Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum
|Someone is wrong on|
The Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum (BAUT) was a large internet forum/message board dedicated to astronomy and space exploration. It is the result of the merge of the forums of two popular websites: Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy and the Universe Today astronomy and space exploration site. It's still considered the "official forum" of both, though Phil Plait no longer participates, probably due to lack of time.
It has recently (early July 2012) merged once again, this time with Pamela Gay and others' CosmoQuest Forum under which name it continues. Links to old posts and threads will continue working for the foreseeable future.
 Moderation and structure
The forum is heavily moderated, which makes it a noticeably nicer place to be than many other large fora. Of course, this in turn causes accusations of "excessive moderation" and censorship (and it seems that some cranks consider "banned from BAUT" to be a badge of honor). To prevent off-topic flame wars, there are a few "forbidden" topics, most notably religion and politics (with the exception of "space politics").
BAUT is split into many sub-forums. The "Space Exploration" section contains comments about past and recent spaceflight, as well as tons of bickering about NASA's policy and other similar topics. There's also a section where laypersons can ask questions about space and astronomy (much, much saner than the astronomy section at Yahoo! Answers), a "Life in Space" section, a section on general science and technology and a section of discussing "bad astronomy in the media". The "Against the Mainstream" section serves as a dumping ground for the crank threads that inevitably appear on such forums. It operates on special rules that require proponents to support their claims and answer direct questions. The same rules are used in the "Conspiracy Theories" section, which is a mother lode of information on space-related conspiracy theories and the locals are generally people who know their stuff. For example, there you can find Jay Windley, the webmaster of Clavius.org and pain-in-the-ass for all Moon hoax believers.
They were brought to our attention by a thread on the credibility of Michio Kaku. (Well, actually, at least one RationalWikian was a regular lurker there before that.) They also liked our Scientific evidence of evolution being a hoax page.
An upgrade to the forum software (around 2009?) changed the way forum thread URLs were formed and many links to older threads, on the forum itself and elsewhere, were broken. The problem is easy to fix though - just replace the sub-forum name in the old URL (e.g. "conspiracy-theories") with "showthread.php". For example, here is a broken link in the old URL format:
And a fixed link to the same thread:
- Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum main page