Nodes of Science Newsletter: Introduction to our Fact in the Head Community

Nodes of Science Newsletter: Introduction to our Fact in the Head Community

Hey there everyone, it’s been a while since our last update, so we want to share with you one of our current Nodes of Science projects besides our new SkeptiForum website.

Our Fact in the Head Facebook group has been around for a few years now; however, we’re breathing life into the community and discussions are beginning to really flourish.

The goal of Fact in the Head is to create a diverse, evidence-based community where open dialogue and mutual discussion replace the mud-flinging and toxicity too typical of Internet forums. We want everyone to feel welcome asking questions about public science issues or exploring facts surrounded by controversy. The Fact in the Head community is a place where we can all apply skeptical inquiry and critical thinking to a range of issues as a collective puzzle-solving activity. Importantly, our forum is a place where anyone may ask any other member to support their factual claims with evidence. Overall, no ideas are taboo or above critical evaluation; however, we focus on the ideas rather than the speaker. Lastly, if anyone is looking to get a sense of the vibe, SkeptiForum has a collection of discussion threads. Anyone is welcome to bring any of those threads back to life or add new ones to the list. These threads help us keep track of which topics we’ve discussed before and build onto existing knowledge.

Fact in the Head welcomes everybody and we hope to see you there!

A bit more:

Fact in the Head is a community for evidence-based exploration into the facts in our heads. We cover a wide range of topics, but emphasise discussion of scientific issues as well as those subjects surrounded by confusion, misinformation, and misconception. The purpose of our group is to promote the habit of backing up claims of fact on social networks. We also encourage discussions on how to decide what makes for quality evidence and how to distinguish it from the less credible. We seek to make commonly accepted claims seem strange and counter-intuitive truths seem normal. Too often we accept claims as a fact, but we don’t analyse those claims thoroughly and critically. Not only that, but we frequently don’t even remember where we learned information, yet we trick ourselves into false confidence of our knowledge. For these reasons, discussion here should focus on high-quality facts, credible sources, and scientific literature. We should challenge other people’s claims, but also have the courage to challenge what we ourselves think we believe.

~Nodes of Science Principles for Mutual Discussion~

  1. Strive to Improve Overall Discussion Help keep quality high, build upon existing ideas, and stay tidy.

  2. Focus on the Ideas Rather than the Speaker Criticism of ideas is welcome, but personal attacks, abuse, and insults are likely to ruin discussion.

  3. Support Factual Claims with Evidence All members should take initiative in providing evidence for their own claims and requesting sources from others even if the conclusions are not disputed.

  4. Give People and Ideas a Chance Apply the principle of charity to the claims people make and give the benefit of the doubt to the people making the claims. Listening and asking honest questions prevents misunderstandings.

  5. Show, Don’t Only Tell Sharing reasons and evidence supporting opinions, conclusions, and beliefs improves the quality of conversation because the community wants to know why people believe what they do, not only what they believe.

  6. Reduce the Visual Noise Unnecessary images, memes, and image macros clog and distract discussions. Infographics and educational videos, however, improve discussion.

  7. Guide Discussion Adding summary or explanation to posts, links, and images helps improve discussion because people will know what they are looking at and why.

  8. Respect Other Contributions Deleting threads where others have commented or comments that have become a part of discussion deteriorates discussion because people have contributed time and effort.

  9. Be patient Since our communities are for mutual discussion, conversation improves when people have a chance to speak and respond. Rapid-fire posting or flooding the forum decreases the quality of discussion.

  10. No advertising spam, solicitations, or promotions without administrator approval.