Terms and Conditions
RICHARD DAWKINS.NET: PURPOSE, DISCLAIMER AND CONDITIONS OF USE
Welcome to RichardDawkins.net. We have updated our Conditions of Use and all users are being asked to indicate their acceptance of them before commenting on or creating a discussion, or when registering. Please read the following carefully and, if you agree to abide by the Conditions set out here, check ‘Accept Terms and Conditions’ on the registration or edit profile page. If you don’t agree, you will still be able to read articles, discussions and comments on the site but you will not be able to post comments or start discussions yourself.
Purpose of RichardDawkins.net
RichardDawkins.net is intended to be a site where there is lively discussion of issues relevant to science, reason and unreason; where robust disagreement, provided it is intelligently argued, is welcome; where threads stay broadly on-topic (where ‘on-topic’ means ‘of relevance to reason, unreason and science, not necessarily the specific topic of the thread in question’); which acts as a showcase for reason and science; and where rational people can be confident of consistently intelligent interactions and stimulating ideas.
In a community of ideas, there will always be disagreements and friendly banter. We encourage robust discussion, but please remember that we do not want threads to be derailed by private chat, insults or prolonged off-topic exchanges. Nor do we want contributors to be subjected to bullying or abuse, or the cause of reason and science to be brought into disrepute.
The following Conditions of Use are meant to allow freedom of discussion in an open, civilised manner, no different from the kind of atmosphere that would prevail in a work meeting or social event with face-to-face interactions. If action is required against any user who is in breach of these Conditions, we will do our best to act fairly and impartially, but all decisions and judgements are at our absolute discretion.
Finally, a word about freedom of speech. In a very real sense of the term, RichardDawkins.net is a publisher. If we were writing a comment to a traditional publisher, such as a newspaper, we would not complain that our freedom of speech had been curtailed if it were not published. We would simply accept the editor’s decision. RichardDawkins.net does not operate a ‘positive editing’ system of that kind, where comments only appear once they have been approved: on this website comments appear automatically, without being seen by us first. Nor will we be regularly patrolling the site on the look-out for offending posts: that is why we are asking you to agree to abide by these Conditions of Use and also to alert us if you see comments which do not. Nevertheless, that does not mean we are under any obligation – legal, moral or otherwise – to permit everything submitted by users to remain on the site. If we become aware of comments that we consider to be inappropriate or to undermine what our website is for, we reserve the right to remove them and take any other action we deem appropriate. (Please note that we will never remove comments simply because they challenge ideas, whether that’s atheism or evolution or anything else that most people on this site are in agreement about.)
Some users may not share our vision for RichardDawkins.net or approve of the approach that we are setting out here, and that is of course their right. Nevertheless, it is this vision and this approach that will form the basis of how we manage this site.
The posting of an article, video or other item on this website does not mean that RichardDawkins.net endorses its content: items are selected purely for their relevance and their potential to stimulate interesting discussion. We are responsible only for content posted by us or by someone authorised by us to post items on our behalf. We are not responsible for the content of other websites, or for comments posted by users. We are not able to read every comment that is posted on this site, so if you see something that requires our intervention please alert us to it promptly. If we become aware of inappropriate comments posted by users, we reserve the right to modify or remove them, but not doing so does not imply that we endorse or approve of them.
Conditions of Use
1. No abuse. Let’s try and stay polite to each other. Obviously no intimidation or bullying, and if it does get a bit frank and heated, our language should be no more than a normal civilised person would use in face-to-face encounters. If it is not something that would be accepted at a face-to-face social gathering or meeting, then it is not acceptable here. When disagreements occur we therefore expect you to 1) Focus on the ideas and argue against the individual(s) rationally, or 2) Report individuals if they are in breach of the Conditions of Use, or 3) Ignore rude comments and refuse to escalate the situation. Pseudonyms should not become a licence for gratuitous rudeness.
2. No bores. Hard to define, but we all know them when we encounter them. The following list is not exhaustive. People who have one particular drum that they just keep on banging over and over again. People who persistently abuse and insult other users. People who treat the site as though it were their own personal blog or playground. People who seem to think a modicum of courtesy is a sign of weakness. People who snarl and spit as soon as anyone disagrees with them.
3. No sock puppets. Bores and other offenders who have been banned often try to come back under another name. This is strictly forbidden. In order to guard against this, we have to forbid multiple user accounts. If you already have more than one account, perhaps because you used to use an alias but now post using your real name, please contact email@example.com so that they can be amalgamated. Don’t forget to let us know which of your user names you want to keep.
4. No identity-sharing. For the same kind of reason, please don’t let other people use your RichardDawkins.net name and please take care to keep your login details private.
5. No chat-rooming. Please keep comments broadly relevant to the topic that heads the thread, or at least relevant to the subjects of reason and science. It’s a good idea (and it usually happens this way) for threads to begin by being strictly on the topic of the heading article. If interesting side issues naturally develop later, that’s fine too. But please don’t let threads become derailed into chat-room gossip. If that starts to happen, please remove the discussion to a more appropriate medium elsewhere, e.g. IM or email.
6. No spam. That includes commercial advertising, anything posted multiple times on one or more threads, and the habitual posting of material that has simply been lifted from other sites in order to make a point.
7. No crime. Obviously no promotion of illegal activity. No libellous comments. No uploads of or links to any material containing viruses, worms, trojans, spyware etc. No soliciting of personal information from or about underage users, and no unwanted sexual attention towards users of any age.
8. No trolling. Trolling includes any activity intended to disrupt the site, derail discussion or inflame personal conflict. It doesn’t include controversial posts that challenge the prevailing philosophy of the majority of visitors to the site. These are welcome, if they are intelligently argued.
If you see comments that are in breach of these conditions, please do not respond to them, but bring them to the attention of the Moderators by using the link at the foot of each post to flag them. You will need to be logged in to do this. If you wish to report a comment which you think may be libellous, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.