Choosing collaborators is an important part of the scientific enterprise. You are agreeing to combine forces with someone to tackle a scientific problem, but there is often much more than just the science involved. Everyone has their ways of doing things, quirks and general differences about the way they approach their work. Sometimes these differences mesh together nicely and a collaboration sails along, other times they do not.
When it comes to the work side of things, usually you can get a pretty good feel for how your potential colleague will work with you. It's rare for me, for instance, to strike up any collaboration with someone who I am not familiar with from either the literature or through personal connections. I would say the latter is also far more common than the former. But sometimes personal connections reveal far more than just what people do as scientists.
So, my question for today is: How much does someone's personal life affect your willingness to collaborate with them?
For instance, if the person held strongly opposing social views to those you believe in, would that make you reconsider working with them? What if you were aware that they cheated on their taxes? Their spouse? How about if they have a substance abuse issue? What if you found the person socially intolerable? What type of personal baggage would make you look past the science and decide that a potentially good working collaboration is not something you might consider?
Is it all about the science?