3 Quarks Daily is an excellent e-magazine which offers readers a daily fine selection of readings from around the web which you may otherwise not get a chance to read. Occasionally they also offer space for their own writers to do an article. Today, one of their writers, Fausto Ribeiro, did a post entitled, “A Universe from Nothing? Or: Desperately Seeking Transcendence in a Materialist World.” Well, the title accurately tells you where that post is going.
It was a sappy, weak post setting up straw-man criticisms of scientists and doing this all digitally while pontificating about the evils of digital entertainment. One commentor succinctly responded with, “Jeez” — a rather generous comment, in my opinion.
But S. Abbas Raza, one of their “moderators”, didn’t think so and vehemently replied:
“I have no idea what that means. In any case, I will say this only once: either leave comments that engage the piece in some substantive (and civil) way, or you will be banned. Understood? Good.
I am very tired of people acting superior and contemptuous toward our writers. You don’t like what we publish? Go somewhere else. Or engage our writers in a polite way, even if you don’t agree with them.
We don’t need people rolling their eyes at us like 13-year-olds.”
Reading this, I also then decided to criticize but the article and Raza’s critical attitude toward disagreeing commentors.
Then, in my e-mail, I see this reply from Raza:
“Three or four of our readers above seem to have liked the article very much. What I fail to understand is why certain people are so sure of their own opinions that they can’t simply move on to something they do like instead of staying and insulting the writer. Not every piece is to everyone’s taste. Why is that so shocking? Can you name any reputable magazine or journal where you like everything they publish?”
When I look back at the site to respond to this, I see that my comment had been deleted. Indeed, even this last comment of Raza was self-deleted. And when I tried to reply again, and I see that I am now banned from the thread.
So in protest to 3 Quarks Daily, I am posting what I would have posted:
(1) I think it is fantastic that folks like the article.
(2) Are you saying, look, on 3 quarks daily we don’t want any negative comments but just compliments? If so, you need a comment policy.
(3) This writer is “so sure of [his] own opinion” and we are responding to his public declaration of it. I would think 3-quarks-daily would encourage open debate.
(4) I can not name another reputable magazine who would like to shut down disagreement like you would.
Interestingly, 3QD is in the middle of a fund raising campaign and Raza just did this post asking for financial support. In his plea for money, Raza tells us that 3DQ offers “intellectual refuge” – sure, if refuge means being able to hide from criticism. He says, “We know you like 3QD (and we are extremely flattered) because you have just told us so.” Sure, and that you censor disagreement.
So, are you considering supporting 3 Quarks Daily? Well, I actually was, until today.