MBI Discussions

List of Discussion Topics


The public MOOS Discussion forums are different from the comment sections on most websites. Rather than allowing anyone to post anything, MOOS discussants are screened to make sure they have a serious interest in the field and in contributing to the seminars. They must apply for and then use a username and password to gain access to the comment-posting form.  In addition, we ask participants to keep their comments focused and the topic of each discussion. Our goal is to use the comment system as a place for users to make thoughtful comments that will become a public part of the MOOS' long-term exploration of each discussion topic. 

Sign Up to Join the Discussions

Users who would like to send us private comments on any aspect of the MOOS can do so using our Contact Form. We are particularly interested in hearing reactions to this MOOS and ideas about ways to make it better, including additional things to cover, things that need to be clarified, good resources to add, etc.

Discussion Management and Moderation

The MOOS' long-running online seminar is format is a bit of an experiment. We are starting the discussions slowly as we recruit MOOS participants, and as people become familiar with the format. We also expect this to be a learning process with numerous improvements made along the way. So if you have suggestions, let us know.  

We are also well aware that comment pages on many news sites, as well as places like Facebook and Twitter, can become very nasty, very quickly. Unfortunately, with our limited funding, there may not be much we can do about comments on those sites.   We are, however, going to do several things to make sure that the conversations that take place here, on the MOOS site, stay constructive. 

We are asking all discussants to register with Beyond Intractability and obtain a username and password, which is quick and free.  (Unfortunately, you have to do this to post comments even if you registered previously on our old system. We were unable to move the old registrations over to the new system for security reasons. (You don't have to re-register to stay on the mailing list, however.)  Once logged in, registered users will be able to submit comments to the Discussions (the general public has read-only access).  We should note that we will not be automating the registration process, as bots and trolls have figured out how to get by our "captchas."  So we will be monitoring user requests and issuing them by hand.  This may take a day or two to happen, but given the number of trolls out there, we don't really have a choice.

Discussion Guidelines:

Participants are asked to follow a number of posting guidelines related to civility and substantive content.  We ask everyone to avoid:

  • Personal or group attacks
  • Obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (or obfuscated versions of such)
  • Incendiary comments
  • Commercial promotion (however, if users are doing work on related topics that would add to users' knowledge of this topic, we urge you to submit a description of your work to our Colleague Activities Blog, where we will publish it.) 
  • Requests for assistance in particular conflict situations.
  • Incoherence - BI and the MOOS are used by many people for whom English is not their native language.  For this reason, the writing needs to be particularly clear.  Please avoid technical terms and jargon whenever possible, and write as clearly as you can.  If we can't understand your submission, others will not be able to understand it either.  Consequently, we will unpublish unclear posts and ask the writer to rewrite and resubmit them.

Though we do not have the funding yet to pre-screen all comments, we will be monitoring (and participating in) the discussions.  If we or other users find comments to be offensive or inappropriate, let us know, and we will remove them and may block the user from making future posts.