What should our forum posting guidelines be?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
edited June 2014 in General
It was suggested that we come up with some discussion posting guidelines for this forum.  With our community growing every day there have been a number of posts where people just ask for formulas or procedures which has been traditionally been viewed as proprietary information.  I look at this forum as a community effort so I leave it to us as a community to come up with these guidelines rather than dictating them myself.  

So, I'll post what I think are some guidelines for starting a discussion but I'd like to see what you think.  You can write your list or answer the following questions.

1.  What type of discussions are appropriate for this forum?

2.  What type of discussion are not appropriate for this forum?

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Here are my thoughts...

1.  What type of discussions are appropriate for this forum?
Pretty much any discussion about cosmetic science and a career as a cosmetic formulator.  Questions are good but anecdotes about working in a lab, something helpful you learned along the way, an interesting article you read or your philosophy of formulating are better.  I think it's fine also to ask for help in solving some particular formulating issue.

2.  What type of discussion are not appropriate for this forum?
Beyond Spam or other discussions where you simply pitch your product or services, I think there are only a couple of things that are not appropriate.

a.  Repeating discussions that have been previously answered - Please search the forum before starting a new discussion
b.  Starting discussions which have answers that can be found easily with a Google search - e.g. what is the melting point of Coconut Oil?

I personally don't have a problem with people asking for formulas or procedures.  If you are a professional who makes a living answering these types of questions it is perfectly acceptable to either ignore the question or ask the person to contact you separately to help them with their project.  This isn't ideal as it doesn't help the rest of the community learn however, it seems reasonable enough to me to do it on occasion.

Ok, that's my 2 cents...what do you think?

Comments

  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Perry Thank you so very much for this post, my take would be:

    1. Discussing ingredients and their functions depending on the formula

    2. Any issue with a formula which has been given due efforts for completion and still needs fine-tuning, but the formula should be a formula and not a skeletal one prompting people to make it complete. I am sure learned people can understand whats a real formula look like.

    3. Any other technical issues pertaining to development e.g. packaging or filling or microbial issue and so on and so forth.

    4. Last but not the least (and as pointed out in other links by DavidW) that if any opinion is asked re anything related to our field its the responsibility of the person to at least complete the circle by letting everybody know how the advice or suggestion worked out for him/her. But again its a matter of perception of the individual and how he/she feels about this forum and the learned members who take special and extra effort to suggest and advise us here.

    Cheers
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    OK, I know I rambled a bit, but her's my take:

    2.  What type of discussion are not appropriate for this forum?

    Beyond Spam or other discussions where you simply pitch your product or services, I think there are only a couple of things that are not appropriate. (Note: I would say that pitching your product or service as an appropriate answer to a question that's been asked is OK. I also wouldn't mind a thoughtful, informative post about a category, where your product/service is mentioned but is also compared to your competitors, i.e. "We just launched a new emulsifier!" is bad, while "There are several natural emulsifiers on the market today, x,y and z. Our new product, ABC is better, and here's why" would probably be ok)

    a.  Repeating discussions that have been previously answered - Please search the forum before starting a new discussion

    b.  Starting discussions which have answers that can be found easily with a Google search - e.g. what is the melting point of Coconut Oil? (note: asking a question about how to find an answer is different - "How do I find out what the melting point of Coconut Oil is?" would mostly be a legitimate question the first time it's asked)

    c. Asking an unrelated question in a discussion answering someone else's question. Please start a new discussion if you have a new question.

    d. Asking us to solve problems without attempting to learn from the answers is not good. Neither is expecting us to solve a formulation problem without being willing to do any experimental work yourself.(The occasional "OMG, my emulsion just separated and there's a project review tomorrow - what do I do!!" question will not be a problem)

    e. Do not nag. If you post a question, and no one has answered it in two or three days, it's ok to post a discussion asking why. Otherwise, please be patient. It's none of our jobs to answer your questions - this is a volunteer effort, done solely out of the goodness of our hearts.

    f. Do not demand answers or make statements without asking a question. "Give me the formula for cold cream" is probably not going to get any answers. "I need to know the formula for cold cream" is somewhat less rude, but still annoying (at least to me) and might not get answers. "Could someone please tell me the formula for cold cream" will probably get an answer. "Could someone show me how to find the formula for cold cream" would be even better.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • DavidWDavidW Member, PCF student
    Let people ask anything they want.  We don't have to answer
  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, Professional formulator
    It might be an idea to have, if it's possible, a "pinned post/thread" at the top of the forum (just like the formulating services is pinned to the top) with basic useful info for the newbie formulator eg links to places to find formulas, where to purchase ingredients in small quantities, online tutorials (eg swiftcraftymonkey's), link to Perry's course, link to preservative info (http://makingskincare.com/preservatives/), etc.
    Jane Barber
    www.makingskincare.com
    www.learncosmeticformulation.com (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members): www.facebook.com/groups/makingskincare/
  • ozgirlozgirl Member, PCF student
    Some basic etiquette like introducing yourself, not using capital letters, being polite when asking questions,etc would be good to include in general forum guidelines. 

    Other guidelines might include:
    If asking for formulation help, give some information about the formula rather than just a vague description of the problem. eg. "Help - my lotion separated when I added xxx raw material" is not going to get many responses other than "what else is in the formulation". Whereas "Help - my lotion separated when I added abc raw material. The lotion also contains x,y & z. I added abc to the cool down phase" is going to get more responses. You don't need to give exact percentages of each ingredient if you don't want to, although this may help you get the answer you require.

    If people respond to your request for help. Make a post in the thread thanking/acknowledging them.

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