Rules for Participation in AAVSO Forums

The AAVSO online forums and chat room are available to the public (except where otherwise noted). However, we ask all forum participants to adhere to the following rules:

  • No Spam / Advertising 

           We define “spam” as unsolicited advertisement for goods, services, and/or other websites, or posts with little, or completely unrelated content. Do not spam the AAVSO forums with links to your website or product, or try to self-promote your website, business, etc. Please note that spamming also includes sending private messages to a large number of different users.

  • No commercial posts unless prior approval is given by the Executive Director

           We will handle each case on an individual basis.  An example of a commercial post is when someone discusses a scientific result from a commercial telescope service, and highlights this service.  This example is an implicit ad for the service. Approval for such commercial posts will usually be given after any necessary editing of the post by AAVSO staff or by the poster at the request of the AAVSO.

  • No posting of copyright-infringing material

           Providing or asking for information on how to illegally obtain copyrighted materials is forbidden.

  • No asking for or providing email addresses or individuals' phone numbers 

​            Email addresses or phone numbers of individuals will not be provided (Privacy Policy).

  • No posting from a false or anonymous address or ID

           Sometimes a person may feel more comfortable asking a question offline. Therefore, you, as the person making the post, must be able to be contacted directly (not via the public forum) concerning your posts. To enable this direct contact, click the “Personal contact form” box on the Edit screen of your My Account page. To protect the privacy of both you and the person who wants to speak with you, no email addresses or other private personal information are given when the Contact form is used.

  • No personal attacks, offensive posts, or images - please use appropriate language

           Constructive criticism is fine – for example, "This person's photometry has errors."  This type of personal opinion is likely to result in a responding post asking for clarification. However, to say: "This person's photometry is garbage and useless," is insulting.  All posts should be professional, courteous, and collegial. You have the right to disagree with your fellow community members and explain your perspective, however, you are not free to attack, degrade, insult, or otherwise belittle them or the quality of this community. We ask that everyone treat each other with decorum and personal respect. Indirect insults can often be just as counterproductive as direct insults.

           Furthermore, any material which constitutes defamation, harassment, or abuse is strictly prohibited. Material that is sexually or otherwise obscene, racist, or discriminatory is not permitted on the AAVSO forums or in the chat room. This includes pictures not related to AAVSO or astronomy. Please use common sense while posting and be mindful of the AAVSO's Ethics Policy. Violation of these policies will revoke your access to the AAVSO forums and chat room.

  • No political topics

           Please avoid potentially divisive or politically charged topics.  The AAVSO forums and chat room are for exchange of knowledge about astronomy and variable stars.  A friendly and welcoming environment is what we are striving for since we are a diverse community.  Please refer to our Ethics Policy for clarification.

  • No ongoing posts from external forums or discussion groups

           Do not routinely post summaries, newsletters, or other materials that are available via other mailing lists/forums/websites/etc. Reminders for events or messages of general astronomical interest to the greater community are fine.

  • No posting the same topic more than once

           Please find the best AAVSO topic forum for your post.  We strive to place all discussion of that topic is in a single place to facilitate easier searching. If you would like to post the same topic in multiple places, please contact the AAVSO for permission before doing so.

  • What happens to questionable posts?

           A variety of staff and members act as moderators for the forums. If a questionable post is discovered, the post may be unpublished or blocked (when applicable). The author will be contacted to discuss the appropriateness of the questionable post and will be asked to make whatever changes are needed to adhere to the Ethics Policy. The AAVSO headquarters staff reserves the right to reject a post completely when the two parties are unable to agree. The rejection can be appealed to the Executive Director of the AAVSO. However, we plan to take a common sense approach to each situation and will make every attempt to satisfy both parties.

           AAVSO staff have the right to edit, delete, move, or close any thread or post as they see necessary, without prior warning.