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FAQs

Last Updated November 22, 2005

Rules & Administration FAQ
Do the discussion forums have any rules?
Who is in charge of Democratic Underground?

Registration & Passwords FAQ
How do I register?
How do I register with an AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, or other free email address?
I lost my password. How do I get another one?
How do I change my password?

Posting FAQ
How do I post a message?
How do I edit a message?
How do I delete a message?
How do I post an image?
How do I link to an image without having it embedded directly in my message?
How many posts do I need to start a new thread, etc?

User Options & Customization FAQ
What is an avatar image?
How do I select an avatar image or upload an avatar image?
How do I change my signature line?
How do I hide members' signature lines?
How do I increase or decrease the font size?
How do I add someone to my ignore list?
How do I remove someone from my ignore list?
How do I add someone to my buddy list?
How do I remove someone from my buddy list?
How do I hide a thread?
How do I show a thread that I have hidden?
How do I hide Lounge threads from the Latest Page?
How do I hide images and avatars?

Forums, Features & Pages FAQ
What is a Forum?
What is a DU Group?
How do I propose a new DU Group?
What are "My Forums"?
How do I add a forum to "My Forums"?
How do I remove a forum from "My Forums"?
What is the Lobby? Latest Page? Greatest Page?
How do I recommend a thread for the homepage?
How do I recommend a thread for the Greatest Page?
How can I tell which threads have the most votes?
What is "My Posts"?
What do "Mark" and "Mark All" do?

Alerts & Reporting Abuse FAQ
Where is the "Alert" link? How do I use it?
I think someone is a disruptor. What should I do?
I think a post should be removed. What should I do?
I alerted a post. Why didn't the moderators do anything?
I alerted a post. Why did it take so long for the moderators to do anything?
I alerted a post. Will the moderators send me a response?

Donation FAQ
How do I donate?
I donated, but I didn't get a star. What should I do?
Can I donate for someone else?
Do you accept donations by mail?
How long does a donor star last?
Where did my star go?
What is the minimum donation?
What is your refund policy?
Are donations tax-deductible?

Moderating & Rule Enforcement FAQ
Why was my post deleted?
Why was my post deleted, but not this other post?
Why did the moderators delete my post faster than they deleted someone else's post?
Why was my thread locked?
Why are the moderators picking on me? Why is a particular moderator biased against me?
Why was I banned?
Why was another member banned?
Can I come back after I have been banned?
I've been banned. Why don't your respond to me?
Why don't you let conservatives post?

 
Rules & Administration FAQ

Do the discussion forums have any rules?

Yes. All members of our community are expected to learn and abide by our discussion forum rules, which are available here.

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Who is in charge of Democratic Underground?

The three administrators of Democratic Underground are Skinner, EarlG, and Elad. You can contact them by email.

We also have a team of volunteer moderators who help with the day-to-day operation of the discussion forum. You can alert the moderators to potential problems on the discussion forum by clicking the "Alert" link on any post. A complete listing of moderators and their forum assignments is available in the Forum Lobby.

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Registration & Passwords FAQ

How do I register?

New members can register to join Democratic Underground by clicking on the link on our homepage that says "First time visitor? Please register," or you can simply click here to register. After you agree to follow our Discussion Forum Rules, you are prompted to provide the following information:

  • Username - This is the name you use to login to DU. It will appear along with all the messages you post here.
  • Name - This is your real name.
  • Email Address - This must be a valid email address that you have access to.

A randomly-generated password will be sent to the email address you provide. Please note that some email programs sometimes interpret this email as unwanted spam, so make sure you check your junk email folder. This email should arrive within 30 minutes of the time you register.

Click the "login" icon in the Forum Lobby, or click here to login. Your web browser must be set to allow cookies. When you login for the first time, you will be prompted to set all of your preferences.

After you login, you have the option to change your password to anything else you choose. Click "Options" then "Change your password," or just click here.

If you do not receive your registration email: First, check your junk mail folder to make sure the registration email is not caught in your spam filter. If you do not receive your registration email within thirty minutes, please use our lost password function to email yourself another password. If that does not work, please send an email to the administrators. We will get back to you on the next business day.

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How do I register with an AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, or other free email address?

We have a 24-hour waiting period on user registrations which come from AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, or other free email addresses. If your email comes from one of these providers, please follow our normal instructions for registration. However, please note that you will not be permitted to login to our website until 24 hours have passed from the time of your registration.

We appreciate your patience, and we apologize that we have to enforce this waiting period. Unfortunately, this action is necessary to cut down on the number of disruptors who register using free email accounts.

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I lost my password. How do I get another one?

Our software can automatically assign you a new password, and email it to the address we have on file for you. Click the link on our homepage that says "Lost Password? Click here," or click here to get a new password.

You will be prompted to provide your forum username and your email address. Take care to insure that you type this information exactly as it is saved in our records, with proper spelling and spacing. A randomly-generated password will be sent to the email address you provide. Please note that some email programs sometimes interpret this email as unwanted spam, so make sure you check your junk email folder.

If that does not work, please send an email to the administrators. We will get back to you on the next business day.

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How do I change my password?

You have the option to change your password to anything you choose. Click "Options" then "Change your password," or just click here. You will be prompted to type in your current password and the new password you want. Click "Update."

If you do not know your current password, please follow these instructions to have a new password assigned to your account.

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Posting FAQ

How do I post a message?

There are two ways to post on Democratic Underground. You can start a new discussion topic, or you can reply to another message.

To start a new discussion topic: Enter the forum which is most appropriate for your topic, and then click the icon at the top of the page that is marked "Post." Fill out the form and click "Post Message."

To reply to another message: Find the message you want to reply to. Click the small black link in the bottom right-hand corner of that message that says "Reply." Fill out the form and click "Post Message."

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How do I edit a message?

Members have the ability to edit their own messages. The editing timeframe lasts for 60 minutes after a message is first posted. After that 60 minute timeframe is over, you are no longer permitted to edit a post.

To edit a post, click the small black link in the bottom right-hand corner of your message that says "Edit."

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How do I delete a message?

Members cannot delete messages. However, you can use the edit function to completely erase the content of your message if you so choose. (See the FAQ How do I edit a message?) Also, you can click the "Alert" link in the bottom left-hand corner of a post and ask the moderators to delete a post for you. There is no guarantee that they will do so, but you are welcome to ask them.

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How do I post an image?

There is no special code to post images. All you have to do is type the URL of the image, like so: http://www.democraticunderground.com/image.jpg

If you are using Internet Explorer on a Windows computer, you can find the URL of an image by right-clicking on that image, and then selecting "Properties." Look for where it says "Address (URL)."

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How do I link to an image without having it embedded directly in my message?

To post a link to an image without having the image embedded directly in your message, just add a question mark at the end and type a few letters, like so: http://www.democraticunderground.com/image.jpg?click

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How many posts do I need to start a new thread, etc?

New members are restricted from starting new discussion topics. We require you to first post responses to a few existing discussion threads before you are given the privilege to do so. We wish we did not have to enforce this rule, but we have found it very helpful to keep disruptors off of our message board. Please do not ask what the minimum number is; we won't tell you, and it's not very high. New members are similarly restricted from using the private messaging function or recommending topics for the Greatest Page.

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User Options & Customization FAQ

What is an avatar image?

An avatar image is the small square image that appears next to each person's post.

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How do I select an avatar image or upload an avatar image?

Registered members of our discussion forum can choose an avatar from our selection of available images. Donors have the option to upload their own individual avatar image.

To choose an avatar from our selection of available images: Click the "Options" icon, and then click "Edit your profile" (or just click here). Look for the words "Avatar Image" and click the link that says "choose from the following images." This will open up a pop-up window showing all of our available images. (There are a lot of them, so it may take a long time to load.) The images are listed alphabetically. To select a particular image, click on it. The pop-up window will close. Scroll down the page and click the "Update" button.

To upload your own avatar image: First, you must save an avatar image on your computer hard drive. (Your avatar image should be in either .jpg or .gif format, and should be no more than 3 kilobytes. We recommend that you crop your avatar to exactly 48 pixels wide and 48 pixels tall.) Click the "Options" icon, and then click "Edit your profile" (or just click here). Look for the words "Avatar Image" and click the link that says "upload your own." This will open a pop-up window with instructions for uploading the image. Click "Browse" to select the image on your computer hard drive. Click the button to indicate whether your image is in .jpg or .gif format. Click "Upload file" to upload the file to our servers. When you are finished, click the "close window" link to close the pop-up window. In the space where it says "Avatar Image" type the path to the file, which will be formatted like so: "personal/000000.jpg" or "personal/000000.gif" (where the 000000 is your DU member number). Scroll down the page and click the "Update" button.

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How do I change my signature line?

Your signature line is the small section of text which appears underneath each of the messages you post on our discussion forum.

To change your signature line, click the "Options" icon, and then click "Edit your profile" (or just click here). Look for the word "Signature." Type your signature line into that space. Click the "Update" button.

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How do I hide members' signature lines?

To hide signature lines, click the "Options" icon, then click "Edit your preferences" (or just click here). Look for the words "Display signatures?" and check "no." Click the "Update" button.

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How do I increase or decrease the font size?

Enter into any of the forums on the website, and look closely at the top left-hand corner of the page. To increase font size, click the small black link that says: Switch to large fonts. To decrease font size, click the small black link that says: Switch to normal fonts.

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How do I add someone to my ignore list?

To add someone to your ignore list, find one of their posts, and click the icon next to their username.

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How do I remove someone from my ignore list?

To remove someone from your ignore list, click the "Options" icon, then click "Ignore list" (or just click here). Check the box next to the name you want to remove, and then click "Remove selected users from my list."

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How do I add someone to my buddy list?

To add someone to your buddy list, find one of their posts, and click the icon next to their username.

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How do I remove someone from my buddy list?

To remove someone from your buddy list, click the "Options" icon, then click "Buddy list" (or just click here). Check the box next to the name you want to remove, and then click "Remove selected users from my list."

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How do I hide a thread?

To hide a thread, click the small icon next to the title of the thread. You can also click the small black "Hide Thread" link in the bottom left-hand corner of the message.

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How do I show a thread that I have hidden?

To show a thread, click the "Options" icon, then click "Hidden Threads" (or just click here). Check the box next to the thread you want to show, and then click "Unhide selected threads." Threads are removed from your hidden threads list automatically when they fall into the discussion forum archives.

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How do I hide Lounge threads from the Latest Page?

To hide Lounge threads from the Latest Page, click the "Options" icon, then click "Edit your preferences" (or just click here). Look for the words "Hide the Lounge from the Latest page?" and check "yes." Click the "Update" button.

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How do I hide images and avatars?

To hide images and avatars, click the "Options" icon, then click "Edit your preferences" (or just click here). Look for the words "Hide avatars and other images?" and check "yes." Click the "Update" button.

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Forums, Features & Pages FAQ

What is a Forum?

A forum is an area set aside for discussion of related topics. For example, Latest Breaking News, General Discussion, and The DU Lounge are all very popular forums that host discussion of a broad range of topics. We also have many smaller forums where members can discuss a number of more specific topics. We encourage you to spend some time browsing all of our forums to familiarize yourself with the wide range of offerings. If a particular forum is of interest to you, you should add it to your "My Forums" list.

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What is a DU Group?

A DU Group is a special type of discussion forum, suggested by DU Members and dedicated to a particular mission. They are "safe havens" where all participants must support the mission statement of the Group in order to post. The mission statement of each DU Group is pinned to the top of that Group. Only donors are permitted to post in DU Groups. All of the DU Groups are listed in the DU Groups folder.

Members who disagree with a particular Group's mission statement, or who otherwise disrupt a particular Group can be barred from posting in that Group.

For more information about DU Groups, please read the topics What are DU Groups? and How to Suggest a DU Group. We keep a running list of new DU Groups in the New DU Groups thread.

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How do I propose a new DU Group?

Instructions for suggesting a new DU Group are available in this thread.

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What are "My Forums"?

This is an extremely large community, with many forums. Most members are probably not interested in participating in all of our different forums, so we have given you the ability to select specific forums that interest you, using the "My Forums" feature.

You can add up to 15 forums to your "My Forums" list. The forums you select will appear on the Forum Lobby, and in the left-hand column of the Latest Page and Greatest Page.

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How do I add a forum to "My Forums"?

To add a forum to "My Forums" first click to enter any of the four Forum Category folders:

Forums are listed alphabetically within each forum category folder. Locate the forum you want to add to your "My Forums" list. Click the link next to that forum's name which says "Add to My Forums." The forum will be added to your "My Forums" list.

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How do I remove a forum from "My Forums"?

To remove a forum from your "My Forums" list, click the "Options" icon, then click "My Forums" (or just click here). Check the box next to the forum you want to remove, and then click "Delete from My Forums."

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What is the Lobby? Latest Page? Greatest Page?

There are three gateway pages into Democratic Underground: The Lobby, the Latest Page, and the Greatest Page.

The Lobby lists all the available forums, along with their moderators and other info.

The Latest Page lists the most recent threads posted on the discussion forum. The right column lists the latest threads posted in our Latest Breaking News forum.

The Greatest Page lists threads which have been nominated by the members of DU as the most noteworthy. The center column (Most Recent) lists the threads by time, with the most recent at the top of the page. The right column (Most Popular) lists the threads by the number of votes they receive, with the most popular at the top of the page.

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How do I recommend a thread for the homepage?

Click the link in the bottom left-and corner of the message that says "Recommend Topic for Greatest Page." That recommendation will be counted as a vote to get the thread included on the Greatest Page, and it will also nominate the thread for possible inclusion on our homepage. The administrators review all the nominations and select which topics to place on our homepage.

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How do I recommend a thread for the Greatest Page?

Click the link in the bottom left hand corner of the message that says "Recommend Topic for Greatest Page." That recommendation will be counted as a vote to get the thread included on the Greatest Page, and it will also nominate the thread for possible inclusion on our homepage. Threads that receive at least five votes are included on our Greatest Page. The threads with the most votes appear at the top of the right-hand column of the Greatest Page, under the heading "Greatest Threads (Most Popular)."

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How can I tell which threads have the most votes?

The Greatest Page lists the recommended threads in two ways. The center column (Most Recent) lists the threads by time, with the most recent at the top of the page. The right column (Most Popular) lists the threads by the number of votes they receive, with the most popular at the top of the page.

You can also see how many votes a thread has by opening the thread and checking the number listed in the bottom left-hand corner of the message, next to where it says "Recommend Topic for Greatest Page."

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What is "My Posts"?

The "My Posts" page lists all the messages you have posted on our discussion forum during the previous 48 hours, along with the number of replies. You can access the "My Posts" page by clicking the icon at the top of the forum Lobby that says "My DU" (or you can click here).

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What do "Mark" and "Mark All" do?

The "Mark" function helps you keep track of which posts are new. When you click "Mark" in a particular forum, all of the posts in that forum will get marked with a white icon, like this: . Any messages that are posted in that forum after you click "Mark" will be marked with a gold icon, like this: .

The "Mark All" icon marks messages in every forum.

Note: In order to use the "Mark" function you need to have the function turned on in your preferences. Click on "Options" then click "Edit your preferences" (or just click here). Under the section "Use MARK time stamp feature?" Select "yes" and then click the "Update" button.

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Alerts & Reporting Abuse FAQ

Where is the "Alert" link? How do I use it?

There is an "Alert" link in the bottom left-hand corner of every message. Use the "Alert" link to notify the moderators about any post (or person) which you think needs moderator attention.

To use our alert function, first click the "Alert" link on a particular post. Type a brief explanation of why you are alerting that post. (You do not need to copy the text of the message -- it will be sent to the moderators automatically.) Click "send email." This will send an automatic message to the moderators assigned to that forum.

The moderators are not required to be online all the time, and they are not required to respond immediately to the alerts they receive. Sometimes it takes a few seconds, and sometimes it takes many hours for a moderator to respond.

Please do not send rude or abusive messages to the moderators using the Alert function.

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I think someone is a disruptor. What should I do?

Click the "Alert" link on one of their posts and politely explain to the moderators why you think a person is a disruptor. Do not post a message publicly accusing that person of being a disruptor.

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I think a post should be removed. What should I do?

Click the "Alert" link on the post and politely explain to the moderators why you think the post should be removed. Do not post a message publicly accusing that person of breaking the rules.

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I alerted a post. Why didn't the moderators do anything?

The moderators are instructed to only take action when there is a consensus to do so. There are often times when members believe the moderators should intervene, but the moderators themselves choose not to do so.

Occasionally alert emails are lost, or a particular alert might get "lost in the shuffle." You are welcome to click alert a second time if you feel confident that something needs moderator attention. But please do not alert on any post more than twice.

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I alerted a post. Why did it take so long for the moderators to do anything?

The moderators are not required to be online all the time, and they are not required to respond immediately to the alerts they receive. Sometimes it takes a few seconds, and sometimes it takes many hours for a moderator to respond. Please be patient.

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I alerted a post. Will the moderators send me a response?

No, the moderators do not reply to the alerts they receive.

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Donation FAQ

How do I donate?

Democratic Underground is a completely independent website, funded almost entirely by voluntary donations from our visitors. We accept donations by credit card, PayPal, and by mail using a personal check or money order.

Full instructions for donating are available on our donate page.

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I donated, but I didn't get a star. What should I do?

Usually when you donate, a donor star should be assigned to your forum username automatically. However, in some cases, a star will not appear immediately. In such cases, usually a star will appear before close of business on the next business day.

If you do not have a star by 6:00PM ET on the next business day after you donate, please send an email to skinner@democraticunderground.com and explain what has happened. Include the following information:

  • Your forum username
  • Your real name
  • The method of your donation (Credit Card, PayPal, Check, etc.)
  • The approximate date of your donation

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Can I donate for someone else?

Yes, you can donate to DU and designate the donor star to another member. On our donate form, there is a space that says "Forum username." In that space, type the username of the member you want to give the star to.

That member will be given full donor privileges, but they will not receive a DU bumper sticker or a thank-you note. The bumper sticker will be sent to the person who actually makes the donation (if that person requests it).

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Do you accept donations by mail?

Yes, we accept donations by mail. Instructions are available on our donate page.

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How long does a donor star last?

Your donor star lasts for one full year after the date of your donation. But you are welcome to donate before the full year is over.

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Where did my star go?

Donor stars last for one full year after the date of your donation. If your star disappeared, it is probably because it has been more than a year since your last donation.

Sometimes our records do not accurately reflect the date of your most recent donation. If you believe your donor star was taken away prematurely, please let us know so we can fix the problem.

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What is the minimum donation?

There is no minimum donation. To be more exact, we charge a $1 processing fee on all credit card donations, so that is the effective minimum. There is also no maximum donation.

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What is your refund policy?

Donors may request a refund for any reason within 90 days of the date the donation was made. After 90 days, refunds will be granted at the discretion of the DU Administrators.

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Are donations tax-deductible?

Due to the highly political nature of Democratic Underground, we cannot qualify as a non-profit organization. Therefore, donations to Democratic Underground, LLC, are not tax deductible.

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Moderating & Rule Enforcement FAQ

Why was my post deleted?

This is a moderated message board with rules. The moderators remove a post when they come to a consensus that it violates our rules. The most common reasons for a post to be removed are the following:

  • It is a personal attack against another member of our website, or otherwise uncivil.
  • It is bigoted or grossly insensitive against a particular group of people.
  • It is inflammatory or extreme.

There are dozens and dozens of other reasons why a particular post could be deleted, and most of them are listed in our rules. If you do not know why your post was removed, please read our Discussion Forum Rules, including our More Detailed Discussion Forum Rules.

If your post is deleted, we do not consider it a valid excuse to argue that someone else did it, too, or to argue that the moderators deleted your post faster than some other post. We get tens of thousands of messages posted every day, and absolute consistency in moderation is simply not possible.

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Why was my post deleted, but not this other post?

Your post was deleted because the moderators decided that it broke the rules. The fact that some other, allegedly comparable post was not removed does not matter. We get tens of thousands of messages posted every day, and absolute consistency in moderation is simply not possible. If you think some other post by some other person should have been removed, please click the "Alert" link on that post so the moderators can deal with it.

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Why did the moderators delete my post faster than they deleted someone else's post?

We get tens of thousands of messages posted every day, and absolute consistency in moderation is simply not possible. The fact that a particular post gets deleted faster than some other post is totally random and does not mean anything.

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Why was my thread locked?

This is a moderated message board with rules. Threads get locked for many different reasons. The most common reasons are because the thread topic was inflammatory, or because the discussion turned into a flame war.

Usually, when a moderator locks a thread, they will post a message in that thread explaining why they have locked it. Occasionally they will not post a reason if 1) the reason for locking should be obvious to most people, or if 2) they don't want to kick the thread back to the top of the forum.

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Why are the moderators picking on me? Why is a particular moderator biased against me?

Most likely nobody is picking on you, and nobody is biased against you. If the moderators are "picking on you," it is most likely because you are causing problems. You would be wise to make an effort to play nice with other DU members, and also to familiarize yourself with our rules.

The moderators of Democratic Underground enforce the rules based on consensus. Whenever a moderator takes action, they are required to first get a consensus from the available moderators that action is necessary and appropriate. What constitutes a consensus varies based on the situation. If a rule violation is obvious, then action only requires a second opinion from one other moderator. But if a situation is unclear, highly subjective, or likely to be controversial, then the opinions of many moderators are required. Whatever the situation, one moderator has the power to veto any enforcement action. All moderator actions are logged by our software, and can be reviewed by the administrators.

Of course, if you continually act like a jerk to the moderators, then it is inevitable that some of them might start to develop a bias against you. They are human, after all.

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Why was I banned?

People get banned from DU for many different reasons. The four most common reasons people are banned are: 1) They are conservative, 2) They are uncivil or disruptive, 3) They repeatedly break the rules, or 4) They have been previously banned under a different username.

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Why was another member banned?

We generally do not discuss why particular members are banned.

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Can I come back after I have been banned?

Once you have been banned, it is pretty difficult (but not impossible) to come back to DU. If you value your membership in our community, you would be wise to not get banned in the first place.

We do occasionally reinstate people who have been banned, after a cooling-off period, provided that they seem genuinely interested in improving their behavior and want to be a positive contributor to our community. Send an email to the admins to make your case.

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I've been banned. Why don't your respond to me?

If we don't respond to you, it means your appeal for reinstatement has been denied.

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Why don't you let conservatives post?

Democratic Underground is not intended to provide a soap-box for our political opponents. If we let conservatives post here, then this discussion forum would be identical to all the other discussion forums on the Internet. If you want to debate conservatives, there are thousands of other websites on the Internet where you can do so -- just not this one.

By the way... There are lots of conservative discussion forums that don't permit liberals to post, including this one.

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