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Some answers to frequently asked questions (or paraphrases of questions) that have come up in moderation efforts or in the Support forum. This will be amended as needed.




1. Someperson is wrong! Why don't the moderators step in and do something?


We don't do that. The role of the staff (when acting as staff) is to enforce the rules, so we don't make determinations on who is correct. We do, however, participate in discussions as members of the site, and may weigh in in that capacity, but generally do not mix the roles of enforcing moderation and participation in a discussion. (Some "housekeeping" actions, such as moving posts to a more appropriate area, can still happen while participating)



2. Why was what I posted called a hijack? Or off-topic?


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.


Off-topic is related to this, but this usually arises in the context of commentary on an answer or a subsequent post to the original. Rather than continue the side discussion, a new thread should be made.



3. What is soapboxing?


It's when you are simply making a speech, rather than engaging in a discussion. This is what blogs are for.



4. Why was I yelled at for copyright/plagiarism?


Copyright is a set of laws that protect things that people write, and mean you can't just paste entire screeds here without permission (and simply existing somewhere on the internet is not permission). Under the provision called Fair Use, you can post small excerpts for review and commentary. Copyright also protects pictures and drawings, so anything posted here should be done with permission or under some form of Creative Commons license.


Plagiarism is an ethical violation that occurs when you present material as your own. That is, you have not attributed the work of others.


Whenever you are using the creative work of others, you should post an attribution and whenever possible, a link to the source material.



5. What gives you the right to censor me?


This is not a public place, and we are not the government, so any such free speech protections do not apply. The price of participation here is that you agree to follow the rules. The people who run the site are well within their authority to remove posts that violate the rules. Moving posts to an appropriate section is not censorship — your words are still there.


There are a number of threads where this discussion has taken place. The search function should help you find them.



6. Will you delete my account or remove some post I made?


No. We don't delete accounts. If you don't want to participate anymore, it's a simple matter of not coming here. We don't generally remove posts, because doing so after the fact is disruptive to conversations. If you aren't going to stand by something you post, you shouldn't post it.



7. Where is my post?


Sometimes posts/threads get moved. Though we try and leave a trail, it doesn't always happen. If you go into your profile, you can click on either the topics or posts box to find your material. If you hover over your user name in a thread, there is a "my content" link. A third option is to use the advanced search function and type in your user name as the only entry, and you will get a list of everything you've posted.



8. Why was my thread locked?


Threads are locked if they are duplicates or if the staff decides they have run their course. The latter happens when the thread originator is not engaging in useful discussion — usually by ignoring critiques and simply repeating the same points over and over again.



9. Why was my post moved to Speculations?




10. I was expressing my opinion. Why are you asking me for links?


This means you probably weren't merely expressing an opinion. An opinion is a personal, subjective view, but if you are asserting a claim as an objective truth, i.e. something that others must accept as truth, then it's not an opinion. And in that case, it's perfectly reasonable for someone to call you on it and ask you to support your claim. Any factual reason(s) you might have given in order to justify your opinion are similarly open to a call for a link to confirm it.

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