Help With the New Policy

One of the changes at the Nature network blogs has been the introduction of a whacking great big Policy button on the blogs. Not everybody is happy about this, partly because of the tone of the piece (Yes, Policy, I did put my warm underwear on this morning). Rather than just complain, I thought I’d be helpful, and write a better Policy.

Be yourself

This should be easy for most of you to manage. If you find yourself having difficulty, try being Napoleon II, or Groucho Marx.

Be factual and accurate

Unless you are arguing that the editors of Science are wrong about something. Then anything goes, and we’ll happily back you up with bigger lawyers than they’ve got.

Cite your sauces

This is the baste advice we have.

Stay focused on science and research

Sorry. Honestly, we put this in so we always had an excuse to get rid of Richard Grant (or anyone else, come to that).

Stay on topic

The topic should be indicated in the tags for the post. You are to strictly adhere to these indications, except where it may conflict with the policy set out elsewhere.

Be visual

Reading long streams of pure text is boring, so regularly insert photos that may be relevant. If this is not possible, a photo of your pet is acceptable. If you don’t have a pet, you should seek therapy. Or a pet shop.

Be polite

This is actually done just to annoy the rest of the science blogosphere. We’re surprised it works so well, but the only way we get any traffic is when they link to us to point out how nice we are.

Don’t sell or promote stuff

Unless it’s cress sandwiches, and you send us some.

Posten Sie keine Inhalte in anderen Sprachen als Englisch

Sorry, we couldn’t resist: our little joke.

Don’t develop any memes specifically for Nature Network

This was the unicycling girrafe’s job, but MT4 fixed that.

Remember that Nature Network is a place for scientists to congregate.

This means that we can appreciate the arts, but don’t bring any social science or humanities into the discussions. We have no idea what post-modernism really is, and to be honest we don’t care.

Always make nice comments and Matt Brown’s posts

He’s in charge.
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Terms of Use

The above are guidelines only. However, we go run a high-profile journal that you may want to publish in. Also, several of our employees are handy with baseball bats, so please, really, don’t annoy us.
EDIT: forgot to add this to the post. Sorry.

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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23 Responses to Help With the New Policy

  1. Sabine Hossenfelder says:

    I only have a virtual pet. But I feed it every day. I think it’s the British influence, that’s why you’re so polite. Last time I was in the UK I was damned close to yell at them to stop the lengthy apologies for inconveniences nobody would ever notice if they wouldn’t constantly apologize for it.

  2. Bob O'Hara says:

    Yes. Sorry, my fellow Brits can be a bit too apologetic at times.

  3. Cath Ennis says:

    “Be polite. This is actually done just to annoy the rest of the science blogosphere. We’re surprised it works so well

    SPLORT!
    I’m tempted to write a post about being off-topic, to see if anyone can stay on-topic in the comments.
    p.s. ketchup

  4. Richard Wintle says:

    Remember that Nature Network is a place for scientists to congregate.
    I thought it was a place for scientists to engage in new technology fanboi activities? (viz: iPhone, Twitter, Friendfeed, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.).
    P.P.S. eggs

  5. Brian Clegg says:

    Elegantly put, Bob. I particularly like the ‘Be polite’ justification.

  6. Brian Clegg says:

    WHY IS MT4 SO SLOW!!!! The @#*& TOOK 43 SECONDS FROM MY CLICKING SUBMIT TO THE COMMENT APPEARING.
    Sorry. Be polite.
    I say, MT4, and chance of speeding up a smidgen? I’ll eat a cucumber sandwich while you think about it.

  7. Brian Clegg says:

    That should have been ‘any’ chance of speeding up. Bother. Wasn’t accurate either.

  8. Maxine Clarke says:

    Aren’t these just the same terms that were always there, just made a bit more prominent for those who hadn’t read them before?
    Not all bloggers are as confident as you Bob, or others in this thread – so spare a thought for new bloggers who are not too sure of how to go about it.

  9. Cath Ennis says:

    Richard, eggs are not a sauce.

  10. Lou Woodley says:

    As I think I’ve explained elsewhere, and certainly on Twitter in response to Alyssa’s post on this subject, these policy tabs are a direct replica of the community guidelines1, which admittedly now sound a bit out of date, but which were primarly there to help newbies who might appreciate a few pointers. We do plan to remove the overly-prominent “policy” tabs from your blogs, but as I’m sure you can imagine we’re pretty preoccupied with trying to speed up commenting and iron out all the other technical glitches2 before moving onto the more cosmetic improvements. Other plans include rephrasing the advice on “keeping your comments brief” etc.
    1. Branston et al., 2007
    2. H.P. et al., 2010

  11. Bob O'Hara says:

    If I’m being serious, I think the guidelines should be re-written. But i appreciate there’s lots of other things you have to do as well. Could you crowd-sauce1 the re-writing? Get the regulars to revise them in a forum discussion? I suspect we’d largely agree with the aims and main points of the Policy, so it may not be too difficult (and you could always overrule us anyway).

    1 Custard

  12. Lou Woodley says:

    That sounds like a great idea, Bob. Why don’t you start a new topic in the bloggers forum and let’s see what you come up with. At minimum, that will give the team a good starting point when we do re-write the guidelines.

  13. Bob O'Hara says:

    Cunning plan, Lou. Done
    I’ll say something more substantive there later, on cnce I’ve had some sleep.

  14. Henry Gee says:

    we put this in so we always had an excuse to get rid of Richard Grant
    One should never need any excuse whatsoever to get rid of Richard Grant.

  15. Alejandro Correa says:

    If you find yourself having difficulty, try being Napoleon II, or Groucho Marx
    It is like saying “be or no to be” that is the question?.

  16. Henry Gee says:

    I thought that the old guidelines ended with a general exhortation to ‘have fun!’ – which seem to be missing from the new guidelines.

  17. Ian Brooks says:

    Bob. I love you. This is an act of genius.

  18. Margarida Diogo says:

    Im not a scientist, I’m a jurist. But I love science and try to keep informed. Yes, there are non scientific reading you. So go on blogging. NOte:I loved this: “We have no idea what post-modernism really is, and to be honest we don’t care.”

  19. Heather Etchevers says:

    Alyssa’s blog is over here, and she is innocent of any free association interpretations of the NN policy.
    On the other hand, I did touch on this a bit over a week ago, so you can take it as my contribution to the crowd-source revision. To be honest, I was a bit piqued into it by snide remarks from outside sources, and my own initial reaction which had been similar. Anyhow, I recognize the necessity for our host to have a posting policy, the now oft-stated intention to move the tabs to a slightly different but still accessible place so that they appear to not reflect personal policy but site policy guidelines, and the fact that if there were going to be some crackdown it would have happened long ago, so some stretching of the statements is clearly already tolerated. It’s good enough for me for now.

  20. Bob O'Hara says:

    heather – that post was over a week ago. You don’t expect me to remember it do you? :-)
    Actually, I think you make a lot of good points (more than I did above) – they’ll be very useful for the suggested revisions.

  21. Cath Ennis says:

    Bob, I notice you posted this topic in the public rather than the private bloggers’ forum. Fair enough, except that people don’t tend to use the public one much, and I wonder if that’s why it’s not getting that much action? Maybe we could cross-post to the busier private forum?

  22. Bob O'Hara says:

    I’d thought about that, but then I decided that it would be more exclusionary if I posted in the private forum. Cross-posting is definitely an option, though.

  23. Cath Ennis says:

    Fair enough!