1. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Updated Rules & Moderation Policy

    Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Daniel, Dec 27, 2012.

    I've recently made adjustments to the site rules and moderation policy. Please take a moment to re-familiarize yourself with the site rules.

    Specifically, I've removed some rules I found overly restrictive. Topics allowed are now less restrictive, and topics prohibited are now more specific. Threads that don't specifically violate site rules will remain open and undeleted. If a moderator closed or deletes a thread (for reason other than obvious spam/advertising), they're now required to notify the user and specify how it violated the rules. This comes from my personal libertarian views and from member comments and suggestions.

    In the future, WF will be taking a more "free speech" approach to the forum. As this is a writing forum, I aim to steer WritingForums.org in a libertarian direction that supports free speech and is anti-censorship.

    Feel free to direct comments or questions regarding these new changes and policies to this thread.
     
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  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds good, Daniel. One suggestion I have is to allow links in posts. Often it is helpful to link to some article, especially ones that are somehow related to writing or publishing. Sometimes they inform the discussion of a topic. Other times, they contain useful information for writers in general. I've seen and used links on many other sites without a problem.

    I see that there are two links allowed in a signature and unlimited links to threads in this site. I think that links to threads in this site should always be allowed in posts, and I think relevant links should also be allowed in the bodies of postings, instead of only in the signatures.
     
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  3. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    External links and videos are allowed as long as they aren't posted for promotional purposes. If you want to link to an article, that's fine. If you create a thread about a specific website or post to promote a product or service, this is not allowed.

    You can have two signature links to outside sites in your signature - this excludes advertising and product/service links, but includes things like personal blogs, websites, social networking, etc.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I feel that links to copyrighted materials should remain restricted. In particular, gratuitous video links should be strongly discouraged from most threads.

    The other objection I have is to non-authoritative sources. Such links often appear in discussions of rules and standards, and in many cases are to commercial sites with an agenda to push.

    Keep in mind that the target content can change over time, too, with little or no possibility of detection at our end. Even if content is appropriate today, it can and does change over time. External links increase the risk of malware exposure, so links that serve no good purpose should be minimized.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this is good. I only suggest it because this has not always previously been the case.
     
  6. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I like this. I think linking to vids is pretty tacky anyway, on a writer's site. Thanks to Admin and staff for moving in this direction.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Does this apply to deleted posts as well, or is it just for threads?
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    That all sounds really great! :)
     
  9. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Good question.

    It applies to deleted or closed threads. For now, not posts, but this may change. For posts, if you feel your posts have been deleted and haven't violated the rules, feel free to PM me with a link to the thread.
     
  10. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    It's still against the rules to post copyrighted material without citing the source. I have no problem with excerpts of a news article that link to the original source, however. I don't want to see a lot of video or image-based threads, but a few videos posted, when relevant, are okay. I suspect most videos posted with be on youtube, which I have no problem with.

    Links from non-authoritative sources can be a concern, and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
     
  11. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I operate two Internet forums, and even though neither concentrates on current events or politics, our current national obsession with partisan politics has forced me to ban political content in posts, mainly so I and the other members who have actual lives don't die of boredom. You may find the same happening here after moving things in a more 'free speech' direction.
     
  12. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    yay for freer speech! If one is not a fan of political discussion to 'back button' and 'what's new button' is never very far
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    What does this mean?
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And who decides what is and isn't? English has no official academy as defender of the faith.
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Non-authoritative sources would be obscure references to theories which aren't accepted by mainstream academia or profession, but serve to support controversial opinions during a debate. It might be a good idea to explain or give examples of these non-authoritative sources because not all forum members know the difference.

    Bogus-science anti-vaccination alarmist websites would be one example of a non-authoritative source which shouldn't be quoted in a debate about the usefulness of vaccination in children.
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Given the point of this new era of glasnost here in the forum, it would seem to me that the inadmissibility of other points of view, schools of thought and epistemologies into discussions is a step in the wrong direction. I cannot help but feel, given conversational threads I have read in the past week, that this is a rather ham-fisted attempt to squelch the voices of others who have differing points of view and who are willing to cite sources rather than just make "authoritative" statements pulled from their collective bahookies, something we all see every ten minutes in this and every other forum in existence, yet ironically we say nothing about that.

    My personal concern is really about sources on the subject of writing, given that this is a writing forum. And again, English, as a language, has no official academy as defender of the faith. Unlike the Romance Languages which all do have academies that are governmental bodies deciding the prescriptively correct use of the language over which they hold reign. They give no quarter to descriptive grammarianism. As a writing forum, I cannot imagine how it would remain viable without giving descriptivism its fair mention, given that English has distinct speaking regions that cover the globe.
     
  17. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think anyone is trying to disallow different points of view, they just don't want us to link, within the forum text, to non-authoritative sources. I'm sure we are still more than welcome to present our views here, sans the links ;)
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Minority and non-mainstream views are often vindicated later on. There are plenty of examples of this in science. Daniel said these sorts of links will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and that makes sense to me. I don't see much value in a blanket prohibition against such sources, particularly as this would still require someone to determine in any given case what source is authoritative and what is not.
     
  19. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who was proposing "blanket prohibition"? I must have missed something.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You said "they don't want us to link, within the forum text, to non-authoritative sources." I don't think that's an accurate statement of what Daniel said, but your statement on its face, if true, would be a prohibition against linking non-authoritative sources (however you end up defining them).
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I would quibble with your characterization of "often" but there are some famous examples: plate tectonics, h-pylori, Dr Snow's study of the spread of cholera in 1800s London.

    That's no reason to think the 911 truthers, the anti-vaxers or Jesse Ventura's conspiracy theories will ever be vindicated.

    The problem as I see it, is who draws which lines where? But as long as that is the definition of "non-authoritative sources" and the mods want do the work to nip the crap in the bud, I'm all for it.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Generally, the better remedy for bad speech is counter-speech. Let them get the bad ideas out there and then defeat them.

    As for the science angle, there are many other examples, some of which are somewhat well known within disciplines (Clovis-first in Anthropology; the Central Dogma in biochemistry), and others of which are pretty obscure (consensus that there was only one estrogen receptor, to the point that the presence of the second receptor in experimental results was explained away as an artifact, until someone challenge the conventional thinking and say 'hey, maybe that is​ something). It happens a lot in science, just not always on the big, sexy issues that you're going to hear about.
     
  23. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Since this is a writing forum, I think Daniel was talking about writing-related sources. For example, when talking about a grammar rule, linking to the Chicago Manual of Style site would be OK, but linking to some random blog would not. At least, that's the way I interpreted it.
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm happy to let the mods address "bad sources".

    But as for my comments, I'm pretty sure it was clear my three examples weren't an exhaustive list. I'm familiar with the Clovis mistakes. I've not heard of the "Central Dogma" and I don't see how there was ever any significant controversy over second estrogen receptors but I'll take your word for it.

    Doesn't change what I said, the vast majority of scientific advances have been received as the evidence supported any paradigm shifts. I don't deny that scientific community denialism occurs, of course it does. I merely contend that I don't see "often" in the rate such scientific advances are rejected by the mainstream scientific community.

    Intelligent Design advocates and evolution deniers are not going to be vindicated. 911 Truthers are not going to be vindicated. Vaccines have been ruled out as a cause of autism and Andrew Wakefield is an exposed fraud. You got one of these 'controversies' you believe may be vindicated? I'll be happy to give you my opinion, for what it's worth. I'm very open minded and very much a scientific evidence based believer.
     
  25. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I would hope that all this 'free speech' - which I support! - will remain linked to writing.

    What I would hate to see is lots of opinionated stuff being slung around the site that drifts WAY off the topic of writing. So much of that in so many other places online these days.

    I think having the categories already operational here will go a long way to keeping non-writing issues to a minimum. There is always the lounge! (Excellent place for that.)

    I have found several links posted by other members within their critiques to be very helpful, so hooray for allowing this to continue.

    One wee suggestion. There are many good websites out there that are linked to writing and/or research, and do not cost anything to use. It's a shame we aren't allowed to post these in separate threads, to alert other members to their existence—although I do understand the dangers of spam, viruses, etc. Would it be possible to create a cateogory simply FOR non-commercial writing-related websites? I know a couple which are great for research purposes, for example. At the moment, I can't post a link to them, unless I'm in the middle of a discussion about them.

    I think having a category like this might be excellent. Don't know. Would it be a huge headache for monitors?

    Anyway, I'm happy with the changes so far. We'll see how they fly, in practice. Well done to the hardworking Daniel and whoever else had a hand in this project.
     

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