Why We Built A New SciFri Book Club Community Space

We are creating an online space catered to book clubbers. Join our new community to gather and discuss science books!

illustrated stack of books with text "scifri book club"

This story is a part of our fall Book Club conversation about ‘New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction By People Of Color.’ Want to participate? Join our new online community space or record a voice message on the Science Friday VoxPop app.

A few months ago, we sent out a survey, asking our Book Club members: How can we gather together better? What do you need, and how can Science Friday help?

We got a lot of great feedback. One comment we heard from lots of people was that they wanted a way to be connected with other SciFri Book Clubbers—and they wanted that space to be off Facebook.

So we created a new SciFri Book Club community space where you can connect with equally passionate people looking for something new. And we’re ready for you to join us there!

Join the SciFri Book Club Community

Once you sign up to join us, there are a few things you’ll notice that make this new SciFri Book Club community space different:

  • It’s ours. As we build this community together, we have some great features for creating connections, hosting deeper conversations, and even gathering for online (and one day, in-person) events. Plus, by building this community off social media, you can have a more efficient and valuable experience with us and each other.
  • There are more ways for you to meet each other. There are more ways for you to meet people who are near you, or who care about the same topics. We can’t get this in other social platforms or on a website elsewhere.
  • We can bring together content and community. This means we’re freed up to bring you new ideas and experiment with programming that you can enjoy—and give us feedback so we can make this space better every day.

What To Expect From The SciFri Book Club

We’re aiming to make your experience awesome. We want you to get five key things from the SciFri Book Club:

  • Read and discuss fascinating science topics with fellow nerds like you
  • Access to exclusive content and conversations you can’t find anywhere else (and it’s free to join!)
  • Meet people who share your interests who live near you, who do the same things, or who care about the same topics
  • Swap stories, experiences, and ideas around our shared passions
  • Find a little inspiration, thought-provoking conversations, and expert perspective each and every day

To make this a reality, we’re going to need your help. Every time you contribute a story, experience, or idea, you’re building a knowledge base every member of this community can tap into.

And when you invite in just one more member, you’re adding rocket fuel to what this community can accomplish together. It’s why we’re here and why we’re grateful you’re here with us as well.

Bonus: There’s even a mobile app that makes it easy to participate wherever you are!

Our Code Of Conduct And Engagement Guidelines

For over 25 years, Science Friday has introduced top scientists to public radio listeners, and reminded them how much fun it is to learn something new. But we’re more than just a radio show. We created the SciFri Book Club community space because our readers told us loud and clear: You want to connect with others while reading with us. 

Science Friday is committed to providing a welcoming and harassment-free environment for members of all ethnicities, ages, gender and trans statuses, sexual orientations, physical abilities, national origin, beliefs, or any other dimension of diversity. We’ve written this code of conduct to help us create a safe and positive community experience for all, and believe that providing clear expectations is a necessary part of building a respectful community.

Code of Conduct

We as a community are creating a space with these guiding principles:

  • Being supportive and respectful. We encourage thoughtful discussions, but keep your comments respectful. Remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable, threatened, or disrespected is not a productive one.
  • Sharing generously and listening closely. We are sharing a new digital space and are coming together from different parts of the world. Start with compassion and understanding that we’re building knowledge together, and there is context beyond and behind someone’s digital expressions. Your stories and experiences are important, and so are others’, so practice active listening.
  • Staying on topic. This is a space for discussion as part of the SciFri Book Club. We encourage thoughtful conversation, but we reserve the right to remove posts that stray too far from that topic, including self promotion.
  • Being mindful of spoilers. You may be discussing plot points in readings that others haven’t reached yet and would prefer to avoid— give them the opportunity to make that decision themselves. Preface any posts or comments with ***SPOILER ALERT*** if necessary.

As a community, we will not tolerate:

  • Demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech. Harassment includes, but is not limited to: deliberate intimidation; stalking; screenshots or recording taken or shared without consent; sustained or willful disruption of chats, calls, talks, or other events; use of sexual or discriminatory imagery or language; and unwelcome sexual attention.

Engagement Guidelines

Our engagement guidelines are not hard and fast rules, but rather guiding principles that we hope will help everyone think about how to make this the most diverse, open and active science book club community. 

  • Be an amplifier for others. Encourage all voices and perspectives. If you find yourself taking over a discussion, step back. Make way for other voices and actively listen to them.
  • Speak from personal experience. Speak from your own experience, amplify the experiences of others, and most of all, listen to what others are telling you. A good practice is to use “I” language (e.g. “I don’t feel that way” vs. “You’re not listening to me.”)
  • Ask for help. Difficult discussions may occur in our community space. If you want to discuss something but aren’t sure how to do so while following these guidelines, ask another community member or Science Friday staff member for help. We’ll talk it through with you without judgement.
  • Take responsibility. We all make mistakes; when we do, we take responsibility for them. If someone has been harmed or offended, we listen carefully and respectfully, and work to right the wrong.

Reporting and Investigation Process

If you are being harassed by a member of our community, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact the Science Friday admin team via email or private message in the community space. Note: If the person who is harassing you is on the admin team, they will not be involved in handling or resolving the incident.

The admin team will respond to any complaint as promptly as possible. If you do not get a timely response (for example, if no admins are currently online), please put your personal safety and well-being first and consider logging out and/or contacting the admins via email.

We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by our members seriously. This includes harassment that took place at any point in time in connection in our community space. If any member is found to violate these principles, Science Friday may take any lawful action we deem appropriate, including but not limited to warning the offender or stripping membership from the offender.

Science Friday may amend the guidelines and procedures it sets out where appropriate in a particular case. We will let you know when these guidelines are updated, and your agreement to comply with the guidelines will be deemed agreement to any changes to it.

We welcome your feedback, and thank you for working with us to make this a safe, enjoyable, and friendly experience for everyone.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. We used help and borrow bits and pieces from the following codes of conduct and engagement guidelines: Ada Initiative HOWTO Code of Conduct Guide, Massive Consortium’s Code of Conduct and Engagement Guidelines, Django Community Code of Conduct, Community Covenant, Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines, and the Ubuntu Code of Conduct v2.0.

Updated August 2020


Who can become a member of the SciFri Book Club? 
Anyone! You don’t need to listen to the radio show—although we do think you’ll like it—to join our online community.

Do I need to read the chosen reading?
You don’t, although we did think the books, articles and other media we choose are pretty stellar. This community is a space for all things science reading, so members are welcome to participate however makes them feel most connected.

How do I become a member?
Visit our SciFri Book Club landing page, read all about it, and when you’re ready, click the “Join” button and fill in your information—now you have an account on our new community space!

What can I do as a member of the SciFri Book Club community?
There are lots of ways to be involved: You can answer our discussion questions posted during our radio kick-off event, post messages or images related to our chosen reading, chat with other community members, attend events hosted by Science Friday producers, help choose the next reading, and more! There are ways for everyone to get involved, and as we grow, we’ll develop new ways of engaging together.

I’ve got a different question—who can I ask?
You can email bookclub@sciencefriday.com with any questions!

Ready to join us? Click here!

Meet the Writer

About Diana Plasker

Diana Plasker is the Experiences Manager at Science Friday, where she creates live events and partnerships to delight and engage audiences in the world of science.

Explore More