Posted: Feb 25, 2010 11:18 pm
by MedGen
General guidelines for posting in the Science forums

Firstly I bid you welcome to the General Science forum of

This is a forum for the discussion of scientific ideas, advances and their impact on society including all of the "hard" and "soft" sciences.

This set of guidelines have been split into those for Newcomers to and the science forums, and those for members more familiar with the machinations and workings of the forum as well as professional scientists visiting the board.


[1] Please ask questions. The science forums make for an excellent educational resource for everyone, scientists and laypersons alike. As such never be afraid to query, though we do request people to use the forum search function to see if their particular question has been asked before, and to review the answers provided therein. If there is no such topic in the forum then by all means ask away! Do not be dissuaded from asking what may be viewed as an elementary or very basic question, first principles are of course the best place to start from. If you feel that any answers need to be aimed at a certain level of understanding then by all means say so (i.e. high school, undergraduate, etc), if anything it will allow those replying to questions to be able to a) gauge the relevant level of detail to use in their answer and b) what sorty of terminology you may be familiar with.

[2] Please be honest. Often new members come to the science forums looking for evidence to support their preconcieved notions of population inferiority (i.e. racist) or new-age induced bastardizations of quantum mechanics. Pseudoscientific concepts, including those of "fringe science" will be appraised prior to the thread being moved to the Debunking Woo forum where such pseudoscientific concepts as perpetual motion belong.

[3] If your question has been asked before and a new thread is started then they are likely to be merged. Please do not be alarmed by the sudden disappearance of your thread, this is a part of standard forum management. In these cases one of the staff will alert you to the thread merge by PM. If this has not happened, likely just a mistake, then the new thread will appear in your "ego search". This is a function that allows you to see what threads you have posted in. This is found above the main forum displays and is labelled "view your posts". Alternatively contact the forum moderator and they will be more than happy to locate your topic.

Regulars and more advanced guidelines

[1] Please feel free to post content or links to peer-reviewed literature or discussion of such as a way to stimulate new discussion. This can include blogs that comment on recent publications or large-scale studies. For example Ben Goldacre @ BadScience often comments on the efficacy of studies; discussion based around this is more than welcome and is encouraged.

[2] When debating and discussing it is important to back up any claims made with evidence. The accepted forms of evidence come from reputable peer-review literature (please be aware that many articles may carry comments or reactionary articles that also need to be taken into account), government studies and studies/statistics published by reputable NGOs such as the World Health Organization.

For example citing a journal article (Oxford format):
The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, (2007) Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls, Nature 447(7), 661-678

Textbook Harvard format:
Alberts. B., Johnson.A., Walter.P., Lewis.J., Raff.M., Roberts.K., (2008) Molecular Biology of the Cell 5th Edition, New York: Garland Science.

For a guide on how to reference please see this link How To Reference

[3] Always provide citation(s) for sources so that they may be independently verified and checked by other discussion participants and non-participants alike. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense, not to mention highly immoral. As such passing off someone elses work as your own is a serious offence and may be sanctionable under the Forum Users Agreement. Providing a citation or websource, is very simple. Repeated failure to do so is not acceptable. No single format for citation is adopted as long as it is done correctly (i.e. it doesn't have to be Harvard/Oxford/Chicago, a mixture is fine).

[4] Don't be afraid to ask questions yourselves, in fact it is likewise encouraged. It is generally accepted that regular users of the forum will have done a little background reading. Remember Google is your friend.

Disclaimer: People often come to the forum asking questions regarding specific medical conditions. Whilst providing information is expected, providing medical advice is not. Persons suffering from genuine medical conditions should be referred to a medical professional, i.e. their own doctor. Handing out uncorroborated medical advice on an non-medical forum is highly unethical and may be open to prosecution under local and international laws.

Above all enjoy this fantastic resource at your fingertips.