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paul wheaton
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Some sites on the internet will publish anything that anybody submits. This is not one of those sites. People will submit all sorts of stuff here, and most of what is submitted meets my publishing criteria. And the rest is removed.

I want to talk about permaculture innovation. I wanna talk about eco building. I wanna talk about alternatives to the grid and saving energy .... there are hundreds of things I wanna talk about. And there are thousands of things that are not a fit for permies.com.

If people want to talk about GMO's, herbicides, politics, religion they really need to find someplace else.

Another thing is that innovation requires a lot of brainstorming. Along the way comes stories like "I once heard of a guy that ..." or "didn't I read somewhere that you could ...." and this sort of attempt to figure things out is not helped by comments like "Citation needed." or "that's bullshit." or "prove it."

Another thing is that some folks are certain that their path is the only path and that other paths are unacceptable. That sort of thing is unacceptable to me.

I tend to delete anything that suggests that anybody on permies.com is less than perfect. I'll even delete stuff that suggests that somebody that might come to permies.com is less than perfect. Or if a group of people is less than perfect and somebody on permies.com might be part of that group.

I am supportive of vegans and omnis alike. So I don't allow bashing by one of the other.

I created these forums to talk about a few things I want to talk about, in a limited way I want to talk about them.

As time passes, I hope to expand on my thoughts in this space. And I invite people to ask for clarity.





 
paul wheaton
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Something that I have said several dozen times in the past which appears to not be covered here is: I prefer to see posts that offer "my position" rather than "the truth". I've deleted a lot of stuff with "the truth". The reason is that if somebody posts "the truth" and a second somebody has an alternative position, then posting the alternative feels a lot like entering into conflict - so it is less likely to get posted. And it is that alternative that I want to see shared on this site.
 
Bob Dobbs
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I would like to verify precisely the level of discourse concerning fertilizers in general (all types, organic & inorganic, and the grey area/technically chemically inorganic things like lime, epsom salts, etc).
I am trained as a botanist and grower as well as having planted food forests and practicing edible landscaping/permaculture years before I knew of the term.
Think of me as the ghost of anakin skywalker, having experienced both the light and dark sides of the force.
There are scientists among us that wish to assist the cause of permaculture, but we are necessarily constrained by our application of scientific rigor. e.g when I grew trees,
I unfortunately did use a very dilute solution of fertilizer applied with every watering, they were container grown, and teeming with redworms. Therefore, while I do believe that the manufacture and use of chemical fertilizers is an evil thing, and the way that farmers tend to use it kills all life in the soil, but one could not say that any concentration of the chemicals kills worms or mycorrhizae any more than poop containing the same chemicals would.

In no way do I advocate the purchase or use of artificial fertilizers except for: #1- using up those derelict bags of crappy, crappy fertilizer people find under the house in a way that doesn't affect the watershed to break down otherwise difficult-to-compost material, and #2- in the performing of plant tissue culture propagation that necessitates sterility.

Forgive me for being a bit weird, I do have asperger's syndrome and tend to be a bit data/spock-like. I am not trying to be facetious. I just wish to know precisely where the line is drawn for future reference. The line for me is rather blurry due to the fact that all "omri" fertilizers that I can currently buy either have what I consider to be chemical-type fertilizer packages (like potassium sulfate in a bag of espoma flower-tone) , horrible feedlot toxins, or both. I tend to shoot for a harm-reduction stance in default, but I wish to know the direction future discourse in this line should take.


Edited for formatting and to say what I think would be ideal for people to do:
Complete soil testing including all elements, add elements important for human health in what form necessary, e.g kelp meal for iodine, and don't let a damn bit of what grows leave your site/compost pile, not a bit of shit, unless the gain is worth having to replace the lost nutrition. Sort of William Albrecht combined with the axiom that the only produce that should leave ones property walks out.
 
paul wheaton
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I think if it isn't OMRI approved then it doesn't belong on these forums.

And then the discussion can be how to move away from using these OMRI approved things to be MORE aligned with nature.

There are other forums out there for talking about using conventional products vs. OMRI approved stuff. This forum is dedicated to topics far beyond that.

 
Bob Dobbs
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Thank you for clearing that up. Perhaps I will dig up some of my old research papers on the polonium-210 content of phosphate rock sourced from different locales. And I agree, there is a lot of hairy stuff even within the OMRI framework, like using arsenic-contaminated feedlot chicken manure on leaf crops and calling them "Organic!" .

In my professional position, with the way farmers down here growing things being a 0 and sepp holzer being a 10, OMRI is about 1.

Maybe I need to write some articles on how to interface with and use such resources as local county extension soil testing to get a result that means something other than "add 150 lbs of 10-10-10 per acre"
 
paul wheaton
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Of course, extension offices are an extension of the local ag college, which is funded/controlled in a large part by chem-ag.

 
Bob Dobbs
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Yes, my guide would be to subvert their government-subsidized soil testing services for our own purposes, rejecting the false information that they give you. In other words, a soil spectroscopy test is the best way to test lead and cadmium in soils, but one must inoculate oneself against advice given by The Beast.

I caused a schism among the master gardeners and the extension agent up where I used to live. They quickly learned from first hand experience that when the agent, a forestry major, told them something it was likely false; when the long-haired bearded non-deodorant-wearing hippie told them something, I was right. It was very amusing to see the head of the local master gardeners chuckle and ignore the agent.

Believe me, I know first-hand how evil these people are and how little their purported science is based in reality. That being said, that doesn't invalidate the scientific method itself, just the majority of the practicioners as far as we're concerned.
 
paul wheaton
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I think the first step of science is inspiration or the observation of somebody else's inspiration. The next step (optional) is to collect anecdotal evidence. There is often undocumented trial and error followed by a more documented trial and error.

I think there are some people that feel that since nobody has yet been to mars, then it is not possible to go to mars. Therefore anybody discussing going to mars is a fool and needs to be ignored or silenced. After all, there is no supporting science.

I think farming is constant innovation. Farmers will try all sorts of things to get things to work out. And the first thing they turn to is colleagues. They do not turn to white papers.

Finally, I see the science card played as if it makes the bearer the final authority on a topic. There are two problems with this. The first is that the proper response is "I don't care about your pseudo-science" which then leads into a debate about what science is or isn't. But more importantly, I see the bearer of the science card as being so desperate in the discussion that they are grasping at anything to shore up their position. In science, the scientists must defend their position to their peers. Their defense is not "because I used science." A bit like Godwin's law.


 
Chris Kott
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I think it important to keep the middle path on this one. I don't see any distinctions being made between the "science" that is a direct result of a bastard cross with business and the scientific approach which, for hundreds of years, has been a useful diagnostic and observational tool. I dislike the very notion that we should accept that there are some things we are not meant to know; in fact, I reject it out of hand. If there's something we don't know yet, it's because we haven't gotten there yet. This doesn't speak to the primacy of science, but to that of the human intellect.

I think that either extreme stance will close down constructive debate. Even argument can be constructive, as long as we can keep the personal end out of it and argue (calmly, rationally, and unemotionally) the points.

-CK
 
paul wheaton
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I dislike the very notion that we should accept that there are some things we are not meant to know; in fact, I reject it out of hand.


I think it is fair that if a person chooses to not know something, that is their right.

If somebody commands you to not know something, then click on "report to moderator" and I will remove it.

If there's something we don't know yet, it's because we haven't gotten there yet.


It is possible that somebody could know a thing and have never looked at a white paper.

It is possible that somebody enjoys a thing without a person in a labcoat having enjoyed a similar thing.

It is possible that somebody prefers to label their knowledge set as "art, not science" - that seems fair.

This might be a good time to also mention that I do not like to read "citation needed" on this forum and I wrote a bit about it here.

I think that either extreme stance will close down constructive debate.


This isn't a site for debate. If you wish to debate these topics, you will need to find a different site, or start your own. Debate is for intellectual sword play. This site is for the more gentle souls of the internet to share their experiences and ideas.

 
Chris Kott
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Science can be done by those in overalls as well. When I talk about science, I am not invoking all that anyone in a lab coat has ever said or written as some sort of gospel. I am talking about the observational approach. And sometimes the experimental part of that.

I do not demand that everyone bow down to science. That's preposterous. I agree with you 100% that issues like science and ethics can be used as baseball bats to bludgeon inconvenient opinion or (*gasp*) fact.

What is practiced in commercial science is a twisting of a valuable tool, and it is my considered opinion that the fact that people can claim to be against science illustrates the damning effects of this. The people with the money start with the answers they want, and then they pay labcoats to make the "science" fit. This does not fit my definitions.

Observation. Hypothesis. Testing, with control groups. Further observation. Conclusion. I may have left some bits out, but that is essentially what I mean. Modelling can be a useful tool, but you need all the informational inputs, wherein lies the rub.

I just want to be on the same page with others across the globe when we talk about things, to make them quantifiable, and so that we can compare results across the board and make useful conclusions and determinations.

I want to break down why hugelkultur is awesome, so I can make it better. I want to know everything that Sepp does and how it works, because even if I disagree with some point or other, I can still adapt his approach to my specific circumstance. And whether or not I agree is moot if the body of evidence from sources I trust supports a thing.

And yes, debate proceeds with a stated bias on each side that makes the discussion a conflict, so perhaps that was a poor choice of words. What I meant to say was that I think that using either science or freedom of speech as baseball bats closes down the free exchange of ideas.

And let me be clear. I like ideas. Ideas are like pie. Brain pie. Mmmm... Brain Pie.

To qualify this, I want to state my position that because science has no direct answer for a thing, lets take toxic gick for a good example, does not mean we should take risks with it. I am on board with eliminating anything from my daily life that puts stuff into me that isn't naturally supposed to be there, or can't be directly derived from nature, and I have only anecdotal evidence to support these feelings. I am fine with that.

I have stopped posting in overly impassioned states, which has cut down drastically on the number of post deletions I experience.

I am no moderator, or volunteer, but I think I do more to promote the free exchange of information than anything else.

I also very much want to be able to take all this stuff and apply it to real food systems. I want to be able to convert conventional ag practitioners by virtue of the superiority of way-better-than-organic, in terms that allow me to write it all into business plans and get funding. I think that if we could all speak a common language in this area, we would all be better served. The tower of Babel, but in reverse. What method, other than observing, guessing, testing, and observing (observation entailing getting as much data as possible) will suit this need?

And as to the right to remain ignorant, isn't willful blindness what has allowed destructive conventional agriculture its reign?

I don't know how much reading into the threads you've done with regards to this, but I don't bludgeon. I don't care enough to bother. And it stops the flow of ideas.

But it bothers me when people take the bludgeoning stance you so despise and use it to attack those seeking more information, and cover it with flowery prose about the magic of the unknown.

I just don't want things we can measure and quantify to be subject to ridicule and bookburning because I chose to use a word that triggers Pavlovian responses in some people. I want to take these great things and take them further, and if we're not speaking the same language, and if we're not on the same page, it becomes more difficult to do that. Without that, we all start at square one, every time. And we get bogged down in discussions about the meanings or appropriateness of words in specific contexts.

So if I need to do something to remain within your comfort level, please let me know. I am just here for the information, and there are some awesome people on these fora.

Thanks,

-CK
 
Adam Klaus
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Thanks for working hard to keep the forum classy Paul. It is frustrating how easily positive conversation gets derailed by 'debate'. I appreciate the parameters you set for this forum, and the spirit of sharing it promotes.
Myself new to this forum, I truly appreciate what you have created here.
 
paul wheaton
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But it bothers me when people take the bludgeoning stance you so despise and use it to attack those seeking more information, and cover it with flowery prose about the magic of the unknown.


When you see somebody attacking, click on "report to moderator".

I think people have a right to "flowery prose about the magic of the unknown" for themselves. If they insist that others must think these thoughts, please click on "report to moderator".

I just don't want things we can measure and quantify to be subject to ridicule and bookburning ...


If you see a post with "ridicule and bookburning" please click on "report to moderator".

 
Chris Kott
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I thank you for this opportunity to voice my opinion. Your points are well taken.

-CK
 
Lm McWilliams
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Chris Kott wrote:
And let me be clear. I like ideas. Ideas are like pie. Brain pie. Mmmm... Brain Pie.


It's awesome that Paul Wheaton has created a 'brain pie smorgasbord' for us all to enjoy!
Or is it more like a 'pot-luck' where we each bring something to share? Love the depth
an variety (and it's 'all-you-can-eat', too!), but I think Paul wants us to mind our manners.

Personally, I'm a fan of what I will call 'real' science (as in methodical study of a subject,
with a sincere effort to eliminate bias as much as possible). It seems that there are those
who have knowledge and backgrounds in various aspects of such that relates to Permaculture,
and who have an interest in Permaculutre, may have a lot to offer us all. (The 's') word may
help us to understand and more effectively use the various tools of Permaculture.

So long as that information is shared with respect for all the participants.

But it's your party, Paul. I'm not really sure if this would meet your publishing standards, or not.

(Thanks for hosting the 'party' and inviting us all!)



 
paul wheaton
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Apparently I need to clarify my stance on "citation needed".

If somebody says "I like to feed my hogs sunchokes and I don't think it makes them fart any more or less than before." And somebody replies "citation needed" then I feel the person with "citation needed" on their lips is being a douche.

Then if somebody says "Well I think poisoning babies is wrong" and uses that statement as the foundation for their stuff, and nobody has uttered a peep about poisoning babies, I think it is fair to say "I don't understand, where does the poisoning babies stuff come from?"

Apparently, some people cannot tell the difference between these two. And if people are unsure which is which, then I suggest that you click on "report to moderator" and we'll sort it out.

Of course, if I am the one asking "I don't understand, where does the poisoning babies stuff come from?" then it is a legit question.

The one hard and fast rule here is "be nice". And I, alone, will be the final word on what "be nice" means.

I think it is important to remember that everybody has their own set of standards. I fully expect that my standards will seem crazy to most people. This site is for the few people that think that my standards look excellent. So if my standards look crazy to you, you should probably look to another community to be part of.

 
Enrique Garcia
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Wow. I love this ... exactly what every internet site needs .. Paul to handle business ... I like it !! Tho i like to debate with people .. i agree not much comes of it .. but exchanging ideas .. that is my new thing ... one question .. how do you get apples ?
 
Burra Maluca
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Here y'go - everything you wanted to know about apples.

And a page with all kinds of links about how permies.com works.
 
John Polk
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If you go to http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/34193#267492 there is a link to the "Apple" thread, as well as several other links that help define how this site operates. Those links pretty well describe the missions of this site, as well as the methodologies to best enhance its powers to improve the overall value to its participants.

 
M.R.J. Smith
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paul wheaton wrote:
I dislike the very notion that we should accept that there are some things we are not meant to know; in fact, I reject it out of hand.


I think it is fair that if a person chooses to not know something, that is their right.

If somebody commands you to not know something, then click on "report to moderator" and I will remove it.



I must be reading your post wrong, or perhaps I don't understand the arbitrary nature of your personal conception of "nice" that you tout, because you seem to be violating that very principle in your seemingly uncharitable and sarcastic replies to posts like this. I hope this is not the case but anyways, I think he was referring to, and if he was not then I will refer to it because I obviously am inept at interpreting posts via the net, the fact that anything you don't like can't be a topic of this great nexus of brainstorming you speak of. For example, I read a really interesting article about using splicing a wheat gene into chestnuts so they can reseed eastern forests with them and I would have loved to hear others thoughts on whether it's appropriate use of technology, etc, but a mod closed the thread because the word GMO appeared in it, and under no circumstances are GMOs to be discussed (unless you're elite and have an apple unlike me ). So, I don't understand in what sense are you not commanding me to not know this, or at least gain more knowledge by hearing peoples thoughts who know way more about most of this stuff than me. There's not many places I would turn to get an informed opinion about many things, and although you are not putting a gun to my head and telling me not to read about GMOs, your policy of absolutes and categorical banishments seems to be very contrary to the spirit of permaculture. I would love to be reading you wrong because I'm sure you have good intentions.
 
paul wheaton
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I must be reading your post wrong, or perhaps I don't understand the arbitrary nature of your personal conception of "nice" that you tout, because you seem to be violating that very principle in your seemingly uncharitable and sarcastic replies to posts like this.


Many people seem to earn apples within their first ten or twenty posts. With this comment, I can understand why you don't have any yet. With one sentence, you seem to suggest that somebody on permies.com is less than perfect. Rather than focusing on the topic, you are focusing on the (possible) wickedness of a person that is participating in discussion.


I am thoroughly enjoying the apple system. Especially when combined with the cider press. A few people seem to understand our publishing standards and write excellent posts that help others and earn lots of apples. Those people are then able to kindly and respectfully discuss topics that typically lead to all sorts of heartbreaking nasty. The results have been excellent. And, even better, internet trolls can't seem to ever post their nasty there. In order to be able to post their nasty, they must first write a few good posts - which is often beyond their comprehension to do.

This system has worked out better than I ever dreamed.


your policy of absolutes and categorical banishments seems to be very contrary to the spirit of permaculture.


I have used permaculture observation to nurture this garden (forum). While there are many people who would nurture their garden in a different way, this particular garden has grown to be the largest, by far. So, it would seem that there is some success. It would seem that your idea of permaculture is a little different from my idea of permaculture. I heartily encourage you to start a garden (forum) of your own to teach me what your vision of "the spirit of permaculture" looks like.


For now, it seems that you not only want to talk about GMOs on my forum, but you wish to suggest that my ideas in permaculture are flawed for not wishing GMO discussion on my forums. So allow me to add some clarity to this point: I am weary of the discussion. I wish to talk about other things. Although having the discussion in the apple press seem to be okay to me.

Put even more simply: I like the way things are and I did not find your words to be persuasive. There are many other permaculture forums on the internet, perhaps you will find a better fit there?


And since there seems to be some difference of opinion about what is the true spirit of permaculture, I wish to express that I think there are many schools of thought in this space - not just one. And I wish to close with my credentials:


Paul Wheaton
The Duke of Permaculture (per Geoff Lawton and sepp holzer)
The Bad Boy of Permaculture (per Occupy Monsanto)
The Largest Permaculture Voice in the World (internet statistics)
Hardcore Green (treehugger.com)
Permaculture Guru (grist.org)
Genius (Chelsea Green)
Permaculture Maven (ic.org)
Permaculture Mad Scientist (Grit Magazine)
The Polarizing Permie King (New Pioneer Magazine)
Permaculture Expert (Mother Earth News)
(and about a dozen more titles I don't have the time to look up now)
 
M.R.J. Smith
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paul wheaton wrote:
Many people seem to earn apples within their first ten or twenty posts. With this comment, I can understand why you don't have any yet. With one sentence, you seem to suggest that somebody on permies.com is less than perfect. Rather than focusing on the topic, you are focusing on the (possible) wickedness of a person that is participating in discussion.


Paul, I'd love to hear about how you are not doing exactly what you accuse me of right now, only in a much more explicit way... Anyways, allow me to refute you and bring this back on topic- I think it is not hard to see that this is the publishing standards thread and I posted about how I thought maybe some absolute bans on forums maybe should not be so absolute because (in my example) GMOs are a technology and I wanted to see if they COULD be appropriate technology IN THEORY (which I understand is a tenet of permaculture). I mean, no one says "There will be no talk about using non OP hybrids in permaculture- absolutely not." I'm glad to see your credentials though- Impressive! The most apt would have to be: "The Polarizing Permie King"

I'm sorry I offended you and thanks for explaining the rules though because I didn't know how it all worked! Now that I know what you are going for more, I can hopefully be a more beneficial member of the community.
 
paul wheaton
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... allow me to refute you ...


disallowed.

I am not going to be held accountable for my choices in how I run my site. If you wish to persuade me to change how I run my site, then the persuasion exercise is all your effort. I might even consider your points. If you do not understand what my position is, you may ask (or, better yet, search) - but usually I rest on the only rule "be nice", point out that it will be my interpretation of what "nice" means, and that I reserve the right to be nuttier than squirrel poop.

But I do not present my forum management choices to be held accountable to the standards of others. In fact, I fully expect a massive majority of the population to find my choices to be crazy - so they will choose to share their wit and charm elsewhere. That works perfectly for me. The only people that remain are those that think my forum management style is fucking awesome.
 
My, my, aren't you a big fella. Here, have a tiny ad:
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
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