It would be interesting to learn what is the viewpoint of Academia.SE community on the following situation.

There is an Area 51 proposal for Paranormal Phenomenons.

Please follow the links from this question to read further details, but to keep all discussion in one place, I suggest to express your opinions as answers to this question here. I was recently involved in a discussion about cranks in science, so I'm very intrigued what you think.

(Blatantly copied in parts from this question to make sure to stay on-topic.)

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    Sorry, but I think there is a substantial difference between your question and the linked one: the latter asked whether the questions of the proposed Open Science site, which was going to close, would have been on topic at Academia. Your question, instead, asks to discuss a site which has nothing to do with Academia. I thus voted to close. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 17 '18 at 16:29
  • @MassimoOrtolano That's okay. If possible I would have posted this on a meta site of academia meta. Maybe the question is better for chat anyway. – SK19 Mar 17 '18 at 16:31
  • Yeah, it's definitely better for the chat. – Massimo Ortolano Mar 17 '18 at 16:32
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    What does this have to do with Academia? – JMac Mar 17 '18 at 16:36
  • @JMac I thought when something pseudoscientific like this rises up, the best place to discuss it is Academia where scientific people from all branches meet. – SK19 Mar 17 '18 at 16:43
  • @JMac 'Cranks' and how to tame them. See my answer. – Discrete lizard Mar 17 '18 at 18:06
  • Feed it to Skeptics.SE! – jakebeal Mar 19 '18 at 18:53

First of all, I'm not sure this question is really appropriate, but that's just my opinion. I do think there's no reason to be vehemently against such a proposal without seeing how it'll turn out.

In my opinion, 'paranormality' is actually a sort of 'parareligion'. Since we have serious sites that manage to seriously and objectively discuss Christianity, Buddhism, Islam or theological matters, I don't see what prevents serious and objective discussion of 'paranormality'.

Anyway, this site is still in the definition phase. Many sites don't even get beyond that phase. Only a minor fraction of all proposals reach the beta stage. So I wouldn't worry. Just sit and wait. You might consider mentioning in chat when (if!) it reaches public beta.

Also, I do think there is a tiny overlap between academia and 'paranormality': 'Cranks'. Questions about cranks and how to deal with them (for some academic) are very much on topic here. Paranormality appears to be a 'field' with more cranks than non-cranks, so I think 'dealing with crank questions' might appear on that site (although most likely from the cranks perspective). Still, experts from Academia.SE could share their expertise their. The serious, scientific investigation of 'paranormality' (Yes, it exists!) might overlap a bit, but I think that leans a bit too much towards 'questions inside a field' than questions about academia itself.


My personal opinion: I'm... baffled that something like this exists. I mean, given human nature it was sure to happen eventually, but still... Wouldn't such a site only serve to strengthen superstitious believes of people? Isn't this necessarily a bad thing? I mean, I'm not saying such people should not allowed to express their opinions on the Internet, but for that purpose using Stack Exchange, a site that, forgive my enthusiasm, strengthens scientific and expertise knowledge around the world, seems just... wrong... to me.

  • Well, it doesn't exist, really. Its just a proposal – Discrete lizard Mar 27 '18 at 7:21

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