The proper venue for debates:

Q&A is never the appropriate forum for debates.

Debates about mainstream science are welcome in the Science and Technology, Astronomy, and Space Exploration forums, where the topic best fits.

Posts that advocate positions that are not part of mainstream science are never permitted outside of the proving ground forums.

I say again: Q&A is never the appropriate forum for debates. Should a matter for debate come up, a thread for extended discussion should be opened in a more appropriate venue. Should moderator assistance be required to do so (or to help figure out if it should be done in a less-than-clear situation), please report the thread and we'll be happy to assist.

I will, however, note that members do not require moderator assistance to redirect a debate to a more appropriate forum if the situation is clear. It merely takes someone to create a thread, and add a link for both directions, and the willingness of all members to behave responsibly when the time to "take it elsewhere" arrives. The mod team appreciates responsible behavior in this (and similar) matters.

Example: "I have to disagree with your interpretation of this answer. Lets quickly hash it out elsewhere (either by PM or in a separate thread), then report back with our conclusion. Would you like to create a thread or shall I?"


Q&A, as a forum, is our very best face presented to the 'net at large. You are all ambassadors to our visitors. Your behavior reflects on BAUT. As such, BAUT requires that all participants in Q&A be exemplars of how to behave while on our forums.

BAUT's overarching rule - "Be Nice" - counts tenfold in the Q&A forum.

I will add that while civility isn't quite as critical in other forums as it is in Q&A, it is still important. If you feel yourself getting frustrated - frustrated enough to be snarky - go do something else for a while. Take a break. Have a snack. (A low blood sugar level from debating past your body's stamina will often contributes to crankiness.) Jump in a pool or shower. Read a book chapter. Do. Something. Else.

If you can see that someone else is getting cranky, double-check to make sure you're not somehow goading them into frustration. Oftentimes, there's a simple misunderstanding that can be easily resolved if everybody just steps back a minute.

Example: "I can see we're both/all getting frustrating and/or talking past each other. Let's each/all take a break, get a snack, and come back refreshed in an hour or two so we can work this out."

(And [deity/bystander] help you if we see you're goading someone deliberately.)