CF Forum Purpose

I added a new section to the FAQ/guidelines (linked near the bottom of the site menu, which is on the top right and looks like 3 horizontal lines):

The purpose of the Critical Fallibilism (CF) forum is to discuss and apply CF. You can comment on, learn about or debate CF philosophy. You can also apply CF ideas to other topics or use CF methods (such as idea trees, IGCs, textual analysis, and CF-compatible critical thinking).

If you aren’t directly discussing philosophy, you should connect your topic to CF and explain your goal(s). E.g. you might debate a scientific issue and use a discussion tree while referring to CF material on how to use discussion trees. Or you might use decisive criticism to analyze history and discuss CF ideas about which criticisms are decisive and why.

Elliot Temple also shares things he’s interested in, which helps people see how the CF perspective applies to the world.

I’ve made minor edits elsewhere.

People here need to engage with CF in some way, not ignore it.

Questions/clarifications/comments are welcome.

I predict I will find this rule hard to follow and will reduce my participation in the forum because of it.


  • It’s possible what I write while trying to follow the rule will be better for [ me | ET | CF forum success | everyone ] than what I’d write without the rule. I don’t know one way or the other.
  • I don’t expect to leave the forum entirely because of the rule.
  • At least partly because of the ongoing harassment problems I think it’s important to state for the record: It’s your forum and if you think the rule is good and should remain I’ll do my best to follow it while here.

My guess is the majority, perhaps as high as 90%, of my posts on this forum to date would have violated this rule had it been in place at the time. But maybe I’m thinking of it too strictly. Do you agree with my guess? Or do you have a different one?

You could ask about a specific thing to say that you’re not sure about or about a thing you think is not allowed but would be good.

This forum is not a place to take conventional/inductivist/justificationist/infallibilist/non-CF reasoning methods and then apply them to whatever topics for no particular reason. If you want to do that, try Reddit. A way to connect conventional reasoning to CF would be e.g. to ask if CF reveals an error or insight that isn’t visible without CF. But that shouldn’t be done with anything at random as a sentence you tack on at the end of a post to pretend it’s related to CF. When is that kind of thing appropriate? For example, when you kinda see some way some CF could be relevant – you have some reason to suspect CF might have something to add here. Or when something is super important so you’re trying to look everywhere for ideas.

A different way to apply non-CF methods to a random topic and make it relevant would be to use it as an example of those methods for the purpose of debating CF and comparing how CF handles it. Or a non-critic might be trying to figure out how CF would handle that case differently to understand what CF says better.

I think this post would not be allowed, but I’m not sure:

It’s the kind of thing I enjoy writing here, but I don’t see an immediate connection to CF.

I thought that post was fine. I brought up the topic first so that adds leeway/relevance.

Also I don’t think telling people they are off-topic will be difficult if they aren’t doing something else wrong like dishonesty. It’s not that big a deal and can hopefully be dealt with by commenting on it sometimes. It’s not something – like say heavy flaming – where it never happening in the first place would be an important goal.

I have noticed I tend to write more as responses than as topic initiations. I consider that mildly bad.