Starting a new discussion: how to give your topic the best chance of being selected
Thanks for your interest in starting a new discussion topic.
When you submit your topic it is not published automatically but is stored with all the others until the moderators have had chance to look at them all and decide which ones to post.
Sometimes this happens within a couple of hours, sometimes it may take a few days: it varies, depending on the number of topics submitted, moderator availability, etc. We won’t write and let you know if your topic hasn’t been selected, but generally speaking, if it hasn’t appeared within 3-4 days, you should probably assume it isn’t going to.
If this happens in your case, don’t worry: most days we receive about 5 times as many submissions as we are able to publish, so only a relatively small proportion of the total will make it through.
There are a few things you can do to increase the chances of your topic being selected:
- Most importantly, please check first to see whether we already have a thread on this topic, or have recently had one. If we have, please submit your thoughts as a comment on one of those instead.
- Ensure your topic is in keeping with the purpose of this website, which is the promotion of reason and science.
- Like anyone else, we like articles which capture our interest early on. Try to make sure there is something fresh and original in your submission: something that is likely to trigger interesting discussion. Avoid rehashing topics that have been done to death unless you have something genuinely fresh to bring to them.
- Please don't use the Discussions section for submitting news stories to the site. You can do that by emailing the URL of the news story to email@example.com Even if your submission is really intended for the Discussions section, and not News, please don't just submit a link on its own but write something to explain what it’s about, why it’s of interest, something to get the discussion started. If linking to a text somewhere else, include the text in your submission.
- Try to make sure it’s written properly. We don’t mind tidying up the odd spelling or grammar mistake, but if your submission is full of them, it is likely to be rejected. But don’t worry if English is not your first language or there is some other reason why this is difficult for you – let us know at the start of your topic (don’t worry, we’ll remove that bit before we publish your discussion), and we’ll obviously be sympathetic.
- Similarly, try to make sure that the point you are trying to make is expressed clearly, so it is immediately obvious what you are trying to say. Breaking it up into appropriate paragraphs also helps.
- Make sure you have included references and sources where appropriate. Don’t ask users to comment on hearsay.
- Don’t include comments which could be considered defamatory.
- Don’t post questions that you could find answers to yourself by doing a simple Google search or by doing some elementary reading.
- Don’t include any form of advertising, whether it is for a commercial service or your personal blog.
RDFRS has decided to use Gravatar as our avatar management system. This is a 3rd party system that allows sites to grab an avatar using an email address from the Gravatar site. This is also useful for the user as they only have to set up their avatar once for multiple systems.
For example, if you have an e-mail associated with 5 sites that use Gravatar you only need to update the avatar image for that e-mail address on the Gravatar site and the next time the Gravatar image for that e-mail account is used on another site, it will display the new avatar image.
The following is a quick introduction on how to set up your avatar and how we collet your avatar.
How to set up Gravatar
Visit the Gravatar site at http://gravatar.com. There is a Login button on the top right conner of the page. Click this and a drop down will appear. On this drop down there is a signup link on the bottom. Click the signup link
On this page there will be an email input field. Put in the email you would like to to sign up with. Note: this must be a valid email as there will be an email validation. When you click the sign up button you will be taken to a page that will tell you an email has been sent.
Access your email and find the email sent. It may be in your spam folder. Once you find the email, click the validation link. This will take you to a new page which will have you enter a username and password.
You will be taken to a page that says: "Whoops, looks like you don't have any images yet! Add one by clicking here!". Click on this link.
On this page you will have 3 links. One for each option provided for selecting a photo. You can chose a picture from your hard drive, from a URL on the internet, or and image on Gravatar's site.
What ever one you pick, follow the instructions and hit next. This will take you to the cropping page. Gravatar provides your avatar in a specific ratio so that it never looks skewed or squashed. This means you will need to crop to that ratio. Move the dotted lines with your mouse to capture as much of your image as possible making sure to get any critical parts of the image inside the dotted square. Click "Crop and Finish".
You are now on the Gravatar rating page. This will allow you put a rating on your avatar. Put what you feel is an appropriate rating. Sites will have the choice to to display certain rated avatars on their site. Such as a children site will avoid anything above G. Click the rating and you are now done no the gravatar site.
How to use Gravatar on this site
There is one more thing to do. We at the RDF tech team try to keep privacy in mind when dealing with user accounts. Due to this the option to use gravatar is set to off on your profile by default. (Unless you had gravatar enabled on the old site when you transferred).
You will need to edit your profile at the following link: http://richarddawkins.net/users/edit On this page above the bio field you will see a checkbox with Use Gravatar next to it. Check that box and scroll down below the bio field and click "Update user". This will activate your gravatar for the email address you signed up with. If you have any problems fell free to use the gold feedback link at the bottom to open a ticket with us.
Here's a short video from their site.
RDF is committed to providing privacy on our website. This policy outlines our personal information handling practices. If you give us personal information, we treat it according to this policy, and we use your personal information only in the ways specified on your profile. We do not otherwise share it. All information on your profile, other than your username, is by default private, you can set options to share or keep private all information except for your username. Your e-mail address and personal address can not be shared on this website. If you choose to enter your physical address this can be used in conjunction with Google Maps to enhance the features of the event calendar. You may wish to enter your work or other address for this. We do not make use of your mailing address for any other purpose than to extend your interaction with Google Maps.
This should go without saying, but simply; we do not sell your information.
In order to post comments, add events to the event calendar, submit or make use of other features on our website, you must first create an account. Disqus is used for commenting on this site. To make the most of of the commenting features you should create an account on Disqus and merge it with your RDF account. However, creating a Disqus account is not a prerequisite for posting, a Disqus account is created in the background for you so that you can use the basics of the commenting system.
Accounts in our system are perpetual. If you change the information in your account, our stored data backups may include your original information.
When you e-mail us or report problems using our feedback system, we use this information to raise and respond to issues and inquiries of all types.
We do not share personally identifiable information with third parties, with one limited exception: we may disclose personally identifiable information about you if we have a good faith belief that doing so is required by law, such as pursuant to a subpoena or other judicial or administrative order.
We use both short-term cookies and persistent cookies. A short-term cookie expires within a limited period of time. We use session cookies so that readers with accounts can navigate and contribute to our site without logging in multiple times over a short period of time. A persistent cookie remains on your hard drive for an extended period of time. We use persistent cookies to recognize account holders and present the site accordingly. You can remove cookies by following directions provided in your Internet browser's "help" file.
If you reject cookies, you may still use our site, but your ability to use some areas of our site, such as comments, will require logging in for each action you want to take.
Ad-blocking software. We do not host advertisements on our website and we discourage the use of ad-blocking software as this may inhibit or block some of the features of the website. If you choose to use ad-blocking software it is your responsibility to configure it approriately.
Links to Other Sites
This website contains links to other sites that are not owned or controlled by RDF. Please be aware that RDF is not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. This privacy statement applies only to information collected by this Web site.
RSS feeds are now working as of 30-Aug-2012. If you had a feed set up with in reader which has stopped working you will need to resubscribe. If you have an App that used the old site's RSS feed you will need to contact the developers of that app to have them update their feeds.
Please subscribe to the following urls for RSS feeds.
- http://www.richarddawkins.net/rss_feeds = all content (News/Originals/Discussions)
- http://www.richarddawkins.net/rss_feeds?feature=news = Just Web News
- http://www.richarddawkins.net/rss_feeds?feature=originals = Just Originals
- http://www.richarddawkins.net/rss_feeds?feature=discussions = Just Discussions
- Entering in http://www.richarddawkins.net at a feed reader will get you all content as well.
Report a Problem
- Agile Zen - feature, issue tracking and project management
- Amazon S3 - cloud storage
- Campfire - internal text chat
- Disqus - comment management - we will be migrating to a different solution
- DNsimple and IWantMyName - DNS management and domain registration
- GitHub - code and version control
- Google Docs - document collaboration
- Google Maps - integrated with the event calendar
- GoToMeeting - online collaboration and screen sharing
- Gravatar - user avatars
- Heroku - application server services
- Rackspace - cloud storage
- Rspec - code testing
- Ruby and Ruby on Rails - code
- Shopify - online store
- Solar - search engine
- UserVoice - user feedback and problem reporting tool that captures the url, browser and OS info
- iCal export of individual events - not working at present - iCal of the entire calendar works fine
- Letters - feature not yet migrated
- Books/Recommended Reading -feature not yet migrated, this is will be greatly enhanced database of books suggested by RDFRS staff as well as readers and will have the ability for readers to up-vote their favorite books so that everyone can see the most popular and favorite books.
- Videos/Vignettes - feature not yet migrated
- Local Groups - this is now Groups and has been greatly expanded.
- Links - this is in development. Previously this was just a collection of links. This being expanded to be a more useful and more searchable features.
- Every feature on the website has a number of enhancement which are planned or in progress