Jump to content


board guidelines


These are just basic rules, guidelines, etc. concerning the BPAL Madness forums. They can be amended at any time, but are more here to help you than to restrict you. If you have any further questions, feel free to PM either admin (shriekingviolet and quantumspice). Happy Posting!





About These Boards.....

BPAL Madness is a forum for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab enthusiasts to discuss their beloved perfume oils to their hearts' content as well as to connect with fellow members through discussion of unrelated topics. The forum is not maintained or paid for by the Lab, but rather is hosted, maintained, and paid for out of the pocket of one of its administrators. This makes it a private forum as it is not paid for through your patronage to BPAL's business, and is to be treated as a place in which you are a guest and not a rightful occupant. The mod team* is a fair group who try to govern as evenhandedly and unobtrusively as possible, but from time to time, we do have to step in and close conversations or insist that a member stops disruptive behavior. Doing so is not to be seen an infringement upon the rights of the antagonizing members. Just as a host has the right to stop a guest from messing up his or her home, the mod team has the right to guide the forum by their principles and prevent problems in any way they feel is appropriate.

Also, while BPAL Madness is a customer-run, fan forum, it has been "adopted" by the Beth and the rest of the Lab. The forum is linked on their site as if it were an extension of the Lab and they use this area as one of their primary forms of communication. We've enjoyed this symbiotic relationship between the forum and the Lab through receiving early insider information, forum exclusive information and special scents that are only available to forum members. However the incorporation of this forum into the Lab's business means that it brings a lot of new customers here who use it as a tool to gather information. Long threads with well-meaning complaints can paint a picture that BPAL is a careless and disorganized business, and if potential customers are just peeking at the boards to investigate rather than to join in, they may not stick around to hear the explanation. We realize that this is a community and people vent their concerns to their friends, but please do consider that before fretting publicly. Emailing the Lab directly about a specific concern is much more productive than starting a topic about it, and it's easier for them to deal with problems that arise on one front (email) than having to deal with public fretting too. This is not to say that you're not allowed to discuss things of this nature here, we just ask that you take all this into consideration.

** to see a list of the current moderators and their placements, look here.


Moderators And How (and Who?) to Contact Them

Moderators are active members who have been chosen to aid in the administration of the board and keep everything well organized. They can also be called upon for help/advice in cases of confusion or difficulty. They're here to help and are happy to do so, so don't hesitate to send one a message if you are in need of guidance. It should be noted though that different mods are best called upon for different purposes. Moderators have a lot on their plates and can more easily (and quickly) answer questions that are related to the areas under their supervision. That is to say, if you have a question or request for action in (say) BPAL Chatter, it is best to contact a BPAL Chatter mod and not just the mod you happen to think of first or an administrator. The boards have gotten large enough that most of us can't keep on top of the topics is every area, and may not be familiar with the topic/post/issue you want to bring to their attention if it's not in their area. Contacting the appropriate mod makes tasks easiest for us, and your concern will addressed more quickly. This is especially true for swap issues!

If your question/concern isn't related to a particular topic or area, you have more choice as to whom to contact. In cases of broader questions, you may contact any mod you please. If you have specific technical questions (i.e. about forum software or its host), a forum administrator would be a better choice for contact. All reward points related questions/requests are to be directed to shriekingviolet.

If your query/request is in regard to a specific topic or post, please make use of the report button (which can be found in the right hand corner of every post) rather than just writing a pm! Using the report button has the advantage of sending your message to all appropriate mods for that area so that it can be addressed to whoever has the chance first. It also automatically attaches a link to the post/topic in question, which eliminates confusion on our end as to which post or thread is being referred to and keeps us from having to hunt for it. I think you'll also find that this is a quicker, more convenient means of correspondence for you too once you start using it.

Lastly on this topic, because of the work moderators are expected to do, members are not permitted to block their PMs. If a moderator cannot contact you, they cannot do their job, and so to block a mod is to subvert their duties. Any member caught blocking a moderator may face a temporary suspension as a penalty at the discretion of the administrator, and if a suspension is not given a warning will be. If you are having a particular problem with a mod, contact an administrator and we can sort it out so that someone else is assigned to handle your concerns should the case call for that.

Posting Guidelines

We're pretty laid-back here in terms of what our members can post, but there a few things to keep in mind. To avoid duplicate threads, it's important to use the search feature to check for an existing thread on the topic. If a duplicate thread *is* started, it'll be merged into the existing one by a mod or admin, and the user will receive a warning (more information on this can be found here). Also, try to find the most appropriate place for your posts (for forum descriptions, check here), though if you post in the wrong spot, a moderator will move it without penalty. It's also advised that you try to stay on topic, as threads that diverge too much from the original subject will have to be split.

We're extremely open when it comes to subject matter, no topic too gross or too personal to discuss. That in mind, if you do post to any thread links or pictures that might get someone in trouble (or at least embarrassed) at work, please do mark it as not being work safe. We also ask you to be careful when disclosing personal information that could be used to identify you as this is a public forum. If a moderator finds an instance where unsafe information is posted in a topic (like an address or phone number), they may choose to edit it out of the post.

On the topic of pictures, while you are allowed to post them, we do ask that you do not post large pictures inside your post. Large pictures slow the load of the thread and not everyone has the luxury of high-speed internet! Pictures that are too wide can also bloat the set width of the table which greatly annoys one of the administrators. Pictures wider than 480 pixels should be either resized or posted as a link rather than an image. With pictures thinner than that, use your best judgment and do be considerate of members who are still stuck with dial-up!

This forum doesn't have any policies concerning foul language. It is all right for use, though as it is offensive to some people we do ask that it's not used extensively (i.e. if you can't go without using at least 3 expletives in every paragraph, it's too much).

And finally, all swap/sale related offers/content are to be restricted to the swap area. If a swap notice is found elsewhere in the forum it will be moved there by a mod regardless of any other content the post may contain. 'Panhandling' for particular scents via pm is also strongly discouraged! It's one thing to ask a friend if you can try something they have, but it's another to try to solicit an imp of something you want from a stranger or a casual acquaintance. That kind of behavior wouldn't be deemed acceptable offline, and it's not welcomed here either. Repeated begging can be considered harassment, and may earn a warning if the person complains.

Signature Guidelines
Signatures are a place for members to personalize each of their posts, but there are rules in place to make sure they don't get out of control or violate other tenants of the board guidelines. Big signatures are unkind to members with slower connections and drag down the speed of the forum, so we encourage moderation.

In terms of size, no signature should exceed in length the equivalent of 10 lines of text (which is approximately 185 pixels high). This goes for both text-only signatures and signatures with images. Images displayed in signatures must be no wider than 480 pixels and no taller than 100 pixels (though really, we'd be grateful if you didn't use anything that achieved both the width and height maximums). No image should be over 20kb in size. Members are allowed a maximum of 8 images in their signature, provided that all 8 together don't amount to over 100 pixels high (assuming the images are on multiple lines) or 480 pixels wide (if they're all in a row). In essense, if your signature has 8 tiny images, that's likely going to be ok. 8 larger images will not be.

We allow links in members signatures, but not to off forum sales as this has been used as a way to skirt our swapping price caps. We do make exceptions for sales of nonBPAL items or for eBay auctions (bpal or otherwise). Other swapping in signatures (i.e. wanted notices, panhandling and mentioning items for sale) is not allowed. Please keep the swap and sales into their respective areas only!

Violations of the signature guidelines are a warnable offense, though first time offenders will be given a reminder.

Concerning Good Manners....

With a few exceptions here and there (we do tend to get a little more rowdy in the politics forum, due to the nature of the topic), we're a polite forum. Our members are by and large fairly considerate to each other's feelings. There are times though, during heated discussions, when members seem to feel put out when reminded to be polite and complain about feeling like they're being forced to "walk on eggshells." To this we have to say that manners isn't an ugly word, and to ask you to use them from time to time is not out of line. This forum is not your home, you can't just come in and track mud all over the floor because you feel comfortable here. Obviously we're thrilled that so many people enjoy this place, and are happy to keep you comfortable, but sometimes we do have to step in and do our job to keep things running smoothly in the long run. This forum hosts so many personalities and has grown beyond the size where we can realistically govern it unobtrusively. So asking you to help us out by using the good manners we hope you were raised with and taking self-imposed time outs during periods of stress isn't asking you to "walk on eggshells," it's asking you to help us keep the forum you enjoy.



Regarding Shipping/Email Updates

This section is particularly important for new members. If you have any questions or concerns involving the progress or problems with the Lab itself, please look through both the Announcements and BPAL Chatter forums for related topics. Beth and Brian are very good about keeping us all updated with Lab progress and email woes, so you will most likely find your answers or a place to reply with more questions here. Do Not Start A New Thread concerning email or delivery problems unless there's no other appropriate place for your post. Extra threads on these issues just cause rehashing of pre-existing issues and can cause stress for both Lab staff and forum members.



Single Username Rule

Each member is allowed only one forum handle. If you want to change your user name, do not register another one, rather PM an admin and request a change of name. If anyone is found to have two accounts, the member will be contacted and asked to choose between the two and the extra account will be deleted. Exceptions to this rule can be made for members who run special programs (like SwapFaery), but they must ask the admins' permission before registering another account. This is all to avoid identity confusions and problems related to dishonesty.



Inactive Members

For the sake of keeping the member database from ballooning to an incontrollable size, members who are inactive for more than two months and have zero posts are pruned from the database (in plain English, their account is deleted). This should not concern any new members, because this does not mean you can't sign up again later and you can still read the boards without being registered. This is just to keep the administrators from having to dig through hundreds (literally) of unused accounts in the database to look at entries for active members.



Warnings

Everyone notice the warning bar beneath your name in your profile and with your posts. For most of you, it rests at 0%, which means you've not been warned. You should not be concerned by its appearance or that you seem to be the only one who has one. Regular members only see their own warning bar, as this keeps each individuals warning rating fairly private.

Warnings can only be issued by admins and moderators and cannot be done without giving a reason that can be read by the member. If a member feels the warning was given unfairly, she does have the right to take it up with the mod who gave it to appeal it. If after discussing it with the mod she is still dissatisfied with how the manner was handled, she may contact an admin. If a member is unsuccessful in getting the warning overturned, we ask her not to take it personally. Warnings levels are not permanent. Each 10% bump expires after 3 months and leaves no record of it behind, so it is possible for a delinquent member to clean up her act and work her way to a clean slate.

The infractions members may be warned for include: repeated disruptive conduct (more warnings will be issued if the bad behavior continues after the member is first warned); member harassment; repeatedly posting out of turn in threads where "tangent replies" and comments are not allowed (i.e. nonreview posts in a review thread, or off topic posts in the Click'N'Ship thread); obvious trolling by a new member, excessive thread bumping in the swap area; starting duplicate threads; or repeatedly breaking a normally nonwarn-worthy guideline (ex. posting swap requests/offers outside of the swap area) after a moderator has asked you to stop. Extra punitive actions may be taken if a member has reached a high warning level, but what that may be will depend on the reasons for each of the warnings received. The consequence of suspension from the entire forum will only occur in cases of member harassment or trolling.

Warnings themselves should not be viewed as punishments. There is no sentence to carry out or fine to pay attached to them unless you receive them frequently, it is simply a firm reminder to be more careful in the future and be mindful of board policies. Keeping the forum organized is a difficult job, even with a good team of moderators. We now have over 2,000 members (as of June, 2005), with an average of 200 new members joining each month. With so many members to keep track of and so many topics to keep organized, a less visible tally system just isn't practical. The warning system was designed to be as gentle as we could possibly make it while still being both effective and useful to the moderators. We do not hold the warning against you and we don't restrict your privileges after a few minor slip ups, and we ask you to keep that all in mind if you should ever receive one.

Member Abuse (Swap-related or Otherwise)

We're a pretty friendly board, and instances of member abuse and swaplifting are fairly rare. Nonetheless it is an issue the mod team takes very seriously and if you find yourself the victim of such a thing, it is very important that you contact a moderator so that the issue can be addressed and prevented from happening again.

In cases of swaplifting, if you suspect an instance of this has occurred, please alert either clephan or grrrlennyl (our swap mods). They will advise you in which steps to take next. If the member the complaint is about has had complaints filed against them before, the member may be suspended from the swap area until all of their outstanding swaps are taken care of. That is why it's very important that these complaints are filed, so that we can prevent further acts of swaplifting.

In cases of verbal abuse, please contact a mod (whomever you feel most comfortable with is fine) if you feel you are being harassed by another member in a way that is beyond what may be expected from a debate or personal disagreement. If the attacks are going via PM, do not delete them. Forward them on to the mod you are taking the case to, with a copy of the link of the message. The link contains a message number that can be verified in the database, which will prevent any cases where both parties differ on what was said or accuse someone of tampering with a pm's content before forwarding it. The mod will then do her best (with the advice of her teammates) to settle the issue and force the harassment to cease.

In the rare instance where you feel the abuse is coming from a moderator, take the issue up in a similar fashion as described above with either shriekingviolet or quantum spice. If the harassment doesn't accompany any retaliation using their moderating abilities (i.e. warnings, closing/archiving topics, editing posts, etc.), the instance will be handled as member abuse. If the incidents do involve an abuse of their moderator position (as previously described), the administrators will review their actions in question and punish accordingly. I should note here, that this hasn't occurred yet and I don't expect it to, but I'm covering the issue for the sake of being thorough.


Duplicate Threads

During the first ten months of this forum's lifespan, the mod team merged duplicate threads (i.e. a member starting a new thread on a topic when a related thread already existed) without issuing any warning or penalty to the offending member. But as the forum grew to be very large (and is still constantly growing), stronger measures had to be taken to enforce our search-before-starting policies to get the level of duplicate topics under control. Before the change in policy we were finding a ridiculous amount of duplicate threads, and in many cases the existing threads had been easy to find. Because of this, we have adopted a strike policy when it comes to duplicate threads. Members who start a duplicate thread will be warned, and 10 warnings for this reason in a three month period will result in that member losing their ability to start new threads for a month. After the month passes, their privilege will be reinstated and their warning level will be cleared of duplicate-thread related warnings.

While we enforce this policy fairly heavy-handedly, there are a few cases in which the moderator will not warn the member. If the offending member PMs a member of the mod team to ask if there's an existing thread and the moderator can't find one at the time and tells the member to go ahead, the member will not be warned if one is later found. If the reasoning behind the merge is more tenuous (i.e. the thread could have just as easily stayed independent as it could be merged) and was just done due to the tastes of the mod, the member will not be warned. If the member catches their own mistake and reports their own thread before it's merged, the member will not be warned.

It should be reiterated here, that these warnings are not personal. You should not feel offended if you are warned for this reason. Each warning expires after three months, so this isn't something that becomes part of a permanent record.



Missing Posts or Threads

In the event that you think a post or thread you made goes missing, do not repost. Instead contact a moderator or admin to alert them of the situation. In most cases, the post/thread is not missing, but has been moved to a more appropriate area or merged into an existing thread and so reposting will cause real irritation for the mod team.



Review Guidelines

There are only a few simple rules when it comes to writing reviews. First off, each scent is to have its own thread, so please search to see if the oil you're preparing to review already has a thread started before starting one of your own. If you locate an existing thread, write your review as a reply to that thread.

If there is no preexisting thread, you may start a new thread for your review. Please make sure that you start the thread in the appropriate category for that scent, using the name of the scent as the thread title. Also, if you are starting a new review thread, post the site description for the scent along with your review (only if there is one, of course, in the cases of unreleased scents and tarot oils, there may not be).

Reviews should be the only replies to a scent review thread. If you have a question/comment for that scent, either PM the author of the review in question (if it's more easily answered that way) or start a new thread in the BPAL Chatter section of the forum with the title Re:(Scent Name) Review.

Apart from that, you may write reviews anyway you please. You will find that some members (myself included) have a specific format when it comes to how they review scents, but this is unnecessary. Don't feel pressured to write your review a certain way. If you can't pick out particular notes or comment on the more technical aspects of the oils make-up, that's perfectly fine. Write whatever comes to mind, any thoughts, feelings, imagery, opinions, whatever! Every review is valid and helpful in its own way. Don't be shy!


Guidelines for the Links Engine
We welcome links to virtually any content that fits within the listed categories. As on the forum, please mention it when adding links whose content is potentially not safe for work or contains spoilers. This is best done both in the description and adding "(NWS)" or "(SP)" to the title of the link.

Everyone is welcome to add links to their businesses, blogs, and so forth. In the interest of full disclosure, please mention your affiliations in the description.

Please be honest and polite when describing or discussing linked sites.

If we have a topic discussing what's being linked, please add that to the description!

Any specific complaints about linked sites should be reported to the links mod team, headed by LiberAmoris. Things that might warrant reports would be inaccurate descriptions, lack of disclosure, lack of notice regarding spoiler/not work safe content, etc.

Complaints about a company linked here should be addressed in the "Buyer Beware" thread and mentioned in the link's comment section. If the company has an existing topic, feel free to add your complaint there.

DISCLAIMER: All links direct to external sites and content. The owners and moderators of BPAL.org are not responsible for the content of linked sites and make no claims as to the authenticity, viability and safety of the sites linked herein or the descriptions given by our users.

Guidelines for the Gallery
Images that are not work safe must go in the "NWS Album". Since there's really no warning before viewing an image whether or not it's work safe until it's too late, all NWS images must be placed there by directly uploading into the album. Please report any out-of-place images to the moderator in charge of the gallery (parrot_suspect) via PM.

Otherwise, images can be uploaded at your discretion, keeping in mind that images are generally available to the public via the gallery, and that the moderating staff can view all galleries (even the ones made private).

Images cannot be hot-linked. This isn't so much a rule as a statement of fact; we've set it up so images in the gallery can only be hotlinked here at bpal.org. Feel free to use your member gallery to host your avatar.

DISCLAIMER: The owners and moderators of BPAL.org are not responsible for the content of uploaded images and all images remain the intellectual property of their original owner.

Guidelines for the Swaps Forum

Only one thread per member per section of the forum in Swaps, For Sale, and Wanted is allowed. If you think you need to start another thread (for a "special event", such as the tsunami relief auction), please contact a mod (clephan or grrrlennyl) to get permission to do so. Duplicate threads in the swaps section will be treated as duplicate threads in any other area of the forum. That means that members who start duplicate threads will be given a warning and the threads will be merged. (For a reminder of how 'being warned' works, please go to here.)

Once your swap / sale / what-have-you has been completed, please report your thread via the report button. The mods will then close and archive it, and reward points will be issued for taking these steps. If you see a thread in the swap forum that should no longer be open, please report it. Reward points will be issued for this as well.

If you accidentally put your swap thread in the wrong section, please hit the report button and a moderator will move it for you. Likewise if you see a thread that is in the wrong section of the swaps forum, please hit the report button. Reward points will be given for reporting someone else's out-of-place thread.

Threads in the Swaps, For Sale, and Wanted sections will be archived periodically. Any thread that has not been replied to in 45 days may be archived at any time and at that point will no longer accessible to regular members. If you find yourself in need of information from an archived swap, please contact a swap mod to retrieve it for you.

We maintain a log of forum members who fail to follow through on their end of swaps, be they circular ('Swapfaery') or normal ones. This is a rare problem, but when necessary we will attempt to assist with mediation so any such problems can be resolved. If there are repeated reports of swaplifting or not following through on a circular swap, or if the member in question is not responsive to attempts at resolving the issue, the member will be unable to access the swaps forum and will have a note to that effect placed on their profile.

All auctions that aren't strictly limited to the forum (i.e., ebay, gothauctions, etc.) belong in the eBay and other auctions thread. All new topics that should be in the eBay and other auctions thread will be treated as duplicate topics, merged into the thread, and the poster warned. Due to the nature of online auctions, this thread is archived periodically. And as auctions generally last no longer than a week and are all part of the same thread, we do not need member help in reporting them closed so there's no need to try to keep an eye out for us in this case.

Members should not bump their swap threads more than once in any 24-hour period. Excessive bumping will result in a warning.

It should also be noted, that while the mod team does understand that sometimes our members need to scrape together quick cash in times of emergency and use the For Sale area for that purpose, we do not approve of the practice of using the forum to sell your perfume stash for profit on a regular basis (i.e. selling marked up LE/discontinued bottles or decants). If you want to sell BPAL as a means to generate extra regular income for yourself, please do it somewhere else. Excessive mark up of bottles and imps beyond what you originally paid for them will also not be tolerated. We see our swap area as a place for the exchange of BPAL oils and related products among fans and friends, and not as a place of business. As we don't ask for a cut of your profits the way a real marketplace would, please respect this distinction! If you are seen using the sale area like your own store front rather than in the spirit that it was intended (and yes, we can tell the difference!), you will be asked to stop. Ignoring such a request may result in being suspended from the swap area.

Other business practices that are off limits in the swap area include the sale of products scented with BPAL unless it has been approved by the lab, the sale of diluted BPAL oils (especially if not advertised as such!) and passing off other perfume oils as lab product. We will be particularly strict with the latter two as we consider them to be acts of member abuse, and if you are caught doing either you may be subject to suspension from the swap area.

We also wish to note, that while we do try to protect our members from swaplifting and exploitation, swapping and selling here should be done at your own risk. We are not responsible for sales and swaps gone awry, so we ask everyone to please do so with caution!

To read more specifics on swaplifting and pricing guidelines, the swap area has its own special rules section that can be read here

Guidelines for Swaps Feedback
Please be honest and polite, and leave meaningful feedback. Rude or false feedback may be deleted. Someone who repeatedly created rude or false feedback may have your ability to edit or create feedback revoked.

In the "comments" section, mention:
  • The item(s) swapped/sold/etc. You don't have to go into great detail, but something like "I swapped with JoeUser for his bottle of Enraged Bunny Musk" or "I sold several decants (Rose Red, Snow White, Nuclear Winter, Sugar Cookie) to JoeUser."
  • The affiliated dates -- "fast" and "slow" are relative terms, and it'd be more meaningful for other users to see that when you say "fast", you mean that you paid two days ago, and received the item(s) today! An example: "We finalized the details of the swap on 6/1/06 and the bottle arrived on 6/3/06."
  • Do NOT leave identifying information. Real names, addresses, etc are not allowed. If the user wanted their location or country of origin public knowledge, there are slots in the profiles at the forum for that. If those profile slots are not empty, they are published in the "snapshot profile" on the upper-right hand corner of their swap feedback page. You CAN mention that it was an international swap, and use their forum handle.
  • You will not ponder about the circumstances of the other party. An acceptable comment: "I ordered on 5/2 and didn't receive my package until 6/8 with no communication from the seller." An UNacceptable comment would be something like: "This stupid b**** f***ing promised to send my f***ing oil on 5/4 when I ordered on 5/2 and I didn't get anything JUNE!! June for Christ's sake!! WTF! I bet the b**** doesn't have cancer - I bet she's just a money grubbing whore." (Thanks to evanesce for these examples!)
Disputed feedback will be made invisible while the parties work things out. If we feel this is being abused (that is, that someone is repeating negative feedback for the sole purpose of hiding it), we may make them visible. As long as rules are broken, we will not otherwise become involved in disputed feedback.

While this feedback area is primarily for swaps/sales/circles arranged here on the forum, we allow leaving feedback for transactions arranged off of the forum (such as eBay auctions or other online communities). We know many of you swap and buy in multiple places.


Rules & Guidelines for E-tailers
While bpal.org encourages free trade and values the concept of supporting small businesses and start-ups, please do realize that the forums are used as one of the primary sources of communication between the Lab and its customers, as well as a way for customers to interact with one another. As such, just because you may consider your company's products or services to be ideal towards the needs and wants of the community does not make it alright for you to needlessly promote your products/services on the forums.

Many small businesses have benefited due to the forum members becoming regular patrons to their site. This is due to the fact that customer testimonials speak larger than any kind of promotion, discount, or sale a business owner is able to provide.

Please do not create an account at the forums for the sole purpose of promoting your goods or services. While we will not suspend or disable any accounts for advertising, the moderating team will keep an active eye on any e-tailer's account. If we notice that the majority of your posts are dedicated to promoting your company, your posts will be regarded as spam and will be archived.



Regarding Questionable Content Concerning Your Company on the Forums
The moderating team should not be regarded as any kind of mediator between your business and a dissatisfied customer. Forum members are allowed to post positive and negative reviews about a product or service. If there is a questionable post about your company that you consider unjustified, the moderating team will review it. However, the post in question will remain public at the moderator's discretion, not at the insistence of the e-tailer. E-tailers are also not allowed to coerce a forum member into editing their reviews/posts. A member's post will be edited of their own volition, not because a business owner pressured them into censoring themselves.

In addition, the forum should not be regarded as any kind of tool for secondary support for your business. If you run your own company forums, please encourage interested parties to post over in your forums. Likewise, any kind of sensitive information regarding a customer's order or sales/technical support should be relayed over email.


Rewards System

Because I believe that for every stick there should also be a carrot, we have a reward system to go along side our warning one. The reward system is designed to reward helpful, positive behavior that helps the forums run more smoothly. For positive behavior, members are awarded points which they can use to "buy" certain privileges. Right now the list of items/privileges you can buy is small, but I'm working on finding more things you can get. The list of "rewarded actions" may also grow as well. If you have any suggestions for either column, feel free to PM them to shriekingviolet.

Your point total can be found with your posts, with all of the other information that rests beneath your avatar. If you feel we've forgotten to add points for something, contact one of the admins, and it'll be done (providing you're correct of course!).

Rewarded Actions:
- Reporting posts or threads that are in the wrong spot or could be merged. 5 points per report (assuming it's an appropriate report, and not just someone being click happy).
- Reviewing oils: To avoid penalizing people who either can't afford to try lots of oils, can't swap, or are too shy to review, points for reviews aren't weighted as much as some of the other rewarded actions and are worth 1 point per review.
- "God love you" mod points: These points would be awarded at the mod teams' discretion whenever a member does something that we really think they should be rewarded for. Like a member directing a newer member to a policy (in a nice way!) when they're unaware of it or have forgotten. Or when a member behaves really sensibly in an argument. Really just any time a member does something that makes our job easier, we can award some. Think of it as a gold star. This is generally worth 5 points, but is ultimately up to the discretion of the moderator.
- Reporting your own swap via the report button to let the swap mods know it's closed. Like the points for reviews, this isn't weighted as heavily point-wise to avoid penalizing people who don't or can't swap as much as others. 1 point per "closing" report.

Rewards:
- Change of member display name: The first display name change is free. After that, there are two options: unlimited changing completely controlled by you (Price: 250 points), or individual changes (Price: 50 points).
- Change of member title: i.e. you can change that "sexy swapper" title to something of your choice (within reason). You have to stick with it once you've changed it though, at least until you earn enough points to buy another title change. Titles are restricted to approximately 30 characters (including spaces). Price: 100 points.
- Unlimited changes in your member title: 750 points.
- 500kb expansion of your gallery size (and yes, you can keep buying these). Price: 100 points.
- 25 PM expansion of inbox size (and yes, you can keep buying these) Price: 100 points.
- Warning reduction card: our version of monopoly's get out of jail free card. And no you don't have to use it as soon as you get it. Price: 75 points.

Cashing in Reward Points:
- Once you have enough points for your chosen reward, you can cash them in by sending a pm to shriekingviolet who will fill the request soon afterward.


Donations:

People have asked whether or not we accept donations to help pay for the upkeep of this board. In the past we have not, but as the bandwidth has grown to the point (and keeps growing!) that the hosting account that the forum ran from has to be upgraded, it seems to be time to start accepting them! Donations are still not being actively sought, but should anyone want to donate to help pay for this board, they can send money to shriekingviolet via paypal (her paypal address is diana @ impolite . org, spaces removed of course!).



Forum Descriptions

Just so we can all be totally clear as to what goes where, below are the individual forum descriptions:

Introductions:
Pretty easy. Any welcome messages, introductions, and any "getting-to-know you" threads are appropriate here. Also, if you're a new member waiting to introduce yourself, feel free to start your own intro thread.

It's also okay to skip the intro process if you feel like. Gods know I always do!

Announcements (support area):
All global messages from the administrators of the board to the forum at large are made here. It is vital that you read these as they are not made often, but when they are, they're usually important. Changes in policy, known bugs, major admin actions, and projected downtime are all things you guys should know about and generally asked about in other areas in forum almost as soon as they're made. Reading the announcements should keep you up to date and keep you off the mod teams' annoyances list as it's pretty irritating to read a peppering of questions in several different areas on topics that have already been covered in an announcement.

It should also be noted that in the announcements area, posts are restricted to just the mod team. If you feel the need to reply to something here you may either PM the person who made the announcement or start up a thread in the 'Questions' area of the forum (providing one hasn't been started already!).

Forum Ideas:
Just a general area for any suggestions for how to make the forums better!

Forum Questions:
This area is for forum-related questions only! Lab related questions will be moved to another area. If you're not sure how to do something or something isn't working, you can post a question here. It's also important that you check both this area and the Forum FAQ area before starting a new thread, as the topic might already have been covered. While this is true in all areas, it's doubly important here! This area has two subforums: Forum FAQs (which has questions about forum policy & procedure), and Technically Speaking (which answers questions about how to do things with our software).

Announcements (BPAL):
This area is restricted to Lab updates, and is a good place to check for shipping updates and any changes in policy. Only Lab staff is allowed to post here, though you're welcome to discuss their announcements in the BPAL Chatter area.

BPAL FAQ:
Similar deal as the Forum FAQ section. Threads in this area were chosen by the mod team or the Lab staff for how useful they were or for how often the question pops up. While members aren't able to start new threads in this area, they can suggest to a member of the mod team (by PM or by the report button) that a thread be moved here. Members are allowed to reply to threads in this area.

Beyond Perfume:
This area is for ideas, questions or recipes for using BPAL oils in other ways than just perfume (i.e. soaps, home fragrance, etc.)..

Recommendations:
If you're looking for any scent recs, ask you questions here!

Reviews:
Pretty self-explanatory. This section houses subforums in which people post all their reviews for BPAL products.

Suggestions:
This area is for offering up suggestions for new scent ideas.

Swaps:
Our swap area which is divided into four areas. The general area (i.e. not a subforum) is for straight swaps of any kind. We're not picky about what you can swap, so you'll find anything from perfume to baked goods listed here. The other three divisions come in the forum of subforums: there's one for posting items you'd like to sell rather than swap, one to post in when you're looking to obtain a particular (bpal) item, and our circular swap area which hosts various swapping/gift-giving programs such as the SwapFaery (think non-season specific Secret Santa) and Pen Pal programs.

BPAL Chatter:
Any random threads directly related to BPAL oils or the working of the Lab are to be posted here. BPAL Chatter also contains a subforum devoted to organizing BPAL related meet-ups.

Cut 'n Paste
An area for craft related chat.

Eat, Drink, & Be Merry!:
A forum area devoted to cooking and other food related chatter.

Entertainment:
An area for entertainment related topics, with subforums for book discussions and travel.

Politics & Current Events:
An area for all of us political geeks to gab and debate over social issues, political phenomena and current events! Controversial topics are bound to get discussed, so if you have problems keeping cool in arguments, have thin skin or are known to get upset by certain viewpoints, it's probably best that you avoid this area. We aim to keep the entire forum polite, but we're less vigilant in this area as the nature of the subject inevitably creates heat, and so complaints over rudeness will be handled differently than they would in other areas.

Randomness:
Basically anything that doesn't belong in the other forums is to be posted here. There are also subsections for personal topics, celebrations, and quizzes/memesin here!

Retail Therapy:
A forum to discuss shopping for all things! Contains two subforums for Fashion/Makeup and Bath/Hygiene products.

Walking Old Paths:
This forum is for the discussion of any metaphysical & earth religion topics such as mythology, folklore, astrology, magic, etc. Topics covering the use of BPAL oils in rituals and spell work are also appropriate for this area. Tarot has its own subforum here, so all card-related divination topics go in there!



For any other technical questions, try browsing through the help files and Technically Speaking. If you have questions about board rules, try browsing through the Forum FAQs. If you can't find what you need, don't hesitate to post it to the Forum Questions or PM a member of the mod team with your question.

--Diana (ShriekingViolet) & Kate (quantum spice), rev 08/05/06