swansont

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Time for the periodic reminder that disagreement is not a personal attack, and that pointing out where you are wrong is not ad hominem.

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Periodic reminder: complaining about being compelled to follow the rules is not going to gain any traction with the staff, and people challenging your pet theory is not a rules violation. It's actually what one should expect.

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We had a reported reply in this thread. The claim was that the person replying is trolling by giving answers in more than one thread the OP is involved in. We don't understand why this is a bad thing. If more trolls would give helpful answers, we wouldn't call them trolls.

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http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/88546-is-it-normal-to-lose-a-dangerous-amount-of-blood-from-small-wounds/page-1#entry862830

 

A question of why Acme's post was removed, when other member's post was not. It is not uncommon for us to only remove posts that continue to derail a thread after a modnote has been posted. Not removing a post is not an open invite for others to continue down the same line of off-topic conversation. That much should have been blatantly obvious to anyone that had bothered to read the mod note that was posted.

 

To be clear, we only punish members for infractions they commit on this site. Comments about a member based on their behavior elsewhere are very much off topic - for this thread and most others. If you believe that staff should be given a heads up about someone, PM them.

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No, we will not tell you who downvoted your post.

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Recently, we had to ban someone who was a good resource in certain areas, but who repeatedly refused to exercise civility in his posts. He knew his stuff, but if he couldn't make you understand what he meant, he threw up his hands pretty quickly and called you a crank. He couldn't break this habit in the years he was a member, even after being suspended for it. He just didn't think he had to be civil, because he was right.

 

Don't say things that don't help. If someone is having trouble with a concept, the last thing they need is to be told how dumb they're being. Your attitude affects your behavior, which affects other's attitude and behavior. And if you can't force yourself to walk away without some flaming comment, you're going to get banned.

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Periodic reminder that being wrong is not a rules violation. Moderators will not step in and correct anyone on points of fact — participation in that manner is that of a member, not a moderator, so there is no utility in reporting posts using this complaint.

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What is a thread hijack?

 

We have a FAQ

 

"The topic of discussion is set by the first post in a thread. If your post is such that it changes the discussion from what the original post(er) (OP) was talking about to what you want to talk about, you are guilty of attempted hijacking. Posting your own pet theory anywhere but in its own thread in the Speculations forum is always considered a hijack."

 

So if someone posts something about thinking the moon is made of green cheese, you talk about that person's theory — why it's possibly wrong, what evidence there is, etc. Even if you have your own theory about how the moon is made of green cheese, if you post it in the thread you are hijacking the discussion.

 

You only discuss your pet theory in its own thread in speculations. Not in anybody else's thread (unless explicitly invited to do so, such as a thread that says "I want to hear your theories on how the moon is made of green cheese")

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This moderator is interrupting a conversation with another moderator. Why not let the moderator knowledgeable on the subject and in the middle of this discussion make that decision.

 

This question was raised in a report - and it is a valid question which might as well be answered here.

 

The staff avoid moderating conversations in which they are already involved at a substantive level - this is an attempt to avoid any bias or perception of bias. It is the division of procedural from the substantive - we are very strict about this in the main fora and slightly more relaxed in Speculations. But even in Speculations we try to avoid moderating threads in which we have been personally involved if at all possible

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The speculations section is not an open forum for discussing whatever you wish. You are expected to follow the guidelines and the broader rules of the forums, and that includes addressing questions/objections (i.e. not soapboxing) and supporting your claims.

 

If you don't you will lose the privelege of further discussion on the topic. The staff isn't particularly interested in the prospect of repeating the effort of reminding you to follow the rules if you've never demonstrated any inclination of doing so.

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From a recent report:

 

Why is my thread closed?
Isn't it fair to first warn about potential violation of the forum rules? Or banning me for a few days? What's the point of locking the thread completely and forbidding a discussion about the issue presented in that thread, in another topic? Is this a heresy, or what?

 

Closed threads aren't necessarily due to rules violations; they can simply run their course. If the OP is not amenable to modifying their claim in the light of evidence and we keep running over the same ground, we are going to close the thread. There's no point to continued discourse.

 

Warning about an infraction is a courtesy, of sorts, especially if one has had similar discussions closed before, as in this case. In that case it makes pleading ignorance farcical.

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We have been asked why a post was trash-canned. The post immediately followed my request that we should get back on the topic and move away from discussing reaction-less drives; the post which was trash-canned was on reaction-less drives.

 

Ongoing topics have a central theme which may vary organically over time but sudden sideways branches are considered hijacks - even if this branch is started by the OP. One Speculations thread per topic otherwise we will never get answers given to the important questions raised in this forum. These are not blogs nor public streams of consciousness - there is a need for academic discipline.

 

And raising questions of dogmatism and lack of imagination is just poor form - the post would have been trashed if the physics had been well established; it is taking the mickey to immediately write a post on X immediately after being asked to no longer post on X.

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There was a report on a locked thread in the Lounge, citing the "Discuss life, work, school, anything!" description, implying that the anything literally means that anything can be discussed.

 

That's ridiculous.

 

The rules still apply. You can't use the Lounge to post things that we would crack down on elsewhere for rules violations. It's not a consequences-free zone.

 

Further, and I really don't think this should have to be pointed out, the implicit meaning is "anything you wouldn't be talking about in the categories we have set up", which is a broader application of the desire for posts to be on-topic and relevant to a discussion. Posting in the Lounge rather than in an appropriate sub-forum is lazy and a bit rude (especially if one does it habitually)*

 

If you want to be free to post anything you like, start up a blog or tumblr somewhere. It's pretty easy to do.

 

*edit to add: posting in speculations for similar reasons is equally lazy.

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We occasionally get Reports requesting deletion of text, presumably after editing has timed out. We prefer not to do this at all, and definitely won't if the post has already been quoted or commented on by other members. It makes a thread look very dishonest to have edits after responses.

 

This is the written word. Learn not to blurt while typing. :P

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We have had several members recently claiming to be justified in using insulting language about another member due to previous encounters at other fora. Just to reiterate the ban on insulting language is absolute - there is no just cause.

Section 2: Posting
To maintain civility in discussions on SFN, the following rules are enforced:

  • Be civil.
    • No flaming. Refrain from insulting or attacking users in a discussion.
    • Avoid the use of vulgar language.
    • Slurs or prejudice against any group of people (or person) are prohibited.
    • Please refer to SFN's etiquette guide before posting.

We are a discussion forum and everyone arrives with a clean slate; we do not look at reputations we look only at the content of posts here at SF.net. It is probably also worth bearing in mind that if you need to stoop to insults you have probably already lost the argument and members will view those casting aspersions with a touch of scorn

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A note that we have a FAQ for why a thread would be moved to speculations, since this comes up.

 

An addendum made this morning, from a specific act of moderation:

 

We generally draw a distinction between posts that ask a question and posts that make an assertion that is contrary to mainstream science. "Is the moon made of green cheese?" is a question that can be addressed by science, and so it is legitimate to post in the appropriate science subforum. The answer happens to be no, and we have evidence that can be cited to support that answer. "The moon is made of green cheese!" is an assertion, and something that would be moved to speculations, where it would be refuted, though the author would be expected to post evidence in support of his/her claim.

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A reminder that warnings about staying on-topic are given not only because of the relevance of the post, but also the likelihood that the post will elicit responses that drag the discussion away from the OP.

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We've had a few posts and even some topics opened lately about dismissing ideas for lack of evidence. Most are criticizing some kind of "liberal" agenda on staff's part, so it occurs to me this is in part motivated by the recent POTUS election. I want to clear up some points on that. It's both an official stance (because it concerns the rules, and because I'm posting this where the only reply can be from other staff members), and a personal one (since it may concern judgements not covered by the rules).

 

Adherence to the rules that have evolved over SFN's lifetime is hardly "liberal". We're interested in discussions that are scientifically productive, to ensure a sound learning experience for everyone involved. This means following rules. In this, we're actually being pretty conservative.

 

Adherence to scientific methodology is also a conservative stance. Here, I'd have to say we're only moderately conservative. We're far too liberal for many of our most experienced scientific minds (bless you all for your patience and understanding, you know who you are), and it's true we give some folks more rope than others. It's not because we think anyone's wrong idea is better than another's, but often there is a reverse benefit that might be realized by further discussion (How-Not-To threads are valuable - in moderation).

 

But if you joined and now think we're too liberal because we dismiss an idea for lack of supportive evidence, you need to know that's not going to change. We're not going to start allowing Wild Ass Guessing to take the place of scientific enquiry. If you have a question, post it in a mainstream section, and discuss the question without resorting to your speculative ideas. If your idea is speculative, you need to understand that it has no weight without evidence in support. No matter how nifty you think the idea is, it's just another WAG until you support it, and you can go to LOTS of other forums for that kind of "science". It's just not something we want to waste anyone's time on past a certain point. That point is when it should dawn on a scientific mind that evidence is the weight our scale measures best.

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We have received a number of reports regarding "unfair" use of negative reputation and claims of persecution. Without zeroing in on any one member's moan, can we make a few points clear?

  1. We, the moderating staff, can see who has given reputation points (both positive or negative), inter alia, this means :
    1. Complaining about small-minded people giving negative reputation points whilst doling out far more red downvotes yourself is both hypocritical and we know you are doing it. Unsurprisingly, we are not going to get involved.
    2. Regular and consistent up- or down-voting of one member by one other member will lead to suspicion. We have been in the position of needing to remove the ability of members to down-vote to keep the forum harmonious. We really do not want to do this.
  2. On the whole the reputation system is self-governing and self-balancing. For example I give far more green up-votes to balance (what I believe to be) unfair red down-votes than I give for pure quality of post. It doesn't take long to understand who likes/dislikes your work and why, even without the mod sneak-peek, so you tend to reinforce that which is approved of etc. and avoid that which is frowned upon. If you do not wish to modify your posting then so be it - but don't whinge when you get more red than green.
  3. We have discussed this ad nauseam and will not be considering any changes to the reputation system unless we feel there is a new groundswell of support for change from our senior members.
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Periodic reminder that getting downvoted/negative reputation is not a call for the report post function to complain. The staff is not going to get involved in such spats in any official capacity. We will assign reputation as regular members as each individual sees fit.

 

Also, complaining about this in any thread is off-topic.

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