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Community Guidelines

Advertising Guidelines

  • We have zero tolerance for “Spam.” Unsolicited advertising/announcement (commercial or non-commercial, pagan or non-pagan) messages not approved in advance in accordance with the procedures in these Advertising Guidelines is generally considered “spam.” The content of such unapproved message is edited or deleted and our members post Spam (the Hormel product) recipes and otherwise make fun of the post. Spam messages posted as one of the first ten messages posted by a new member will likely result in a ban. If you really think your ad would be of interest to our members and you have posted at least 15 substantive on-topic messages to our community, please query the Message Board Coordinator (or the Hosts as a last resort) in email with a copy of the ad/announcement text you wish to post and request permission to post it. They will look at the ad and make a decision.
  • It is not considered advertising to post a direct link to (or information about) a business or product in response to bona fide question in a message thread (as long as one discloses any interest one might have in the business/product). Nor is it considered advertising for regular posters on our message board to post a link to an item or business to discuss it.
  • A single text link to one’s business is allowed in signatures on messages and in “About the Author” boxes at the end of articles published on our community portal provided they are links and not full blown ads. One’s signature is not an advertising billboard, however. Signature Spam: Signatures consisting solely of lists of links to commercial sites/affiliates/products not directly related to Paganism are not generally allowed unless one has posted at least 75 messages or has a current paid Cauldron Supporter or Donor level membership. If it appears to the Hosts that you are making generic/useless posts to get the business links in your signature in posts, you may be banned from using them at all or even banned from this forum as we consider this a form of spamming.
  • Affiliate links are not allowed in posted content or signatures. Exceptions to this affiliate link rule may be granted by the Hosts in special cases (e.g. an author linking to his/her own books on Amazon with his/her affiliate code), talk to the Hosts if you think an exception is warranted.
  • No ad-like links to any business, product, service or other web page that the Hosts consider to be in extremely poor taste (e.g. hate speech), porn, of questionable legality, or a possible scam may be posted on this board. The decision of the Hosts is final and will be made solely on their personal standards.

Copyright Guidelines

We have had a number of problems with — and complaints about — the message board’s strict copyright rules. Please remember that material taken from web pages, newspapers, magazines, etc. is copyrighted (and remains copyrighted even if you get it from a third party, e.g. in an email message from a friend or mailing list) and may not be posted without permission from the actual owner of the copyright (permission must be included with the post).

Permission to email a copy to a friend as some news sites give is the not same thing as permission to post on a public message board. Simply giving credit to the original author is not enough under US copyright law: not giving credit is plagiarism, not getting permission is a copyright law violation.

“Fair use” is only a couple of sentences or a very short paragraph from a newspaper, magazine, or web article.

Political Discussion Guidelines

Political discussions do happen in The Cauldron, although they are normally confined to the “News and Politics” forum where those not interested can avoid them. Please do not inject politics into discussions outside these boards. For example, someone talking about having trouble paying bills/finding a job/etc. is not a reason to inject your political opinions/position into the discussion.

If you participate in political discussions, please remember that being Pagan does not automatically imply a certain political position. Pagans are found all across the political spectrum from radical extreme liberals to reactionary extreme conservatives. Also, please remember that this forum has members from all over the world and that the laws and political procedures of your country are not universal.

Most of the Cauldron’s US members, however, are center left to left. While we do have members who lean center right to right, they are usually in the minority and therefore sometimes feel “out gunned” in political discussions. Some of our members, however, are hard to pigeonhole politically, while their views on one issue might be seen as conservative, their views on another issue might be seen as liberal. Many of our members who participate in our political discussions are very well-read with respect to the news – reading US news sources from the left, from the center, and from the right and getting a broader view by reading some major foreign news sources. If you only read/listen to news that agrees with your politics, chances are good that you will have trouble being taken seriously in many political discussions on our board.

Political discussions are expected to obey the regular forum rules. This means that much of the type of nasty discussion that goes on in many other political discussion areas on the Internet (e.g. Reddit, comment areas on major news sites, etc.) will quickly get one banned on The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum. Here are some things to remember:

  • Keep political discussions civil. Attack ideas, do not attack the people who hold them.
  • Personal attacks (like name-calling) on other members, people, countries, or political institutions are not allowed. While we do allow political figures to be referred to by fairly common, polite nicknames (e.g. Tricky Dick, Slick Willie, Shrub), the type of insulting name calling that goes in many other online political discussions (e.g. calling liberals things like “libtards” or conservatives “contards”) is not welcome here.
  • Those who disagree with you are not idiots, terrorists, communists, Nazis, anti-American, retards, etc. While you may not be willing to believe it, they might be right and you might be wrong.
  • Similarly, people on the board may have very different life experiences than you do: what is an intellectual or philosophical debate for you may be a significant part of their current life or the lives of people they care about.
  • Don’t expect to convince a political opponent by citing opinion pieces or biased “factual” pieces from sources generally considered be strongly aligned with one political camp or another. Citing, for instance, Fox News, Breitbart, Newsmax, or Infowars isn’t likely to convince a liberal any more than citing The Huffington Post, Truthout, Addicting Info, or Natural News (etc) is likely to convince a conservative.
  • If you are making a claim and asked to support it, do not try to avoid doing so by demanding that your opponents instead disprove it. It is the duty of those making a positive claim to support it if asked. It is not the duty of those opposing the idea either to disprove it or accept it.
  • This forum is not an appropriate place for blatant political campaigning.
  • Finally, take a look at your message before you post it. It if reads like children taunting each other on the playground, please revise it as you will only make a fool of yourself (and perhaps get into rules violation trouble) if you post it.

Quoting Guidelines

Quoting, and quoting correctly, is considered very important here at the Cauldron to help others follow the flow of conversation through a thread. There has been much confusion in the past over exactly what the staff expect of posters as regards quoting. Hopefully this guideline will clarify how to quote properly. (Note that the “Reply to Thread” button has been disabled on this board. Pressing it takes you to an error message reminding you that quoting is almost always required.)

Under most circumstances, the proper way to start a reply is to click on the “Quote” button on the specific post you are replying to, this will but a copy of the message being replied to in special quote bbcode in your reply (or into the Quick Reply area if you use Quick Reply). Quoted text that is not relevant to your reply may and should be removed, just be sure to leave the opening and closing special quote bbcode intact. In rare cases where you are making a truly general reply, though, you may remove the quote bbcode and the quoted text entirely. Here are examples of the rare types of general replies that do not need a quote on the Cauldron:

  • “Thanks, guys” or similar posts that are clearly aimed at everyone who’s responded.
  • New stories in a general news thread, new jokes in a post a joke thread, or similar.
  • A very rare case: replies to the general shape of the thread, where there’s something you want to say about the topic but there’s genuinely nothing you can quote that your reply would make sense given your response — including the first message in the thread. (You may want to start out the post with a statement indicating this, to be sure those not following along closely understand what you’re doing.) Note that the staff considers most replies to the thread in general to really be replies to the first message of the thread: these are not replies to the general shape of the thread and must quote a few sentences of that first message in the thread. When in doubt, quote some of the first message.

If in any doubt about whether or not a message needs a quote, include a small quote.

NOTES

Many people think is it silly to have to quote the message they just read as they believe that it should be obvious to later readers what message they are replying to. Unfortunately, what seems “obvious” to the the poster is not necessarily “obvious” to someone reading the thread at a different time. For example, if someone who read part of the thread a day ago comes back into the thread and the first new message they see they is your post, without rereading the rest of the thread would they be able to tell what you were talking about without a quote? In most situations, the answer is “no”, because they won’t necessarily have the context of the post you’re replying to immediately at hand. (Even if it’s the one right before yours, or the first one in the thread.) That’s part of why we require so much quoting. (The other part is that if one wants to go back and trace the context of the conversation through the thread, it can be time-consuming and confusing without the link-backs the special quote bbcode the Reply/Quote button inserts provides. These linkbacks are especially important to the staff when moderating problem situations.)

The hosts and staff are aware that our quoting rules are significantly different from the way other message boards do things. Nevertheless, they have decided that this is what we need posters to do in order for our particular forum to function properly. Please do not complain that our quoting rules are different than other boards. When you are posting at The Cauldron, you need to do it The Cauldron way, and that way is not going to change just because “everyone else” does it differently.

Research Guidelines

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum has a long history of cooperating with research. However, our primary purpose is to serve our members, and to protect them from individuals seeking to use The Cauldron to prey upon others, whether through inappropriate solicitation, unethical research, or even simple spamming.

NOTE (Added 28 March 2007): While I would think it obvious, these rules apply to sending members PMs and Email from the board with research oriented surveys and questions. If you are using this board in any way to question/query our members for research, you must obtain permission first. Trying to avoid getting permission by sending PMs or Emails to members from the board is rude and annoying behavior.

Primary and Secondary School Researchers:

Please read our “Pagan Primer” (at http://www.ecauldron.net/newpagan.php) before asking questions on our message board. Many members will be happy to help you with your school project by answering questions, but we will not write your paper — or do your basic research — for you. You may find it best to post your question in the Teen folder. Be up front about the fact that your question(s) are for a school paper or school project, that way those who respond know they are responding for your paper or project. Remember that many of our most knowledgeable members only log on once or twice a week, so it is best to ask for help well before your project is due.

Post-Secondary and Professional Researchers:

If you are simply looking for ideas for accurate books or have similar simple questions, the above paragraph applies. However, If you wish to use The Cauldron for actual research (quoting posts, asking detailed questions, requesting members fill out surveys, etc.), then we require that you contact the hosts by email before beginning your research so they can discuss your research needs with you and try to work out a way that you can do your research while still protecting our members. Most projects can be approved with only a few email exchanges, especially if you provide details about yourself, your institution, your research, and exactly what you would like from The Cauldron in your first message.

General Research Restrictions:

  • Any studies in which you will use direct quotes from member posts or personal information about members must be opt-in.
  • The Cauldron does not participate in “gotcha” studies. The Cauldron is not reality TV. Posting an inflammatory question/message, or pretending to hold a particular viewpoint, in order to “see what happens” is grounds for an immediate ban and a formal complaint filed with your institution.
  • Any research thread must state that it is for research in the first post.
  • In any case where The Cauldron’s rules for research are stricter than the ethical guidelines of your institution or profession, the Cauldron’s stricter rules apply.

Signature Guidelines

Users who do not wish to see member signatures may disable them in the Look and Layout section of their Profile settings area.

In order to keep The Forum fast for those who wish to see signatures we feel it is necessary to impose limits on signature size.

Size Limits — Regular Members

The signature (including all text and images) must fit in a rectangle 450 pixels wide by 150 pixels tall. The total file size of all graphics in the signature must be 35K or less. The image below is 450 pixels wide by 150 pixels high. Remember: This is the maximum size. Smaller is better.

sig450x150.gif

Size Limits — Donors and Active Staff

The signature (including all text and images) must fit in a rectangle 450 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall. The total file size of all graphics in the signature must be 50K or less. The image below is 450 pixels wide by 250 pixels high. Remember: This is the maximum size. Smaller is better.

sig450x250.gif

Important Notes

Very limited Advertising is allowed in signatures as explained in our Advertising Guidelines.

All signature images stored on an external server must be stored either in server space you own/rent or on a service created to store pictures for use elsewhere. Do not steal bandwidth from others by linking to an image you come across on the web. All external signature images must use a sercure https: link, not an insecure http: link. If your image is not stored on a sever that uses https: links, either move it to one that does or do not use the image.

Signatures may not include annoying features like sound, animated images, or the like.

Exception for Text-Only Signatures

Not withstanding the above limits, text only signatures of three lines or less (five lines or less for Cauldron Supporters) may flow across the page (that is, are not restricted to 450 pixels wide) provided they word wrap in a friendly manner and are no more than three (five for Cauldron Supporters) lines on a 1024-pixel wide screen.

Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups (SIGs in the topmenu) are member-run areas of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum with a number of options. They can be public or private, open membership or hidden (e.g. by invitation only). SIGs have a forum-like message area (although with somewhat different features than a forum in our Discussions) and many other features (a calendar, a project management area, a gallery, etc.). Whether some or all of these features are available in a given Special Interest Group group is up to the Group Owner — usually the member who created the group. SIGs can be about anything of interest to our members provided, of course, that they do not violate The Cauldron’s rules and guidelines and are in good taste.

General Rules: While the standard forum rules are in effect in all social groups, the group owner may make, post, and enforce additional rules specific to the given social group provided such rules do not violate Cauldron Rules and Guidelines. The Staff and Hosts of The Cauldron have full access to all SIGs (even private and hidden SIGs) and have the authority to enforce The Cauldron’s rules if they notice a problem or if a problem is reported to staff. SIGs that are inactive, disruptive, or otherwise cause problems may be shut down or transferred to a new owner at the discretion of Senior Staff or the Hosts. Any SIG can be shut down or modified for any reason by a Host.