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The Questions and Assistance Forum


Welcome to Questions & Assistance!

The purpose of the Questions & Assistance Forum is for users to ask questions pertaining to or relating to Gaia and to have them answered by their peers. This sticky is intended to provide some basic information and suggestions to those seeking assistance as well as rules for those who wish to hang out and provide assistance to others.
    In this thread:
  • 1st Post: Intro
  • 2nd Post: Forum Rules
  • 3rd Post: What Does not Belong
  • 4th Post: Notes on Workarounds
  • 5th Post: Mini Mod FAQ
  • 6th Post: Feedback Form
  • 7th Post: Report System
Forum Rules


All users who post in Q&A (newbies, oldbies, and regulars alike) will be expected to abide by these rules.

REMEMBER: You must follow all general rules of Gaia that are stipulated by the Terms of Service, Rules & Guidelines, etc.


THE BASICS
    Spam
    The Q&A forum is very strict about spamming. Any posts that do not attempt to help resolve the assistance being sought or question being asked can be considered spam. If you do not have anything meaningful or relevant to add, then consider the Chatterbox or other more appropriate forums. If you don't know, then don't post.

    If you see that the thread is resolved, then do not post. This does not mean you will get in trouble if several users all post answers in a reasonable span of time and someone else beat you. Do not post something like "What he/she said", quote for emphasis, echo an answer already posted, etc.

    Necroing
    Posting in a thread causes it to move to the top of the forum listing. Posting in long resolved and unposted in threads is considered necroing. This is disruptive as it now mixes with fresh threads. If you unnecessarily post in "dead" threads that have already been resolved, you can be warned for spamming.

    Bumping
    In general, threads are responded to fairly promptly. However, it can still take a bit of time, especially if there are many new threads being posted or if the answer involves lots of typing or information gathering. Be patient. Bumping will only be allowed if a thread falls off the first page of the forum listing and is still unresolved. This will include not just posts directly saying "bump" but any post that serves no other purpose than to bring up the thread. (For instance: just emoticons, a question mark, "can't anyone answer", etc.). Bumping inappropriately may result in a being warned for spam.

    Abuse and Flaming
    Calling other users "stupid", "slow", "retarded", "moronic" or any other kind of abusive behavior does not help in any situation. Other people annoying or offending you does not give you the right to be abusive in return. Having the opinion that not knowing something is "stupid" does not give you permission to abuse the person asking. It only makes you look "stupid." Engaging in abusive behavior can and probably will earn you a warning.

FOR THOSE SEEKING ASSISTANCE
    Check the existing threads
    While repeat threads are allowed, it is highly suggested that you at least quickly look through to see if other people have asked about the same thing(s) you plan to post about. Most problems are not unique and you might be able to find an answer about it that is already posted.

    Be descriptive in your title
    This will help users offering assistance tell if they might be able to help you as well as allow other users that might be having the same problem to identify a thread where there might already be an answer.

    Make sure it is related to Gaia
    Your question should be related to Gaia itself. That is seeking informational assistance about Gaia. Like how to do something Gaia related. Seeking subjective judgements or answers about non-Gaia topics do not belong in this forum.

    Check for the answer in the thread
    Do not ask people to PM, IM, or otherwise contact you with an answer. You are the one seeking help. It is not good etiquette to make people have to go out of their way to help you. In addition, other users needing the same help as you will be able to see an answer if it is in the thread. If you haven't gotten an answer but have to leave, save the link to the thread (using bookmarks, thread subscriptions, etc) and check it when you come back.

    All replies are by volunteers
    No one is required to answer your questions or reply to your threads. The more respect you show to your fellow users and the easier you make it on them to help, the more likely you will get a useful response that resolves the issue you are having.

    Most people in Q&A are regular users
    The Q&A is mostly staffed by regular users who volunteer to help out. Sometimes moderators will post replies and answers; however, it should be assumed that replies will be from regular users only. Therefore, some questions should not be posted, but rather should be directly sent to a moderator. This includes: questions on if content is acceptable or unacceptable, questions relating to hackings or scams, questions about bans. Try to find an online moderator that is listed in the forum relevant to your question. And only contact one moderator at a time (if you are not getting a reply, delete the PM to the first moderator from your outbox and try a different moderator).

FOR THOSE OFFERING ASSISTANCE
    Report bad threads
    Members will post threads that don't belong in this forum or threads that should be removed due to being inappropriate. DO NOT POST IN A THREAD SOLELY TO SAY THAT IT IS MISPLACED/VIOLATING THE RULES. Report it and let us explain why they should not have posted it in Q&A. Remember: posting in it will just move it to the top of the forum where it will continuing staying visible.

    Enforcing rules
    If a user is violating a rule, then you can at most politely inform them about it. As with the above rule, try to refrain from making this the sole purpose of your post. If they still refuse, continuing to press the issue will not accomplish anything. It is almost always better to just simply report it.

    Make useful posts only
    If you do not have anything to say that will help resolve the thread, then don't post. If you are just going to say something like "I don't know" or "hopefully someone knows" or "that's interesting/weird", etc., then you should not be posting and can receive warnings for it.

    Resist the urge to post verbatim
    Just directly copying an existing document (such as the Terms of Service) a a response is usually not sufficient. They might be asking because they don't understand the meaning of the very thing you are copying. Make sure you also try to explain what it means and why it applies to the situation.

    "Answer Threads"
    The entire Q&A forum is for users to ask questions and get answers. Making a thread where you give answers will not be allowed. This includes threads where you have users come to ask questions so you can give answers or threads where you provide answers to questions unprompted (like an FAQ). It also includes warnings, declarations, and notifications such as but not limited to "watch out for this scam" or "check out the new admin announcement".

    Let moderators do what they do
    If someone creates a thread about something that you cannot deal with (like a hacking, a scam, or a ban), provide instructions on how to report it or how to contact a moderator about it. It's not your responsibility to solve or resolve such cases, so please do not attempt to.

    Repeats are a fact of life
    It is inevitable that when a problem is widespread, there will be repetitive threads from various users about that problem. If you see a question asked a several times in the same day (or even the same hour), don't feel obligated to answer it, but at the same time do not scold the user! If you do post to help her, you can politely remind her to check the pre-existing threads.
What Does Not Belong


The Q&A forum is for issues directly related to Gaia itself. This will include but is not limited to questions about how to do something on Gaia, questions about what something on Gaia means, or what something on Gaia is for. It is not for general questions or assistance about anything and everything.

Here is a list of several things that are commonly posted in Q&A but would be more appropriate elsewhere.

    Hi I'm New!
    Please don't use Q&A to announce yourself. There is a forum called Welcome to Gaia where you can do that.

    Feedback about Gaia:
    Feedback about Gaia should go in the Site Feedback forum. This includes suggestions for new features or items, modifications for things that already exist on Gaia, etc. Make sure you use the Petitions subforum if you are going to make a petition for something.

    Gaia related discussions:
    If you want to discuss some aspect of Gaia, the Gaia Community Discussion forum is where you want to go. This forum is dedicated to discussing the Gaia world, NPCs, storylines, avatars, and the community. This is where certain subjective questions about Gaia could potentially go.

    Computer problems:
    Gaia is not really a computer help desk and the Q&A forum is not appropriate for computer related questions. You might be able to find some help in the Computers and Technology forum.

    Testing something:
    If you want to experiment with something or figure out how to do something (perhaps something that someone just explained to you), remember that you should use the Test Forum and not the Q&A forum for it.

    Chatting and Spamming:
    If you want to chat or spam, then use the Chatterbox. Every forum has their own rules regarding off topic posting. Make sure of them before posting in a forum.

    FAQs and Tutorials about Gaia:
    These belong in the Gaia Guides and Resources subforum.

    Technical problems and difficulties:
    For reporting bugs or discovering if workarounds to them have been found, check out Bug Reports & Technical Support. If you think you've found a layering issue or glitch with equipping items onto your avatar, try Avatar System 2.0 Q&F.

You should always try to make sure you are posting in an appropriate forum that allows the content of your thread. Start from the Forum Index to find a valid forum for your thread.
Notes on Workarounds


Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to find a workaround for a current site error:

  • Any workaround which involves circumventing normal site operations may be problematical. It might be good to check with a moderator before suggesting it to others or encouraging them to use it.

  • For multi-player features such as fishing, casinos, and towns, workarounds which involve pasting a copied url into your browser window rather than following the provided links on Gaia's maps can be considered cheating and/or hacking. Please always use the links directly from the maps to access these features. This is true of direct-links to events as well, such as direct links to Jack during a trick or treating event.

  • Workarounds that involve changing the url in your browser window, and especially those where you change the name of the server are no longer very effective due to updates with Gaia's infrastructure, and can cause additional problems. They're really not the best to use or distribute.

Additional notes on changing server names
In the past, a very very common workaround for problems was to change the server name in your browser from www and substitute one of the other dozens of server names that exist in Gaia.

Due to changes in Gaia's servers and the way that they are set up and interact with one another, changing the server name is no longer a very effective workaround. Most of the time, it has little to no effect, since the new url simply goes through the load balancer the same as the www url.

If, by changing the server name you DO manage to bypass the load balancer, you may be using a server which is not intended to be used for the feature you are attempting to use it for. Not every server is designed to handle every feature and/or task on the site. This can cause additional servers to get bogged down, crash, or additional features to stop working.
Mod Mini-FAQ


What is a mod?
The term Mod is short for Moderator. Moderators help the Admins with user disputes, try to keep the forums clean and organized, as well as dealing with some account issues such as Hacking/Scamming.

How do I become a Moderator?
Moderators are invited to the moderation team by Administrators, the creators and maintainers of Gaia. Generally, the Admins pick users that have been respectful and helpful in the past and who show an interest in making the site a better place. As of August 1, 2007, an application process is being opened. Details and a link to the application can be found in this announcement thread.
    WARNING: Do not be fooled by false moderator application claims. The valid link is the one posted in this announcement. Do not trust any other links or messages that claim to allow you to apply or become a moderator.

What are these colors for? Which mods handle what issues?
    Site Moderators handle forum moderation, Art Arena approvals/disapprovals, Gaia Guild Network moderation, and more. Send signature removal requests, Terms of Service questions, and other general forum questions to these moderators.

    Global Moderators handle abuse and harassment reports, as well as oversee moderation throughout the site.

    Omni Moderators handle account issues, including hacking and scamming reports. Talk to these moderators about problems you may have with your account, items, and inventories.

    Administrators are the creators, programmers, and developers of Gaia Online. It's generally not recommended to PM the admins, but if you have a question about moderator conduct in particular, you should email usertalk [at] gaiaonline [dot] com.

    Artists, Developers, other staff are the many other people who work hard to make Gaia awesome by creating new features and new art, items and much more. They will not be able to help with Terms of Service violations – please contact a Moderator (or Administrator, if appropriate) for assistance.

    Non-Playable Characters are NOT moderators, but are "NPCs" that inhabit and interact in the world of Gaia! They usually take part in Gaia's main storyline, and in some instances interact with users through posts/PMs! Gaia's NPCs include but are not limited to Gambino and Gino.

    Blue names are not moderators, but users on your friendlist.

Is there a list of all moderators?
Gaia does not maintain an official overall list of moderators. However, there are some unofficial user maintained lists including the following:
(one)

Where can I find a list of online moderators?
There used to be (a long time ago) a master list at the bottom of the forum index. However, at the top of each forum there is a link to "View Forum Moderators". The moderators for that forum are listed and will have their status listed.

When can I PM a moderator?
Many features of Gaia have report systems. Please use those as much as possible. For areas without report systems or for complex issues not appropriate for any one report, initially contact a Site Moderator.

Where can I report things/what do I use the "report" buttons for?
Information about the report systems will be in a later post of this thread.

I have a problem with a moderator. Who do I report this to?
If you have a problem with a moderator, feel free to contact another moderator or usertalk [at] gaiaonline [dot] com.

Will you be my friend?
Well aren't you friendly? As much as we love friends, we get this a lot, and we generally don't like it. Not because we're mean or want to eat your firstborn, but because people who ask others out of the blue if they want to be friends generally have low standards on friendship and we like to get to know people before befriending them. smile
[Note: This goes for most of us. Some of us really are mean and want to eat you along with your firstborn. No, we won't tell you which mod is which.]

Can I send you a friendlist request?
Please don't. Please.

Can I have some gold/clothes/items?
We're normal users too and we don't have large piles of money sitting around. Unless we do what some users do and horde. Most of us are as poor as you are, though. (Well, maybe not quite AS poor, but we definitely have our own needs and wants!) Please only ask for donations in the User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show. Charity/Quests Forum.
The Feedback Form


There are two main reasons to use the feedback form.
  1. You have a problem with buying Monthly Collectables that cannot be answered by other users- IE, your letters did not arrive after a significant length of time after the payment for them was received as minor delays are possible (in addition, snail mail takes longer to receive than electronic payments).
  2. You wish to contact the administrators directly about site advertisements, copyright issues, other commercial issues, etc.


Additional, but less frequently needed uses for the feedback form are:
  • Account activation/confirmation issues (you can also contact an Omnimoderator about these)
  • Reporting misconduct/abuse by a Moderator or other staff member please email membertalk [at] gaiaonline [dot] com


The administrators have hundreds and hundreds of feedback forms and this is why it takes so long to get a response--so many are being sent in. Please use the feedback form as a last resort.

The Feedback Form is found in the set of links at the bottom of every page. Link is titled "Contact Us". When using it, provide as much information as you can in order to receive the most direct help.
Using The Report System


The Report System makes it easier for users to report inappropriate threads and posts. It also makes it easier for the Mods to handle the reports effectively.

NOTE
When you see something in violation, it is best to simply report the thread/post. Responding generally does not help the situation and can make it worse. For example, responding to a thread that is breaking the rules brings the thread to the top of the forum where it is more visible.


Report this Post User Image

Use this button to report a specific post that is in violation of the TOS. Clicking it will take you to the report form which you then fill out and submit. Since this button is located right next to the QUOTE button, you must be careful not to confuse the two. Abuse of the report button will lead to your account getting a temporary ban. Do not use this button to report misplaced or inappropriate threads (ie. use the Thread Report talked about next).

Report this Thread User Image
Located at the bottom of the page, you can find it right next to the Subscribe button. Please use this button to report threads that are inappropriate. However, please take note that you will likely NEVER use this for reporting a misplaced thread in the Chatterbox. The Chatterbox is a forum that can be home to all types of threads, no matter how well they may fit into another forum. This includes Charity threads, Lottos and Minishop threads. Please do not report these threads. Also, do not use this to report scamming or hacking. You will be redirected to the reports below upon receiving thread reports about scamming or hacking. For faster service please use the right report from the beginning.

Report a Hacking
You can find this link at the bottom of the main forums page. Use this form if your account have been hacked into. Please provide all information you have that will help the investigation along. This includes usernames, emails, links and screencaps. Please be patient when submitting a hacking report. Reports are handled chronologically based on when they are filed, so it can take some time for a mod to begin work on your case.

Report a Scam
You can find this link at the bottom of the main forums page. Use this form if a user has scammed you. Please provide all information you have available including usernames, links and screencaps. Please be patient when submitting a scamming report. Reports are handled chronologically based on when they are filed, so it can take some time for a mod to begin work on your case.

Report Abuse/Harassment
You can find this link at the bottom of the main forums page. Use this form if a user is abusing or harassing you outside of the forums, such as through PMs. If the abuse is occurring in a thread, please use the "Report this Post" button. Please provide all information you have available including usernames, links and screencaps of PMs. Please be patient when submitting a harassment report. It can take anywhere from a few days to weeks or more for a mod to begin work on your case.



If you are uncertain what report to use, PM an online Moderator (Site Moderator preferably) first and they will be able to help you with where to go.

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