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Principles of Collaboration

These guidelines ensure a friendly environment where collaboration and creativity can thrive.

Be nice

  • Be patient and welcoming
  • Understand that people have different perspectives, hear them out, and find something worth extracting (rule omega)
  • See others’ shortcomings with supportive eyes
  • No offensive, condescending, or alienating language

Don’t waste time

  • Do your research on the subject before asking for other people’s time
  • Extract the essence in the fewest number of words
  • Contribute where you can, but don’t force it where you can’t add anything of value
  • Stay focused on the topic
  • Debate one thing at a time

Make it understandable

  • Explain difficult concepts with examples and analogies
  • Understand that people often share your interests but rarely your knowledge and base assumptions
  • Use clear and common language, explain abbreviations, avoid jargon when possible but don’t dumb things down
  • Where applicable, silently edit people’s mistakes, misconceptions, and grammar

Observe yourself

  • Consider your actions - are they contributing or hurting the overall goal?
  • Take the approach that everything is a hypothesis and you could be wrong
  • Be mindful of your participation motives and keep them on the helpful spectrum
  • Be mindful of your logical fallacies and cognitive biases

Everything else

This should go without saying but here goes just in case: no language that is defamatory, abusive, hateful, threatening, spam or spam-like, racist, sexist, likely to offend, contains adult or objectionable content, contains personal information of others, risks copyright infringement, encourages unlawful activity, or otherwise violates any laws.

What if I don’t follow these guidelines?

In addition to the platform being moderated by volunteers, everyone gets to decide whose contributions they don’t want to see. Those who are subtly abusive or tend to waste people’s time will gradually find themselves filtered out of view (quarantined).

Progress is why we are here. These guidelines help us maintain the ideal conditions for public intellectual collaboration.