The purpose of the echo is to promote UFO religion in its
various forms. Occasionally, the unwary will wander in,
and be shown the door if their professed beliefs don't
measure up to what's expected. The key question for a
fringe-science-related forum is this: Are there beliefs
that are required irrespective of the participant's conduct?
The answer on your forum [UFO - flr] is "no". On I_UFO (as
on the CompuServe NEWAGE forum), it's "yes" but they just
aren't willing to be honest about it.
Clark [one of the participants - flr] will go on at great
length about how unnamed skeptics are guilty of various
rude (alleged) acts on I_UFO and elsewhere. This has two
functions that are immediately obvious: (1) It's a great
device to promote group cohesiveness. Every religion needs
devil-figures for this purpose. The unnamed skeptic serves
this purpose for Clark. (2) It distracts from the more
basic fact -- which they don't want anyone to notice -- that
skeptics are in fact to be banned REGARDLESS of how they
comport themselves; that their _beliefs are unacceptable_
and must not be expressed in any form whatsoever. This is
uncomfortable to admit because it is of course
_narrow-minded_, not in accord with their self image.
There will, in that echo, be allegations of fact (for
example) that are held to be sacred. Any post that
suggests they aren't true, or dares to contradict them,
will be held to be "ridicule" or to show the wrong
"attitude," or you will be told that it "does not fit the
spirit of the stated intent of this conference" and is
"offensive." You can be EXTREMELY pleasant, ignoring all
the name-calling that _you_ will be subjected to, but your
posts will still receive the above-described reception.
Those who persist will be ejected.
It's inevitable. The spirit of your posts actually is
irrelevant. Your attitude, in truth, doesn't matter. You
can eschew giving offence as much as any man alive has
ever achieved -- all to no avail: It's the _prohibited
beliefs/thoughts/opinions_ that are to be excluded.
In short -- as I said -- just a rather inbred religion
echo, with required beliefs and prohibited beliefs, founded
to promote particular ideologies and exclude particular
(disliked) ways of thinking. I don't object to this at
all, in itself. I just object to the glaring hypocrisy
of calling this echo a haven for open-mindedness, when
in fact admission is based flagrantly on ideological tests.