Facebook Rules & Principles

From SkeptiWiki
Jump to: navigation, search


We operate under a community-moderated model and expect our members to speak up when they observe others not interacting according to the rules and principles outlined here. These serve as a general idea of the culture we promote in our forums. If there is ever any doubt, you can ask a moderator. Our current network of groups and projects can be found here.

The main Skepti-Forum group serves as our hub where we can collaborate between the various sub-groups and is also a place where the general audience can ask questions in a calmer, more patient environment. It’s a good group to start in. The subgroups are more focused on adding information to the knowledge-base and debating more advanced topics. In our subgroups, we want to advance the conversation. Since we save many of our discussions and resources in dedicated threads, those can be explored and/or new information added on subjects that have been discussed in our forums previously.

Sidebar Threads

To add depth to our discussions, and help people feel more welcome and less overwhelmed, we have a "sidebar threads" option. Any member may request a sidebar thread with another member for a one-to-one discussion without interference from others (except moderators if need be). You may ask a moderator for help setting up and managing a sidebar thread.

  • Example and tutorial of a Sidebar thread.

Posting Guidelines

  1. If posting a link, it is best to provide some context. Explain on what you would like the community to focus. Would you like the material debunked? Do you think the link provides a strong argument?
  2. Since Skepti-Forum is a discussion focused community, we look for in depth discussions. Moderators are strict with people who do drive-by machine-gun postings and have no interest in discussion.


Be awesome to each other

  • By being awesome to each other, you should not only be respectful, but also help other members.

Obey Mod Notes

  • On Facebook, we rely almost entirely on community moderation. Official moderation will typically only occur at the request of members and, if requested, members must comply immediately.
  • There are three ways to contact a moderator for intervention:
  1. Tag one or more of the forum mods in the thread where moderation is needed.
  2. Copy/paste link to the thread in the Helpline post pinned at the top of the page.
  3. PM one or more of the mods and explain the issue that needs to be addressed.

Dedicated Threads

  • Dedicated threads are to be used as resources and may only be designated by moderators.
  • These threads will be heavily moderated in order to maintain a high level of discussion and adherence to the rules and principles.

No abuse or harassment

  • We encourage members to criticise ideas, opinions, and beliefs; however, no one should make personal attacks on other members. Name-calling is unacceptable.

Claims must be supported by evidence when asked

  • Everyone has the right to request evidence in support of a claim and the onus for evidence is on the person making the claim.

No deleting threads or comments

  • If you want to delete a thread where discussion has already begun, you must obtain permission from a moderator.
  • If a post is made inadvertently, it may be deleted right away without notifying a mod.

No spamming, solicitation, or flooding

  • No advertising products, services, events, organisations, communities, or anything without first gaining permission from a moderator.

Images and videos are the exception, not the norm. No Image Macros or image "memes"

  • Image Memes such as Image Macros and other images should only be posted if they are necessary for discussion or if they need to be debunked and critically evaluated. Moderators may delete irrelevant or unnecessary images without warning.

No trolling

  • Our community appreciates discussing controversial ideas; however, we do not welcome posts seeking to simply inflame or instigate. Do not begin a thread with loaded questions.

Refrain from derailing threads and gish gallop.

  • Try to stay on the topic of the specific thread.
  • What is gish gallop? Gish gallop is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer in real time.

No witch-hunting, doxing, or flesh-blogging.

  • No one should be digging through profiles trying to find ammunition or “dirt”. We don't allow posting private or “private” information. Discuss the issues in the forum and leave people’s profiles alone.

No abusing website functions to interfere with open discussion

  • If you feel the need to block someone on the forum, please talk to a moderator.

Community Principles

Promote skepticism and scientific thinking.

  • Skepti-Forum is a place of mutual exchange of ideas. Not everyone has had the same learning opportunities. Please be patient with different backgrounds and ideas.

Be open to learning and be willing to change your beliefs.

  • Everyone here should be actively trying to test their own notions and turn their skepticism inward as well as outward.

Play the long game, not the short game.

  • Telling people that they don’t understand is not going to be as effective as working analytically and patiently through claims.
  • Keep the audience in mind and remember that you are speaking to them, too.

Know when to take a break from a thread and have the willpower to stay out

  • If it becomes too difficult to continue in a calm and respectful way, leave the discussion.

The principle of charity

  • Give other people the benefit of the doubt and try to interpret their arguments in the best possible form. By using the principle of charity, there is less time wasted on trivial issues.

Give people a chance

  • Please avoid interrogating new members.
  • Give new members some time and space before pressing them to answer questions posed to them.
  • Options to help give people a chance to discuss in a less overwhelming atmosphere include:
  1. Offering a sidebar thread.
  2. Suggest the member join our Skepti-Forum hub.

Embrace Polya’s moral qualities of a scientist.

  1. Intellectual courage: One should be ready to revise any one of our beliefs.
  2. Intellectual honesty: One should change a belief when there is a compelling reason to do so.
  3. Wise restraint: One should not change a belief wantonly, without some good reason.


Since our Facebook forums are focused on being mainly community-moderated, interpretation and further defining of the rules will be left to the community. Moderators, as members of the community, may provide their input, but must enforce whatever is agreed upon by the consensus, even if they do not agree as individuals. If a situation escalates, however, the forum administrators may step in and moderate as needed to ensure our forums stay true to our overall goals and intentions.

Moderators of Skepti-Forum seek to keep an open atmosphere for discussion. While there are general rules, many decisions will be judgment calls that depend on the particular situation. Moderators will strive for fairness, but there may be times when our actions do seem hypocritical or contradicting. Any member may discuss concerns by going to the Helpline thread at the top of the page or by sending a private message. Moderators try to communicate first and use banning as a last resort.

By joining our community, you are agreeing to our rules in the same way you agree to rules when you enter someone’s home, university, or conference. Moderators do not get paid for their work on these forums, so please do not make their job more difficult. This isn’t a place where you need to fight authority.

Instant Bans

These are the criteria that moderators will use as a guide to instantly ban members. All other bans to be decided by Primary and Associate Moderators in the appropriate forum with input from other SF staff if requested.

  1. Advertising Spam - To include sunglasses, and obvious phishing scams.
  2. Malicious flooding - Posting many threads or comments to drown out the opposition.
  3. Blocking moderators - Self explanatory
  4. Deleting threads with malicious intent - If you delete a thread because you're losing the argument or want to end the thread. (Accidental posts and such do not count)
  5. Extreme doxing - Posting addresses, phone numbers, or private information.

For more information on community visit: (#community: Twitter Facebook Google+)