Welcome to RichardDawkins.net. We have updated our Conditions of Use and all users are being asked to indicate their acceptance of them before commenting on or creating a discussion, or when registering. Please read the following carefully and, if you agree to abide by the Conditions set out here, check ‘Accept Terms and Conditions’ on the registration or edit profile page. If you don’t agree, you will still be able to read articles, discussions and comments on the site but you will not be able to post comments or start discussions yourself.
RichardDawkins.net is intended to be a site where there is lively discussion of issues relevant to science, reason and unreason; where robust disagreement, provided it is intelligently argued, is welcome; where threads stay broadly on-topic (where ‘on-topic’ means ‘of relevance to reason, unreason and science, not necessarily the specific topic of the thread in question’); which acts as a showcase for reason and science; and where rational people can be confident of consistently intelligent interactions and stimulating ideas.
In a community of ideas, there will always be disagreements and friendly banter. We encourage robust discussion, but please remember that we do not want threads to be derailed by private chat, insults or prolonged off-topic exchanges. Nor do we want contributors to be subjected to bullying or abuse, or the cause of reason and science to be brought into disrepute.
The following Conditions of Use are meant to allow freedom of discussion in an open, civilised manner, no different from the kind of atmosphere that would prevail in a work meeting or social event with face-to-face interactions. If action is required against any user who is in breach of these Conditions, we will do our best to act fairly and impartially, but all decisions and judgements are at our absolute discretion.
Finally, a word about freedom of speech. In a very real sense of the term, RichardDawkins.net is a publisher. If we were writing a comment to a traditional publisher, such as a newspaper, we would not complain that our freedom of speech had been curtailed if it were not published. We would simply accept the editor’s decision. RichardDawkins.net does not operate a ‘positive editing’ system of that kind, where comments only appear once they have been approved: on this website comments appear automatically, without being seen by us first. Nor will we be regularly patrolling the site on the look-out for offending posts: that is why we are asking you to agree to abide by these Conditions of Use and also to alert us if you see comments which do not. Nevertheless, that does not mean we are under any obligation – legal, moral or otherwise – to permit everything submitted by users to remain on the site. If we become aware of comments that we consider to be inappropriate or to undermine what our website is for, we reserve the right to remove them and take any other action we deem appropriate. (Please note that we will never remove comments simply because they challenge ideas, whether that’s atheism or evolution or anything else that most people on this site are in agreement about.)
Some users may not share our vision for RichardDawkins.net or approve of the approach that we are setting out here, and that is of course their right. Nevertheless, it is this vision and this approach that will form the basis of how we manage this site.
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