Edit to Forum Guidelines/FAQ: Expanded Definition of Spam

(Brad Kramer) #1

This morning, I added the following section to the official FAQ/Guidelines page for this Forum:

Spam is defined broadly as any post that is advertising something rather than contributing to the conversation. The most obvious form of spam is a link to a business or other non-related website, which will be immediately deleted. But, for the purposes of this Forum, spam can also mean any posts which are essentially “manifestos”, rather than conversations. Posts that do not constructively contribute to the conversation will be removed, and posters who show a repeated tendency to “grandstand” rather than interact with others will be warned and suspended, if needed, at the discretion of the moderators. Again, this is a place for dialogue. Spam and dialogue don’t mix.

In discussing the state of the Forum, @Christy and I have realized that we need a broader definition of spam. Of course, there’s the obvious kind of spam, like POSTS IN ALL CAPS ADVERTISING ASIAN CASINOS and such that occasionally appear here, and are deleted as soon as possible. But there’s a huge grey area beyond that of posts (and posters) that do not invite interaction, and thus detract from the dialogue that takes place. Here’s some examples of this expanded notion of spam:

  1. Long manifestos of any sort. These never effectively invite dialogue. In most cases, if posts are over 750 words, they are way too long. People sometimes ask me, “why didn’t my thread get any responses?” In many cases, it’s because your original post was too long and brought up too many points at once.
  2. Any post which is primarily advertising an outside link rather than contributing to the conversation—especially if the link is to your own content.
  3. Posting the same three arguments on every single thread, regardless of what is actually being discussed there.
  4. Showing a long-term pattern of not listening to others. This one is a super-grey area that really boils down to the discretion of the mods. We would ask that you appreciate the difficulty of these discussions and realize that it is incredibly easy to talk past each other, and give grace to others who appear like they are incapable of understanding your point.

Any thoughts on this? We’re open to feedback, public or private.

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(Brad Kramer) #2

(Christy Hemphill) #3

On point number 2, I just wanted to clarify that sometimes including links can be very helpful in a conversation, so it’s not that all links to outside content are bad. There’s nothing wrong with recommending a book, or a blog post, or an explanation of something technical that someone could check out for more information if they were interested, especially if it relates to what someone is asking about. There’s nothing wrong with citing a more detailed source to back up something you are saying.

What we are talking about are posts where the main point of the post is to get people to leave the conversation and go elsewhere, especially if the “elsewhere” is dedicated to promoting information that directly contradicts the mission we have here.

So, contributions like. "I disagree with this. See my blog post here."
Or, "Well, what do you say about this? (link to Creationist website)

Links should be supportive to what you are posting, not the primary content. Or in other words, people should be able to continue the conversation or take away a point you made without checking out the link.

(George Brooks) #4

@BradKramer… I applaud this rule!

LONGER posts are definitely more difficult to embrace and then respond to … and frequently I pass by the giant posts because there’s too much effort required to integrate all the various objections into a reasonable and fair discussion.


I welcome this decision. I have been with BioLogos from the beginning. Many people have used this site to extensively promote their books, ideas, or even crackpot philosophies. Or they use BioLogos to put down TEs with scores of repeated posts. Some visitors have been trolls, pretending to be sincere in their crackpottery, while having a good laugh at our expense. This is parasitism of bandwidth. There comes a point when people should probably start their own web sites.

btw, I don’t mind book recommendations, but I think that 2 or 3 times is plenty. Nobody wants a book shoved in his/her face 500 times, especially when the author is a kook.