While we encourage a robust debate, and are in general open minded about the expression of views we strongly disagree with or even are offended by, some content is unacceptable and may be deleted without warning. Such content will be removed by moderators within 24 hours of being posted, and usually much sooner. Posters of such content will be warned not to do so again, or in the most serious cases, banned instantly from the group. This applies to:
Severe instances of bigotry, including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia.
Defamatory content - this has to be removed to limit any potential for legal liability.
Outright spam - i.e., unsolicited links to any off-topic content that appears to be commercial in nature.
- Graphic pictures and videos
A variety of less serious behaviours will also attract moderation. Posts or comments in this category will not be deleted in the first instance, except in extreme cases. Rather moderators will remind you to stay within these guidelines, and/or ask you to edit your posts or comments to comply with them. If these warnings are ignored, moderation will be escalated. This applies to:
Excessive aggression or hostility toward other commenters.
Deliberately derailing conversations
Other acts that have the appearance of trolling, e.g., intentional attempts to upset people.
Posting a link with no accompanying explanation, especially if the content is not self explanatory e.g. a general interest website rather than a specific article.
Constantly raising the same issue. Its fine if lots of people all want to discuss different aspects of a particular topic, but it is not acceptable for an individual to try to monopolise the group’s attention for their own narrow pet cause.
Posting too frequently relative to the rest of the group in general - for instance, you should not normally have three posts in a row.
Off topic content - posts should generally concern politics and public policy generally, science and technology, or both.
- Suspected sockpuppetry - a single person advocating their own position through multiple online indentities. This applies both for accounts that are fully (pseudo-)anonymous, and ones that do not appear to be tied to real, distinct people.
Content that breaches more than one of the above rules will be treated more seriously. A group member who repeatedly breaches these rules and/or fails to heed explicit warnings from moderators will still result in content deletions and eventually bans from the group.
How to contribute well
Debate is healthy, but it shouldn’t become personal. Be civil. If you become angry or upset during a conversation, consider taking some time to cool off.
Assume good faith on the part of other commentators, and always try to persuade your opponents, not just bystanders. Remember there is nearly always a much longer inferential distance between you and others than you tend to assume, and that it generally takes both decency and hard work by all parties to bridge the gap.
We want to maintain a high signal to noise ratio. Aim for content that Science Party members will find both interesting and genuinely informative. The form of feedback you should most want to see for a post is not “I agree with your argument” but rather “I didn’t know about this” or “I’ve never really thought about it that way before”.
These rules have been written specifically for the Science Party’s unofficial Facebook discussion group, but they reflect the kind of moderation principles that will be applied by moderators more broadly across all platforms we control, including our Facebook page, website, wiki, etc.
We are strong supporters of your right to free speech, but it does not entitle you to an audience, or to use our platforms to broadcast your views. The rules are always at the discretion of the moderators, and the spirit overrides the letter. You can practice you legal debating skills elsewhere - irritating the moderators excessively by arguing the technicalities of our rules will most likely just accelerate you toward being banned.
If you honestly don’t understand the reasons behind a particular moderation decision that affected you, or if something you post goes missing and you’re wondering if it was deleted or suffered some sort of technical issue, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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