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Thread: ** Rules For Posting To This Board **

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001

    ** Rules For Posting To This Board **


    Below are the rules for posting to the CosmoQuest forums. Most of these fall under the simple rule of “Be polite”. However, there are some specifics that need to be listed.

    In most cases, the first violation will result in a public and/or private warning. Subsequent violations will earn you infraction points depending on the seriousness of the violation. Accumulating sufficient infraction points will result in a suspension and, beyond a certain level, a permanent ban.

    That may sound harsh, but in reality these rules are pretty easy to follow. This board is based upon mutual respect for and by all posters. This is a community. Whether we agree on specifics or not, we’re all here because we’re interested in the Universe around us. Following these rules benefits everyone.

    0. The Spirit of the Law.

    The purpose of all of these rules is to ensure that this forum remains a law-abiding, civil, and congenial place to engage in discussion. That a post complies with that spirit is a greater consideration than whether it can be defended as being within the rules.

    1. Posting Topics

    First and foremost, this discussion forum focuses upon space and astronomy. Unless the section title or description clearly indicates otherwise, please stay within these areas when creating topics and participating in existing conversations.

    We do have an Off-Topic Babbling section for general banter that falls outside of space and astronomy. People will sometimes talk there about personal issues they are facing, but they should refrain from requesting or offering advice that is best dispensed by a medical, mental health, or legal professional.

    2. Civility and Decorum

    Politeness is the top rule here. Of course, we expect to have spirited debates! That’s fine, as long as the people involved extend one another basic respect. Disagreements are inevitable, but even in those situations you must still be nice.

    Attack the ideas, not the person(s) presenting them. If you've got concerns with what someone is saying, feel free to dismantle their arguments, but do not resort to ad hominem or personal attacks. Be mindful and respectful of others' feelings. If you feel that someone has crossed the line and insulted you, please contact one of the moderators, preferably via the reporting mechanism described here, or by PM or email. Don't write scathing posts in the forum to try and humiliate people publicly.

    If these guidelines are not followed, the administrators/moderators will take swift and appropriate action, so please behave accordingly.

    3. Language

    No cursing. This website is read by kids, who want to learn about astronomy, and space exploration. Many "net-nannies" will block this site if bad language is used. Think of the language used on a TV after-school special and you'll get the idea. Attempts to express bad words or phrases in messages or screen names, by any means such as (but not limited to): replacing key letters with different characters, misspellings homonyms, sound-alikes, abbreviations, or any other trick will not be tolerated. Same goes with adult topics -- talk about them somewhere else. If you do need to post something risqué, stick with arcane scientific terminology.

    This includes avatars; use care in choosing that image. Contact a moderator or administrator if you have any doubts.

    4. Copyright

    Do not post copyrighted material here. This is very serious. It is within the law to post small, relevant quotes, but not whole passages from newspapers, magazines, books, etc. If you do, the post will be deleted, and you will be warned. Do it twice and you will be banned. If you want to reference material somewhere else on the web, give a brief summary and link to the rest. People can go take a look at what you're talking about and then return to discuss it further.

    5. Privacy Issues

    Posting private information about forum users that is not available otherwise publicly will not be tolerated. Do not post private email you have gained access to without the express permission of the sender. There are legal and copyright reasons for this, not to mention that doing so is very impolite. The same caveat applies to private messages, whether they're from this forum or anywhere else. If you receive rude or abusive private messages on this forum, you can report them via the same mechanism as inappropriate posts.

    However, private messages to a moderator about forum administration issues are an exception to this rule. These may be shared with other moderators (but only with other moderators) unless you have a prior agreement with the moderator not to do so. To put it another way, think of the moderator team as a single entity. A PM to one is a PM to all, at least when it comes to official business.

    Note that if you do report a private message that you consider inappropriate, you should provide background information regarding any private discussions that preceded that message, since the moderators (unlike with public message posts) cannot establish context without such information. Members who report inappropriate messages without revealing that they sent messages that might have goaded the sender into writing such a message will be dealt with severely.

    6. Advertising, Solicitation, and Spam

    Do not post advertisements of any kind without securing the express consent of the administrators beforehand. Do not use this bulletin board as a vehicle to promote your own website, product, or forum, nor to sell merchandise. These are egregious offenses which will result in the deletion of the offending posts and banning of the user(s) responsible. Do not submit threads/posts containing identical text in multiple forum categories; that's considered spamming the board, and likewise will be dealt with accordingly.

    You can put a website in your signature if you wish, but please think carefully before you do so. If you have any doubts that it may break one of these rules, contact a moderator or administrator first.

    7. Second & Third Party Posting

    Do not post on behalf of other people. In other words, if someone you know has something to say relevant to the discussion in a thread, have them register and post it. Think of them as a copyrighted source: you can quote them in short amounts, but if there is something substantial they want to add, they must do it themselves.

    8. Hotlinking and large images

    Try to avoid putting in links to images or video directly from someone else's website. This can add a lot to their bandwidth, and then the host has to pay for it. In other words, if you see an image you like on an astronomy site, put in a link to that site, but don't use the [IMG] tags so the image loads into your post from their site directly. If you really want an image in your post, put it in a public site someplace and link to it from there. One exception would be from sites like NASA or universities, where bandwidth is not such an issue. If you own the image, then you can upload it to the board yourself.

    Additionally, don't embed an image that's over 512 kilobytes in size or over 1024 pixels wide, or any video that automatically starts playing.

    9. "Hit & Run"

    The technique of posting a single provocative statement (or, commonly, a URL to a pseudoscience website) and then never posting again in a thread is greatly frowned upon. This is only a step above trolling. Barely.

    10. Sock Puppetry

    Users are allowed only one account per person. Do not register under a different username for any reason as that will be treated as sock puppetry. All such accounts (including the primary one) will be banned without warning. Should you feel a need to contact the moderator staff, use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the homepage.

    11. Editing & Revisionism

    Edit your posts with care. There's no problem with editing a post later to change the tone or to correct spelling and the like. But changing content is not allowed! This is a slippery path that can be seen as revisionism. You may edit your post for up to 24 hours. Also, when quoting other posters, you may trim the text down to brief snippets to address something in particular, but do not misquote others or alter their content to suggest they've stated things which they haven't.

    Last edited by ToSeek; 2021-Sep-27 at 05:17 PM. Reason: Rule 8 modified for the 2020s

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    12. Politics & Religion

    Since this forum is devoted to science and discussions of politics and religion are both off-topic and tend to incite behavior we discourage, forum participants are generally prohibited from discussing religious and political issues. Please don't begin or contribute to a topic that's merely going to incite or fuel a flame war.

    However, the following exceptions apply:

    A) Political impact upon space programs, exploration, and science.

    B) Focused, polite discussion of concepts such as creationism and "intelligent design" which bear direct relevance to astronomy and science, for the purposes of conversing about and addressing misconceptions.

    C) Focused, polite discussion of the difference between astronomy (including cosmology) and religion.

    If you have any doubts about whether a topic meets these guidelines or would be otherwise acceptable, contact a moderator or administrator prior to posting about it.

    Note that partisan political debate is unwelcome anywhere on this forum. The same applies to debates purely religious in nature. Likewise, proselytizing will not be allowed. In short, you are allowed to discuss politics and religion within a very limited scope where they affect space and space exploration, astronomy, and science. Nothing more. If you really really need to talk about these topics with someone, take it to email, private messages, or another bulletin board.

    13. Alternative Concepts and Conspiracy Theories

    If you have some idea that goes against or beyond commonly-held astronomical theory, or think UFOs are among us, you are welcome to argue it here. Before you do though, read the specific advice threads linked below. This is very important. Then, if you still want to post your idea, you will do so politely, you will not call people names, and you will defend your arguments. Direct pertinent questions must be answered in a timely manner.

    We insist you keep your Against the Mainstream (ATM) or Conspiracy Theory (CT) topics about space and astronomy. We will close down any thread which doesn't have anything to do with space and astronomy immediately. If you aren’t sure your idea qualifies, PM any Moderator for advice.

    Keep promotion of your ATM/CT theories and ideas to only those Against the Mainstream or Conspiracy Theory threads which discuss them. You may not hijack other discussions or otherwise draw attention to your ideas anywhere else on the CosmoQuest forums.

    Further, you will participate according to the following provisions:

    13A. Against the Mainstream


    The purpose of the Against The Mainstream forum is to allow you to defend a non-mainstream scientific idea, hypothesis or theory. Once. For 30 days only. A number of behavior rules follow from that. The forum is not for developing an idea. Either you have something to defend, or you don't. Not "hey guys, what if X? Do the math for me please!". It's not for complaining about mainstream science. It's not for spamming an idea and never posting again.

    30 days are short, therefore we crack down hard on things that distract from the forum's primary purpose of defending your idea. Like other "helpers" or collaborators chiming in. Like arguing about moderator actions. Like side discussions on the merit of the ATM forum. Like attacking the person, not the idea. Like other off-topic stuff.

    People will vigorously challenge your arguments; that's what science and scientists do. If you cannot handle a frank and critical examination of your theory, then maybe you need to rethink your theory. Remember: you came here. It's our job to question new theories. Those that are strong will survive, and may become part of mainstream science. All such discussions must be kept polite and respectful, by all parties.

    Your ATM thread will be closed after 30 days. Extensions may be granted by Moderators/Admins, if circumstances warrant. Once an ATM idea has been presented, it may not be presented again unless you have information not available the first time.

    You may have only one thread active at a time in ATM. If you ask to have a thread closed before the 30 days limit so that you may open a new thread, the old thread will not be reopened later.

    If you post an ATM idea elsewhere, it will be split off to an ATM thread. That new split thread will be locked on creation, if there's a current one open, to be unlocked when the current one times-out at 30 days. The 30 day count for the new one, however, starts on creation, not unlocking. (See preceding paragraphs.)

    You must defend your arguments and directly answer pertinent questions in a timely manner. Honestly answering "I don't know" is acceptable. Evasiveness will not be tolerated.

    If it appears that you are using circular reasoning, depending on long-debunked arguments, or breaking any of these other rules, you will receive one warning, and if that warning goes unheeded, you will receive infractions, which can lead to suspension or banishment.

    The ATM forum is not the place for speculative discussion. Whether you are presenting your own ideas or those of another, you are responsible for defending them according to the provisions above. If you have a question about an ATM idea, you may pose it in Q&A, but you may not advocate it there.

    13B. Conspiracy Theories


    Conspiracy Theories involve, well, conspiracies. This means a purposeful cover up by someone of some Greater Truth. If you don't have a conspiracy to propose, don't post in CT. The exception is the existence of UFOs piloted by ETs, or alien visitations. CT is the place to discuss this even if you are not proposing a conspiracy.

    People will vigorously challenge your arguments; that's what skeptics do. If you cannot handle a frank and critical examination of your claims, then maybe you need to rethink discussing them here. All such discussions must be kept polite and respectful, by all parties.

    You must defend your arguments and directly answer pertinent questions in a timely manner. Honestly answering "I don't know" is acceptable. Evasiveness will not be tolerated.

    If it appears that you are using circular reasoning, depending on long-debunked arguments, or breaking any of these other rules, you will receive one warning, and if that warning goes unheeded, you will receive infractions, which can lead to suspension or banishment.

    You may use this forum to present someone else's ideas for objective discussion or to ask for help in answering questions others have about a CT. The forum may also be used for the critical analysis of websites, articles, or shows that advocate specific astronomy and space related conspiracies. If, at any time, you advocate on behalf of those ideas, you must comply with the preceding requirements.

    Because of these requirements, we strongly suggest that you have only one active thread at a time in CT. There is no time limit on CT threads.

    14. Disruptive Behavior

    The moderators and administrators reserve the right to take action against a poster who is disrupting the normal flow of the board. This includes violations listed in the other rules (trolling, use of ad hominems, posting copyrighted materials, etc.), but may also include behavior we have not yet foreseen. Since this rule is perforce general, we will attempt to correct the problem by warning the violator (via PM, email, or posting in the thread) and giving him/her a chance to explain his/her behavior, and we will take further action only if proven necessary.

    15. Repeat/Chronic Offenders

    Be warned: If you are banned and try to get back in by spoofing or changing your email, appropriate action will be taken -- not limited to but including contacting your ISP.

    16. Reporting Bad Posts

    If you feel a post breaks one of these rules, please report it by clicking the 'report' button (the black triangle with the exclamation mark inside it, located at the bottom left hand side of every post). Do not talk about bad posts or anything else you consider to be inappropriate user behavior in the forum itself or suggest, speculate on, or threaten what the moderator response should be. All reported posts are reviewed by moderators or administrators, and are treated very seriously (so do not report frivolously). If you have concerns, please PM a moderator or administrator.

    17. Moderator Actions

    If there is a rule violation, then a moderator will take action. This may include: the deletion of a word or phrase (if it breaks the rules), the removal of an entire post (if it is beyond redemption, or if it's a spam, etc.), the merging of a new thread with an existing one on the same topic, the closing of a thread if it wanders too far off-topic or gets too heated, a gentle warning to a user or users, a not-so-gentle-warning, and as a last resort, the banning of a user. This banning may be temporary or permanent, as outlined above. If a moderator gives you advice, we advise you to take it.

    Do not respond to moderation in-thread, unless asked a question by a moderator. If you wish clarification, want to question the moderation, or need to explain your actions, report the post and/or PM a moderator. If you wish to publicly discuss any act of moderation, start a thread in the Feedback forum. You may report the first post of that thread to ensure it is brought to the attention of the moderators.

    18. Rule Additions & Revisions

    The administrators reserve the right to modify existing rules and/or add additional rules as they see fit. In many ways, this board is like a living thing, subject to change. Situations sometimes arise which cannot be anticipated, and thus, rules must be added to accommodate them.
    Last edited by PetersCreek; 2019-May-24 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Fixed links
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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