Welcome to Physics Forums! In an effort to maintain the integrity of this site and to provide a comfortable environment for people to communicate, we ask that you please follow these Guidelines when posting on this site. These guidelines are global and apply to every area of this site. Mentors may choose to enact specific guidelines for individual forums, which are to be taken as an extension to the global guidelines when posting and visiting that specific forum. These specific guidelines are usually sticky topics placed at the top of the specific forum. Application and interpretation of these Guidelines is subject to the discretion of the Physics Forums Mentors (moderators). Posts that violate these Guidelines are routinely removed. We reserve the right to close the accounts of persistent violators of these Rules of Conduct at any time and without warning. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of Physics Forums nor its developers will be held responsible for the content of any message. Short Summary: Most of the guidelines are common sense and basic courtesy. Other special guidelines are the following: We wish to discuss mainstream science.That means only topics that can be found in textbooks or that have been published in reputable journals. Homework must be posted in the homework forums and an attempt must always be provided. Furthermore, one must use the homework template. Full solutions on a homework problem should never be given. Only hints and explanations are allowed. Mission Statement: Our mission is to provide a place for people (whether students, professional scientists, or others interested in science) to learn and discuss science as it is currently generally understood and practiced by the professional scientific community. As our name suggests, our main focus is on physics, but we also have forums for most other academic areas including engineering, chemistry, biology, social sciences, etc. General Posting Guidelines: When posting a new topic, please select the forum that best relates to the subject matter of your topic. If you are unsure, contact a mentor or the admin. Language: All posts must be in English. Posts in other languages will be deleted. Pay reasonable attention to written English communication standards. This includes the use of proper grammatical structure, punctuation, capitalization, spacing, and spelling. In particular, "I" is capitalized, there's a space after (but not before) a comma, a period, and other punctuation. Multiple exclamation marks are also discouraged. SMS messaging shorthand ("text-message-speak"), such as using "u" for "you", "plz" for "please", or "wanna" for "want to" is not acceptable. 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This is to protect the personal information of our members. General Contents Guidelines: Please clearly state what you wish to discuss. In general, one should attempt to flesh out questions and arguments adequately enough that readers will have a good understanding of the issue. Personal Information: Refrain from disclosing personal information about yourself or third parties, information such as hometown, real name, email address... The staff may edit out such information if posted. Also, do not post personal communications, such as emails or conversations, with third parties. Non-mainstream theories: Generally, in the forums we do not allow the following: Discussion of theories that appear only on personal web sites, self-published books, etc. Challenges to mainstream theories (relativity, the Big Bang, etc.) that go beyond current professional discussion Attempts to promote or resuscitate theories that have been discredited or superseded (e.g. Lorentz ether theory); this does not exclude discussion of those theories in a purely historical context Personal theories or speculations that go beyond or counter to generally-accepted science Mixing science and religion, e.g. using religious doctrines in support of scientific arguments or vice versa. Philosophical discussions are permitted only at the discretion of the mentors and may be deleted or closed without warning or appeal Links to web sites that fall in the categories listed above will be removed. Acceptable Sources: Generally, discussion topics should be traceable to standard textbooks or to peer-reviewed scientific literature. Usually, we accept references from journals that are listed here: http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/mjl/ Use the search feature to search for journals by words in their titles. If you have problems with the search feature, you can view the entire list here: http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlresults.cgi?PC=MASTER In recent years, there has been an increasing number of "fringe" and Internet-only journals that appear to have lax reviewing standards. We do not generally accept references from such journals. Note that some of these fringe journals are listed in Thomson Reuters. Just because a journal is listed in Thomson Reuters does not mean it is acceptable. References that appear only on http://www.arxiv.org/ (which is not peer-reviewed) are subject to review by the Mentors. We recognize that in some fields this is the accepted means of professional communication, but in other fields we prefer to wait until formal publication elsewhere. Speculative or Personal Theories: Physics Forums is not intended as an alternative to the usual professional venues for discussion and review of new ideas, e.g. personal contacts, conferences, and peer review before publication. If you have a new theory or idea, this is not the place to look for feedback on it or help in developing it. For further explanation of our policy on personal theories and speculative posts, and the history behind it, see the following entry in the Physics Forums FAQ: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=617567#post4664231 Language and Attitude: Foul or hostile language will not be tolerated on Physics Forums. This includes profanity, obscenity, or obvious indecent language; direct personal attacks or insults; snide remarks or phrases that appear to be an attempt to "put down" another member; and other indirect attacks on a member's character or motives. Please treat all members with respect, even if you do not agree with them. If you feel that you have been attacked, and the moderators or mentors have not yet gotten around to doing something about it, please report it using the "Report" button. If you choose to post a response, address only the substantive content, constructively, and ignore any personal remarks. It is better to walk away from a possible confrontation and come back later with constructive arguments. Attachments and Links: Images, material or links to images and or material whether real, satirical or implied depicting obscene, indecent, lewd, pornographic, violent, abusive, insulting, or threatening in nature are not permitted on this bulletin board. This includes Gifs or cartoons. Religious Discussion: Discussions that assert the a priori truth or falsity of religious dogmas and belief systems, or value judgments stemming from such religious belief systems, will not be tolerated. As a rule of thumb, some topics pertaining to religion might be permissible if they are discussed in such a way so as to remain neutral on the truth of, or value judgments stemming from, religious belief systems. However, it is essential to use good judgment whenever discussing religious matters to ensure that the discussion does not degenerate into a messy dispute. If in doubt, err on the side of caution. Because of the complexity and ambiguity of this subject matter, there are no hard and fast moderation rules that apply over all possible cases. Ultimately, it is up to the administrators and mentors to decide what is appropriate and what is not on a case-by-case basis. Discuss religious matters at your own risk: Administrators and mentors retain the right to lock or delete any religious thread or post at any time without warning or explanation. All administrator and mentor action taken with regard to religious discussions will be final and will not be up for dispute. Religious proselytizing is strictly prohibited! PF is not the place to promote or discuss particular religious dogma. Conspiracy Theories & Closed Topics: Discussion of conspiracy theories and certain perennial pseudoscience topics that have been "debunked" beyond any reasonable doubt are not allowed anywhere on the site. A list of such closed topics can be found in the post below. Illegal & Dangerous Activities: Explicit "how to" discussions of illegal and/or dangerous activities, or posts advocating such activities, are prohibited; such as: how to make explosives, manufacture crack, steal software, hack into the CIA, ... 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Posting science website links will be permitted occasionally, but will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Homework Guidelines Posts Belong in the Homework Forum Any and all high school and undergraduate homework assignments or textbook style exercises for which you are seeking assistance are to be posted in the appropriate forum in our Homework & Coursework Questions area--not in blogs, visitor messages, PMs, or the main technical forums. This should be done whether the problem is part of one's assigned coursework or just independent study. The reason for this is that the scientific and mathematical sections of Physics Forums are to be reserved for discussions and not academic assistance. Since graduate level assignments are meant to be more thought provoking (and hence more worthy of discussion), graduate level questions will be allowed in the relevant part of the main section of PF, provided that the graduate student attempts the problem and shows his work. 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Disciplinary Action: A member may be issued either a notice or an infraction if deemed warranted by an admin or mentor (usually from guideline noncompliance). Infractions range from 1 to 10 "points", depending on the severity of the violation; notices carry no points. If a member accrues 8 or more infraction points, he or she will be automatically banned from Physics Forums for a period of 10 days. If a member receives any infraction after having returned from a temporary ban, that member will then be banned permanently. Obvious, incorrigible spamming or trouble making will be met with a permanent ban. Appealing an Infraction: If you feel an infraction is undeserved you may click the "Report" button on the infraction notice and explain why you do not feel the infraction was deserved. This will bring the issue before the rest of the Mentors who will discuss the matter internally and respond appropriately, which may include an action or message which is not visible to you. 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