Skeptical Science housekeeping: iPhone app, comments and translations

As there are many moving pieces at Skeptical Science at the moment, here is a quick post on latest developments. Shine Technologies have been keeping an eye on all the feedback so far and very promptly uploaded Version 1.0.1 of the Skeptical Science iPhone app on the iTunes app store yesterday. The main difference is now the app runs on older versions of the iPhone operating system (firmware 3.0). Please continue to post suggestions on how the app can be more effective, either on the iPhone app thread or by email. And just as important, be sure to post ratings and/or reviews in iTunes!

I've clarified the wording on our Comments Policy. Most comments are deleted because they accuse the opposition of deception. This applies to both sides - I've deleted many comments attacking both scientists and skeptics (and some targeted at myself). The discussion on this website is usually very constructive and educational but sometimes people do get a little excited. I suggest taking a deep breath then direct your attention towards a person's methods, not their motives.

I am regularly accused of deleting opposing points of views. A cursory reading of any discussion thread will show skeptic viewpoints are freely expressed on this website. In fact, I find the varying perspectives are quite useful and instructive, often making me aware of a different way of looking at things. Comments are deleted not based on their scientific content but whether the comment is constructive or destructive.

I also added another section to the Comments Policy - a few brief tips on posting HTML links or images. If you're posting a link to another website, I strongly recommend you make it an active link for several reasons. Firstly, it makes it easier for readers to follow the link. Secondly, it enables you to use descriptive words for the link rather than a URL. Lastly, long URLs can break the web design which makes me very unhappy. In fact, this last reason is enough as far as I'm concerned!

I have added some extra functionality that lets you update your user account details. To get there, click on your username in the left margin - this takes you to your profile page. Then click on Update Profile. One of these days, I'll add URL as an extra field so whenever you post a comment, your username will link to your own website.

Lastly, there have been a number of translations added to the website. A big thanks to all the translators who have generously donated their time in an effort to communicate the science to as many people as possible. A number of arguments have now been translated into Finnish, Spanish, Danish, German and Icelandic (with a few other languages still in development). If anyone is interested in helping with translating, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Posted by John Cook on Saturday, 13 February, 2010

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