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Scholar Social Community Standards

This is a queer-friendly general-purpose federated Mastodon instance. You may use it as a personal account, but the focus is on academics. This is supposed to be "A microblogging profile you can be proud to put on the last slide of a presentation at a conference." :)

Real names and credentials are recommended if you plan to use your account on this instance for networking purposes, but they are absolutely not required.

Encouraged uses of Scholar Social

  • Brag about your publications
  • Share references and resources
  • Network with other academics
  • Recruit participants for academic surveys—formal, IRB-approved ones or even informal ones (just make sure to CW them so that others can consent and don't get too obnoxious about it; see the full Terms of Service for details about other research on Scholar Social members)
  • Satire and activism are welcome here, but they must make a good-faith effort to punch up. ("Punching up": making jokes or criticism at the expense of those with more power, higher status or greater privilege.)
  • Non-academic, "off-topic" stuff is allowed, but this MUST be posted as Unlisted, not as Public, see section on The Local Timeline, below

Who is welcome on Scholar Social? Do I need to be a full-time student, teacher or researcher?

The "topic" for this instance is: academia, research, teaching and learning, which is intentionally a very broad topic. You do not need an advanced degree to join (or any degree, for that matter).

This instance was specifically started to provide a safe space for queer people and other minorities in academia. Due to the antagonistic relationship that law enforcement has often had with these groups, police officers and employees of any law enforcement or intelligence agency are not welcome on this instance.

If you consider yourself a scholar of any sort, and you are willing to engage with others respectfully, and you will respect our community's efforts to make this a safe space for queer people and other minorities, you are absolutely welcome here.

Introduce yourself!

After signing up, post a message to the Local Timeline telling us who you are, what your academic interests are, and helping us to get to know you better. I have set the administrative account to automatically boost public posts tagged with #introductions. (But if you abuse this by using it for anything else, I will close your account without warning.)

Content Warnings (CW's)

You must add CW's (content warnings) that are accurate and descriptive enough to enable reader consent to the following types of posts:

  • strong language,
  • rants,
  • selfies,
  • current events (includes: US or non-US, local, national, international, and should be applied regardless of whether sources are academic or non-partisan),
  • high-conflict or otherwise exhausting issues of popular debate (e.g. climate change, GMO's, privacy issues, elections, #metoo, etc.),
  • mentions of death or violence,
  • references or links to Facebook/Twitter/other big tech companies,
  • spoilers of popular and recent TV shows or other media,
  • ASCII art (this one is important to ensure that someone using a screen reader doesn't have to listen to an attempt to read out a bunch of obscure symbols)
  • stresses particular to academia such as grades, exams, thesis progress, academic job market prospects, and
  • anything else where another user might want to decide for themselves whether or when they want to interact with your post.

If someone says, "CW your politics," they probably mean "please add a CW to posts mentioning current events or high-conflict or otherwise exhausting issues of popular debate." Please try to charitably interpret their request in this light.

As a point of etiquette, do not demand that someone asking for some sort of accommodation justify themselves. It is exhausting and unfair to require those with a need for some sort of accommodation to explain it every time, and placing this burden on them will result in de facto exclusion from this instance. E.g. if someone asks for you to add a CW to a post, answer with "I'll delete & re-draft my post, thanks!" rather than "Why do you need me to do that?" You may not understand another person's needs, but please try to make our instance welcoming for everyone just the same.

There is a setting in your preferences to open all posts with Content Warnings automatically, if you don't want to click through each one.

Image descriptions

It is an expectation of this instance that you add descriptions to all images and video that you post to aid in accessibility.

The Local Timeline

Every post has its own "privacy setting." Posts that are "Public" are listed on the Local Timeline, and so we apply higher standards to these posts than to ones with the "Unlisted" privacy settings, that only your followers (and those who have these posts boosted into their timelines) see.

It is an expectation of this instance that all Public posts be "on-topic," and "off-topic" stuff be as Unlisted or Private. We try to have a pretty broad conception of what counts as on- and off-topic, as the theme of the instance is academia or just learning generally. For example, I often post about Star Trek, and I use the Unlisted privacy setting for these posts. But when I'm posting about something I've learned in grad school or a paper I'm presenting, I use the Public setting.

Use a CW if you're not sure that your post is "on-topic." Let's try to avoid turning the Local Timeline into the same rehashing of the outrage-of-the-day that we see on Twitter!

I will be actively checking posts on the Local Timeline (ones with the "Public" privacy setting) to ensure that they are both on-topic and that Content Warnings are applied. I will not be actively checking your Unlisted posts (ones that are visible to your followers and not posted to the Local Timeline), but if I receive a report or a complaint, I may ask you to apply a CW, and you will be expected to do so.

I won't say that every post on the Local Timeline should be CW'd, but most posts should have one. If there is any doubt whether a prospective reader of your posts might want to choose for themselves whether or not they read it, please err on the side of applying a CW.

It is also recommended to use the "Unlisted" privacy setting for follow-ups in a long thread of posts, rather than posting the whole thread as "Public," so that only the first post appears on the Local Timeline.

Things that will get posts deleted, possibly without warning

  • Un-CW'd posts (see above for CW policies)
  • Posts with un-described images or video
  • Shortened links, e.g. bit.ly, ift.tt, is.gd or t.co (These are considered malicious because link-shorteners track users without their consent and obscure the destination address, which also prevents users from being able to decide whether they want to visit the link beforehand)
  • DOI links (e.g. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k959) are allowed (in the case of some forthcoming "DOI-gate" data leak or privacy-violating policy change on their part, this policy will, of course, be reconsidered), but the post must accurately describe the title/author/journal to allow the reader to decide for themselves whether they would like to follow the link. (In cases of very long titles, you may truncate it, and in cases of long author lists, "First-Author et al" will do.) Posts with DOI links where the target of the link is not described, or not described sufficiently, will be deleted without warning.

Things that will get your account closed, possibly without warning

  • Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, able-ism etc. (will result in a permanent ban, you may not receive a prior warning)
  • Serious academic/intellectual dishonesty of any kind (e.g. services offering to write academic papers to help students cheat; vaccine denialism; predatory conferences or journals; overt pseudoscience such as flat-earther-ism etc.)
  • Anything that could be described as "spam"
  • Impersonating other people
  • Harassment of any kind
  • No bots please; Scholar Social is for people
  • Accounts that automatically repeat a Twitter account, RSS feed, etc. must post to Scholar Social as Unlisted, not Public

Regarding attempts to abuse these anti-abuse tools and policies

Do not attempt to weaponize our Community Standards or anti-abuse tools/policies against marginalized groups such as people of colour, women or queer people. Users of Scholar Social are expected to have the literacy to understand that "reverse discrimination" is not real, and so attempts to re-centre discussions of marginalized people around the feelings of the privileged will be taken as manipulative behaviour undertaken deliberately in bad-faith. (E.g. white people should not demand that people of colour put CW's on every discussion of race; a straight person who reports a queer person for writing "I hate straight people" may find their own account suspended.)

Full terms of service and list of blocked domains