Author Topic: The Rules  (Read 20096 times)

Offline Daniel

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The Rules
« on: December 20, 2013, 12:00:18 AM »
Science is all about creative, new ideas. At the same time, it can be distracting if all everyone talks about is their own way of reinventing the wheel.

So this represents a compromise: this subforum is an appropriate place to discuss unique and controversial "thinking outside of the box" ideas in a respectful way without disrupting the rest of the forum.

If you have your own theory about how language works, or even if you just want to ask "What's the meaning of life, the universe and everything?", then this is the place to do it.

In order to maintain a respectful and productive atmosphere and due to the potential for some of these discussions to become problematic or frustrating (for all involved), the moderators will sometimes strictly enforce the rules. Please understand that it is not our intention to stifle your creativity, but instead to encourage respectful and productive communication.

The Rules [subject to change at any time]:

1. Be respectful toward others, and expect others to be respectful toward you.
--As scientists, the most productive thing we can do is share ideas; the least productive thing we can do is yell at each other.
--If a debate gets too heated, the moderators will step in, usually locking the thread for some time until the discussion can begin again calmly. Especially problematic threads may be permanently closed or even deleted.

2. Be respectful in your ideas.
--For example, over 100 years ago, there were linguistic theories about "primitive" languages (with implications for primitive cultures and unintelligent people or races). These are completely outdated and highly problematic ideas. There is no supporting evidence and these ideas were based on ignorance and bias.
--It is almost always possible to approach science without value judgments. Try to consider differences rather than value ("good" or "bad").

3) This is a descriptive Linguistics forum, not a forum for prescriptivism.
Descriptivism: the study of what we observe in the world, such as how people actually speak.
Prescriptivism: the attempt to change behavior in others, such as telling people that they should speak a certain way.
Therefore, in Linguistics (and on this forum) there are no "right" and "wrong" or "rules" to discuss. There are only differences, and linguistic diversity is a good thing (especially because this makes our research more interesting).
Of course, there are limited exceptions, such as in language acquisition (do learners behave like native speakers?) or discussion of standardization.
But if your goal is to talk about prescriptivism, please find another forum. This is not the place. There are plenty of forums for that out there!

4) Expect criticism and academic debate.
This is not your personal blog. Others will reply, and they may not agree with you. Everyone needs to handle this respectfully.
If you don't want replies or criticism, you should make a blog about it instead of posting here, for example with WordPress.
(And remember, even though receiving negative criticism isn't always fun, it can be a great way to learn and to strengthen your argument.)

5. Be prepared to learn.
Everyone here can learn something from the other members; share your ideas, but also try to learn from theirs. Sometimes it's ok to be wrong (then you'll be right).
Everyone is welcome here: whether you just found out what Linguistics is, or if you're a professor. Regardless, please do not insist on problematic ideas out of ignorance-- if you don't know something, then we'll be happy to discuss it and help you learn it. If you only want to insist on your own ideas and not take the rest of Linguistics seriously, this is not the place-- create a blog.

6. Post clearly and don't repeat yourself.
--Defend your ideas with evidence (and references if possible).
--Present your ideas clearly so that we can understand and reasonably disagree with them.
--Once you have made a point, you don't need to repeat yourself; sometimes we will all disagree, and that is acceptable. This isn't a place to advocate for your ideas and try to convert everyone into believers. That's not what science is about.
--When the conversation ends, you can post a reply with a new thought or new question. It's great if you can add new information or change some ideas to improve your theory, and it will keep others interested in the conversation.

7. Only one thread per theory.
--Don't make multiple threads about the same idea. Even if you don't get the answer you were hoping for, don't start a new thread. Extra threads will be deleted or merged with your first thread.
--If you have different ideas to discuss, you can start a new thread. But if, as was the case with some members in the past, you are here only to talk about one major theory you are developing, keep it in one thread.

8. Keep controversial discussions in this subforum.
Sometimes moderators will move a discussion here if it becomes a debate or appears controversial. You're welcome to discuss it here, but keep it here.

9. Reply respectfully.
When replying to the ideas posted here, be respectful. Make your point and let the author decide. There's usually little benefit in repeating yourself if they don't believe you the first time (even if you're right). Once you've made your point, if there isn't anything else to say, it's probably time to enjoy the rest of the forum for a while.

10. Respect the moderators.
If you do not, you will be warned and possibly banned. We're not unreasonable people, but we will enforce the rules of this forum. Ask us if you have any questions. These rules are meant to be helpful, not restrictive.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 01:48:51 PM by djr33 »
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