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Important Change to Forum Rule 1.3, Astrobiology Discussions
Astro0
post Oct 19 2012, 01:11 PM
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Please note a important amendment to this rule as noted in Post #3 of this topic.

This is a very important announcement about a change to Forum Rule 1.3 related to discussion of astrobiology.
Please make yourself aware of the revised rule which now reads:
1.3 Astrobiology may not be discussed here, even in the context of a mission with those stated goals. This includes other banned topics such as SETI, "Red Rain," alien visitors, exobiology, biosignatures, microorganisms, organics, fossils et cetera.
Previously this rule allowed limited discussion on astrobiology in the context of missions like Viking or Curiosity.
After many years of debate on this issue by the Admin team, it has now been decided to completely ban discussion of astrobiology on the Forum. While we certainly support the science goal of discovering evidence of life beyond Earth, experience here and on other websites and forums demonstrates that discussions on astrobiology and alien life almost invariably results in polarizing arguments building up or it attracts the lunatic fringe who see "martian skulls" at every turn. Either way it becomes a moderation nightmare.
While some members may find this change to the rules difficult to deal with, especially in the context of a mission such as Curiosity, we want you to know that the decision was not taken lightly. We believe that there is plenty of scope for people to discuss astrobiology on any number of other space related forums (Google them - they're are out there).
Please note that this change to Rule 1.3 is effective as of 19th October 2012.
If you are at all unsure about what this change means, please contact me (as part of the Admin team) anytime.
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Floyd
post Oct 19 2012, 09:59 PM
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My only question is about organics. I can see not trying to link detection of organic compounds to astrobiology, but does this remove all discussion of compounds containing Carbon? Are we not to discuss minerals containing carbonate? Does this mean that Juramike's fantastic lessons on atmospheric chemistry are unwelcome. Maybe you could clarify this a bit...

Edit: maybe make a distinction between organic compounds as in organic chemistry and biological compounds as in biochemistry... No need to kill carbon, it is a perfectly good element.


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Astro0
post Nov 21 2012, 12:41 PM
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To All Members -
Please note an important amendment to the astrobiology Rule 1.3


1.3 Astrobiology may not be discussed here, even in the context of a mission with those stated goals. This includes other banned topics such as SETI, "Red Rain," alien visitors, exobiology, biosignatures, microorganisms, fossils et cetera. (Amended 19Oct'12 / Updated 21Nov'12)

The amendment has removed the word "organics" from the list of banned topics.

This change does not open the door in any way to discuss 'astrobiology'. To define that, we mean the search for, research of, and speculation about the existence, origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe: simple or complex terrestrial and/or non-terrestrial life/organisms.

Members may discuss the science and observations being done/reported by specific instruments on various missions used to detect chemical compounds and other elements on the periodic table.

The Admin Team has been busy discussing this matter and have highly appreciated everyone's patience and support.

To assist us in moderating any discussion, we will be restricting discussion rising from Curiosity's mission to a specific thread for the SAM and CheMin instruments. Discussion here and in sections such as Saturn>Cassini will be closely monitored by the admin/mod team who will act quickly on any breaches.

If you have any specific questions, please feel to ask any time.
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gregson
post Nov 22 2012, 06:08 PM
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1.3 Astrobiology may not be discussed here, even in the context of a mission with those stated goals.

Maybe it is time to change this point in the forum rules.
If it will be BIG discovery so I think it will be proper place for such discussions.
And better to be here, then go to other places and discuss with people which has no idea about Mars.
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Explorer1
post Nov 22 2012, 06:19 PM
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Oh, no one doubts that plenty of informative discussion can come here, just that the extra work on the mod's parts to keep it that way is more trouble than its worth. I believe that's the main thinking behind the rule.
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Eyesonmars
post Nov 22 2012, 06:24 PM
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Would it reduce the burden that rule 1.3 places on our moderators if it was included in the banner. Perhaps paraphrased somehow so as to catch the attention of all our new members.
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gregson
post Nov 22 2012, 06:40 PM
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I found some forum:
http://www.marsroverblog.com/mars-biology/forum.html

maybe it will be proper place for such discussions.
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ElkGroveDan
post Nov 22 2012, 06:43 PM
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QUOTE (Eyesonmars @ Nov 22 2012, 10:24 AM) *
Would it reduce the burden that rule 1.3 places on our moderators if it was included in the banner.

Upon registration all new members are directed to the forum guidelines and encouraged to read them. This is a serious forum comprised of serious adults discussing science and engineering. It's not a kindergarten. We have given ample warnings and will continue to do so when violations don't appear to be gratuitous. That's the way it is. That's how we keep this place serious, sane and informative.


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nprev
post Nov 22 2012, 06:47 PM
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Eyes, we have a "Welcome to UMSF" thread pinned to the very top of the Forum in which all new members are urged to review the complete Forum rules before participating. I don't think that messing up Astro0's beautiful banners would help; it's just incumbent upon all to fully understand the rules before posting. We've gone to great lengths to make that as clear as possible.

Gregson, you're right; there ARE indeed other places on the Web to discuss 1.3-related matters. UMSF is not one of them, and for those whose primary interest in space exploration lies in these areas this is probably not the right place for them to be. 1.3 may undergo tweaks, but will be Forum policy for the foreseeable future.

Explorer, admin/mod workload is part of it, but not the core reason. Preventing anomalist tin-hat stuff is the objective. Again, this has been said a million times (and it's in the Forum guidelines as well), so why not one more time: UMSF has a hard-won reputation for "an impressively high signal-to-noise ratio", which is precisely why an even more impressive list of space professionals & scientists frequent us.

This high SNR will be preserved.


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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centsworth_II
post Nov 22 2012, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE (gregson @ Nov 22 2012, 01:08 PM) *
1.3 Astrobiology may not be discussed here, even in the context of a mission with those stated goals.

Maybe it is time to change this point in the forum rules.
The "charm" of this forum is that it is heavy on mission data and light on pet "theories" that stray far from the actual data. "Feet on the ground" could be a motto here.
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Eyesonmars
post Nov 22 2012, 07:53 PM
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QUOTE (nprev @ Nov 22 2012, 07:47 PM) *
Eyes, we have a "Welcome to UMSF" thread pinned to the very top of the Forum in which all new members are urged to review the complete Forum rules before participating. I don't think that messing up Astro0's beautiful banners would help; it's just incumbent upon all to fully understand the rules before posting. We've gone to great lengths to make that as clear as possible.

I agree Nprev. Just trying to help out by tossing ideas around.

I was referring to the right side of the banner which in completely blank right now. Maybe use it to display important forum related information/changes on a temporary basis, or at least a reference to them. For instance, during times like this we could state "THIS IS NOT AN ASTROBIOLOGY FORUM". Human nature is such that few people take the time to read the fine print. I'm as guilty as anyone when presented with terms and conditions etc.: I just scroll down and click the agree button

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nprev
post Nov 22 2012, 07:57 PM
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I think that the blank space to the right is intended to accomodate screen resize by mobile users. But suggestions are appreciated, always; didn't mean to give the impression that yours wasn't. smile.gif


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stevelu
post Nov 23 2012, 06:55 AM
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QUOTE (Astro0 @ Nov 21 2012, 05:41 AM) *
The amendment has removed the word "organics" from the list of banned topics.


Yay. 8^)

Thanks to all involved.
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stevelu
post Nov 23 2012, 07:11 AM
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QUOTE (gregson @ Nov 22 2012, 11:40 AM) *
I found some forum:
http://www.marsroverblog.com/mars-biology/forum.html

maybe it will be proper place for such discussions.


Thanks for the lead. It may be worth investigating. However, following the link,the first topic that catches my eye is "Blueberries are faeces"
sigh
[that is of course the only time I will import any such quote; and if I am deemed to have overstepped, please feel free to remove this post; in that event I apologize in advance, & will take no offense.]

Regarding the rule itself: though I like to think that I'd slice it a bit differently i.e., open the door a bit wider and brace myself against it to keep it in place (y'know, if it were my door) that's certainly not a comfortable way to stand.

There's no question that rule 1.3, in all its strictness, exists for good reason.

Thanks again to the mods & admins for this forum. & Happy T-day to everyone who is celebrating tonight.

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