Philosophy Forums Guidelines

  • Thread starter hypnagogue
  • Start date
  • Tags
  • #1


Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
Last updated: 3 / 1 / 09

The following guidelines are intended to promote productive, insightful, and interesting discussion in the philosophy forums. Please read the guidelines carefully and make a commitment to following them when posting.

If a given thread or post is deemed to be in violation of the guidelines, the thread or post in question may be moved, locked, or deleted at the mentors' discretion. Additionally, warnings may be issued to members who are judged to have violated the guidelines.

Such action on the part of the mentors may sometimes take place without further explication, as posters in the philosophy forums are expected to have thoroughly read and be familiar with the guidelines. Any questions or comments pertaining to these guidelines or their enforcement should be conducted via PM with the appropriate mentor.

In general, one should attempt to flesh out questions and arguments in the philosophy forums adequately enough that readers will have a good understanding of the problem, the backdrop against which it resides, and the justification of one's perspective. This might include

* explicitly defining key terms;
* justifying why this is a valid issue or problem in the first place;
* explicitly stating starting premises or assumptions;
* providing logical or empirical support for such premises or assumptions;
* making subtle logical steps more explicit;
* summarizing previous arguments made on the topic and explaining how they are relevant to your argument;
* etc.

In particular, please make a concerted effort to adequately define key terms whose meaning might otherwise be ambiguous and to provide proper justification for any claims that might be contentious. Doing so will go a long way towards stimulating productive discussion, whereas failure to do so will inevitably lead to lots of confusion, wasted words, and effort, and ultimately to moderator intervention as outlined above.

It is essentially a subjective call on your part to what degree a philosophy post needs to be developed before clear, meaningful, and productive discussion can take place. But remember, it is also a subjective call on the mentors' part to decide what constitutes a well-motivated question or argument and what does not, so it is best to err on the side of caution.

A good rule of thumb is to place yourself in the shoes of your readers and ask whether a prospective post is clear enough and developed enough to be understood by them-- Does this make sense? Am I making a sufficiently strong argument for my claims? How likely is it that someone will be confused by, or misinterpret, what I have written? You should strive to make your posts intelligible, well supported, and unambiguous.

In the interest of conveying ideas as clearly as possible, posts in this forum are required to show reasonable attention to written English communication standards. This includes the use of proper grammatical structure, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. SMS messaging shorthand, such as using "u" for "you", is not acceptable.

Remember, also, that our policies for discussion of science and mathematics hold just as strongly in the Philosophy Forums as anywhere else on the site. Overly speculative or incorrect statements within the domains of science and math may be moved, locked, or deleted at the mentors' discretion, and warnings may be issued. In general, there is more legroom for speculation in philosophical discussion, but it must be in the form of a well motivated question or argument, as described above. In particular, even a 'speculative' argument should be logically consistent with well established scientific knowledge and theory.

These guidelines are meant to make your arguments as good as possible, thereby making the PF philosophy section as good as possible. Thank you for your cooperation.
Last edited by a moderator:

Suggested for: Philosophy Forums Guidelines