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PhysicsOverflow is a next-generation academic platform for physicists and astronomers, including a community peer review system and a postgraduate-level discussion forum analogous to MathOverflow.

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Site Statistics

136 submissions , 114 unreviewed
3,844 questions , 1,360 unanswered
4,805 answers , 20,346 comments
1,470 users with positive rep
489 active unimported users
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User Rights

Below are the rights of PhysicsOverflow users, and promises made by PhysicsOverflow regarding these. Note, however, that this is not a legal document, meaning that it cannot be used as legal justification in the event of a court hearing.

Right to privacy and anonymity

Anonymity will never be breached without a public comment by the author specifically requesting it, (see here). Anonymizing proxies are allowed to post, but not to register new users and vote. If it is found that a user is abusing an anonymous proxy to vote, the user's votes will be reversed.  

 

Any IP address information will only be used to prevent sock-puppeting or other clear community accepted abuses, and that any investigation in response to sock-puppeting will respect the anonymity of innocent users to the maximum extent practicable (for example, sorting out who is who will as much as possible be done by a non-academic person, without snooping on the address of anonymous contributions), naturally we will never sell or reveal any private information from the site. 

 

Any revenue for the site will be mindful of the community, and will not abuse sensitive information. So no private or public entity is going to get consent to sniff the data stream here. 

Right to undistorted contribution

The final say on the content of user-contributed text always belongs with the original author, and there is no imposition of content change without reversion, excluding legal or administrative edits. (But it is requested that the author try to make efforts to help clarify the text in case others have a difficult time understanding it.)

 

Any closure/deletion of text will be for a (at least on demand through the right to information) publically stated reason, which is "off topic, spam, duplicate, plagiarism, low-level material, incomprehensible text which could not be explained by author.

Right to Information

If public information has been deleted from public view, users wishing to retrive the information may contact PhysicsOverflow from the "Send feedback" form linked to from the left of the footer. The PhysicsOverflow Administrators will try their best to obtain the information and send it privately to the user. There is however no guarantee that the information will be accessible to the administrators at all. 

Right to transparent trial and moderation

All deliberations regarding blocks and punitive restrictions will be public to the meta community, and point to clear violations of obviously necessary policy (spamming, obvious gibberish, clearly off-topic posting), a list which will never expand to include rudeness or popularity contests. A user may never be blocked for unpopularity or incivility, only for violations of clear content rules, and then only if they cannot be dealt with any other way. Blocked users will be allowed to challenge their blocks by posting on meta from a new account or anonymously. Consensus required for blocking will need to be nearly unanimous, and the main goal is to avoid censoring topics politically. 

 

The moderator manual is made publicly visible for the sake of transparency in moderation.

Right to technocratic and democratic administration

Moderators are expected to not interfere in discussions where they do not understand their technical content. This does not mean that they are allowed to impose their understanding through censorship in discussions where they do understand the scientific content, either, but rather that they use this understanding to judge if something is off topic or low level. Right and wrong are for the community to decide through comments and (fair) votes.

 

Moderators are elected democratically, but must satisfy specific conditions regarding their scientific contributions to the site (as detailed in the moderator manual), and original high-level material is the most significant at this.





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