We have three different groups who are responsible for different areas of the board:
- Forum Overlords - Responsible for the site overall. They are El Pollo Diablo, jdc and Stephanie.
- Forum Moderators - Responsible for moderating according to the forum rules. They are: Bird on a Fire, discovolante and Woodchopper.
- Tech Admins - Responsible for technical adminstration of the board. Please post any issues or requests in Admin helpdesk. They are bjn, bobrayner, dyqik and plebian.
Here are the forum rules and friendly advice for your time on the board.
- No Libel / Slander; nothing liable to cause the forum legal grief.
- No obscene or violent abuse against non-members / non-regulars. Satire in respect of public figures such as politicians is acceptable, but the satire must be obvious and the acceptability of this is contextual. The decision of mods on this is final.
"I'd love to actually see the Prime Minister dead in a ditch" is acceptable, if the Prime Minister has just said that they would rather be dead in a ditch than do X.
"I want to kill the Prime Minister" is unacceptable.
"I'm gonna smash your face in, X" is unacceptable.
- No racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism or ableism, or other unacceptable prejudice. Prejudice is also a contextual thing, and the acceptability of it depends on its direction, its source, and the intent behind it. If a member of a minority group refers to themselves by a term which others might use pejoratively, this is likely to be acceptable. If someone describes an incident which happened in real life, and quotes terms which others have used, this is likely to be acceptable. If someone discusses a pejorative term respectfully, this is likely to be acceptable. What is unacceptable is direct use of prejudicial terms regarding protected characteristics or aspects of a person's body or character they can't change.
- NSFW images to be linked, not included in the thread. All NSFW links to be marked as such.
- Avoid copy/pasting copyrighted articles into posts. Quote a part, and link back to the original source if possible. Full articles may be posted on certain occasions, where the accessibility to the source is heavily restricted, or where copyright has been waived to an extent where it is allowed or encouraged. This is open to some interpretation, however. Always link if it is possible to link, as a courtesy.
- Doxxing, linking to, or exposing the real life identity or personal information of either a forum member or non-member is not allowed without their express permission.
- Moderators can use their discretion to sanction forum members whose behaviour they consider to be antisocial. Please respect any requests from moderators regarding this; failure to do so may lead to harsher sanctions. For example, posting private messages to the main forum without explicit permission from the author would be classed as antisocial behaviour.
- You are allowed to swear. A word censor is on by default, to turn this off go to User Control Panel > Board preferences > Edit display options > Enable word censoring. (Or click here)
- You are not allowed to make people feel bullied. This is a matter for discretion - some people are robust and give as much as they can take; some people strongly dislike harshness and aim to be pleasant - be pleasant back to them. However, those who are noted for their reliance on robust debate cannot complain if people are robust back. Don’t give it if you can’t take it. It is also worth being aware that people emotionally invest in online spaces at different levels and in different ways, and that it is not 'just the internet' to everyone. Forum members should exercise some personal responsibility by figuring out which areas of the board and threads they feel comfortable in. Also, remember that not everyone will know how mentally healthy and robust you are - allow others some slack in how they react to you if they don't know.
- Forum Overlords may intervene on any matter, in any way deemed appropriate, if the functionality or existence of the forum is affected, or if matters appear to be moving offline in a concerning way.
- We have different forums here. They are arranged by the behaviours we want in each, rather than the topics they must feature. They are:
- Nerd Lab - Discussions about (mainly) science issues. Expect requests for evidence, challenges to assertions, and a focus on facts. But please be pleasant, as far as possible. Keep to the topic. Lengthy derails (more than 5 posts) will usually be split off. Shorter derails are subject to the whims of the mods. This forum is visible to and indexed by the outside world, so bear that in mind.
- Weighty Matters - Discussions about serious topics, for serious people. Avoid derailing. Stick to the subject. Avoid abuse. Be sensitive. Lengthy derails (more than 5 posts) will usually be split off. Shorter derails are subject to the whims of the mods. This forum is visible to and indexed by the outside world, so bear that in mind.
- Relaxation station - Have a good time. Chat about whatever you want. Post cat pictures. Expect derails. We don't want megathreads, which may get locked at some point. Any interesting derails that go on a while and are worth their own discussion are likely to be split off. This forum is not visible to guests or the outside world. Slag each other off a bit. But not too much. Things that go too far will end up in The Pit
- Pandemic Arena - A temporary area to consolidate the more serious discussions about the coronavirus area, leaving the remaining areas for other topics. Moderation will follow Weighty Matters or Nerd Lab rules, as appropriate.
- The Pit - The gloves are off. Don’t post here without your flameproof undies on. But stick to the key rules about defamation, abuse and bullying. This forum is not visible to guests or the outside world.
- The “All Lives Matter” rule - this is important and nuanced; difficult for some to understand and tricky to spot. If someone starts a serious thread about a topic which affects a particular section of society, don’t minimise their questions, points or aims. This rule comes from a very difficult area of discussion, and the name comes from the attempt by some to nullify the “Black Lives Matter” movement - campaigning against violence and systemic racism against black people - using a similarly-named movement. All Lives Matter is a very effective slogan because it is, of course, true. All lives do matter, and it's worth campaigning for fewer police officers and white people to get shot. It's so obvious and so simple and so true that it lures people in, an instantly understandable point of view all can grasp. Pointing out that the All Lives Matter slogan is a direct way to hinder Black Lives Matter is a complicated story, requiring lengthy explanations of why it's a deliberate strategy exploited by racists. It's a perfect debating trick for people who want to feign innocence. However, pointing this out distracts from the important topic being discussed, by blurring and widening the issue and obscuring the tree with the forest. Direct solutions for a specific problem are spoiled by demands for universal answers for every issue. Please don’t do this. It drives people away. It will not be tolerated. Where this happens, posts will be split off elsewhere.
- If you’re not of the section of society being discussed, don’t make it about you in the thread.
- Don’t redirect the topic onto other sections of society.
- If there are serious things to discuss which are related but off-topic, or about other sections of society, please start a new thread. Don't derail.
- Don’t minimise others’ experiences - we believe in the value of robust evidence, but also respect the importance of individual experience. Importantly, if someone posts about their personal experiences, respond in a validating way to that first, before any other remarks. It is very important to be sensitive about this.
- Evidence from sociological and psychological areas is not often able to be the gold standard of double-blind, controlled studies. If the discussion is about a narrative, and some evidence is posted in support of that theme, don't pick holes in the evidence at the expense of discussing the narrative.
- Serious discussions of this nature will generally be deemed a topic for Weighty Matters, unless there are clear reasons for it not to be.
- Discussions of this nature which are started jokingly have a high potential for being deemed offensive, and may be removed. This is context-specific.
- If you are pulled up for falling foul of this rule, do not waste discussion time grumbling about it or arguing the toss. Posts of this nature will be either moved to The Pit or Quarantine. The decisions taken by moderators in response to this rule are final.
- Forum members should debate in good faith. You do not need to agree with each other, but conversation should be fair and responsive. If you post prolifically and ask a lot of questions of other people, or make lots of points which other forum members respond to, good faith behaviour would be to take the time to respond to those people to a reasonably full degree. Repeated, long-term failure to respond to forum members attempting to engage with you in this way is likely to be deemed bad faith debate, and may lead to a ban. Examples of bad faith debate include but are not limited to:
- Gish gallops
- Repeatedly targeting a single minor point of someone's post for further debate in a hostile way
- Deliberately misrepresenting someone's points
- Failure to acknowledge or apologise for mistakes
- Posting links to long articles or papers without quoting the relevant parts of it
Rule added on 21st October 2021.
- This forum is not a substitute for the advice of your local health professional. Any advice or suggestions should not be relied upon. Those posting medical advice are expected to do so responsibly.
- Investigative journalism and exposing quackery is a good thing. However, if you wouldn't post it on your own blog/profile, don't post it here. This forum is not to be used as a shield against legal issues.
- Being offensive is not the same thing as swearing. Statements can be both ruthlessly clean and very offensive.
- If you do something wrong, and you are called out for it, then apologise. Not apologising when you’ve made a mistake - however unintentional - makes you look like even more of a berk. If you can apologise quickly and well, then that makes you look much better.
- Try to resolve disagreements between yourselves first before involving the mods. They shouldn't be contacted for things like "I called X a cock, and now they've called me a cock".
- Be civil / helpful to new members. We want them to stay; remember, the fact they have come here is good. Encourage this. Of course, this doesn't mean new members can't be criticised - use common sense.
- Mods will make mistakes. Mods will sometimes be inconsistent - that’s in the very nature of human interaction. We literally can’t formulate a set of rules that covers every eventuality. Don't complain about mod actions on thread unless that is part of the topic of the thread. Start a new thread, or email us. Yes, we make mistakes, but turning a thread into a debate about them won't fix the thread.
- Avoid getting into fights with other forums - it's rarely productive and may result in excess trolling.
- We do not allow deletion of posts, and the edit time is set to 15 minutes. Please use "ETA" (edited to add) to make edits clear. If you require any other editing/post removal done, then please contact the moderators.
- New users will have some board restrictions until they have made at least 3 posts.