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Forum Guidelines

PostPosted: May 3rd, 2009, 10:36 pm
by Administration
The Science Forum (SCF) and The Philosophy Forum (PCF) are discussion and debate forums, and our primary purpose is the discussion of science or philosophy and related matters. Our goal is to foster a friendly environment in which ideas can be freely exchanged and discussed, where questions can be asked and answered. If you are challenging established theories or schools of thought, expect to have your ideas challenged and be prepared to defend them. To this end, certain rules and guidelines have been established to provide for a conducive atmosphere of intelligent discourse.

All members are expected to read, understand, and agree to our guidelines. Violations may result in the immediate termination of your account, which may or may not involve removing all your previous posts.

SCF and PCF have varying standards and enforcement may differ among the sub forums. Additional posting guidelines may be listed in individual sub forums. Be sure to read and follow those guidelines before posting in a sub forum.

Posting in the Science Section (SCF)

SCF message boards are open to questions and topics of debate which follow a scientifically directed approach. We are not an open forum to non scientific schools of thought and while we encourage speculation, we wish to maintain a professional context to the discussions which aligns itself with our scientific perspective. Please remember:

SCF is first and foremost a science forum. Always be prepared to provide credible evidence for your claims; ideas don’t just "fly" around here. Expect to be challenged by professionals who might have spent their whole lives studying the subject matter, so if you think you can discredit an existing theory, think again, and consider the following:

a) Theses that attempt to refute or challenge mainstream theories must be confined to the "Personal Theories" sub forum.

b) Discussions dealing with philosophical considerations, including the philosophy of science, its validity as a discipline vs. other schools of thought, must all be directed to the philosophy sub forms under the PCF section.

c) Threads delving in - or merely appealing to - religious ideologies must be directed to the "Religion" sub forum in the PCF section.

d) The scientists in SCF consider the theory of evolution to be the best model for explaining the biological diversity and genetic homology witnessed in all living things, and accept descent from common ancestry as fact, until proven otherwise. That being said, all faith-based arguments challenging the theory of evolution should go into the "Religion" sub forum in the PCF section and NOT the Biology sub forum.

e) The consensus by the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as other institutions made up of hundreds of scientists all around the world is that humans are the main cause of current global warming and that all the warming over the past 60 years is most likely anthropogenic. As with all topics, members are welcome to explore alternatives but since these go against mainstream science they should be directed to the "Personal Theories" subforum while still providing credible evidence.

f) Posts requesting/offering technical information on the design of biological/explosive weapons are prohibited.

Failure to follow these guidelines will earn you a ban. The ban can be instant and without warning, depending on the extent (and intent) of the violation.

Posting in the Philosophy Section (PCF)

PCF takes "philosophy" in broad terms and covers all aspects of human experience. Philosophical discussions should proceed by reason and example. Users should be ready to support their claims. It is not always necessary to prove what you say as many philosophical positions need not be subject to proof in order to have a discussion about your ideas.

We seek to provide a forum for you to explore your ideas. However, it is expected that you be willing to explain why you believe what you believe. Preaching, dogmatic assertions, circular arguments, rambling and other forms of unresponsive speech are not consistent with the ideal of ongoing discourse.

Some discussions will proceed more casually. However, more rigorous discussions are encouraged. As such more rigorous standards may be applied in some sub forums or threads at a moderator's discretion or a poster's request. In such cases keep in mind the following:

a) When you assert a position on something, you must be prepared to demonstrate basic scholarship behind that position. It's okay if you aren't prepared to write a review article, but you should be prepared to provide up to date references beyond wikipedia or a blog. If you have a mathematical claim, you must be able to provide a proof or derivation, or citation, recognizably correct by someone with a mathematics degree. If you have a claim based on statistics, you should likewise be prepared to give a reputable source, such as a journal article or government report to serve as the basis of your claim. Finally, if you have a position on a subject in mainstream philosophy, you should be aware of some of the literature others have written.

b) Furthermore, scholarship should be up to date. While it may be interesting to consider what Galileo or Locke thought about a problem in either physics or theory of mind, these perspectives are now rightly understood to be historical. If one is discussing some subject matter with which they profess expertise, they must be acquainted with some of the contemporary research into these subjects. It is a moot point that there are many new ideas and problems unimagined by the historical thinkers, and these are now commonplace in mainstream academia.

c) Be willing to admit that you are wrong. There is no vice in admitting one is in error. It isn't humanly possible to be right all the time anyway.

The following guidelines apply to all SCF and PCF forums.

General Posting Guidelines

While we hope to provide space for your ideas this does not mean that all topics are appropriate in all areas. Please remember:

I - Before you post a topic, please go over the list of sub forums and try to pick the most relevant sub forum for your thread. Some suggestions:

    a) If you are unsure where to place your topic and cannot decide on any of the specialty sub forums, start it in the "Anything Science" or "Anything Philosophy" sub forums. A moderator may find a more appropriate place for it. If your topic is deemed irrelevant to a given sub forum, a moderator may relocate the thread without notice.

    b) Use the search engine, do a quick search to check whether or not the topic has been previously discussed.

    c) Pick a descriptive title for your thread. Think of the title as a reference point for focusing and refocusing discussion should it stray from the original topic and which informs readers what to expect in the thread. Avoid vague, nondescript titles for example: "My Cool Theory" or "help!!!"

II- Do NOT duplicate your post in more than one forum. If you want to get different perspectives on the same topic or subject, allow a thread to conclude in one section before re-introducing it into another. Running duplicate threads at the same time leads to redundancy and confusion, and is thus strongly discouraged.

III - When replying to a post, avoid any and all of the following:

    a) Misrepresentation of evidence, out of context quotes being used to falsely represent a view for example.

    b) Repeated refusal to respond to challenges to one's claims. We are a debate forum, not a soap box.

    c) Off topic posts may be removed or split into new threads. Your cooperation in keeping the discussion focused and organized is greatly appreciated.

IV - Always respect copyrights and provide references and links where available.

V - We encourage you to exercise sound judgment when posting personal information in the forums. SCF & PCF are public entities and all information posted is available for public scrutiny and review.

VI - Before submitting your post, proofread for basic grammar, punctuation and spelling. Proper writing helps to avoid ambiguity and build mutual respect. We aren't sticklers about this, but it is rather simple to check these things before posting. For mathematical equations, consider using the TeX function to improve readability. Check the MimeTeX manual to learn how to use LaTeX in posts.

VII - Color, bold, ALL CAPS, large and small font sizes and other formatting styles should be used sparingly and to highlight or emphasize a point.

VIII - PCF/SCF is not a pre-print server. If you have a document you want to submit for publication, and would like feedback on before submission, you should post it on or on a private website. Provided that it is appropriate, you are free to link it here and invite others to comment on it.

Forum Etiquette

We expect all members to conduct themselves in a manner which encourages growth in our community, and fosters an atmosphere of learning.

I - Abusive behavior is strictly prohibited. Obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-oriented or any communication through our forums which threatens, belittles, or otherwise demeans our members will not be tolerated.

II - Personal attacks are strictly prohibited. While it's normal for debates to sometimes grow heated, all comments should remain focused on the actual theories being presented, and/or the responses to challenges from fellow posters. We do not tolerate posts which demean another user on a personal level.

III - Offensive comments referring to a person's gender, race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation made with the intent to offend are strictly prohibited. Using offensive language may result in the termination of your account.

IV - General disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Disruptive behaviors include the following

    a) Posts deemed by the moderators to be devoid of any intelligent content.

    b) Repeated refusal to cite sources or other evidence to support your claims.

    c) Repeated refusal to respond to a moderators request.

    d) We do not provide a medium for circular debates which have no end. If a debate has gone on a significant length of time, and the moderators feel that it's going nowhere, they are charged with refocusing the debate, or when that fails, to end it. If a thread is locked, do not start a new thread resurrecting old issues.

On Spam

I - Posting a website with the intention of demonstrating something relevant to a point being discussed is fine, however posts made with the intention of selling a product or advertising a website will be dealt with swiftly. Spamming may be grounds for the immediate termination of your account.

II - Signatures and profile fields that appear in posts and contain URL's or emails encourage spam and are thus not allowed. Please advertise your website in your PROFILE in the WEBSITE field specifically set for that purpose.

On Homework

While a major goal of ours is to foster an atmosphere of academic exchange, we strongly discourage our members from solving your homework for you. Getting others to do your homework for you and then presenting it as your own work is not only unethical, but also defeats the whole purpose of your academic training. If you are having trouble solving a homework problem, post the problem and explain why you are unable to solve it or at which step of the solution you've hit an impasse. Or if you could solve the problem but weren't sure of your answer, post it so someone else can review and confirm it for you. DO NOT just post the problem and ask for final answers - show your work.

On Security Violation

We try to provide a secure environment for our users, and any attempts to breach that security will be met with zero tolerance.

I - Denial of service attacks will not be tolerated. Abusive behavior will earn you a permanent IP ban from our site.

II - The private messaging service via the boards is provided to facilitate communication between members. Misusing this service to annoy others or to advertise is not allowed.

The Role of the Moderators

Our moderators are charged with interpreting all the rules. They may take action to ensure the rules are followed with the intent of encouraging the smooth flow of discussion.

Your Contribution

Should you have concerns about a post or poster, please use the "Report this post" feature to alert the moderators. You may Private Message (PM) a moderator about the issue. Finally, should you feel that a rule was unfairly enforced, or rather, that it has not been enforced as much as it should you are encouraged to post an inquiry in the "Feedback Forum." We ask that all complaints be dealt with there in the open. Complaints will be handled quickly and impartially by non involved parties.

If you've started a thread in a subforum but would like it to be moved into a different forum, please use the "Report this post" to request it be moved for you. If you see a thread started by someone else that you think would be better suited for a different subforum, please use the report button and provide your reason(s) why the thread should be moved. DO NOT post requests for moving threads on the thread itself.

SCF & PCF are public, open forums. The material posted by users does not reflect the thoughts and beliefs of the SCF & PCF moderators or administrators. We are not strictly responsible for displaying or removing material posted by the public on all and any of our open forums. Please exercise sound judgment BEFORE submitting your posts.