Happy Atheist Forum

Operations Desk => Forum Suggestions & Announcements => Topic started by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 01:34:25 PM

Title: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 01:34:25 PM
I'm sure this question has come up before but I don't recall seeing it elsewhere. We have a religion forum but not an athiest forum. This seems a little odd. Is there a reason behind this situation?
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Whitney on August 02, 2011, 02:36:25 PM
What is there specific to atheism that isn't covered by philosophy, media, etc?
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 04:00:51 PM
What is there specific to atheism that isn't covered by philosophy, media, etc?
I wondered if this would be the reason, and it makes sense but I don't see 'philosophy' as a comfortable or inviting forum to post in, it feels high-brow and intimidating. Just seems odd for an atheist forum not to have an obvious place to discuss atheism.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: fester30 on August 02, 2011, 05:08:25 PM
I'm not sure it's necessary.  Think about it.  Atheism is lack of belief in deities, right?  So if nobody believed in deities there wouldn't be any such thing as atheism.  Atheism in and of itself isn't really a topic of conversation, but a lack of one.  Our entire reason for talking about it in the first place is that there are religions in existence that wind up putting us into a minority status, sometimes denied equal rights, other times persecuted.  Therefore, in my mind, everything that there is to talk about atheism is reactionary to topics that come up in religion, philosophy, etc.  We sort of have to wait for there to be a belief in a god that affects us before we have something to talk about regarding our lack of beliefs.  Anything we talk about can be discussed from an atheist perspective, like science, but does not require discussion of an atheist perspective.

That's just my .02
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 05:26:25 PM
And a perfectly reasonable and accurate $0.02 it is to.

However, my point isn't as much logical as emotional. Lots of the people who join here are just discovering their new atheist world view. They have not yet reached the level of understanding you so eloquently described above. So, does this noob to the forum and atheism feel comfortable posting in a forum called philosophy? I would contend that they do not.

I think an area specifically called 'Atheism' would be easy to understand and attractive to new members and new atheists.

That's my $0.02   ;D
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Whitney on August 02, 2011, 06:06:14 PM
Is there perhaps another type of description that describes the point of such a forum other than just calling it atheism forum?  Perhaps a Recovering From Religion section is what you are thinking of?
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 07:01:55 PM
Is there perhaps another type of description that describes the point of such a forum other than just calling it atheism forum?  Perhaps a Recovering From Religion section is what you are thinking of?
Good question. Recovering from religion would be one important area, but that is a very specific issue, I was thinking of a more general and inviting forum title. We don't know what potential members are looking to discuss or why, but one thing we do know is that the word atheism will be somewhere in the mix. I just think it is a confusing situation to search in Google for an atheist forum to join and not find an area about atheism in that forum. I think we should present a forum that satisfies the expectations of the new atheist and also those who have a simplistic view when they arrive. We also have younger members who may not yet reached a level of understanding/appreciation that philosophy is an appropriate place to discuss their new world view.

People often come here in a confused state looking for an approachable place to discuss their new atheist world view not their new philosophy, although that is exactly what they will be doing in practice.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Whitney on August 02, 2011, 07:21:46 PM
How many people really expect a subsection about atheism on a forum that is already dedicated to being a place for those that don't believe?

If they want to bitch about religion there is the religion section.  If they want help we have the help desk, if they have a pet cause we have an area for that etc...

Maybe we just need a softer label for the philosophy area?
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 07:35:19 PM
How many people really expect a subsection about atheism on a forum that is already dedicated to being a place for those that don't believe?
No idea. I feel a poll coming on  ;D

If they want to bitch about religion there is the religion section.  If they want help we have the help desk, if they have a pet cause we have an area for that etc...
But we don't have an area to discuss the main theme (or at least the title) of the forum, atheism.

Maybe we just need a softer label for the philosophy area?
Possibly, but then there are subjects that are accurately described as philosophy.

I'm just looking to help make the forum appear to be a little bit more 'on topic' and inviting. It's a marketing thing as much as anything.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Whitney on August 02, 2011, 07:59:14 PM
let's look at this another way....

What atheist forums have sections dedicated to atheism and does their organizational approach of forums in any way make sense for how our forums are set up?
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Davin on August 02, 2011, 08:12:13 PM
I don't think these forums require it, we currently discuss atheism in various ways in all the forums as is.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 09:17:32 PM
let's look at this another way....

What atheist forums have sections dedicated to atheism and does their organizational approach of forums in any way make sense for how our forums are set up?

I have frequented 3 other atheist forums and they have all had a section dedicated to atheism, which is possibly why I expected to see one here. But the fact that three other atheist forums have an athiest section is no reason to have one here. The other forums were set up in a very similar organisational way to this one.

One thread that was highly active at RDF was 'Where do you sit on the atheist scale?' I supose that would go in Philosophy here.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 09:21:39 PM
I don't think these forums require it, we currently discuss atheism in various ways in all the forums as is.
Well as we don't have an atheist area we have no choice do we?  ;D
So are we creating an academic division that makes no sense to potential members?
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Davin on August 02, 2011, 09:44:17 PM
So are we creating an academic division that makes no sense to potential members?
I'm not clear on what you mean, when I first joined here I had no difficulties making sense of the forums or the divisions.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 02, 2011, 09:53:01 PM
So are we creating an academic division that makes no sense to potential members?
I'm not clear on what you mean, when I first joined here I had no difficulties making sense of the forums or the divisions.
I'm not surprised, you're a bright person. Not everybody is that bright. I do find it odd we don't have an area dedicated to discussing atheism. But maybe that's just me.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Davin on August 02, 2011, 09:59:14 PM
But maybe that's just me.
Maybe, just wait till some other people talk about it to see, or maybe some that would like one are just silent about it. Voting might be a more anonymous method to find out.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: fester30 on August 02, 2011, 11:48:34 PM
And a perfectly reasonable and accurate $0.02 it is to.

However, my point isn't as much logical as emotional. Lots of the people who join here are just discovering their new atheist world view. They have not yet reached the level of understanding you so eloquently described above. So, does this noob to the forum and atheism feel comfortable posting in a forum called philosophy? I would contend that they do not.

I think an area specifically called 'Atheism' would be easy to understand and attractive to new members and new atheists.

That's my $0.02   ;D

Ahh... a perfectly reasonable .02 as well.  I think they call this a Socratic standoff.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Medusa on August 03, 2011, 04:15:41 AM
If we have an Atheist forum...and it's in an Atheist forum....

Do we post threads about media in the Atheist section or the Atheist forum media section? I just sorta figured everything we talk about here is about the opinions from mostly Atheists. No?


Example. On the two Satanism forums I am on...everything is pretty much from a Satanism slant as it is.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Whitney on August 03, 2011, 04:24:25 AM
Do we post threads about media in the Atheist section or the Atheist forum media section?

That's my main concern in creating a generic atheist sub-forum...it would create segregation between atheist media, philosophy etc and other secular topics; and I think that would be confusing for members and extra work for moderators.

The only reason Religion is segregated out of the rest of the forum is to attempt to try to make it easy for someone who wants to avoid religious topics to do so (and to keep the theists from interjecting their religious views all over the forum).
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: The Magic Pudding on August 03, 2011, 06:31:25 AM
The Help Desk section could do with a better description.
Help desk suggests to me technical assistance with the forum, but it's meant to be more than that I think.

I don't personally feel the need for an Atheism section, issues already often overlap several existing sections.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Medusa on August 03, 2011, 07:29:49 AM
The Help Desk section could do with a better description.
Help desk suggests to me technical assistance with the forum, but it's meant to be more than that I think.

I don't personally feel the need for an Atheism section, issues already often overlap several existing sections.
Woah. I always thought the help desk was a 'technical difficulties' section myself. Till I saw something about acne and just decided to not mention it. Maybe more like a peer to peer help section might be more apt a title? Something that let's you know it's not just site issues.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 03, 2011, 08:02:04 AM
Do we post threads about media in the Atheist section or the Atheist forum media section?

That's my main concern in creating a generic atheist sub-forum...it would create segregation between atheist media, philosophy etc and other secular topics; and I think that would be confusing for members and extra work for moderators.

The only reason Religion is segregated out of the rest of the forum is to attempt to try to make it easy for someone who wants to avoid religious topics to do so (and to keep the theists from interjecting their religious views all over the forum).

Ah! Okay I see the point. I had envisioned the Athiesm area to be about personal investigation of an atheistic world view, the impact of an atheistic world view on oneself, friends, family and those around one at work. The cross at 'ground zero' would not be something that would go in the Atheist area. My thread 'How to tell your family you are an atheist' doesn't really sit well anywhere and I definitly hadn't considered putting it in the Help Desk.

So addressing festor's point, he is achademically spot-on but emotively wide of the target I had in mind.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 03, 2011, 08:25:46 AM
The Help Desk section could do with a better description.
Help desk suggests to me technical assistance with the forum, but it's meant to be more than that I think.

I don't personally feel the need for an Atheism section, issues already often overlap several existing sections.
Woah. I always thought the help desk was a 'technical difficulties' section myself. Till I saw something about acne and just decided to not mention it. Maybe more like a peer to peer help section might be more apt a title? Something that let's you know it's not just site issues.
I thought the Help Desk was about tech stuff to  :-[

But simply a peer-to-peer help area isn't what I was thinking about either as it wouldn't be just help that I would consider an atheist area for.

And I really don't think philosophy works for the sort of intimate human real-world issues I would expect to come up in an atheist area.

The long-standing atheists here have come to terms with their world view. There are billions of people out there who have nowhere to discuss atheism with atheists and if they came here where are they going to discuss atheism in a welcoming personal environment? It's not a hard-core philosophical debate for a teenager suddenly realising religion doesn't cut it anymore. It's not a philosophical debate for a JW elder who has come to the same conclusion as the teenager at 50+ years of age.

The atheist area would be a landing pad for people who want to discuss their new atheistic world view at a personal level, not an academic one.

This is all good discussion as I'm refining what I think the atheist area should be about and why I think we need one.

I'll give an example of something that happened years ago when I was indexing a catalogue. I was looking for 'glue' I couldn't find it so I added the term. Later on when the catalogue was printed I was looking through it and checked to see if 'glue' was correctly indexed. The term was not in the index. So I went to the hardware product manager who was responsible for glue. He told me he had taken the term out because 'we don't sell glue, we sell adhesives.' He was more interested in the academic accuracy of the index rather than its usability from the customer perspective. If one were to extend this situation to the forum maybe we should change the name to Happy Philosophers  :D
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Medusa on August 03, 2011, 08:32:04 AM
Maybe personal atheism. Or spiritual atheism. Something letting you know it's not about academics per say. But more about in real life situations. Practical Atheism! :P
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 03, 2011, 08:37:57 AM
Maybe personal atheism. Or spiritual atheism. Something letting you know it's not about academics per say. But more about in real life situations. Practical Atheism! :P
Getting there, getting there! Practical Atheism still constrains the subject matter a little IMO. If one starts to constrain what is expected in the atheist area then one risks excluding subjects. I still think Atheism should be the title. But the description should explain what is expected in the area.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Medusa on August 03, 2011, 08:42:00 AM
Maybe personal atheism. Or spiritual atheism. Something letting you know it's not about academics per say. But more about in real life situations. Practical Atheism! :P
Getting there, getting there! Practical Atheism still constrains the subject matter a little IMO. If one starts to constrain what is expected in the atheist area then one risks excluding subjects. I still think Atheism should be the title. But the description should explain what is expected in the area.
ATHEISM (the personal experience)? What would be in there is about Atheism in general in a non academic way? Give me an example of a thread you might see in that section.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 03, 2011, 08:49:34 AM
Maybe personal atheism. Or spiritual atheism. Something letting you know it's not about academics per say. But more about in real life situations. Practical Atheism! :P
Getting there, getting there! Practical Atheism still constrains the subject matter a little IMO. If one starts to constrain what is expected in the atheist area then one risks excluding subjects. I still think Atheism should be the title. But the description should explain what is expected in the area.
ATHEISM (the personal experience)? What would be in there is about Atheism in general in a non academic way? Give me an example of a thread you might see in that section.
Why did you become an atheist?
Where do you sit on the Dawkins scale?
50 years as a JW and now I can't believe.
I have become an atheist, my wife is still a Christian, help!
How do I come out to my parents.
Now I am an atheist I can't cope with the idea of dying.
Help, being bullied at school because I'm an atheist.
Douch bag Christians pissing me off at work.
Why should I become an atheist?
Satanism and atheism what's the link?

I could go on :)


Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Medusa on August 03, 2011, 09:19:35 AM
Hmm ok I see. I still sorta like Atheism (the personal experience)
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 03, 2011, 10:40:27 AM
Hmm ok I see. I still sorta like Atheism (the personal experience)

That sort of reads like a confessional request and some people may want to discuss atheism (they won't see it as a philosophical position) to find out if they are an atheist/agnostic/theist.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Whitney on August 03, 2011, 03:33:57 PM
What if the section was "Life as an atheist" and went in the Community category.

It would be non academic yet still indicate what the area is for.  Most people don't read the descriptions so the title has to have some indication if we don't want people dumping everything atheist related in there (which would kill large parts of the rest of the forum).
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 03, 2011, 06:10:21 PM
What if the section was "Life as an atheist" and went in the Community category.

It would be non academic yet still indicate what the area is for.  Most people don't read the descriptions so the title has to have some indication if we don't want people dumping everything atheist related in there (which would kill large parts of the rest of the forum).
That works for me as it does what it says on the tin!
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Whitney on August 04, 2011, 02:11:29 AM
OK, the new forum was created and I moved a lot of related posts into it to further help people understand what type of topics should go there.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 04, 2011, 07:47:17 AM
OK, the new forum was created and I moved a lot of related posts into it to further help people understand what type of topics should go there.
I feel rotten now, I'd have done the moving! But a bloody good job Whitney.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Medusa on August 04, 2011, 08:28:36 AM
Yes very good. All very neat and clean and it's all done before I even knew it!
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Sweetdeath on August 06, 2011, 11:52:22 PM
I just noticed the new sub-forum!  Awesome <3
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 07, 2011, 07:34:04 AM
I just noticed the new sub-forum!  Awesome <3
I think it should help with a little focus.

Did you know HAF has a Facebook page too? http://www.facebook.com/HappyAtheist
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Sweetdeath on August 07, 2011, 04:01:59 PM
Yes, I joined the same day I joined the main forum. *happy cackle*

I wanted to ask how many of our members were actually on it?
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Tank on August 07, 2011, 04:05:34 PM
Yes, I joined the same day I joined the main forum. *happy cackle*

I wanted to ask how many of our members were actually on it?
I have no idea how many are mutual members and I'm not sure there would be anyway of finding out either.
Title: Re: Should we have an athiest forum?
Post by: Sweetdeath on August 07, 2011, 04:18:26 PM
I don't post in the fb one anyway, I mainly lurk like a girl in the bushes.