Wondering if it is okay to share material from discussions here to other sites?

Wasn’t sure if I should just PM a mod to ask this question or if the answer might be of interest to others.

There have been many explanations that have been given here which I can imagine wanting to share elsewhere. For example T Aquaticus just made two posts with helpful diagrams about the laryngeal nerve which I could imagine wanting to share in future discussions elsewhere. Is there a protocol for doing so? Would it be best to simply refer folks here to read it, should I request permission from the poster to share it elsewhere or is there some other recommended procedure? Thank you.

Hi Mark,

Here’s my perspective:

I think you would want to use the same “fair use” etiquette that you would use with material posted by any other site. For example,

  • Restrict quotes to the minimum necessary to engage with the material. My rule of thumb is one or two sentences, but on rare occasions a paragraph might be OK.
  • Summarize and analyze to your heart’s content! Just attribute the source with which you are interacting.
  • Always provide a link to the original so interested readers can examine it for themselves.

The rights and restrictions for fair use occasionally become more complex, but I think these rules of thumb will cover 99.9% of the scenarios.


P.S. I agree with you about the high quality of the forum discussion.

Technically speaking, whenever someone copies in an image as part of a post, they should cite the source. In addition to being good internet etiquette, it’s also implied by the fine print in our Terms of Service (which can be found by clicking on the three bars at the top of the page, clicking “about”, and clicking over to the ToS tab):

"If you post material to the Website, post links on the Website, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) material available by means of the Website (any such material, “Content”), You are entirely responsible for the content of, and any harm resulting from, that Content. That is the case regardless of whether the Content in question constitutes text, graphics, an audio file, or computer software. By making Content available, you represent and warrant that:

the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party;"

So to be on the safe side, what I would do is contact the person who first posted the image on the Forum (through private message) and ask about the source.

@Chris_Falter and @BradKramer - thanks for the detailed and useful replies. Proper netiquette is something I have more opinions about than formal knowledge so thanks!


Note that you cannot post link to blogs.

Thanks Alice. Do you mean one cannot link blogs from outside this site here, or, one cannot post a link from this site to ones own blog? Or maybe both.

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I’m not sure what Alice was referring to, unless it is our policy - I’ll paste the relevant section below:

Links to Outside Content

Any thread that begins with a post intended to direct traffic away to a different website will be deleted as spam. The point of this Forum is to foster conversation here , not point to other conversations or content elsewhere. Please do not put a link to your own blog or website in the first post in a new thread. It is acceptable within the course of a discussion to include links to support your claims, document your sources, provide more detailed information, or alert other people to content of interest. These will be evaluated by the moderators on an individual basis. Users who appear to be participating in discussions primarily to promote their books, blogs, or other published material will be asked to take their advertising elsewhere.

[end of excerpt]

But in general (unless it violates the policy above), you can post all manner of links to supporting content or to cite sources. And certainly Biologos would welcome links in other places that point people back here too. I think we’ve been generous enough in allowing recognized users to link to their own publications here. We tend to notice or enforce more quickly if it is a new poster that is probably spamming here just for solicitation purposes, or if somebody is wantonly doing it, and that seems to be their primary agenda here. But we tend to not be real hard nosed [except on 1st posts], so if recognized participants here want to occasionally call attention [link] to their own publications, that is okay. Just be aware that we aren’t obliged to allow too much of that [none in a 1st post] and can tighten that up as need arises.


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