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Posting guidelines

  1. Apr 3, 2006 #1
    I'm not sure what this means. I would think that the spirit recently expressed by NASA and posted by Astronuc:

    would generally apply in any truly scientific endeavor. I regularly post links to Physics Forums on other forums, and this information is then more broadly spread about. In fact, such a crosslink was posted just yesterday by a British friend who learned of these boards from me, a few months ago. She posted the link on the BBC science boards:


    If the policy is to not share these links in both directions, freely, then I'd like to be clear on that. Naturally, if the spirit of free exchange of scientific information is not present on this science MB, I would stop advertising PF on other boards.

    I'm curious for general thoughts on this.

    Perhaps this is better dealt with by PM? I'm happy to PM the relevant mentors, to discuss this. Please advise.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2006 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is not intended to limit the use of references, rather it refers to personal advertising. For example, someone might open a website and spam PF with links in order to attract members to the other site. That is not allowed. If a PF member has a personal site, we would normally allow a link here and there - this is the discretionary call, but again, this does not limit the use of scientific references.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2006
  4. Apr 3, 2006 #3


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    Links to other forums is considered advertising, which is different than links to websites that serve as references, such as those of various journals or government science agencies. Whether or not you should be doing so on other forums is up to the other forums and their policies on advertising, and certainly not within our control.
  5. Apr 3, 2006 #4
    I've posted links to other science forums here, perhaps twice or perhaps three times (I'm not sure, but no more than that), over the last 6 weeks. To my mind this does not fit the definition of spam.

    The second (or third) time was just today, and I provided the link on Biology (a board dealing with all aspects of biology), because there was a question asking about evolution. I posted the link because this other forum is specifically geared towards evolution discussions; it is not a biology board but rather an evolution board.

    The link was removed within about ten minutes of my posting.

    As I personally have freely shared websites on every message board that I have ever been on, including heavily promoting PF in the past, elsewhere, I am both taken aback by the edit of my post, and I am also reconsidering whether I should continue to promote PF elsewhere.


    I think an error was made. I am not trying to create ill will, but rather trying to get an answer that matches my experience, so that I can, in good conscience, continue to promote those forums whose philosophy I understand and support. At present I still don't understand the philosophy on this issue, here.

    In brief, in what manner did my link constitute spam? If it did not, then I expect it was removed in error, I can add it again, and it won't be removed?

    Edit: Moonbear, I was writing as you posted.
  6. Apr 3, 2006 #5
    I take this to mean that links to other forums are not permitted, period, as that constitutes advertising (I would strongly disagree with that interpretation, fwiw.)

    Is that correct? Do all the mentors agree with this?
  7. Apr 3, 2006 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    Well, we normally don't complain about a passing comment here and there, but any more than that quickly amounts to spam.
  8. Apr 3, 2006 #7
    It sounds like this is very much a judgment call. Is that correct?

    Otherwise, I would hope the guidelines would specify at what point a link constitutes spam. Once a month?

    I don't think it matters.
  9. Apr 3, 2006 #8


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    Spamming is generally considered on a case-by-case basis. It is, in fact, a judgement call.

    Two members can post links to the same web sites, one with the intention of fostering interesting discussion, the other with the intention of spamming. It's almost always very easy to differentiate the two. It would be difficult (and pointless) to elaborate the rule any further with specific numerical limits.

    - Warren
  10. Apr 4, 2006 #9


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    Well, the vast amount of spam that we get here is perpetrated by first-time posters whose very first post is a link to a website, often posted in multiple forums at once. These cases are rather obvious.

    The line that must be crossed to actually constitute spam is personal gain on the part of the member posting the link. I would personally think that, if accurately portrayed, your situation probably does not constitute spam. In fact, a few years back when evolution/creationism debates were more popular around here, there were frequently links to the TalkOrigins site posted by many, and I know I linked to the EvC forums a few times (which may very well have been what you linked to), but I would try to link to a specific thread that had a good discussion of the matter we were discussing, rather than just refer people to the other site. Also, when Tom set up his napster threads at the top of every topical forum, there were quite a few links to discussion forums posted in them, some of which might still be in the PF links section (I honestly haven't looked at the links in quite some time). Note, however, that these threads asked for links.

    What you should probably do is simply PM the mentor that edited your post, explain the situation, and ask that they clarify why the link was edited out of your post. You can see who did the editing at the very top of the post. It is entirely possible he/she was simply sweeping the area and deleted what looked like spam, since we've been getting so much lately. Without knowing the situation from both sides, I can't personally say if it was spam, and really no one but the mentor who did the editing can, but if it was a mistake, then I'm sure it was an honest one. If it was not a mistake, you'll get the best and clearest explanation from the person who did the editing.
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