The Cauldron has always been intended as a place where debate and discussion can flourish. We also know that there is a great deal of difficult material embedded in the myths and cultures many of us rely on as key to our spiritual, magical, and/or religious practices and communities, as well as disturbing and outright bigoted elements in the development of the modern pagan movement and its current culture.
Figuring out, as individuals and as a community, how we can talk effectively about these things helps all of us understand how these ideas impact our lives and influence our practices. These types of discussions help us clarify not only how things have changed, but how we can best move forward without forgetting the past.
Our rules and policies have long been designed to encourage discussion of topics from many different perspectives. The current staff are committed to continuing that goal, and supporting a diverse community of varied experiences, opinions, and backgrounds. The current events in the physical world and many online spaces also mean that it’s a good time for a reminder about how we do things here.
Please take time to review our rules as needed. They’ve served us well over the years. Questions about a board rule in general should go in the Board Questions and Rules forum. Questions about a staff decision should be taken up with staff privately (see below for how.) You can find the complete rules in the Rules and Regulations folder, or under the About & Rules menu item.
We encourage you to engage with the conversation. If you simply want to share your own thoughts and ideas (rather than discuss them or potentially deal with questions), we recommend starting a blog (you can link your posts in this thread).
Remember that what may be an intellectual interest to you may be part of someone else’s daily lived experience. As our rules say, criticism of an idea or opinion is fine, but personal attacks (name calling, hostile remarks, accusations, etc.) are not welcome here. Stating your opinions about ideas is fine (“I don’t like that idea because…”), but personal insults are not permitted (“that idea is dumb and so is anyone who thinks it”). If you make an overly broad or unsupported statement (“that idea is evil”), chances are good that someone will ask you to support your claims. Our Political Discussion guidelines and Religious Tolerance Guidelines have some further information and examples.
Remember we are an international forum with a wide range of experiences. Explain any jargon you use and recognise that other places may have different laws, structures, history, or approaches to various topics and issues.
Please help everyone participate in the conversation. Quoting a previous post in the thread is required, to make the conversation easier to follow. If you reference other sources (videos, images, documents outside the forum, etc.) please follow our inclusivity guidelines and provide a summary of the material and ideally where to find the part that you are referring to (such as a page number, section, or timestamp). People reading the forum may not have time, energy, resources, or capacity to go watch a video, read a 20 page academic essay, or decipher a series of ambiguous memes.
Each person on the forum is responsible for their own reading experience. Many people appreciate a note if a thread or post discusses difficult or upsetting topics (such as violence, abuse, or various ‘isms’ that relate to prejudice, bigotry, or discrimination). A brief way to do this is to say something like “Content note: discusses racism” or “Content note: discusses violence”, and then continue after a blank line to give a bit of visual space. You can also use the spoiler code (found above the reply box in the bottom row of tags, just above the emoticons, fourth from the left)) that will hide the included text unless directly selected.
However, thread drift can happen at any time. If a post upsets you but is not against the rules, you can ignore a poster (so long as they are not staff), avoid the thread, or disengage.
No one is required to respond to any particular thread, topic, or conversation. If a conversation has taken a turn that you’re not comfortable responding to for any reason, we encourage you to make that clear if you can (so other people know you won’t be responding.) Something like “I’m bowing out here.” or “I’d rather not discuss that, thanks.” often works well. If you’re not able to comment, then it’s fine to just stop responding.
You can also take the time you need to respond. One of the benefits of a forum is the ability to have a conversation over a much longer period of time than other social media forms often encourage. It’s fine to reply days, weeks, or even months later. (Though we do have some guidelines for reviving old threads.)
Reporting a problem
If you are concerned that a post breaks the rules, report it to staff using the “report to moderator” link on the appropriate post and a brief explanation of your concerns. This is the fastest way for available staff to see your concern, discuss it as needed, and take appropriate action.
If you see a problem in Discord chat, please report it via this post, or alert multiple staff members in Discord. (Ideally those who have recently been active there.) Note that there are additional guidelines for Discord, see the pinned posts and the Rules channel there for details, or the TC Discord Server Rules sticky post in the Discord Chat Support forum.
If you have a concern about a particular staff member, please contact at least two members of senior staff (so there is a better chance of your question being seen promptly). These should ideally include SunflowerP (as Host) and Darkhawk (as Message Board Coordinator), especially if the staff member you have a concern about is themselves senior staff. (Senior staff are Darkhawk, Aster Breo, Aisling, Jenett, Morag, and Sefiru.)
Handling concerns: Staff are all volunteers, and have different schedules, outside commitments, and other concerns. Some issues (such as spam) are easy to act on quickly, but more complex issues often require some discussion and a review of material. It may be a few days before we take action.
General questions about how rules work here can be asked in the Board Questions, Suggestions, and Feedback forum, but any questions about a specific moderation decision must be made in private. Please use the same reporting methods described above.