Rules and Guidelines
The following Rules and Guidelines are strict, but the UnmannedSpaceflight.com Administrators and Moderators are responsible for maintaining the high quality of a Forum that, since 2004, has been useful both to space enthusiasts and to professionals in the space community.
If you have any questions about these guidelines, do not hesitate to ask by:
• posting on this thread;
• sending a private message to any of the Administrators or Moderators; or
• sending an email to Emily Lakdawalla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Forum Scope
Posts that fall outside the narrowly defined scope of unmannedspaceflight.com may be deleted by moderators.
1.1 UnmannedSpaceflight.com is intended for the discussion of robotic space missions, past and present. In particular, it is a place where people meet to discuss and share the images returned by these missions and the ongoing drama of their exploration of space.
1.2 Discussion of politics, religion, or any other contentious political or social subject is forbidden.
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)
1.5 Debating the relative worth of human and robotic spaceflight is forbidden.
1.6 Since September 2008, the human spaceflight section of this forum has been closed.
1.7 While discussion of future missions is encouraged, take caution to avoid breaking rule 1.2 against discussion of politics.
1.9 Other subjects that are banned here include: Pluto's planethood; conspiracy theories; sci-fi engineering; "new physics"; pseudoscience.
1.10 The promotion of your own commercial product (eg: software, websites etc) or requests for raising funds for projects (eg: films, experiments etc) is not permitted. This includes references to products and projects by persons known to you. References to freeware or shareware is acceptable in some circumstances - checking with an Administrator or Moderator is recommended before posting.
There are many other discussion forums on the Internet where you may discuss topics banned here. These include, but are not limited to, NASASpaceflight.com, the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forums, Starship Asterisk, the Mars Forum, Cloudy Nights, and the Astronomy Stackexchange. Each of these forums has its own unique rules of conduct and allowable content.
2. Acceptable Behaviour
Professionals in the space community who visit UnmannedSpaceflight.com frequently praise the "high signal-to-noise ratio" of the Forum. What they mean is that most of the posts contain useful information or thoughtful discussion. To maintain this high signal-to-noise ratio:
2.1 Posts must remain respectful of the opinions of others, even if contrary to your own.
2.2 Posts should make a contribution. Some chit-chat is allowed (this is, after all, a community), but too much may be considered forum "noise" and moved or deleted by moderators.
2.3 Before posting a question, use Google to attempt to answer it yourself. (If you find an answer and think other forum members may have the same question, please write a post that contains both the question and the answer you found.) You may well find that your question was previously asked and answered elsewhere on this Forum. Use the Forum's own Search tool or read back through the thread and check first.
2.4 Do not rant. Repeating yourself makes your posts part of the forum noise. If you must rant, start your own blog (try Blogger or Wordpress).
2.5 If you wind up in an argument with another member, do not fight within the forum; please take the discussion to email or to private messages.
2.6 When mentioning scientists, engineers, or other mission personnel, please write as though they are reading the Forum. In fact, many of them are. In particular, avoid criticizing missions on the basis of hindsight and/or incomplete information.
2.7 "Drive-by-posting" is not permitted: posts from new registrants that only link to their own websites will be deleted.
2.8 Do not start new topics just to be "first." Particularly in the most active areas of this forum (such as the active Mars missions), decisions of when to open and close new topics are usually made by moderators.
3. Posting Etiquette
Most of these rules are intended to make the forum faster to download and easier to scan quickly for information.
3.1 Do not use excessive formatting. Use text formatting only as necessary to clarify a post.
3.2 Do not post inline images that are more than 100kb or wider than 500 pixels. Instead either attach the image, post an inline thumbnail that links to a larger image, or simply provide a link to the image.
3.3 Do not attach images that can be viewed freely on someone else's server. Instead, simply post their URLs or an inline thumbnail that links to a larger image. This particularly applies to images released on NASA or ESA websites. It reduces the need for the readers to follow the links to really know if an image is of interest (or not).
3.4 When posting links to scientific papers, include in your post an explanation of why you think it is relevant to the discussion. If a subscription is required to view the paper, state that.
3.5 Avoid excessive quoting. If your reply will immediately follow the post you're replying to, do not quote it at all. If your reply refers to a post farther up in the thread, quote only that text that is relevant to your reply. Avoid quoting images.
3.6 Signatures may not exceed two lines of plain text, with links. Images are not permitted in signatures.
4. Results of Rule Violations
Admins and Mods may delete posts without warning or discussion in order to keep the Forum tidy. If a member repeatedly violates rules (or commits a single particularly egregious rule violation), a discussion is opened among the administration team about that member. Decisions to suspend or ban members are made by consensus among the administration team.
4.1 Members who repeatedly violate rules will receive a warning from a forum moderator.
4.2 Additional rule violations may result in a two-week suspension or revocation of membership.
4.3 Banned users found to have set up a new member account under a pseudonym will be banned again without warning.
Images from NASA missions are in the public domain. The creation of mosaics, composites, anaglyphs, projections, and other treatments of NASA-based raw data constitute the creation of an original work. As such, the copyright for this derived imagery lies with the individual who created it. Copyright does not have to be explicitly stated to be enforceable.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has different policies regarding copyright and use of their mission images and data. Some data is in the public domain while other material is restricted in its uses. We recommend you familiarise yourself with these policies. [1 2] Users of data from other space agencies (eg: JAXA, INSA) should familiarize themselves with the agency's copyright policy before posting.
5.1 If you wish to use images from unmannedspaceflight.com, ask permission from its creator first, especially if you intend to use the images for profit. For legal advice on copyright, visit this site.
5.2 Give credit where it's due. Credit should be given to the institutions responsible for generating the data as well as to the person who processed it.
6.1 Blatant advertising on the Forum is not permitted, be it for a book, product, or film. Products can certainly be discussed, critiqued, or evaluated (for example, there is a thread which makes note of the availability of new books relevant to space exploration), but posts saying "check out my product for sale" will be deleted.
6.2 A forum is like a tiny social club. It is a shared space that can be as good or as bad as the group it represents. If you disagree with someone, please do so in a polite, positive way. You don't need to resort to personal attacks and name calling. And you don't need to have the last word.
6.3 This forum has a truly international membership. Many members speak English as a second (or third, or fourth) language. Be sensitive to cultural differences and the possibility that language barriers may confuse the meaning of your or others' posts. Think before reacting.
Interpretation of the Rules and Guidelines
These rules and guidelines result from years of discussion and enforcement by the Admins and Mods, who are the arbiters of their final interpretation. Decisions regarding what constitutes infringement of the Rules as well as the responsibility to remove, edit, move or close those posts or entire threads that are seen as being harmful to the Forum resides entirely with them.