Contribution Guidelines

Contribution Guidelines

This guide describes how to work with the forum software, and create Topics and Posts so that they are clear and valuable to the community.

Creating topics

  • Research your topic to see if others have posted or commented on it

    • Before creating new topics, use Search to see if your theme has been discussed before.
  • When you find existing topics that are relevant, then either:

    • Add a post to that thread instead, even if it is older or has been inactive for a while
    • Create new topic and cross-reference, i.e. Copy/Paste links to other topics/posts
  • Give your new topic a descriptive title that is not too long

    • Bad: “Feedback on my thesis”
    • Good: “Thesis feedback wanted: The effect of tech on social skills”
  • Select the best forum Category for your topic, from the dropdown list

  • Add relevant Tags to the topic, or create new tags as appropriate

    • If possible, choose existing tags, even if they do not fully match (e.g., ‘addiction’ vs. ‘addictive’)
    • Only add new tags that describe humane tech-related terms (use lowercase letters and dashes, not spaces)
    • Do not add too many tags. Four or five should be the maximum
    • Bad: “Spain”, “MyCoolProduct”, “food”
    • Good: “network-effects”, “attention-span”, “tech-harm”, “scientific”

Creating posts

  • Before posting, ensure that your Post matches the topic at hand. Stay On-Topic!

    • Not doing so risks Moderation, and your post may be moved to a different topic or deleted
    • If you do take discussion sideways, bring it back in the end, or create a new topic + cross-reference
  • If your post is only relevant to individual(s) in the thread, then send a Private Message instead. Remember that private messages are designed to facilitate understanding of forum topics and not to compromise members in any way. If you aren’t sure if your message is appropriate, check with a moderator first.

    • To send private messages, click a member’s profile icon and then click the ‘Message’ button
    • Multiple people can participate in private messages, by inviting them
    • It is possible to turn private messages into a public topic, and vice versa
  • When responding directly to an earlier post, use the Reply button on that particular post

    • If the replied post is long, consider Quoting relevant text, by selecting it and pressing ‘Quote’
  • Avoid short responses that do not add new points to the discussion!

    • It is better to give a Like than say “I agree”, or “Me too” (Yes, this is time-well-spent)
    • Short replies deteriorate discussion quality, make threads ‘too long, didn’t read’, or TL;DR
  • Be DRY–do not repeat yourself–if you made your points elsewhere. Create cross-reference if needed

    • If you repeat yourself too frequently without cause, your post will be moderated and deleted
  • Do not add your own email to your post. Posts are public and emails can be harvested by spammers

    • Instead add your email to your profile description, and refer to that, or send a private message (PM)

Wiki posts

  • Note: It may be that your forum trust level doesn’t allow you to create wiki posts. In that case notify the @CommunityTeam.

  • On any (topic) post you can enable public editing by selecting ‘Make wiki’ from the Tools menu

    • The tools menu icon may not be visible unless you first click the ellipsis ... icon
  • A wiki post allows any member to add/modify the text, just by clicking the green Edit icon

    • Whenever edits are made, and saved, a new revision is added.
    • You can see previous revisions, and revert to them if necessary.
  • In order to allow your wiki post to be visible at the top of the topic list whenever someone edits it, and at the same time to give room for discussion, you can do the following:

    • Create a new topic, with title: ‘Your title’ + ’ (wiki post)’, i.e.:
      • Cognitive biases (wiki post)
      • Add instructions on how people should use the wiki post that follows
      • Now create the wiki post after you saved the instructions in the inital post
    • Important: Lock the topic immediately to avoid further posts on that topic!
    • Create another topic with title: ‘Your title’ + ’ (discussion)’, i.e.:
      • Cognitive biases (discussion)
      • Provide some instructions here on what you want to be discussed in this topic
      • Also add a link to the wiki post you just created in the other topic (cross-referencing)
    • This second topic will be dedicated to discussion about the wiki post (at the beginning of the initial post in the discussion topic it’s better if you reference the wiki post by a link)
    • Finally, go back to the wiki post topic and edit the first instruction post you created
      • Add a link to the discussion topic (cross-referencing)
  • Locking the wiki post is required, so any change in the wiki post will be made visible to others at the top of the topic list (i.e. the topic will be ‘bumped’ to the top).

    • Not locking the topic with the wiki being the last post in it results in future edits that go by unnoticed.
    • HTC requested an improvement to simplify this complicated procedure demanded by the forum software (read here for more info).


  • Always create proper links that have a title.

  • Cross-referencing posts and topics within the forum only requires copy/paste of the hyperlink (URL)

    • The forum will format the link automatically, so that the topic title is displayed
    • Pasting URL’s on their own line separated by new lines, results in a summary text to be included
    • You can get the URL of a topic/post from the browser, or by clicking the Link Sharing :link: button

Formatting guidance

  • Take your time to formulate good sentences, and re-read for understandability before posting

    • Proofread your text to make sure there are no typographical or grammatical errors
  • When using jargon and acronyms, first provide an explainer, write out the full acronym’s text

    • Avoid generic acronyms that are not common, or are social media slang
    • Bad: “LMAO”, “ROFL”, “LOLZ”
    • Bad: “AFAIK they used dangerous URIs that got them pwned, LMAO!”
    • Good: “As far as I know, dangerous hyperlinks (URI’s) got them pwned (i.e., their accounts hacked)”
    • Good: " This is called ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO). In general FOMO leads to …"
  • Consider adding an excerpt if your post becomes overly long–either at the start or in a conclusion at the end

  • When quoting text from external sources, use the quote feature from the toolbar, or prepend the > character

This is quoted text

  • Use special formatting to increase legibility and understanding

    • Add new lines to break up long text into paragraphs
    • Add paragraph headers when necessary, by starting with # (heading 1), ## (heading 2), etc.
    • Highlight important points with Bold and Italic or Preformatted text
    • Use bulleted or numbered lists instead of single-sentence/paragraph enumerations
    • Add full-width separators by typing --- on a line in-between new lines
  • Familiarize yourself with the Markdown format. It is easier to use than the formatting toolbar

  • Use emoji wisely and sparingly:

    • Add emoji to convey emotion, when your text can lead to misunderstanding :wink: (only joking)
    • Do not use multiple emoji, do not overdo it: :slight_smile: :heart: :blush: :sunglasses:. A single emoji should suffice

Special formatting

More options are available by clicking the ‘gear’ :gear: icon on the formatting toolbar:

Hidden details:

Click me

This text will be hidden

Spoiler text:

Ah you spoiled it. This was a spoiler text

Create a poll:

  • I understand
  • I do not understand

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September 15, 2018September 17, 2018

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