“The comments on that post were really helpful and insightful,” said no one on the internet ever.

We’d like to change that.

We want this to be a place where it’s safe for parents to ask legitimate questions without fear of judgement and hostility. We believe our readers are smart and thoughtful individuals, and are capable of disagreeing in a respectful manner. We think disagreement is an important part of life and the scientific process, but how we disagree is key to furthering a thoughtful dialogue.

We don’t think it matters if the point you’re trying to make is scientifically accurate, if you make it in a way that alienates others you’re not going to move the conversation forward.  If you want to be able to be both right and a jerk this probably isn’t the site for you. If you’re looking for a site that will let you be both right and a jerk, might we suggest you try literally anywhere else on the internet.

By it’s nature the Internet doesn’t always facilitate respectful disagreement,  so for those reasons, we moderate the comments both on TheScientificParent.org and our Facebook Page. We respectfully hold all of our participants to our codes of conduct, and reserve the right to delete comments and ban users that violate any of the following guidelines.  We generally try to give commenters two warnings, banning them on the third violation, but depending on the degree to which our comment policy is violated, you might find yourself banned on the first go around.

  1. Safety First: Do not take medical advice from people on the internet. Including us. SERIOUSLY. Do not share medical advice or attempt to diagnose other commenters, even if you have a medical background. Remember, the information found on The Scientific Parent is not a substitute for the care and knowledge provided to you by your physician or board certified primary care provider. It is crucial to talk with your qualified health care provider about any questions or concerns you may have about a medical condition or treatment. We’re not joking about this. Seriously, don’t do it.  >>  We also ask that you don’t link to spurious studies, make claims that can’t be supported or have been debunked, information that is out of it’s original context, share links to, or recommend, dangerous or unsupported practices or treatments.  It’s always OK to ask if something that you’ve heard is accurate, but we don’t want you to share bad information on this site or in our forums.
  2. Remember Wheaton’s Law: It’s the golden rule of the internet and we follow it here. Be kind, be respectful and don’t be a jerk. Some of the things that we consider fall into the categories below:
    • Don’t be Another Dog on the Pile | If lots of people disagree with one or two people, it can make them feel ganged up on and it creates an environment that no longer feels safe for other commenters to contribute to the conversation. Disagreement and agreement is OK by us – but we ask that individuals refrain from tagging or directing people to comment for the sake of volume. This also includes what is sometimes called “link bombing” wherein a user posts several links in quick succession without explanation.
    • Don’t Hate | Comments that are hateful, discriminatory towards a sex, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, age, religion, citizenship and immigration status, or disability will be deleted post-haste. If your comment threatens someone, name calls, or makes unsupported claims or allegations against someone for any reason, that’s not the kind of comment we want here.
    • Respect Personal Privacy | Does your comment reveal personally identifying information about yourself or someone else? Does your comment intentionally or unintentionally dox someone? If it does, it’s not welcome here. We include in this sharing pictures of your own or someone else’s child.  If you’d like to connect with a commenter in another forum we request that any exchange of contact information happens privately and not on our site.  Additionally if someone has asked you not to tag them or mention them directly or indirectly, it’s probably a good idea respect that.  If we’re told that another person is uncomfortable with you mentioning them, out of respect for the other person we’ll remove your comment.
    • Destructive Criticism | Have you ever had your parenting skills criticized in a way that was hurtful, we think there’s a way to help and empower parents that doesn’t include name calling or nasty assumptions.  Nobody likes a sanctimommy or a Judgey McJudgersons. Everybody wants to do what’s best for their kids, but nobody changes their behavior because they were made to feel stupid or that they had failed as a parent. Destructive criticism also includes things like mocking another commenter, name-calling, memeifying their previous comments and generally being a jerk.
    • No Proxy Wars | Do you really dislike another person or social movement?  Congratulations, you’re not alone!  BUT, this isn’t the place for you to air those grievances or to engage in a comment proxy war. Putting the call-out on your own site to your own readers and followers to flock to our page or forums to support your cause or attack another person or cause not only makes you look like a jerk, it also doesn’t foster legitimate and helpful dialogue among our community members. After several instances of this happening on our site, we now have a zero tolerance policy for this.  Once we see it happening, it’s an automatic ban for everyone involved.
  3. Elsa let It go MemeLet It Go! Let it Go! It’s easy for a conversation to veer off topic but try to keep the conversation focused.  Know when it’s time to agree to disagree, end the conversation and walk away. It’s a beautiful life, why would you want to spend it arguing with someone on the internet? Put the keyboard down, take a lap (or better yet, take a nap!)  If it looks like a conversation has run it’s course, we’ll give you the hint by dropping Elsa into the conversation.
  4. Hit the Bleep Button | We all let the occasional curse word fly, and science even says it’s good(ish) for us, but on the internet cursing can go sideways. If you need to swear, please use the word “bleep” in place of whatever curse word you intended to use. We promise to leave those bleeps alone.
  5. No Solicitations | We’re sure you’re proud of your business, organization, or website, (go you!) but this isn’t the place to promote it. Subversive ads for products or services for your own personal gain are not allowed.

We’re big fans of the First Amendment here at TheScientificParent.org, however, it should be noted that most (Ok let’s be honest, just about all) legal scholars agree that the first amendment applies to government impingement of speech, not to an individual’s right to be a jerk on a private website or Facebook page.  Commenters who violate our comment policy risk being permanently banned and/or blocked from access to our forums, with or without warning, depending on the severity of the violation.  We’re pretty sure our comment policy doesn’t violate your first amendment rights to freedom of speech.  In fact, we think you have a protected constitutional right to be a jerk if you want to, but we don’t think you have a right to do it on our page.

Finally, if your comment doesn’t immediately show up, no need for distress. While the internet is 24/7, TheScientificParent.org team is not (especially Leslie). As humans, they attempt at least eight hours of sleep each night, or during the day, or whenever the kids are quiet and entertained enough to close their eyes. Please be patient during the delay. Your comment will be moderated once we’re awake and have had a cup of coffee (or ten). In the meantime, happy commenting, friends. We look forward to your contributions!

Disclaimer: All comments submitted to The Scientific Parent’s forums are available for public consumption, and by commenting, you irrevocably provide permission to The Scientific Parent or anyone that views your comment to copy, distribute, memeify, adapt or perform your comment as they deem fit.

Revised 2/9/17