Welcome to the discussion forums of the Society for Popular Astronomy. Anyone is welcome, but we do ask that you make yourself familiar with the following guidelines for use of this resource. The forum administrators reserve the right to remove or edit any of the posts that do not conform to the following guidelines, without notifying the author of the post.
Guidelines for using the forums
- Acceptable Language
Please keep in mind that the Society for Popular Astronomy is an organisation that seeks to promote an interest in astronomy to all ages. Please also keep in mind that these forums form part of the public face of the Society on the Internet. Because of this, we ask that you use language that would be appropriate for users of all ages.
Note that the forum software does have a word filter, and that it is used. If you find that the filter is modifying a word that you're attempting to use please do not try and find a way around the filter; try, instead, to use a more appropriate word. If you feel this is a problem then please contact one of the forum's administrators (see the FAQ below to find out who they are).
- Acceptable Subjects
The main topic for these forums is astronomy and we ask that, as much as possible, you make posts that deal with astronomy-related subjects. We appreciate that some subjects might not directly relate to astronomy and, as much as possible, we allow such threads to be posted (in most cases such threads will belong in General Chat), but threads that have no relationship to astronomy will be removed.
Before making a new post, it may be worth carrying out a forum search to see if anyone has posted a similar theme recently, and deciding if your post can be added as a reply, rather than creating a new topic.
Please avoid posting on the subject areas of "Astrology", "Faked Moon Landings", "Religion Versus Science", and "Creationism". All of these topics have been discussed at great length before, and usually result in an inflammatory end to the discussion, resulting in the post being locked.
When you create a new topic, ensure that the topic title is meaningful and relevant to the main text of the topic. Avoid single word topic titles and the use of multiple question marks, full stops and exclamation marks. A well chosen topic title can mean the difference between someone choosing to read your topic or ignoring it. If your topic is related to a recent recurring theme, e.g. posting an image of a Comet, then please consider adding a date reference to the topic title. Avoid making short one-line posts, or simply responding to a post using only emoticons, e.g. a single or multiple .
Post new topics within the relevant forum, thereby ensuring it will be read by the correct audience. For example, avoid starting a detailed discussion about cosmology within the General Chat forum.
As with all forums, some conversations can drift off the original topic (known as thread drift). These diversions can often be entertaining, and we don't want to prevent useful discussions, but if things stray too far from the original point it is easy to start a new thread with a more appropriate heading (such as Orion Nebula, was My favourite telescope), and to leave a final message in the My favourite telescope thread announcing where you have gone. On occasion a moderator may split a thread into 2 or more threads; if this happens a message will be posted to the original thread informing everyone of what has happened and where the new thread is.
- Posting Images
The posting of images is allowed and encouraged. In most cases images will probably be posted to the gallery. When posting images anywhere on the forums please follow the gallery guidelines.
Note that this Bulletin Board does not support the uploading of images. To post an image you will have to host it yourself or, if you are unable to do that and your image is for use in the gallery, you can email a copy to us and we'll arrange for hosting.
- Advertisements in the Classifieds Forum
The SPA are not responsible for verifying the validity of vendors or buyers within this forum, and transactions are entered into at the risk of the individual parties concerned. Commercial advertisements are not allowed and will be removed.
- General Forum Etiquette
Avoid typing the subject and text of your post using all capital letters. In the world of on-line bulletin boards this is regarded as SHOUTING. More importantly, it makes the post harder to read.
Do not post the same topic in more than one forum. Any duplicate topics will be removed.
Do not post replies to spam posts. Typically, these posts are made to advertise inappropriate websites or products. The forum administrators will remove spam posts as quickly as possible. By replying to them, you move the spam post back to the top of recently replied to topic list, again, thus giving the spam poster the publicity they seek.
Signatures must only contain text (links are allowed) and must be no more than 3 lines in length.
If you are having a problem with the forum, or you are unsure about how to do something on the forum, please consult the forum software's FAQ. If your question is is to do with posting issues please consult the BBCode FAQ. However, if you have an issue that isn't answered by one of the FAQs, then please do not hesitate to contact one of the forum administrators listed below.
- Who are the forum administrators?
Joe Cummings, Dave Pearson, Robin Scagell and Paul Sutherland. If you need to contact a forum administrator for any reason then click on one of the names, then click on and compose and send your message.
- I have registered as a user, but I am unable to logon - what do I do?
You should receive an e-mail, when you register as a user, which will contain an Internet link to "activate" your new account. Clicking on the link, within the e-mail, will confirm that you are the owner of the account, and your chosen user name will be activated ready for you to logon to the forums. However, some Internet Service Providers filter out these e-mails, mistaking them for junk e-mails. If you have registered, but have not received an "activation" e-mail (it may be worth checking your spam or junk mail folder), then contact a forum administrator who will arrange to have your account activated manually.