Giving Up On FT

EnolaGaia

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This wasn't known to me. I would have liked to have known that I could donate to the forums. I'm not rich but I can and will contribute more so than a subscription to the magazine.
The topic of donations hasn't been blatantly advertised (Gordon is shy ... ), but it was first mentioned right after we accomplished the 2018 emergency migration and had some time to catch our breaths ...

https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/precision-transition-respect-is-due.65092/post-1805890
 

EnolaGaia

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I did not know about this as well... can we put this info + link on the front page please?
I'll cite your request in our High Command HQ at Fort Fort.

The advertising of donation capabilities is a CFI issue, and Gordon (gordonrutter) speaks for CFI.
 

Sharon Hill

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I continue to look through old issues as well as the new. Sure, there are new ones that are a little light. But the argument of "too academic" doesn't wash with me. There are very few places to publish this kind of historical research and documentation. Fortean Times still pays writers and people appreciate the articles. As others have said, there are not too many experts in these fields. Blogs are dead. No one reads them anymore. We still need FT. Considering the continued efforts to reenchant the world, maybe we need it now more than ever.

I'd love to see a web page back up with weird news with the Fortean Times logo. I miss it a lot. FT remains the go-to place for this kind of news. The current "Fortean" news sites are shit and littered with made-up stories and exaggerations, or tinged with religious end times sentiment. I've watched them for years. (Maybe some of you might recall my news site, Doubtful News, that I kept up for 7 years. It was crazy difficult to do and it made no money. But I also had very little help.)

Re: skepticism. This complaint is so old, I find it in the letters sections from the 1990s. Maybe the move to be more serious, more critical, more careful is a reflection of the overall culture and the fact that pure Forteanism has little utility these days. Times have changed. How much can you do with an idea without a proposed explanation? I always saw classic Fort as the stamp collecting of weird data. That's boring, we want some meaning associated with it. (Rabbit hole: Consider the cultural meaning of cryptids, ghosts, psi, conspiracies, anomalous natural phenomena, and UFOs from the 40s to now - it's deeply complex.) Many of us grew up with strange stories and then we became grown-ups who saw some of these stories fell apart or realized they deserved a different take.

Weird news has grown in popularity. Sadly, FT failed to take advantage of that but times are tough. I'll subscribe as long as it keeps serving the purpose of being the primary place to access news, research, and opinions about weirdshit.
 

MrRING

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We'll have to agree to disagree, Sharon. But I'm glad you and others are digging it, even if I and others are not. Many of the things you site as bonuses in the current mag are detriments to me...
 

XEPER_

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I have absolutely zero interest in the "weird postcards" or whatever that section is called. Just one more page of the magazine I don't bother reading along with Classical Corner, Alien Zoo, Haunted Generation, the priest's movie reviews and so on.
I don't think it's all the magazine's fault - as Naughty Felid I think pointed out, things just don't seem as unexplainable or unbelievable as they did 20 years ago. Or they seem more like lies and exaggerations like pretty much the whole UFO field (see the new Unexplained Mysteries series on Netflix as an example of this. I used to LOVE UFO stories, but as soon as that one started and the people were recounting their stories, I turned it off).
I also sent a simulacra to the editor last year and never even received an acknowledgement which was a bit shit.
 
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Comfortably Numb

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No ... The autumn 2018 negotiated agreement involved a complete divorce of the forum (as an ongoing operation) from the magazine and the publisher. In effect, Dennis divested itself of the forum in a complete and final manner. In return, those of us who were to continue the forum operation agreed to explicitly renounce any formal connections to FT and Dennis and desist from suggesting any such connections continued.

...The forum operation was adopted by the Charles Fort Institute (CFI), which is now its formal sponsor.

...There are expenses. To date they've been covered by voluntary donations of time, effort and funds.

... Contributing to the forum's ongoing viability can be done by donations to the Charles Fort Institute:

https://www.forteana.org

The team who negotiated and executed the 2018 emergency migration continue to manage the forum. At the tactical (everyday) operational level, most responses to emergent issues are decided among the team.
One humongous thanks, for taking the time to explain.

I have been wondering for some time about the Charles Fort Institute and where intrinsically they fit in.

Who are they, why and how, etc.!

Again, it was the realisation I had no idea about this at all.

However, thanks to your most helpful response, I do now.

That would be, 'now', as in a couple of minutes ago there, when I found the, quite proverbial, 'missing link''... :p

This one:

https://forteana.org/

Honestly, until these recent clarifications, I have always spoken of the 'Fortean Times' forums.

I shall now duly spend some time reading through what already looks to be fascinating background material via forteana.org.
 

Comfortably Numb

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A brief, further mention, that I have always noticed the Charles Fort Institute (CFI) logo at top of screen.

However, if clicked upon, it doesn't lead anywhere else, as it links to the forums:

https://forums.forteana.org

Would this perhaps have been intended as a link to the CFI instead? :

https://forteana.org

Possibly not so, for whatever reason?
 

gordonrutter

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One humongous thanks, for taking the time to explain.

I have been wondering for some time about the Charles Fort Institute and where intrinsically they fit in.

Who are they, why and how, etc.!

Again, it was the realisation I had no idea about this at all.

However, thanks to your most helpful response, I do now.

That would be, 'now', as in a couple of minutes ago there, when I found the, quite proverbial, 'missing link''... :p

This one:

https://forteana.org/

Honestly, until these recent clarifications, I have always spoken of the 'Fortean Times' forums.

I shall now duly spend some time reading through what already looks to be fascinating background material via forteana.org.
The blogs are currently down hopefully they will be back up soon and new material will be added and the old material will be available.
 

EnolaGaia

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A brief, further mention, that I have always noticed the Charles Fort Institute (CFI) logo at top of screen.
However, if clicked upon, it doesn't lead anywhere else, as it links to the forums: https://forums.forteana.org
Would this perhaps have been intended as a link to the CFI instead? : https://forteana.org
Possibly not so, for whatever reason?
Hot-linking the title / logo in a website header back to the website's main / entry page is a very common navigation feature.

For example ... This same behavior can be found on the websites for LiveScience, ScienceAlert, SciTechDaily, ScienceNews, EurekAlert, Scientific American, and Smithsonian Magazine.
 

Sharon Hill

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We'll have to agree to disagree, Sharon. But I'm glad you and others are digging it, even if I and others are not. Many of the things you site as bonuses in the current mag are detriments to me...
It's hard to please everyone. It seems obvious the audience preferences are splitting into mulitple directions as to what they want the magazine to be. (That may even differ for various parts of the world as well.)
 

XEPER_

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We still need FT. Considering the continued efforts to reenchant the world, maybe we need it now more than ever.
Agreed. But it seems to me FT is doing the opposite nowadays. It's too skeptical.
Or maybe there's just nothing really unexplained out there any more.
 

Sharon Hill

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Agreed. But it seems to me FT is doing the opposite nowadays. It's too skeptical.
Or maybe there's just nothing really unexplained out there any more.
Well that was my point. The world isn’t reenchanted. It’s still quite explainable. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s my preferred point of view. As I pointed out above, the skeptical tendency for FT is not new and may be a reflection of a larger cultural shift. Honestly, we’re in trouble when we head the opposite way. Less skepticism/critical thinking is not good. See: politics today.
 

GNC

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Don't mention p*l*t*cs! But I agree, the FT takes the weirdness seriously enough to devote articles to examining it, and if the weirdness doesn't stand up to scrutiny, what do people want them to do? Lie? "Benevolent scepticism" is in the mission statement.
 

Trevp666

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Thing is...weird shit happens. It always has. And will continue to do so. And it needs reporting.
I was particularly disappointed when the annual survey stopped happening (was it called the weirdness index?).
Maybe FT will restructure it's mag so that the larger articles and the items that might cater for a more individual group are distinctly separated.
I find that the 'sidelines' are good, and worth reading, but for me they would be better off grouped together instead of spread through the pages.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Well that was my point. The world isn’t reenchanted. It’s still quite explainable. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s my preferred point of view. As I pointed out above, the skeptical tendency for FT is not new and may be a reflection of a larger cultural shift. Honestly, we’re in trouble when we head the opposite way. Less skepticism/critical thinking is not good. See: politics today.
Providing Skepticism isn't lazy, which a lot of it is these days.

The one interesting piece from the Ghost Studies book I'm reading, was when Massullo provided an all too common example of this.

An, (unnamed), Skeptic's article suggested that later research had trashed the work of Saxton Burr, (I think it was him). Massullo contacted the author to provide the references. The author could not provide the citations and "assumed" someone had done further work to disprove Burr's findings which wasn't the case when Massullo looked into it.

There are countless examples of this in the skeptical world, loads of podcasts and articles are just smug and lazy. I call it the "swamp gas and owls' argument after an early Blurry Photos pod mocked how Skeptics always attribute paranormal activity to one or the other.

Paranormal believers get accused of a lack of critical thinking and yet the skeptics are just as bad.
 

Sharon Hill

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Providing Skepticism isn't lazy, which a lot of it is these days.

The one interesting piece from the Ghost Studies book I'm reading, was when Massullo provided an all too common example of this.

An, (unnamed), Skeptic's article suggested that later research had trashed the work of Saxton Burr, (I think it was him). Massullo contacted the author to provide the references. The author could not provide the citations and "assumed" someone had done further work to disprove Burr's findings which wasn't the case when Massullo looked into it.

There are countless examples of this in the skeptical world, loads of podcasts and articles are just smug and lazy. I call it the "swamp gas and owls' argument after an early Blurry Photos pod mocked how Skeptics always attribute paranormal activity to one or the other.

Paranormal believers get accused of a lack of critical thinking and yet the skeptics are just as bad.
There are some of those, of course - it depends on the person and the topic. I'm not a fan of work by some most notable "skeptics" but when they want to be taken seriously, they do dig into the weeds and find the problems with the non-skeptical evidence. Skeptics like Shermer have made asses out of themselves by talking about topics they know absolutely nothing about. A small group of us used to call ourselves the "Bigfoot skeptics" at the skeptic conventions because the rest of the crowd would treat cryptozoology and paranormal topics as a dumb waste of time. It was typical for the card-carrying skeptic to just call believers stupid and think that was a good response. I didn't. A more serious problem is that committed believers won't even read material with a tinge of skepticism or critical analysis because the cognitive dissonance is too much. In order to truly know your topic thoroughly, you must know the arguments people make against it.
 

Naughty_Felid

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There are some of those, of course - it depends on the person and the topic. I'm not a fan of work by some most notable "skeptics" but when they want to be taken seriously, they do dig into the weeds and find the problems with the non-skeptical evidence. Skeptics like Shermer have made asses out of themselves by talking about topics they know absolutely nothing about. A small group of us used to call ourselves the "Bigfoot skeptics" at the skeptic conventions because the rest of the crowd would treat cryptozoology and paranormal topics as a dumb waste of time. It was typical for the card-carrying skeptic to just call believers stupid and think that was a good response. I didn't. A more serious problem is that committed believers won't even read material with a tinge of skepticism or critical analysis because the cognitive dissonance is too much. In order to truly know your topic thoroughly, you must know the arguments people make against it.
That's the problem, people invest huge amounts in things they've seen or believe, and to have that rubbished isn't going to help anyone. I honestly think this place tries it's best at having a critical approach but still being supportive. I wish the skeptical world would take on board the same attitude.

Also, we seem to be losing the whole point of evaluating the experience of a paranormal encounter - it's not all about the swamp gas.
 

Naughty_Felid

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No one uses “swamp gas” anymore, thankfully. But remember who you can thank for that trope. (Not a skeptic.):ufo:
Who, Hynek? Sorry, I don't click on links that don't tell me where it's going.

Hynek was a skeptic who changed his mind, wasn't he? He began to believe in ALIENS! (I'm not a big UFO fan tbh).

Has "swamp gas" been banned by the skeptics charter? Well, that's a start.

Can you work on Owls next? :D
 
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XEPER_

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Last night I finally got around to reading the issue with the plague doctor cover. I read two articles - Jenny Randles, in which she reports on a woman researcher who convinced someone who thought they'd seen an alien that they'd actually had sleep paralysis despite the fact no paralysis was felt (WTF?), and "This house is not haunted" which was just some guy listing the leaky pipes, bad wiring and drunk, stoned teens hassling him around his new house as if it proved poltergeists are all easily explainable.
Sorry, but that's me done with the mag.
 

gordonrutter

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Last night I finally got around to reading the issue with the plague doctor cover. I read two articles - Jenny Randles, in which she reports on a woman researcher who convinced someone who thought they'd seen an alien that they'd actually had sleep paralysis despite the fact no paralysis was felt (WTF?), and "This house is not haunted" which was just some guy listing the leaky pipes, bad wiring and drunk, stoned teens hassling him around his new house as if it proved poltergeists are all easily explainable.
Sorry, but that's me done with the mag.
So er, not even the Flat Earth article than? Oh well.
 

Sharon Hill

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Who, Hynek? Sorry, I don't click on links that don't tell me where it's going.

Hynek was a skeptic who changed his mind, wasn't he? He began to believe in ALIENS! (I'm not a big UFO fan tbh).

Has "swamp gas" been banned by the skeptics charter? Well, that's a start.

Can you work on Owls next? :D
Nah. I actually like owls as explanations. They make sense (although glowing ones...not sold yet). Shall we move to otters for lake monsters? Those are also real creatures that people mistake for other things too.

But swamp gas as an explanation for UFOs and even just distinct lights/will o-the wisp is still not a great idea as it's not been demonstrated to look anything like what people describe.
 
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