Q: I’ve been told to refer to the community guidelines. Where can I find them?
A: The most recent revision of the community standards document is found here . The most recent revision of the community category guidelines can be found here.
Q: Why was my post removed?
A: Most likely, your post was removed because it did not meet our community standards. Most often, we remove posts that are repeats of an existing popular post, contain little to no scientific content, are link litter (links with no explanatory text), or contain churnalism.
Q: You removed my post and told me it was pseudoscience. I thought science was supposed to be about questioning established theories! Aren’t you suppressing valid inquiry?
A: Great question. While science requires a constant effort to maintain an appropriate skepticism, it also requires appropriate consideration of the full body of evidence related to a theory. For well-established theories, a claim of disproof is extraordinary and thus requires extraordinary evidence. Science on Google+ is not the appropriate place for conversations that ignore—either intentionally or not—the full scientific record on the topic at hand.
Q: Isn’t your attitude here censorship?
A: Censorship and moderation are different things. There are many communities on Google+ to which people can post their thoughts, as well as individual public posts. This community was created with certain rules and standards to keep the focus on high quality science. We moderate according to these standards under the assumption that people join and participate in this community because they appreciate them. Those standards are informed by the general guidelines of peer reviewed science: justifying claims with established scientific theories as well as valid and reliable empirical evidence. We understand that some people find this policy too stringent, but a far greater number of community members appreciate the restriction. We have always been clear about our community standards so that people can make informed decisions about whether or not to participate in the community.
The difference between moderation and censorship is a frequently-discussed issue in online communities; see for example this Usenet FAQ.
Q: I’m not scientist. Does my opinion count?
A: Absolutely! Our community is set up to raise the standards of science communication. We want this to be a place where the public can reach out and interact with scientists and vice versa. This community is a great place to get feedback and more in-depth discussion of science stories you see in the media or ideas you may be interested in learning more about. All that we ask is that is that our community standards be observed in terms of the quality and contents of posts and comments.
Q: You left up a post on X for longer than a few hours. Why did you take mine down so quickly?
A: The moderators are all volunteers. Most of us are also professional scientists for whom this is a labor of love. Consequently, we occasionally miss things. You can always report posts or comments which violate the community’s policies.
More questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you.