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Author Topic: Cauldron Message Board FAQ  (Read 7953 times)
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Religion: Hellenic Reconstructionist
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ilaynay starcr
« Topic Start: March 03, 2007, 09:05:05 am »

Question 1: How do people get pictures in their signatures and as avatars?

The first thing you should do is read our guidelines on the subjects:
Signature Guidelines
Avatar Guidelines

If you're using an image in your sig (or setting up an avatar), once you've made sure it conforms to our guidelines, you'll need to make sure it's available somewhere on the Web.  If you don't have your own space, we recommend one of the following services.  (The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum does not run or control these services and is not responsible for any problems they may have.)

The next step is to actually set up your signature or avatar.  Avatar and Signature settings can both be edited through your profile, which can be accessed by clicking on your name next to any post you've made, or "Profile" in themenu attached to the bottom of the box at the very top of the page (the one that greets you and gives you the link to see new messages since your last visit).  They're under the "Forum Profile Information" section in the menu on the left.

On that page, Avatars can be set in the first section at the top of the page.  You have two options:  to use one of the avatars we provide, or to use an avatar you have elsewhere on the Web.  If you're using one of ours, click the circle next to "Personalized Picture" at the top to make sure that option is selected.  Then choose a category from the list, and a list of specific pictures will appear beside it for you to choose from.  If you're using an avatar that's stored somewhere on the Web, you'll want to choose the option below all that marked "I have my own pic" and enter the address of your avatar in the box provided.  When you've chosen your image or entered its address, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the "Change profile" button.

You can edit your signature on the same page, about halfway down.  (It's in the fourth section of options.)  Simply enter the text and/or BBcode for your signature, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the "Change profile" button.  Important:  Unlike Beehive, SMF uses BBcode.  Your HTML signature code from Beehive will not work unmodified.  Then you can go check it out in the Testing Signature thread on the "Test Board" board.

If you need help finding an image for your sig, or resizing an existing one to suit the guidelines, or even if you're just having trouble with the whole process, we have plenty of posters willing and able to help you.  Just post a message on the Board Questions board letting us know what you need help with.

Question 2: Why is such a fuss made about writing messages in short paragraphs with a blank line between each paragraph when it is so much easier just to type a single long paragraph?

Studies have shown that most people have a very hard time reading massive blocks of text on a monitor. These studies also show that writing in short paragraphs and putting blank lines between each paragraph (by pressing return twice at the end of each paragraph) greatly increases the readability of text on a monitor.

Even if you do not have trouble reading large, unbroken masses of text on a monitor, we must insist that you consider the needs of the many who do and write in short paragraphs with blank lines between them. Remember, people will not read your messages if they are too hard for them to read -- no matter how easy they are for you to read.

Note, however, that The Cauldron is not an English class. If writing in logical paragraphs is too hard to do when you are writing live online, just press return twice after every three or four sentences and don't worry about what an English professor would think of the resulting paragraphs. The white space will greatly improve the readability even if the English professor is moaning about the less than perfect paragraph division.

Question 3: Why are people being so mean to me / arguing with me?

Chances are that they don't believe they are being mean. Personal attacks are of course against the rules here. However, doubting information or even beliefs, asking for sources to support the same, and outright saying, "I think that is wrong," are not considered mean or attacking behavior here. Our posters are not required to agree with each other. We have many different points of view represented on our forum, and we value that. However, we do recognize that this is somewhat different from other Pagan groups, and that The Cauldron's style is not for everyone. If the discussion style here seems overly aggressive to you, you may want to seek out one of those other groups.

If you are new to Pagan religions, you might consider posting your messages on our Pagan Religions 101 board as our members know to be more "polite" about incorrect facts and similar newbie confusion there. Similarly, if you are a teen and are finding our general folders a bit less understanding than you would like, you might want to post on our Teen Place board. Note, errors will still be pointed out in these folders, but people will try to be more gentle about it than they often are in other folders. Also note that each of these folders has special rules, which are stickied to the top of the folder.

Question 4: What should I do if I see the message board rules being violated?

Generally, nothing, unless you're a staff member. As stated in the rules, moderation is to be left to the staff -- members are not allowed to moderate each other. If you are extremely concerned about a situation and feel it needs to be reported, you can click the "Report to moderator" link at the bottom of the post to report it.  If you do this, you will be prompted to enter a comment.  Use the comment to tell us as specifically as you can why you are reporting the post.  The staff will see the report and take a look at the situation.

Question 5: Why are the moderators being so hard on Poster A but going so easy on Poster B?

There can be several reasons for this:

  • Because Poster A is actually violating the rules and Poster B is not. For example, if Poster A says "Member X is stupid for believing idea Y" and Poster B says "I think idea Y is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of" both are probably being impolite, but only Poster A has actually violated a forum rule.
  • Because the long-term good of the board requires it.
  • Because one of the people is a staff member. Staff members generally are not moderated in public (only the hosts have the authority to do so and they seldom exercise that power), but in private staff only areas.
  • Because The Cauldron's hosts and staff are human and therefore fallible. Cauldron staff make every effort to moderate consistently, but being human, slip up sometimes.

Question 6: I have an issue with the way I am (or another member is) being moderated. What should I do?

If you have an issue with the way moderation is being used in a particular situation, the appropriate course of action is to contact the Assistant Message Board Coordinator or the Message Board Coordinator with your concern. (Please do not contact the hosts directly unless you have already talked to these people and are still not satisfied.) What you should not do, under any circumstances, is post criticism of the moderation to the board. This is against the rules. You're free to disagree with the moderation and to make that disagreement known, but we ask that it be handled in private so that we don't sidetrack the whole board dealing with it.

To contact the aforementioned staff members, click on the envelope (for e-mail) or speech bubble (for PM) under the staff member's name on any post they have made.

Question 7: I want to post an advertisement for my discussion group, store, web page, etc. Can I?

If what you're advertising will be of interest to our members, we might allow you to post an ad. However, you do need to get permission first by e-mailing the Message Board Coordinator. (See previous question for information on how to contact staff members through the board.)  If you do not do this, chances are very high that your message will be considered spam, and as such will be removed. If it is about a commercial site or is not even Pagan related, you may be gagged or banned for posting it. (This is particularly true if the advertisement is your first post at our forum. When a brand-new poster posts an advertisement, it looks a lot like they joined just to post the ad and have no interest in our board beyond ad space. We consider this to be pretty rude behavior.)

Note that you can get a link for your Pagan-related web site placed in the Web Resources section of our web site for the "cost" of a link back to our site from your site. See our Get Listed! page.

Question 8: What's with the spam recipes and the weird SPAM subject lines?

When someone spams our message board (generally by advertising without permission) we traditionally remove the spam message (so they do not get the free advertising they want), change the subject line of the message to replace one of it's words with "SPAM" (in a way that sounds humorous, if possible), and post a really terrible-sounding SPAM recipe in the thread. Members often comment on the awfulness of the recipe. It's just a weird tradition we have. If this happens to one of your messages, do not complain about it. Your message broke the rules and is being treated in accordance with our rules. Deal with it -- as the Hosts have no tolerance for or patience with militant spammers.

Question 9: Why are you mocking my ad? It wasn't spam, I was just trying to share something I thought you guys would like!

Unsolicited and unapproved advertisements are considered spam here, period. Occasionally we might make an exception for something that is relatively on topic and non-commercial, but please don't count on this to keep your post from being treated as spam (see question 8 above for how we treat spam). If you want your ad to be taken seriously and left up, we suggest you follow the rules and ask permission before posting it. Non-commercial advertising that the senior staff considers of real interest to our members is generally approved. Commercial advertising is less likely to be approved, but sometimes is. For example, many regular participants have standing permission to post when they release a new book, t-shirt, CD or whatever. If you believe your message was removed in error, please see the question above about issues with moderation for the proper appeal procedure.

Question 10: Why did a staff member edit my post?

Most likely reasons are to fix some broken code, to make a link clickable, to insert white space (blank lines between paragraphs), or to shorten a long link that was causing side-scrolling. Generally, your actual wording is not changed. There are two exceptions: spam messages are removed by editing out the entire message and excessive quoting of what appears to be copyrighted material is cut to something that can be considered "fair use". If the actual text of your post is changed, there will be a small note added at the bottom of your post (before your sig, if any) saying exactly what was done. If your message is the first message in a thread and there is no such note, chances are that the thread was simply renamed; in SMF the way you change the title of a thread is to edit the first message and change the title of it.

Question 11: I phrased my post badly, or posted something I didn't intend to, or realized I was wrong. What should I do?

If you've realized this within 2-3 minutes of posting and no one has replied to it yet, you may simply edit the post to remove all the content. However, if enough time has passed that people have probably read it, or especially if anyone has replied, editing it to make any changes in meaning will very likely violate our rules. If you want to correct yourself, do it in a new post. (You can edit your old post to ADD something at the beginning or end to say that you misstated or were wrong yourself and refer to the later post where you corrected yourself -- the main thing is to not invalidate later posts that might have commented on what you originally said.)

Question 12: Someone posted a link to news article that is requiring free registration to read. Is there any way to read it if I'm not registered at the site it's on? I don't like to give out personal information just to read a news article.

Try to get user names and passwords for most of the major newspapers requiring free registration. Note that they do not provide this information for sites that require paying memberships.

Question 13: I've got a long link to post and don't want to cause side scrolling. What's that site people use to shorten URLs?

Try or

Question 14:  Should I ask questions of people in PM?  Take discussions to PM if I seem to be only talking to one person?

Generally, unless there is some compelling reason why you don't want to talk about the subject of the discussion in public (for instance, it involves private information), discussions should remain in public.  Some boards prefer that discussions between two people be taken private, but for the most part we do not.  This is because even though only two of you may be talking, many many other people are listening and will benefit from seeing the discussion.  As well, other people may have something to add even if they don't speak up right away.

As for asking questions in PM rather than on the message board, it's usually in your own best interest to ask them publicly.  After all, if you ask in PM only one person can ever answer you; if you ask in public, you have a whole forum's worth of experiences and opinions to draw on!

[Edited to change "Testing Sig" link to new Test topic -- RSS]
« Last Edit: March 05, 2007, 01:52:24 pm by RandallS » Logged

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