Sciencemadness Discussion Board

The (unwritten?) rules?

SWilkin676 - 11-5-2010 at 06:44

I've gone through the FAQ and poked around a bit and can't seem to find a written source of "unwritten rules" regarding what should be posted and where.

An example of a rules I see mentioned but not written down, this one occurs fairly frequently.
"You do not cite a reference for the reaction, and as such this thread should have been opened in beginnings, as the moderators keep insisting" Can't people surmise and discuss possibilities without already having something to refer to - I would think wondering what happens if x is mixed with y - but having enough sense to ask first would be in the spirit of this forum.

I posted about my lab setup and was told that a thread already existed that should be posted to. Not offended or anything it was nicely done and tolerant, but it would help me if I could go read something that says here is where you should post this kind of whatever. It didn't occur to me to search since I was just sharing my own version of the "mouse trap".

After reading a lot of posts I understand the reasoning for a lot of the rules - you don't want a gazillion threads discussing the synthesis of a single compound. That is a matter of style and taste of the creators of the forum. Am I missing an important something I should have read?

I also was not sure how to respond to a poster who was looking for glassware since I don't recall if there are any rules about posting links to sellers and didn't have time to search, so I sent him a private message.


And yeah I'm ADD and belong to to many forums I think!!

[Edited on 11-5-2010 by SWilkin676]

bquirky - 11-5-2010 at 07:09

I say ignore the grumpy old fuddy duddies and post what you wish :)

Polverone - 11-5-2010 at 08:50

Here are some rules that you might not yet know, written down. I'm sure other moderators can contribute some I have missed:

-A rule you've already discovered: If you're asking for help with a question or reaction, show that you've put some effort into thinking about it on your own. Don't just ask "how do I X?" without mentioning what you've already learned about the problem and possible solutions. This means to include references to material you've already read on the subject. If you're a beginner and you don't even know where to look for information, post your unreferenced question in Beginnings.

-The other rule you've discovered: if an existing thread covers the topic you're about to post about, post in that thread instead of a new one. It makes it easier for members to keep up with topics of interest. You may need to search before posting if you're unsure whether or not a thread already exists.

-We do not permit threads where people are seeking spoonfeeding of information for clandestine drug manufacture. However, every sort of chemistry is a permissible topic of discussion if you discuss it like a scientist. If someone is asking about obtaining chemicals used in drug manufacture and using the vocabulary of a SWIM*mer more than a chemist, report it and the thread will be dealt with after a moderator has confirmed your findings. Similarly, if someone is asking for help with a synthetic "recipe" for a known street drug, report that too. Don't bother to berate the cooks in the thread itself instead; that doesn't bring the mods any faster. In truth the mods and most members dislike any thread where someone is seeking or using a "recipe" and doesn't show any deeper interest in chemistry, but this has been mostly a problem with drug synthesis because of the many people who want to quickly get rich or high.

A fellow moderator suggested that this information be compiled and added to the official FAQ some weeks ago. Looking at it, I see there is less about behavior in the FAQ than I thought I had written down. I pledge to update the FAQ after we've written down newer rules here!

*"Someone Who Isn't Me", an acronym habitually used by some clandestine chemists online in place of "I" in hopes that this fig leaf of speech will spare them legal trouble.

SWilkin676 - 11-5-2010 at 15:38

Actually the ones about synthesis weren't mine - I'm a long way from that learning wise but this forum has sparked some interest in it. I can see myself going there some day.

I think sometimes those who have been here for a while don't realize that something they remember well isn't as easy to find as they might think. The recent vinegar - acetic acid thing is a good example of that - I understand the guy was lazy but when I searched acetic acid you'd be surprised at how many threads there were. I got stuff that ended with acetic too!

Moderating forums is a lot of work. Thanks.

[Edited on 12-5-2010 by SWilkin676]

Ephoton - 14-5-2010 at 14:11

hmm I remeber a person called they call me king on WD ......

called them selves SWIKING all the time.

as for what polverone has said I personaly are more worried about this site becomeing a target

for the LE and there schedualing regime. So although I dont belive there is any difference between

asking how to make benzene and how to make pcp I can see that for mutual benifit the rules that

are discussed here are of great importance to as all, both for today and the future.

hissingnoise - 14-5-2010 at 14:52

I dont belive there is any difference between asking how to make benzene and how to make pcp.

The difference is; one is a known carcinogen and the other is a passé recreational drug. . .

Ephoton - 14-5-2010 at 18:17

or one could say my friend one is a passe carcinogen and the other a known recreational drug :)

the circle continues.

or even that one if going OTC must make a passe carcinogen
before they can think of making the known recreational drug.

still its not a nerve agent so its not effecting people other
than those who choose to take it.

or even then its not an explosive that is still illegal unless you
have the right licensing.

and still I doubt weather many with the licensing are allowed
to make there own at home.

I belive in the safety of the hive my friend not arguments
about politics.

otherwise I would not have chosen chemistry as my passion.

[Edited on 15-5-2010 by Ephoton]

BromicAcid - 14-5-2010 at 18:50

Yes, there are a number of unwritten rules on the forum. When you look at the first posts to the forum and those that followed over the first couple years you can quickly learn what the rules are and how they were established. Concise posts backed up by experimentation or references and clear language. In short, emulation of what we had seen in the scientific journals that we had waded through on our way to the nirvana of chemistry. This forum was initially geared toward people with a passion for chemistry. It was also a place where beginners could pop in from time to time to quiz the regulars. It was only later that we obtained a dedicated beginners forum. In those early days it was hard and fast lessons and science, you learned quick or you left and it's amazing to see how some of our members have been educated in that way over the years. There were a lot more doers than talkers and it showed.

That mentality has changed. Very few people do experiments any more (relatively speaking). However, a number of people here still believe that experimentation isn't necessarily a means to an end, but is the end. It's the fun of the chase. Chemistry for chemistry's sake. People who don't respect chemistry get the same amount of respect in return. It's almost like a religion, in that we take so much on faith. Because of that cooks and people needing spoon feeding are frowned upon. They haven't paid their dues and their motivations are self serving and as a community we cannot afford to foster that behavior.

What I'm trying to say is that it's not necessarily rules that are unwritten but a level of decorum that's expected. We don't come in half-cocked, chemicals are inherently dangerous and what we post others will read, we cannot afford to give bad information for their sakes and our own credibility. You don't see avatars here, and although we might not agree in the whimsy forum, there are a number of capable minds here and we take our art very seriously.

Ephoton - 14-5-2010 at 18:59

fair comment bromic :)

psychokinetic - 15-5-2010 at 13:34

As any forum, one really must get the feel for a place before jumping in and making a twat of one's self.

It is therefore made difficult when there are such folk who just jump in and say, ask LIEK HOW DO I MAKE TEH METH? (or the analagous 'controversial' and spoony question in any other given forum) and wonder why they get rude comments. Anyone who cares to check out the feel, the vibe, the information contained.... will realise that this forum is about science, primarily chemistry. And thus, it must be respected. Akin to what Bromic said about respect, I presume the inverse applies.

Makes me happy to be here, in fact.

SWilkin676 - 15-5-2010 at 18:46

I understand the need to have a contributing and orderly forum body. I just got the impression that there was a discussion somewhere along the way and some rules got made that didn't get added to the FAQ for us newbies. Was not complaining. I'm too new to have much to contribute so I'll just read for a while more unless someone is going shopping or extracting plant stuff then I might be able to contribute something.

I seem to be getting some really weird responses from Ephoton - I thought of resigning and coming back then lying through my teeth about who I am to make him comfortable, but I don't think that would help.


Nicodem - 17-5-2010 at 00:22

One of the things that showed up to be unacceptable on this forum is asking questions by being a coy and all secretive. Questions should be posed in such a way that they are answerable (containing enough information for a correct answer). Asking questions about some synthesis without telling the synthesis of what and without providing the pertaining procedure/reference is not only dumb to the extreme, but it is also unfair to other members. This practice is particularly common by members who ask about drugs, but have no dignity to speak loud about their interests.
It is particularly tasteless to involve in such discussions other members who would not want to get involved in supporting an activity that might be defined as criminal activity in their country (even when it might not be criminal activity in the country of the original poster!). Furthermore, some members have ideological reasons for not getting involved in certain discussions even if it is about a legal or borderline activity (psychoactive drugs, poisons, explosives...). If you are not ready to ask a question openly by standing for what you believe and consequently being ready to cope with all the moralist replies and moderator's actions, then perhaps this forum is not the right place to place your question already in the first place. The irony is in that this forum tolerates all kind of touchy topics under the conditions that they are discussed using scientific discourse. Surprisingly enough, few opt to use this option.
Questions about drugs are unfortunately not the only such. We had (and still) have plenty of extremely lazy posters who post completely unanswerable questions which are pure waste of time to even read as they contain not even the most basic information useful for a reply. Then there are also the "academic" or "industrial" guys who are too incompetent to use primary literature and see this forum as a free support service (though we have much less of this in the last two years). The consequence of such parasitism is in that they have to be secretive about what their research is about (what you post here remains here even after you file your report or publish it and your boss or contractor could accidentally stumble upon it!).

Ephoton - 17-5-2010 at 04:13

yes it is a balancing act nicodem. you are on the boarder with this site of professional and

having said that I find that the true hobbiests that have spent the time effort and money are

the ones that actualy are able to help the most here.

funny isont it they can hide there info as much as they like but to be honest they are comming too

ametures for advice.

bring on the home stills I say its our right to be able to work the mole we are after all in the 21st centry

[Edited on 17-5-2010 by Ephoton]

SWilkin676 - 17-5-2010 at 04:32

I understand the people who don't know what they don't know. I've seen some posts like "what's the best solvent for extracting herbs?" As if there were a single solvent that worked for everything - not even taking into account that the actives you want to extract may be soluable in different solvents etc etc.

I wasn't questioning the rules, it was just that it seemed like there were a lot of protocols that I couldn't find written down and that made me hesitant to post. That's why I did a private message to the guy looking at glassware because I didn't know if links to suppliers was allowed or not, I have seen some so I suppose it would be.

psychokinetic - 17-5-2010 at 12:44

I suppose it's where logic comes in.

Without glassware suppliers, we'd all have to learn to blow our own glass!
Now if it were a link to a supplier of anhydrous ammonia, red P and pseudoephedrine......