"Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"
"You can't erase icing."
"I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"
Dear BAUT Community,
I'm so sorry that the idea of a forum merger came as such a surprise to you and that you feel we've been unresponsive. I've spent the past week working really hard on coding that will make the merger go smoothly, and I'm afraid I made a mistake in focusing on the software rather than coming into BAUT to speak with you directly, as I spoke with my team on CosmoQuest.
I hope you'll let me remedy this by talking to you now.
Our goal, like yours, is to get people thinking, talking, and learning astronomy. We take an extra couple steps with added focus on planetary science, citizen science, and open source astronomy software creation. For the most part, I'm hoping you'll see this merger as a name change (but the name comes with funding that pays the server), and a color change.
Here what won't change:
*- If a user on BAUT and CQX has two accounts with the same email, they'll default to their BAUT name (I'll change it by hand on request)
*- ALL user groups will be maintained
*- ALL mods who want to stay can stay, and they'll be given the same access as a CQX mod (twitter if they want it and the like)
Here's what will sometimes change
*- If a user was banned on BAUT and has been a good citizen on CQX, they'll be given a new chance on the combined forum to keep being a good citizen
*- Boards and threads might move / get consolidated / have slightly changed names
Here's what will certainly change
*- The name
*- The color scheme
*- Who handles the servers (The CosmoQuest programming team)
- Who pays for the servers (CosmoQuest)
I've worked on a **draft** layout of the new forum, and I'm going to be working with Phil, Fraser and the mod teams to get it right.
At the end of the day this is a community and we want you happy (but I can't change the name).,
If any of you want to talk to me privately you can email me as starstryder@gmail or skype me as starstryder.
I don't mind the name because it is probably easier to say than the current name so it is easier to spread the message but cosmo is a lot more popular so there might be more confusion.
That really looks good Pamela.
Again, I apologize for handling this poorly. My role has been to keep the community running, not interact in its day-to-day affairs. But if I do interact in its day-to-day affairs, then I can't keep it running. I'm sorry, we set up the admin/mod structure to be able to create a community that can handle issues within the community - to create something sustainable. In the ancient past, Phil and I dealt with everything directly, and it was completely destructive. I suggested the merger because I could see that Phil dealing with things was completely burning him out.
And I think your "The Owners" argument might hold more water if we were walking away with big piles of cash on the volunteer efforts of the admins and mods. But we're not. I've been dealing with the technical issues of running the system and absorbing the costs, and the admins/mods have been dealing with the politics. It's the role I'm able to play, so I do it.
We chose smart capable people to lead the community, and gave them the power and authority to do whatever they think is correct. We have never interfered or micromanaged their efforts.
I'm sorry about how this was handled, I'm continuing to explain things. Feel free to air all your concerns. Keep 'em coming.
Don't worry on my part, a lot of people have problems understanding me at times.
Oh, and I'm going to make Pamela a moderator, so she can see the full structure of the forum for her integration needs.
For what it's worth, I'm okay with the header in the screenshot. If you guys actually maintain that header (or something reasonably equivalent that acknowledges our community histories), along with the bautforum.com domain as equivalent to cosmoquest.tld for a good long while, then I don't really have a problem with which name you write on the business cards and grants, nor which logo is emphasized/has prominence.
You can probably consider me into a neutral "wait and see" mode now.
On a separate note, Pamela, now that you're here, I want to point out that your CQ forumers are likely going to feel like their own community identity is going to get utterly swamped, if not now, then definitely when it happens. I'm sure we'll be gentle... mostly gentle... the abrasions won't show in public... much... but in terms of the sheer differences in reported size, they'll wind up adapting to us, not so much us to them. That transition is never easy. It'll need to be considered and planned for (if only to expect it) so as to minimize the culture shock, wot?
One of the reasons this merge makes a lot of sense is more than 50% of the active CosmoQuest folks have an account on BAUT. With that much overlap, I think this more a matter of pulling the folks talking on the back patio into the main party and noticing some great new people joined in at the same time.
My big worry is that my post count here won't be added to my post count there ...
This has been asked a few times, but not really answered directly (if at all). Will the percentage of membership active in the Citizen Science projects affect the grants? That is, if very few of the active member of BAUT become active in those projects, will the grants be in danger at all?
I'm Not Evil.
An evil person would do the things that pop into my head.
Sorry - I haven't caught up on everything. NO - the grants are NOT IN DANGER. The grants are based on our ability to accomplish science. If the number of people currently participating goes down, that is a problem (because we won't get things done). If the number of people goes up with the BAUT merger, that will be great because we'll get science done faster. If we maintain status quo, well quo will actually be quo.
Greetings Pamela...welcome to the nut house.
One of the "problems" was a lack of communication...the impression I got was that you had chosen this (in my opinion) wacky name, and by gum, no one was going to change your mind...but that's not what was going on at all.At the end of the day this is a community and we want you happy (but I can't change the name).,
I accept that the grant is for citizen science on the CosmoQuest board, and the name can not be changed. (as opposed to will not be changed.)
Now if we can just do something about that color scheme....I of course "vote" for anything blue.
Last edited by R.A.F.; 2012-Jul-06 at 08:18 PM. Reason: fixed coding
Sorry, my sarcasm gland is never turned off, its a key to my survival.
Welcome to the funhouse Pamela... still sure you want to do this?
At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)
All moderation in purple - The rules
Also, I'm really not sure I'd characterize the active BAUT membership as interested in astronomy. To me, it seems like we're more generally interested in science and technology, and maybe science fiction also. If we conducted a poll, I wouldn't be surprised to find that less than a third of the membership consider themselves astronomy enthusiasts. (I don't, even though I'm certainly a space technology enthusiast and I follow astronomy related news more than the average joe.)
For an example of the sort of thing which is popular here, we have lots of discussions about energy and transportation technologies. These aren't astronomy related. We even used to have a lot of discussions about AGW, which isn't really astronomy related, until it got so out of hand that they were more or less banned.
Thanks, Pamela, for stopping by! I think most of will work with whatever those paying the bills decide.
Regarding the name, I've never much cared for "BAUT", so I'll be ok with "Cosmoquest". I do think, however, that "Cosmosquest" might have been better.
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.
Hi Trebuchet: CosmosQuest was taken :-( I tried about 40 names trying to find something available. If any name was mine to have, I'd have gone with a pun like OpenSpace (for open source + open science + space/astronomy/planetary).
Hi Isaac: It would be a fairly complex database query to sort active users on both sites (and would take a couple hours to run). Instead of giving you a precise answer, I'm going to give you an upper limit: Assuming everyone who is on both sites is active on BAUT (not always true - I had an account on BAUT I wasn't really using) about 10% of BAUT is on CosmoQuest. (And I'm a science, tech and sci fi geek too. These are all welcome. CosmoQuest is actually funded to do astronomy demos at Sci Fi Cons.)
Hi Joe: The too much red can get changed in our next version (August/September timeline). We're getting ready to launch version 2 of our site (like we're porting things now), and since all our code uses the same color scheme, changing colors is a hairy mess involving 5 different software packages. Can you wait for red reduction?
Hi All: I'm about head off for a celebratory dinner with one of my students and may be AFK until late or tomorrow. I'm not going away, just going into the real world for a little while. When I'm back I'll work to try and keep up with questions.
Your post caused me to think through it ... and I must say that, aside from those engaged in "addressing" CT/UFO/etc issues (yes, a very important part of our community), I'd always assumed that nearly everyone here had an interest in astronomy, at top or second level!
It's kinda strange, reading this; yes, it rings true, yet it's so different to what I imagined!To me, it seems like we're more generally interested in science and technology, and maybe science fiction also. If we conducted a poll, I wouldn't be surprised to find that less than a third of the membership consider themselves astronomy enthusiasts. (I don't, even though I'm certainly a space technology enthusiast and I follow astronomy related news more than the average joe.)
Yes, astronomy and space, but to me the second part is "just" an extension of the first: it used to be astronomy five+ decades ago, so, to me, it is still "basically" astronomy!
Thank you, IsaacKuo, for getting me to examine my own assumptions and biases more closely.
That's a very good point!For an example of the sort of thing which is popular here, we have lots of discussions about energy and transportation technologies. These aren't astronomy related. We even used to have a lot of discussions about AGW, which isn't really astronomy related, until it got so out of hand that they were more or less banned.
Here's something that may strike you as strange: to me, a great deal of the AGW (etc) stuff is largely "applied astronomy"!
To me, taking a view of the Earth as a whole is very similar to observing a planet, from a distant vantage point. Yes, we have the embarrassment of riches, today, of extraordinarily high-resolution remote images of 'not-Earth' objects such as the Moon, Mars, Mercury, etc, but isn't this just 'astronomy on steroids'?
The part of what we're about, here in BAUT, that doesn't fit my pigeon-holes is the stuff that the IRL tusenfem does; in situ studies of IPM/magnetosphere plasmas (sorry tusenfem, I know that's a - possibly - grotesque summary ...).
My concerns (aside from moderation) are, or have been:
That nothing (or as little as possible) is lost from BAUT.
Existing posts are all I will ever know about many of the
people who have posted here. If I die tonight, my posts
here will be the largest existing body of my own work.
In that regard, I consider them more valuable than my
own life. (I'm old enough to do that.) The whole of
BAUT, even moreso.
That backups are being made and at least ocassionally
stored on optical media at locations away from the data
That people have the information required to keep BAUT
running or restore BAUT from backups in case of disaster.
That BAUT not become commercialized. I see that Fraser's
thinking on that exactly parallels my own, and his paying
for the necessary costs are exactly what I hope I would do
if I could afford to. I can certainly afford to pay a share of
the costs, but no way could I pay for everything, and, like
Fraser, I seriously want to avoid a constant pleading for
money from members. I probably would not object to
advertising of space and astronomy-related businesses
which in some way support BAUT's purpose (science and
public understanding of science), but otherwise I feel they
would be out-of-place at best.
And that we can see these needs are being addressed.
Of lesser importance:
That consideration be given to a different name. Neither
"Bad Astronomy", "BAUT", nor "Cosmoquest" turn me on.
I can accept "Cosmoquest", but five to ten years from now
someone will decide that the name isn't good enough and
has to change, and it *will* change, at a greater cost
than if it were to change now.
-- Jeff, in Minneapolis
"I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"
"The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves
My main concern with this merger, other than the name of course, is the refocusing of the BAUT community towards those specific fields. It's good to hear from Fraser that we will keep our current structure and we're not "expected" to partake in those projects. However my concern remains that, with the rebranding towards CosmoQuest, in the end such a refocusing would take place on its own, which would in my opinion be a loss to the community. At least it would strongly diminish its value for me.
"Dumb all over, a little ugly on the side." -- Frank Zappa
"Your right to hold an opinion is not being contested. Your expectation that it be taken seriously is." -- Jason Thompson
"This is really very simple, but unfortunately it's very complicated." -- publius
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I am also satisfied with the explanations given by Fraser and Pamela...
...and at 64 posts in this thread, I'm one of the biggest "complainers".
I whole-heartedly share these concerns.Originally Posted by caveman1917
Exclusion of interests in the theoretical side of Astrophysics (for want of a better term), by way of inaction or non intentionality, represents a serious threat to the ability to dispel pseudoscience, misinterpretation of science, or just plain overactive imaginations. Frequently overlooked, it is simply the backbone of scientific reason.
Such expertise is a rare and highly valued commodity, and there has been a significant dropoff of such expertise over the last 12 months or so .. which raises an aside question of: 'Why has this happened ?'
Such expertise is simply an indispensable part of upholding Fraser's stated key purpose for the existence of this forum. It should thus be nutured and encouraged by whatever means necessary, in this merger and beyond.
This is what happens when you take a week vacation. You come back to find out the site is changing names.
I personally think it's great. I remember when UT was UT(I'm talking 8 years ago roughly). Then the merger with BA happened. I cringed, and then noticed...nothing. It was the same UT I was accustomed to. Back then, the forum could be slow to load for days on end. A lot of work obviously went into growing the forum's backbone that supports this community. Suddenly we have: proper servers to handle the load, more programmers working away, and real science.
Wait? Cosmoquest does real science? I look forward to checking it out!
As an 8 year member of UT, I'm happy that a one man show will be getting relief. It tells me that there's a much smaller chance of the forum disappearing into thin air. I've watched(as an employee) too many companies go down because there was nobody willing to make the existing model work.
And talk about an active thread. Something like 2 pages per day. My post shows as page 14 for me. Thanks to Fraser and Pamela for taking the time(work) to explain the work that they're doing.
I just want to reiterate, we are not looking to change the focus of BAUT with the merger.
Plato said (horrible paraphrase): "And last teach them astronomy" when he discussed how to educate. This is because astornomy builds on all the other sciences. This has never before been more true. Today astronomy includes computational astrophysics, astrobiology, cosmochemistry, and so much more. Discussions on all these topics are welcome.
CosmoQuest is young. What you see online are our first steps with citizen science projects related to our solar system. We had to start somewhere, but we don't have to stay there. We are CosmoQuest because it was the best name I could find that incorporated the entire universe.
We made a point of not replicating BAUT. BAUT is something special we all respect, and we actively have said (go see this post)
The reason you don't see overlap is because we didn't see a reason to replicate a nicely working wheel.CosmoQuest is a lot of things. We are citizen science. We are astronomy education and outreach. By necessity, we're new media programmers and users, and social media consumers and communicators. We're a lot of things, and we want to talk about all things. Really, I think if it's G-rated (& sometimes PG-rated), it might come up here somewhere. For instance: Bacon. Who doesn't want to talk about their love of or aversion to bacon? And don't forget all the great lithographs we have thanks to STScI's G. Bacon. I think I could happily talk about the science behind Bacon's images all day long.
All joking aside, we have built a place for you to talk, collaborate and build a community, but we know we are just one of many online communities, and for somethings you are better off going else where. Below are some sites we'd like to recommend for the moments when you need a little more than our members can offer:
- Want to talk about news, debunking conspiracies, & astronomy beyond the mainstream? Check out the Bad Astronomy - Universe Today Forum
What we're hoping to do now is provide a nicely working wheel a machine that will provide it oil, air, and occasional upgrades as needed. If you haven't looked already, please check out the screen captures I attached above of a **draft** layout of the new site. You'll see we kept all the boards.
You will learn that if there is a misspelling to be made, a name to be bungled, or a homonym to be abused, I will be the one doing all three of those things.
(Normal punishment for name bungling is to call me Paula..... Hmmmm April 1's Astronomy Cast should be hosted by Frank and Paula)