're satisfied! – Rodrigo Aug 9 '17 at 13:54
  • @Rodrigo your post was removed because it didn't answer the question, not "to hide any ideas about [Western philosophy going down the drain]". – user2953 Aug 9 '17 at 13:58
  • @Keelan Lack of nominations probably because more and more people are thinking that philosophy is as useless as alchemy or "flat Earth science". And one of the reasons for this have won an honorary doctorate in Cambridge! "Everything goes" is their mantra. Or "Everything is knowledge" as they're putting it to naive "third-world" students. Now, if you prefer to keep your eyes closed to this (and close other people's eyes!), or pretend you don't understand, I can only think that you're somehow benefiting from this sea of bullshit. – Rodrigo Aug 9 '17 at 14:09
  • @Keelan While I am not sure the post added anything valuable, this is a meta discussion. Not answering the question isn't really grounds for removal. Also being wrong isn't the same as not being an answer; I think that in the case of a wrong answer downvotes are much more appropriate than mod deletion. Now, I think the deleted post was skirting the edge of the Be Nice policy, so I wouldn't have been bothered had you deleted it for being offensive, but deletion as 'Not an Answer' seems a bit inappropriate. You also might wanna read rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/a/6916/14848 – Please stop being evil Aug 9 '17 at 17:47
  • @Keelan Basically, I think you might be under-using the suspension tool and over-using classification as a non-answer to compensate for not classifying things as not-okay for other reasons. This isn't intended to be "You're doing it wrong brarrrghhh D<", just I thought other people's experience elsewhere might be applicable and thus helpful. And I'm sorry if this ends up pouring more fuel on an unhelpful fire-- I wanted to put this as as flag message originally but it didn't fit :( – Please stop being evil Aug 9 '17 at 17:51
  • @thedarkwanderer What was "not nice" about it? Do I have to be "nice" with people who creates a "cult" to destroy reasoning and people's ability to think clearly, and to gather around good ideals? Just to keep the power in the hands of a few? You all seem to think there's not even the slightest chance of this to be true, but what if it is? Isn't worth examination? Why condemn opposing (even "strange") views to oblivion, if not to keep the status quo? Actually, Nietzsche already told the role of "philosophers" in this, and that's why the last page of The Antichrist was censored so many times. – Rodrigo Aug 9 '17 at 20:13
  • @Rodrigo I don't think whether it's true or not has anything to do with whether or not it violates 'Be Nice'. You have to be nice (i.e. polite) to everyone as a condition of using the network. For example, on RPG.SE we get people who wanna use RPGs to perpetuate white supremacist ideology. We don't say "F&*$ you neo-nazi scum go di in a whole!", we politely tell them that their question/answer/comment violates the SE Be Nice policy by reason of being racist, and as such is being deleted as offensive. – Please stop being evil Aug 9 '17 at 20:46
  • The reason why this site lacks "health" is simple: nobody likes moderators who act as if thinking is not philosophy, as if only citing famous philosophers is philosophy. Your inability to think by yourselves (and let others think) is laughable at best, and depressing at worst. When (not if) a revolution comes, you are the kind of people that the masses are going to tie up to the fences, that's why you spend every minute fighting against such possibility. Enjoy your trifling powers, they won't last long. – Rodrigo Aug 9 '17 at 20:47
6

So, most of this is coming from my personal opinion on the situation, but from everything I've seen across the site I think there are other people who feel the same as I do.

First, being a moderator is a job and with all jobs come responsibilities. There are a lot of active users who regularly vote on questions, articulate what they think is wrong with questions they're voting to close, and engage with other users on meta about the direction the site is heading in and every other topic that involves meta-discussions. However, all of those things are being done as part of a symbiotic relationship with the site; one of the reasons we who engage in doing that are doing this because it makes the site better and easier for us to use. When you're a moderator, you can't do that sort of thing out of the kindness of your heart, you have to do it because it's your job. Obviously at the end of the day the job of being a moderator isn't Earth shattering if you mess it up, but it's still a job that you are voluntarily signing up to do. I think it's understandable that a large amount of people would rather contribute on their own time instead of being required to contribute the entire time.

I'm an active user of this site and I'd like to think that most of my questions and answers have been well received, in terms of voting and general community response. In addition to that, I've tried to take a more active role in helping out new people coming to the site, because I agree with everyone else's sentiment that new user retention is difficult and if you just downvote someone's question as soon as they ask it, they probably won't be wanting to come back. In addition to that, I've tried to be as active in articulating why I vote to close questions and what the user can do to improve the question. Finally, in terms of my flagging of posts, 23 out of 23 times I've flagged a post have been found useful, 8 out of the 8 times I've flagged comments have been found useful, and the 1 out of 1 times I've flagged for rude/abusive (I don't know why this was singled out in the stats?) has been found useful via the stats on my user page. So, I'd like to think that I'm at least trying to actively contribute to helping manage the site in a productive and useful way. However, again I feel like I'm more comfortable doing all of these things from an active user perspective instead of taking on the responsibility of a moderator.

Besides what I just outlined above, I feel like I didn't run for two real reasons, one is a minor reason and the other I think is much more substantial. The first one is that I am too prone to argue in comments. It's not a good habit to be in and it's something that I am trying to do a lot less, but right now I do it way too much to be someone who has the mantle of responsibility that a moderator has. It would not make the site look good and I actively want to try and make the site as great as possible.

The second, and more important, reason has to do with my vision of the scope of the site. As a quick aside, I've lurked SE sites for years, I never really had a question that wasn't already asked so I never had the need to ask and I didn't feel the need to get sucked into the reputation chasing system by answering, until sometime last winter at least, so I'm a little bit new to the history of this site. My understanding is that a while ago virmaior was asked to be a moderator here given his background and current status as an academic philosopher. However, (and again I've gathered this just from old meta posts and some recently resurrected drama) he has a self admittedly narrow scope of what he defines as philosophy for this site and that caused issues with people in the past. From everything that I've seen, I feel like I largely agree with his scope of philosophy in terms of this site and I think that the direction I would tend to moderate towards would end up having the same caustic relationship with specific and potential users who disagree.

Really quickly for background, I entered undergrad wanting to double major in philosophy and computer science (leaning towards the theoretical side). After two years of doing this I realized that I was fascinated with what is currently going on in high energy physics (AdS/CFT, black hole information paradox, etc.) and I ended up getting a degree in physics and mathematics (really just a focus on theoretical computer science type math) instead. I still absolutely love philosophy and I've found that this SE has been a great place for me to continue my study/actively write about the subjects that still remain some of my favorite areas of research. That being said, I come from the background of academic philosophy (I was lucky enough to take a two graduate seminars in philosophy of language for some extra credits I needed) and I can't resist the urge to try and lean towards that with regards to this site. Because of all of this, I know that if I were to have run and been elected a moderator, I would have ended up in a similar situation that virmaior was in and, having seen how it played out, that's not at all something I want to deal with. There are a huge amount of people who come to this site that actively hate western academia and just want to start arguments. Obviously, being a moderator means you have to read everything as charitably as you can and I would not be able to do that with these specific people, having seen it as many times as I have. That isn't fair to those people, even if it eventually ends the same way.

This is more of an explanation of why I didn't run for moderator, but I do think that some of these ideas (mostly the lack of wanting more responsibility as well as the drama and hatred that comes with being a moderator) are pervasive in a lot of active users who chose not to run.

As was stated above, four people ran. Three of them mentioned explicitly that they had an agenda and wanted to force the site in a particular direction. I have empathy for most of them (one was someone who was actually just trolling) but I think that the battles they want to fight are much better done across meta first, because they are not going to win an election on a platform of "I want to change absolutely everything because there's a bias that I don't agree with." As was pointed out, one of them very clearly demonstrated that they don't have an understanding of some of the main functions of how SE sites work. That isn't a good look for anyone trying to get a moderator position, even if they aren't trying to push an agenda. I think Philip is going to do a great job, he has actively been encouraging people to improve questions and has been a voice on meta discussions as well. If it turns out he is horrible, I'm sure it will come up on meta and there will be a long community discussion about it.

So I would conjecture, and this is obviously just my conjecture, that the issue is not that we have a small user base, but that people just don't want to be moderators. Having a small user base obviously has a hand in the situation, if there are less people then there are just less people to try and do something, but even if there were only 20 people on an SE, there's always a chance that all 20 of them would want to run. I genuinely think that philosophy is a hard topic for an SE site and I think that is reflected in how many different opinions there are on the site's scope and future direction. If someone wants to take up the responsibility of steering the ship then I will try as hard as I can to communicate with them and hope the situation goes well, but steering is not something I want to personally do at this moment. I believe a lot of other people feel the same.

P.S. This is already too long of a post (one of my other flaws is my answers are too long) but I'll try to articulate one last point to try and explain what I mean by all of what I've said. A while ago there was someone who asked a question and the entire gist of the question was "all people on this site do is link to wikipedia in their answers, nobody is actually doing philosophy. This is disgusting. How can you call this philosophy?" I don't really want to even begin to articulate how I feel about that question, so I'll try to just be neutral and say: this site is not about doing philosophy, it's about answering questions about philosophy. The user who asked that question was told that fact multiple times, because he continued to be transgressive about "how decadent western philosophy is since it's become the equivalent of wikipedia" and I will be as honest with you as I possibly can: I do not want to deal with users like that. There is no bone in my body that wants to deal with that situation or has the patience to be charitable and try to be nice to them. That's a flaw in myself, but it's one I can recognize and that actively makes me not want to be a moderator.

P.P.S. Everything that is going on with this question is exactly what I'm talking about in this post. The original question absolutely violated the be nice policy, and the OP said as much in the comments when they said "I knew it would offend the guilty". After that fact was pointed out they continuously got defensive, saying "this is a forum I can post what I want, you're just trying to censor me because it offends you and you're scared of the truth," then someone else who also doesn't like the moderators comes in and just joins in with irrelevant comments about how the moderators are going to censor this post because they are "pushing an agenda" (half of the comments towards the end have absolutely nothing to do with trying to improve the question or point out the flaws, they're just agreeing that people who don't like the question are the people the question is talking about) and then, as has been the case multiple times recently, the comments devolve into a weird sort of defense of anti semitism: "The irony is that the people doing the most to promote anti-semitism may be the Jews themselves." (What on Earth does that statement have to do with the question being asked?) When someone goes in and cleans up the comments, there are just going to be more comments decrying censorship.

That post was clearly against the rules and all the OP wanted to do was argue about being prosecuted by the moderators for posting "truth that they disagree with on a philosophy forum," ignoring the fact that SE is not a forum which was pointed out multiple times. Who wants to deal with this? I guarantee, as has been the case before, the OP will post more questions like this and get in more arguments until they eventually leave the site after denouncing all of the moderators as perverters of truth.

  • I don't think you've really described why you think Phil.SE specifically had so few candidates (the question). Your reasons would apply to any moderator job on any site, but other sites do not seem to have such problems. I know Biology.SE just had it's election with three viable candidates and they're a smaller site than Phil.SE. Are you suggesting that moderators on Biology.SE don't have a lot of hard work to do, or that there aren't a lot of non-academic agenda driven questions (mostly creationists) which need patiently dealing with? – Isaacson Aug 3 '17 at 7:35
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    @Isaacson: I guess that taking into account the number of active, suitable people, the proportions could actually be quite similar. With a broader basis, it is natural that more people volunteered despite what this answer is stating. I can relate with many points mentioned here. The complete answer consists of both aspects imho and all that has been done is to make one part of it more explicit. He has been asked to do so and the votes express agreement that it is the more important one. I therefore think your first comment wasn't exactly appropriate. – Philip Klöcking Aug 3 '17 at 12:10
  • @PhilipKlocking I really can't see the confusion here. Whether moderation is hard or not has no bearing on the question, in order to answer the question with this theory (that the difficulty of the job is largely responsible) we'd need to know why it is more difficult on this site, than on other similar sites without this problem. That's something which the answer doesn't seem to be addressing, hence my first comment. I'm not sure what the votes have to do with it, but I'm hopefully not obliged to ensure my comments conform the the Zeitgeist. – Isaacson Aug 3 '17 at 12:58
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    @Isaacson how did I know you were going to argue about this with me? The OP: "why did so few people run?" Me: "Well, here's why I specifically didn't run but from listening to other people talk about this it seems like other people feel the same way that I do." Even if you think I'm wrong and this isn't the reason, how on Earth can you say that doesn't answer the question? I gave my opinion (which I explicitly say is just my opinion many times) as to why and I gave actual examples of two situations that happened recently on the site where being a moderator sucked. What more do you want? – Not_Here Aug 3 '17 at 13:27
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    "We'd need to know why it is more difficult on this site" because it's a stack exchange site about philosophy and every day we get questions like "if I pick my nose but nobody sees did it really happen?" Yeah, it's easy to moderate a math SE site because it's incredibly easy to understand what is and what is not a math question. It is not as easy to do here since most randomly assembled questions have some underlying hint to a philosophical theme. See the part in my answer about virmaior. – Not_Here Aug 3 '17 at 13:30
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    @Isaacson: Just to be 100% clear: I do not want anybody to conform to anything but the policies of this site. And one should express one's opinion openly. All I wanted to express was my own feeling that the reaction was overly harsh in its wording, especially as it was my comment that asked for making this an answer. What bit me is that the first comment felt openly derogative. And I'd like to ask both of you to refrain from offensive speech of any kind. I think it's really not worth the effort, emotions , and stress. – Philip Klöcking Aug 3 '17 at 18:09
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    There is, especially because this is a meta discussion, no need to discuss whether this post answers the question, considering it has been accepted by both the community and the OP. Let's focus the comment thread on its content. – user2953 Aug 4 '17 at 4:50
  • On the content, I can agree with most of this, although I personally do not see moderating as a job - it is still volunteer work and if life is busy I might skip a couple of days or longer. There are no requirements considering the time you're supposed to spend on moderation. And I'd like to think I still do this for the site and its community, not because it is my job. Other than that, I believe this answer pretty much sums it up. – user2953 Aug 4 '17 at 4:58
  • @PhilipKlocking I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I don't wish to allow two perfectly reasonable comments to be inflamed into sounding like the first volleys in some childish fued. I made one comment that I didn't think the answer quite covered why Phil.Se specifically had this problem and then added a caveat that I did not wish the criticism to detract from the entirely appropriate gratitude the post implied. – Isaacson Aug 4 '17 at 6:16
  • @Keelan I'm presuming you're responsible for 'cleaning up', the comments (if not please ignore this request), but if so, can you please explain to me why you felt that my important caveat endorsing the sentiments of gratitude, and my explanation of what I meant in the face of some misinterpretation has been removed, but Not_Here's inflammatory implication that I'm deliberately argumentative has been allowed to remain? – Isaacson Aug 4 '17 at 6:24
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    @Isaacson Not here. This comment thread is about the answer it is on. That was the point of the cleanup. If it really isn't clear, open another meta question about it. – user2953 Aug 4 '17 at 6:54
3

Actually there were four candidates, two of them were even less suitable/sincere than the other candidate you mention, so much so that they had to leave the election, so the situation you describe is even more manifest.

I think the problem (if there is one) is simply that there are only a very small group of users who fit the necessary criteria for being a viable choice of moderator.

First they must have a high reputation - See this question for a discussion about why this is not all that easy on this site.

Second they need to have been active on Meta, not a problem, but just narrows the list a bit further.

Thirdly, they need to command support for their particular view of the direction of the site. This is the key element that really narrows the field. Like Anna Karenina's marriages there are plenty of alternative views out there, but they are all alternative for different reasons, the only view that is widely agreed upon (even if only by a small group) is the one from which all candidates must be drawn if they are to have a serious chance of being elected. I think this is also part of the reason why voting is so low on Philosophy.SE so this and the first feature actually reinforce one another.

Finally, moderation requires a relatively impartial approach. Philosophy, perhaps more than many other fields, tends to incite passions even among seasoned users.

Add these together, you have a very small pool to choose from. None of the above issues, however, can be effected in any way, nor should they be, they are manifestations of the way the SE sites are set up. Having very few candidates who have a realistic chance of being elected is an unfortunate side-effect. Given that, we should be very grateful that Mr Klöcking is at least willing to take on the work, it would not have been entirely unlikely that we might have otherwise had no seriously viable candidates at all for the post.

  • The consequences of having an inappropriate moderator are dire. While I agree with your analysis, I disagree that nothing can be done to effect change or otherwise affect the situation. It would seem at the very least that increasing new-user retention would mitigate the problem long-term, and there may well be other viable solutions, such as sitting down with the community managers for a conversation about our future growth. I appreciate the extra info on the election's history, and the ideas as to why this might be the case. – Please stop being evil Aug 1 '17 at 10:04
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    Increasing new user retention would certainly help, but I don't see any way to do this within the constraints of the site. It is self-evident from the balance of questions we get that a considerable proportion of new users who want to ask questions outside of the current scope of the site, we can speculate that this is the cause of their loss. The problem is, I think, that although the majority of new users want the site to have a wider scope, they all disagree with each other about the direction that widening should take. Without consensus, no progress can, or should, be made. – Isaacson Aug 1 '17 at 10:18
  • Yeah I take Isaacson's comment to perfectly capture a big piece of this. In other words, there are people who take a narrow interpretation of philosophy like me, and there are others who take differing broad (or otherwise just plain differing interpretations).Regardless of where things wind up, I think user retention will remain a problem. – virmaior Aug 1 '17 at 13:13
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    The user retention problem happens on two sides: (1) rank amateurs (i.e., no philosophy classes in uni. etc) will continue to misunderstand "philosophy" regardless of chosen definition and ask off-topic questions and (2) professionals will be disappointed in the site (as I've gathered from both personal experience, from friends who have tried participating, and from turnover among professional philosophers here) and eventually quit it. I'm not really sure how to fix this, but part of why I don't run is that I do genuinely wonder if a softer (or different) touch can do better than I did. – virmaior Aug 1 '17 at 13:15
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    @virmaior For what it's worth, similar problems arise at many SE-sites. I've been most active at Bio-SE (less so lately), and that site also has the issue of many trivial or poorly framed pop-science questions from non-biologists, which on one hand creates activity but at the same time can drive away participation from professional biologists. However, compared to Phil-SE, the issue there is not so much "misunderstanding" of the topic (rather poor framing and trivial questions), while this is a bigger issue here. The active user base still seems to be larger at BioSE though. – fileunderwater Aug 1 '17 at 13:28
  • @fileunderwater Maybe a question for Stack.meta, but are there any sites which do have a wide community of academics asking detailed and specific questions? Are we striving for something for which there is actually an evident demand? As I may have mentioned before, most academics can get their questions answered by colleagues, or they at least know exactly where to look. We cannot survive as a site simply for the occasional rushed paper or lecture reference. – Isaacson Aug 1 '17 at 14:38
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    @Isaacson MathOverflow should be the obvious example, where users often ask, and sometimes collaboratively solve, research-level questions. That is at least my understanding (I'm not active there or qualified to say). I think cstheory.stackexchange.com is framed in a similar way, but the activity is much lower. – fileunderwater Aug 1 '17 at 14:46
  • @Isaacson chemistry.SE seems to be populated by several academics as well. I have a chemistry undergraduate (in addition to philosophy BA, MA, MPhil, and PhD) and the average question is one I cannot answer. – virmaior Aug 1 '17 at 14:49
  • @fileunderwater Yes, I can see how it would work for Maths, but you're talking about people posing their own problems and seeking expert collaborative advice on how to solve them, that's expressly not what Phil.SE is striving for (see this question, for example. It's the reference/encyclopaedia type of site I'm struggling to see how academics would have much interest in. – Isaacson Aug 1 '17 at 15:01
  • @Isaacson SE sites aren't supposed to be encyclopaedic, I don't think... Referential, yes, but it's supposed to address common problems faced in the course of doing a thing, not a topic-by-topic analysis – Please stop being evil Aug 1 '17 at 18:47
  • There's MathOverflow, which is for experts (and actually I think not even in the SE2.0 network) -- and then Mathematics.SE which is for anyone. We're much closer to the latter in terms of we don't expect you to be an expert to participate (although we encourage good faith efforts at independent research before asking) – Joseph Weissman Aug 2 '17 at 21:54
-4

"That this kind of puerile thinking [Slavoj ‌‌Zizek's] is celebrated in the universities and among a layer of semi-intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic is testimony to the deep-going crisis of bourgeois ideology." - Zizek in Manhattan: An intellectual charlatan masquerading as “left”

Postmodernism is destroying serious philosophy. When most people agree that "everything goes" or that "everything is knowledge", is there any point left in logic and reason? In philosophy and science? Dark times face the future of the West, and the election of a man like Donald Trump (not even the Republicans wanted his nomination) is a sign of that. Obscurantism is the only way that the elites found that could stop a growing crowd of scientific/philosophically informed masses to overthrown their power. Only a few have noticed that, but the "desire to be part of this century" is making the majority deaf to their arguments. So, it all reflects on the election on this site, where I was the second best candidate, even without knowing exactly how everything here works. Thank you all for the experience!

"(...) consistent ideas at the root of postmodernism (...) threaten to return us to an irrational and tribal 'pre-modern' culture" - How French “Intellectuals” Ruined the West: Postmodernism and Its Impact, Explained

"Simply holding the view that an objective, measurable reality existed (i.e. logical positivism) was deemed to be a transgression against the group. Holding this view was considered heretical and practically regarded as a sin — I’m not exaggerating." - My Apostasy from the Church of Critical Theory

"In this current state, education resembles, what the ancient Greeks would clearly call tragedy: a downward progression, or fall from a once elevated, more exalted position. (...) Students do not know the Constitution from the Declaration of Independence. Undergraduates fail to learn, let alone master, the rudiments of writing a passable paragraph. (...) As a final insult, and ironically a gift from the latest television programming, adult college graduates struggle to vainly compete with of all people, fifth graders on a game show." - Tragedy and Comedy in Postmodern Education

"We send our offspring off to university with the best will in the world, expecting that they will be instilled with the tools to navigate empirical reality, not inculcated with the compulsion to undermine it." - The Quiet Tragedy of Postmodern Education

"(...) postmodernism gives an escape clause to creationists, global warming skeptics, the Bush administration, and yes, Stephen Colbert, to disregard facts and the reality-based community in favour of their own wishful thinking." - Postmodernism, truth, and bullshit

"Postmodernity is a condition of profound and growing injustice and postmodernism is its legitimating ideology. And while most Western thinkers lie to themselves and argue that postmodernism is a new non-reductive, non-totalising theory of liberation the reality is that it is a condition which means ethnic restaurants and world music for the Western elite and devastation, utter devestation, for much of the Rest." - A Potent Critique of Western Cultural Imperialism [Customer Review]

"Postmodernism. Originally a theme within aesthetics, it has colonized 'ever wider areas,' according to Ernesto Laclau, 'until it has become the new horizon of our cultural, philosophical, and political experience.' (...) Consumer narcissism and a cosmic 'what's the difference?' mark the end of philosophy as such and the etching of a landscape, according to Kroker and Cook, of 'disintegration and decay against the background radiation of parody, kitsch and burnout.'" - The Catastrophe of Postmodernism

"(...) the proposed solution to this state of affairs by post-modernists is far, far worse than the disease: substituting all individualist inquiry with what basically amounts to groupthink, with the determinant of truth becoming who believes it, not why." - Post-modernism: a lie with some truth in it...

Finally, to conclude this presentation of evidences as to why Western philosophy is inside (or very close to) ICU (if not abandoned to its own luck), the Postmodern Generator. That a text like these has been accepted in a "serious" scientific magazine (the Sokal Affair), is evidence enough that something definitely doesn't smell good in the kingdom... Other line of evidence is the number of people here on this site who prefer to ignore what is going on, and never quite pays attention to this sort of denounce.

Abstract (to anyone who still haven't understood how this relates to the question)

Serious philosophy, like serious science, is being treated as the "mother of all vices" by postmodernists. Philosophy is becoming as relevant as alchemy or "flat Earth science". So, if philosophy is nothing more than a "funny, although useless, hobby", why waste one's time in a serious job like moderating a serious discussion forum about philosophy? I think this explains why this site has had much less nominations than its scientific counterparts (i.e. it seems philosophy is much more dominated by the vices of postmodern thinking than the natural sciences).

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    While this version of the post may follow the guidelines, it's still unclear to me how it answers the question. As this is a meta discussion, no big problem, although it may help to clarify that. – user2953 Aug 9 '17 at 21:20
  • @Keelan Philosophy is no longer being treated as serious business. So why invest effort in what is only a "somewhat useless hobby"? Is it clearer now? – Rodrigo Aug 9 '17 at 21:29
  • @Keelan I have improved the answer with some references and more explanation. PLEASE tell me if you understand it now. – Rodrigo Aug 9 '17 at 23:24
  • The issue with the other and this current version of your post aren't that they are incoherent. You don't like postmodernism and you think it has had a largely negative effect, you cited sources and you explained your ideas further. Your answer is not incoherent in what it is trying to express, you express the ideas well and I am sure that everyone who has read it understood what you were saying. The issue is that it does not answer the specific question about this site. Your post would be a good answer to the question "What are some criticisms of postmodernism?" but not this question. – Not_Here Aug 10 '17 at 2:30
  • I think that your issue with this site and why you think your answer really answers the question that was asked is because you are confusing this site and what it actually does with some form of real philosophy. This site is not a site for doing philosophy. It’s a stack exchange site for answering questions about philosophy. The reason that nobody else ran is because nobody else wanted to be a moderator, not because postmodernism is destroying western philosophy. Most people here are not actual philosophers, they just like philosophy and know the answers to some common questions. – Not_Here Aug 10 '17 at 2:31
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    This site is not a place where western academic philosophers go to peer review papers and posit their new theories, it’s a stack exchange site for people to ask questions in general about general philosophy. Because of that, the idea that postmodernism is destroying western philosophy has absolutely nothing to do with why few people ran for a moderator position this election. People don't want to moderate this site, it's not because the spectre of postmodernism inhabits their brain and destroys their desire to seek truth, it's because they don't want the responsibility of being a moderator. – Not_Here Aug 10 '17 at 2:40
  • @Not_Here Thanks for your comments. I noticed that people here think that philosophy is something you must have a university degree and books published to be allowed to do. I couldn't disagree more. Most old philosophers (if not all) developed their philosophies by themselves, interacting with the world, reading and thinking, just the way we all do. So I don't understand the supposed need for this distinction you cite, it seems a completely artificial and illusory distinction to me. – Rodrigo Aug 10 '17 at 2:41
  • @Not_Here As to the question, this site has less nominates than the others, at the same time when postmodernism is making a joke of serious thinking (and spreading itself in the academia like a virus). Maybe you think it's just a coincidence, to me that's something hard to believe. Anyway, I think that this relation deserves to be genuinely analyzed, at least to be proven wrong. The usual reaction, though, of completely discarding it, I can only wonder the reason... – Rodrigo Aug 10 '17 at 2:42
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    I am not saying that you cannot do philosophy or that you cannot be a philosopher, I am saying this site is not about doing philosophy. – Not_Here Aug 10 '17 at 2:51
  • @Not_Here Well, then that's one of the biggest waste of opportunities I have ever seen. Anyway, I just can't see any difference between asking/answering philosophical questions and doing philosophy. – Rodrigo Aug 10 '17 at 3:33
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    I think that would make a very productive meta question! – Not_Here Aug 10 '17 at 3:43
  • @Not_Here There you go: philosophy.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3523/4686 – Rodrigo Aug 10 '17 at 3:58
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    The post has improved, but I second Not_here on whether it answers the question. – user2953 Aug 10 '17 at 5:05
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    Just saying: I do not know any professional philosophers thinking of Zizek as serious philosophy. In Germany, Sloterdejk and Zizek are popular (read: sell many books), but academics acknowledge the philosophical weaknesses of men like him (as well as Derrida, Deleuze, Guattari, etc.). Speaking of philosophy, Postmodernism as you describe it is dead over here. It's a 60s/70s thing, more or less. – Philip Klöcking Aug 13 '17 at 21:32
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    Sorry, but these comments read like self-righteous gibberish. It's intellectuals that criticise the government heavily for how they acted. It's the common folk that vote for Merkel despite obviously serving the interests of huge firms before anything else. Hell, I studied economics and know the criticisms. Saving banks at any cost supports hazardous bevaviour. That's not Postmodernism, that's politics and power and money. Things that were the very same well before people like Derrida or Zizek were even born. If politicians only were intellectuals, they would act differently. – Philip Klöcking Aug 14 '17 at 5:57

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