Community Guidelines

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This community is for all to enjoy, as a place to share information and a diverse set of viewpoints. We want everyone to have a positive experience, so we have some basic rules and guidelines that we expect you to follow.

Do not engage in personal attacks or ad hominem arguments against your fellow community member.
Back up your claims if asked to do so.
Follow moderator instructions and do not argue the issue in the general discussion forums.
Watch your language; use common sense with this.
Do not impersonate another user or stalk them.
Don't break federal, state, or local laws during your stay.
Spam is not welcome.
Don't post someone else's work and claim it as your own.
Please adhere to Fair Use practice if you do not have permission to post something in its entirety.
When posting a new topic, make sure one hasn't already been started.
Do not crosspost.
Do not troll.
Do not post offensive or inappropriate images.
Contact us if you have questions.

Decency and Decorum
Please be courteous to the other users and do not engage in personal attacks or ad hominem arguments. Global ad homs aimed at groups within the community are not acceptable. All participants deserve to be treated respectfully and with dignity. If you are overly disruptive or abusive, we reserve the right to take disciplinary action, such as suspending or even banning you from posting or commenting in the Community.

It is always possible, and preferable, to debate issues, not personalities. In debating an issue, first consider asking questions to further understand the differing viewpoint. Avoid generalizations. Use “I” statements, rather than “you” statements. Offer your point of view as simply that – a viewpoint – unless you have hard evidence to back up your statements.

In the Space and LiveScience forums, as well as Free Space, you may be challenged to provide backup for your contentions. We strongly encourage that you respond in a timely manner with relevant, in-context, and factual backup. If you cannot provide such information, it is strongly recommended that you retract, or at least clarify, your remarks.

In all cases, be respectful of each others beliefs, even if you think they are wrong.

Please do not post negative comments about another company’s board/forum in our forums; please contact that company directly. It is bad form to criticize another board/forum when representatives from that community aren’t present to respond to criticism. Additionally, actively recruiting members from these forums to another is prohibited. You may, however, include a link to that forum in your signature, but that's it.

Your Moderators
Your moderators fall into two groups: the global moderators and the Mission Control Team (MCT). The Mission Control Team keeps an eye on select space and science forums to insure a certain level of discourse within; the global moderators watch over the entire board. The moderators are here to help facilitate a positive experience for all in the community, and keep it clean. They play a very important and trusted role in the community. So, if you are given an instruction by a Moderator or MCT, you must follow that instruction. If you disagree with the instruction, please do not use the discussion to argue the point.

To further clarify: posting your concern as a public debate is an inappropriate way to handle the situation. The proper way to handle questions about the actions of a specific Moderator is to PM one of them or use the Contact Us link at the bottom of each page, which goes directly to the Community Manager.

Moderator decisions are not up for public debate or speculation. Bringing them up in the forums is not only against stated board policy, but it also creates more work for the Moderators who will be reviewing your situation, and that is probably not a good way to seek a favorable outcome for your cause, whatever it is. General questions about Moderator duties and responsibilities, as well as concerns about the site functionality, may be discussed in Community Talkback. A list of current moderators is found by clicking The team at the bottom of the forums.

Please note that moderators are users as well, and free to express their views. Unless there is clear evidence of improper blurring between these two aspects of moderator users (e.g. personal bias in moderation actions, or moderation threats in a strictly topical discussion), the moderators' right to personal opinions are to be respected. Unfounded accusations of moderator abuse or bias will not be tolerated.

People of many different backgrounds, ages and sensibilities are part of this community. Therefore, please use common sense regarding language; this is not limited to English, but applies to all languages. In all events, we expect you to avoid using inappropriate vulgarity, obscenity, profanity, ethnic slurs, hate speech (in short, language used to degrade or intimidate a person based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, economic status, language, religion, or disability) , or sexually explicit language. Do not bait, harass, abuse, or threaten the other participants; do not libel or defame others. Flaming is strongly discouraged. Using “creative” spelling in order to circumvent the rules will not be tolerated.

Usernames and Identity
You must provide accurate information at the time of registration. Impersonating anyone else is prohibited. Under no circumstances may any participant use another user’s password or hack into their account. If you use abusive or bad language (as outlined above) for your username, it will be deleted.

Do not distort the username of another member in order to disrespect that user. Typos are inevitable and must be corrected immediately at the user’s request. In general, you should respect the username that the member has chosen, as if it were his or her real name.

You must not violate any federal, state, or local laws while participating in the Community, or use access to the Community for any illegal purpose. The Community is operated by Tech Media Network from its offices in New York, NY. If you access the Community from another jurisdiction, you are responsible for compliance with local laws. By joining our Community, you agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of New York, located in the city of New York, and the terms and conditions of your use of the Community shall be governed by and construed by the laws of the State of New York.

Advertising and SPAM
No advertising, trading of goods or services, or other commercial use is allowed, except in those areas in which those activities are expressly permitted (User Announcements). No spam, chain letters, or repeat postings of the same message are permitted; cross-posting in the forums is prohibited.

Copyright and Other Rights
Do not transmit content (including any information, editorial content, graphics, photos, designs, text, programs, files, software or other materials) unless you own it or already have the permission of the content’s owner to post it or transmit it. Copying and downloading are easy, but just because something was easy to copy does not mean you own it. Unauthorized use of or copying copyrighted materials or, trademarks, infringement of patent rights, or violation of anyone’s rights of privacy and publicity or other proprietary rights, or your fiduciary obligations, can subject you to civil or even criminal liability.

Please note that you may post excerpts from another source, adhering to Fair Use practice. In order to comply with Fair Use practice, you must provide a link to the original URL (this ensures proper acknowledgment and attribution) and you may quote/cite only a small portion of the copyrighted material. This small amount does not require permission of the copyright holder. The amount can vary in proportion to the length of the original (most excerpts need only be 2 or 3 paragraphs), but the amount of cited material should not be so much as to essentially republish the original publication.

Forum Discussions
Before starting a new discussion, check to see if there is already a discussion on that topic within the last week or so. If there is, please post in that discussion. This pertains especially to breaking news, which often results in multiple discussions on the topic. This not only makes exchanges on the subject difficult, but also pushes other discussions down the list. Duplicate threads may be closed, merged with an existing discussion, or deleted.

We encourage members to try to post their discussion in the forum which is most appropriate for the subject they are presenting. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide which one is the best, but we request that you take the necessary time to make sure you are posting in the correct one.

Please do not hijack an ongoing discussion. Deliberately turning the discussion away from its natural course is not permitted. As always, common sense and respect for the other participants should be your guide. In the end, we reserve the right to remove, without notice, any post for any reason whatsoever.

Please do not forward private communication between you and the mods or community manager to the forums/article comments. Doing so will result in an immediate suspension from the community.

If you submit an image, please make sure that it is appropriate for the discussion. Do not submit images that would normally be considered inappropriate for young children, or considered to be offensive to anyone because of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, national origin, ethnicity, age, or disability. You are expected to use good judgment when posting images or links to images – if in doubt, leave it out. If you do indeed submit an inappropriate image, we reserve the right to delete it.

To report violations of the community guidelines or other objectionable behavior or material, please click Report Abuse. In articles, this link found at the bottom of each article comment, and in the forums, it is an upside down triangle containing an exclamation point, found in each post. Depending on the severity of the violation, the administrator or other Tech Media Network representatives may address the complaint directly.

When you report a problem to us, Tech Media Network may take a variety of responsive steps to prevent violators from continuing to cause problems, including education in proper behavior, warnings against improper behavior, or suspending or terminating the privilege of interacting with the community.

In Conclusion
We hope these guidelines are useful and helpful. We look forward to seeing you in the Community!

Updated 4/13/10
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