Community Guidelines and Rules

Please take a minute to read the guidelines and rules. Individuals who do not follow the rules will be banned from the community. Thanks in advance!

Language

English (please translate all your posts to English to increase common understanding).

Posts

Please do not just post links to blogs or articles on the web. Provide a brief summary and explain why it is interesting. Link-only posts, also called link-litter, will be deleted. The moderators may also delete duplicate posts containing links to the same article if the duplicates do not add something unique to the community.

We welcome posts of high quality and limited quantity. If you wish to contribute with many posts a day, we ask that you combine your posts in order to avoid information overload. Some categories have limitations on posts per day  (see Community Category section below).

Spam will be removed. Spam is defined as non related content, self-promotion, and product advertising.

Citations

Please respect copyright and share in the frame of the law. Include a citation: identify the original source (photographer, author, or website) of a shared image or work. This promotes better understanding and discussion by making it easy to find related material.

Comments

Please treat other community members and their opinion with respect. Be kind to people who do not share your opinion. You can be tough in your arguments, but please be polite in your form.   By the same token, remember that respectful disagreement should never be taken personally. Please let us know if you are being harassed and we will intervene. There is a form in the Community About section to file an anonymous complaint.

Consider engaging with existing posts by answering questions, plussing, and commenting.

You should actively manage comments in your own community posts so they are not derailed by abusive, insensitive or off-topic comments. Don’t simply delete comments if you don’t agree with what others are saying, but do delete comments that do not pertain to the scientific discussion. Use our Spam, Harassment & Duplicates Spreadsheet to alert the Moderators of abusive, disruptive or repeated posts.

Plagiarism

We discourage direct copying and pasting long passages from articles. Writing your own summary of an article is our preferred option. If you take quotes, clearly show that you are not the author by using italics. See how to format Google+ posts here: http://goo.gl/FyTib9. Posts that are plagiarised will be removed.

Churnalism and linkbait

We do not allow “churnalism” – i.e. copying and pasting from press releases and other news or blog sites. We are trying to reduce “noise” in the Community and we don’t want to be an echo chamber of stories that are repeated in several other places. Posts to our Community should have an original introduction summarising the content, a link to the original material and it should demonstrate why you thought the science is interesting.

We also do not allow linkbait. Linkbait is posted primarily to drive clicks to a linked website, often a website of commercial nature. Linkbait articles will be removed and repeat offenders banned.

Content and Moderation Policy

Posting on a community is not the same as posting to your personal profile. On your personal page, you may air out your personal opinions on any issue you wish, but communities are moderated for a reason: to ensure that the community posts and discussion meet the community aims. Our community is moderated by a team of qualified scientists who have PhDs, peer reviewed publications and who work in universities or as researchers. Drawing on this expertise, moderators will delete posts and comments that are not based on science.  See our team under  “Curators.

There are a number of unscientific or pseudoscientific concepts promulgated by popular media and groups with particular agendas. When these topics are introduced into the Science on Google+ community, they create an incredible amount of discussion that is often unproductive and distracts from the purpose of this community. Due to this distraction, moderators will remove posts and comments on these topics.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Mythologies about the origins of the human race, the planet, or the universe. (e.g. religious creationism, objections to evolution on the basis of religious texts)
  • Climate change denialism.
  • Anti-vaccination propaganda
  • Any of a number of modern mythologies that rely on pseudoscience. (e.g. electric universe, quantum healing, faith healing, the Law of Attraction, etc.)
  • Quack medicine, including quack psychology.

The moderators may make exceptions to this general rule if the discussion centers around the results of a well-formulated experiment reported in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal and if the discussion is generally constructive.

We have a zero tolerance policy for abuse. Moderators will ban members who engage in abusive behaviour. This includes trolling, sexism, racism and abusive language. Banning is a last resort used when members repeatedly refuse to follow our guidelines and listen to moderators. If you receive such a warning by a moderator and continue to be abusive or disruptive, you may be banned without further warning.

We note that removing a post is not the same as censorship. Even if a post is removed from our community, it is not removed from your personal thread so you can continue to host a discussion on your own stream. Being a member of this community means following our Guidelines and respecting the moderators’ comments. As A.V. Flox writes:

An individual who removes your comment from his or her thread is not censoring you. Even if that individual blocks you, your ability to post your thoughts and ideas on that or any other topic on your own profile remains. You still have an account. No single user can take that away from you. Even if +Vic Gundotra, +Natalie Villalobos  or +Yonatan Zunger block you, you can still post on Google+.
Blocking is simply the denial of access to someone else’s space on a platform. 
A lot of people don’t see a difference. The threads of high-profile users are where some people experience the highest engagement. Lacking that level of engagement on their own posts, they see the spaces of a high-profile user as a town square. 
But it’s not a town square. It’s a salon, hosted by a person. It doesn’t matter that we don’t legally own space on a social platform — each thread, ultimately, belongs to the person who created it. They have the right to ask anyone who joins in to keep the discussion on topic, or to watch their language. Perhaps more importantly, they have an obligation to the other people who have taken the time to make a thoughtful, on-topic comment. If someone runs into the discussion and begins attacking other people, or attempting to derail the discussion, as a good host, the original poster must take corrective measures.

Our moderators are working to improve the quality of science discussion on Google+ by volunteering here to create an innovative space for science discussion on top of their day jobs and family commitments. Respect and observe moderators and their comments.

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