One of the great things about space is that it can bring out the best in people.
So put your best foot forward. Passion is welcome here, but keep a level head.
I'll be discussing a lot about the international context of spaceflight, and along with that comes some discussion of politics and economics. But the funny thing about space is that it both attracts smart people and also seems to bring unique opportunities for alliances and coalitions across the traditional political spectrum.
Everyone - granola liberal, Utah conservative, or Venezuelan anarcho-syndicalist - has to follow the following rules:
Ground Rule #1: Keep it civil.
I love a good debate, and so opinions other than my own are welcome. I'm not infallible or omniscient, and so constructive comments about where I may be wrong or haven't considered a certain perspective are very welcome. Indeed, I love opportunities to learn new things from people who know more about a certain subject than I do.
Racist, disrepectful or inflammatory comments (towards anyone or anything) are just not on. They will be deleted. I loathe dogma or blind ideology of all kinds and think it's important to find areas of common ground. No shouting. And anything that strikes me as bigoted towards any ethnic group or nationality will be deleted.
Ground Rule #2: No flag waving. Or flag-bashing.
Let's just all consider everyone's patriotism a given. No one needs to remind the rest of us of their love for their country (whichever one it may be), or to try to convince others about how their country is not just unique, but somehow uniquely unique. Or for that matter, excessively negative attitudes towards another country are not acceptable. Constructive criticism is good, irrational hostility is not.
Try to find ways that your country would benefit from, and not just bring benefits to, international space cooperation. That's the future.
Ground Rule #3: Use some common sense.
Space geeks are passionate. That's a good thing - imagination and vision are essential. It's also critical to stay grounded in scientific, economic and political reality. I come from a background in all three of those domains, and so flights of fancy (which again, aren't necessarily bad) need to come with the recognition that some things are possible and some just aren't in our lifetimes. So use your head and don't get too fixated on what you can now vividly envision based on the latest sci-fi book you read. Thanks.
Ground Rule #4: Science rules here.
If you happen to think that climate change is bogus or a hoax, here's my position: everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Anthropogenic climate-change is a fact. What we should do about it is a legitimate area of opinion. If you want to debate the basic scientific facts or question some other element of objective reality, do it someplace else.
Ground Rule #5: I reserve the right to tinker with my posts in the first few days after they're posted.
My house, my rules. I will post stuff, and then go back and tinker with some of the wording to get the exact nuance I'd like to express. Don't consider the text "stable" until it's been up at least a week. That said, feel free to comment or point out any errors any time at all.
Those are my rules. Thanks for playing.