Forward: Long ago I determined that "less is best." I believe both over-moderation and excessive rules can destroy a forum just as rapidly as they can destroy a country. Certainly under-moderation and a lack of basic rules aren't good, either, so I try for a balance.
Goal: To facilitate a highly functional online community.
1. Ownership/Administration/Moderation/Use of the Forums: These forums are available to the general public, but are privately owned and funded by the Administrator. His word is final on all matters. Moderators police the forums and enforce the rules. The more serious the offense, the more serious the warning, infraction, suspension, or ban. If you disagree with a moderator's actions, review and follow the appeal procedures, below. Going postal on a mod or admin in public is a great way to find yourself in never-never-land for a while.
2. Community Rules: We are a community of adults, and we expect you to behave appropriately.
a. Minimum age to join these forums is thirteen, but they're read by people of all ages, so please watch your language.
b. One account per person -- do not use anyone else's account nor allow anyone else to use your account.
c. Treat others with dignity and respect, whether you feel they deserve it or not. Attack the post, not the person. Personal attacks of any kind will not
be tolerated. By "personal attacks," I'm referring to those directed at the members of this forum, regardless of their status on the forum. Individuals in the public eye, as well as processes and groups external to this forum are fair game.
d. You are encouraged to learn the Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies
. The proper use of logic helps keep emotions to a minimum and maximizes the quality of the posts. There's nothing wrong with posting your opinions, however. Indeed, many problems facing our world today are to difficult to quantify, and often defy logic. Such problems can only be solved by sound judgement, which is a mix of experience and qualified opinion. If you do post your opinion, however, please tell us why
you believe as you do.
e. Citations: We're not a library, but if you make a claim that's either not widely held or is in contention, please source it with a substantiating link. I'm not going to ride herd on the quality of your posts and links, but if they're poor, expect others to call you on it.
f. As this is primarily a science forum, please keep discussions of religion and politics to a minimum. That said, they are by no means off-limits.
g. Respect the privacy of others – do not share PM's and e-mails on the forum. If anyone violates your privacy, please report their post using the post report function. The staff reserves the right to share PMs which violate the rules with other staff members for the purpose of effectively administrating/moderating this forum.
h. Feel free to edit your posts for spelling and grammar, but once you've posted, do not go back and delete your posts. For significant content changes, simply quote the old post and include your revisions in your reply.
i. Posting off-site links without any explanation of the links or discussion thereof is a no-no. We have no problem with offsite links, and strongly encourage it, provided you remember this is, first and foremost, a discussion
forum, and that we expect you to discuss the links you post.
3. Member Cage Match: If you really want to duke things out with another member, and they agree, head over to the Member Cage Match. The rules above are not suspended. They remain in force. In order to keep things civil and respect the rights and privacy of all members of the forum, the following additional guidelines are in place:
a. The title of the thread will be: Member X vs Member Y, where Member X is calling out Member Y. You may post your reason for calling out another member in your OP. You may not attack them, however. Again, "attack the post, not the poster." After your OP, sit back and wait for their response.
b. A match is only valid upon mutual consent. If you're called out and would prefer not to participate, simply report the OP and we'll close it, modifying the OP as appropriate: "Member X called out Member Y. Member Y chooses not to respond. Thread closed." If Member Y never responds and Member X tries using it as a personal platform for attacking the other person, we'll close the thread, delete the attacks, and deliver an infraction for violating these rules. This is non-negotiable.
c. Given mutual consent, it may very well become a free for all. However, the above rules still apply. In summary: Keep it civil. Attack the post, not the person. Rants, rails, and diatribes aren't valid discussion. If you'd like to make a point, make your point. If all you wind up doing is frothing at the mouth... .
4. Scope: The main focus of these forums involves science, but you're free to discuss any material directly related to the original post (OP) starting each thread. Please create threads in the appropriate sections. Post your own material, not that of others – we want to know what you think!
5. Copyrights and Trademarks: If the work belongs to someone else, post a link to the resource. Small snippets of the work may be quoted here for subsequent discussion, provided you reference the original material as it's posted elsewhere. If you do obtain permission to copy the material, please include a copy of their author/owner's permission with your post.
6. Spam: Spammers of any kind will be permanently banned. This includes both in-thread and private message (PM) advertisements or solicitations. This does not include sharing links to good resources, however, even if those resources are commercial. The key is whether or not the member has any personal or commercial affiliation with a resource, as well as the length of the member's affiliation with this forum and his number of posts.
7. Infractions: These include warnings, points, suspensions, and bans. We currently do not have a formal system in place with respect to what behavior warrants which response, so please avoid becoming the test case. At 12 pts your posting privileges are automatically suspended. Regardless of your status, the points for each infraction will be removed after 10 days, successively. When you drop below 12 pts, your posting privileges will be automatically restored.
8. Appeals: You may appeal incidents, warnings, and infractions to any moderator via PM. If no moderators are available (please give us at least 48 hrs to get back to you), you may submit your appeals to the Administrator via PM. Appeals, gripes, bitches, complaints about mod/admin actions are not to be tucked into any public corner, much less plastered all over the forum. This is a discussion forum, not a bitch session, and none of the other members want to hear you whine. If you've got a gripe with a mod or admin, send it via PM.
9. Rules Discussion: Feel free to discuss these rules or propose new ones, here.
10. Modifications to Rules: We reserve the right to change or modify the rules at any time, both formally in this listing, as well as on a case-by-case basis, in order to maintain a healthy forum for all members. If this offends you, please realize that sometimes, perhaps quite often, the world really doesn't revolve around you.