This document answers common questions about GTPlanet and offers guidelines and rules beyond what is explicitly forbidden in the site’s Acceptable Use Policy. These guidelines are flexible, though may be cited by moderators in warning or infraction notices. If you have other questions or would like further clarifications about anything pertaining to the site, feel free to create a new topic in The Help Desk forum or contact the webmaster.
Avatar Requirements (#)
Avatars are the images that appear next to user’s messages and on their profiles. All users can upload any image they like (so long as it adheres to the Acceptable Use Policy) for use as their avatar using this form. The image’s dimensions can be no larger than 100×100 pixels and 20KB in size (the maximums are increased to 120×120 pixels and 25KB for Premium users). If you need help creating an avatar from an image, you can ask for help in this thread.
Custom User Titles (#)
“User titles” are the short strings of text that appear next to your username when you post a message. You can set a custom “user title” to whatever you like in your profile options.If you do not set a custom title, the following default titles will be displayed:
Message Formatting (#)
A complete overview of message formatting options, in addition to usage examples, is available here.
Embedded YouTube & Vimeo Videos (#)
Pictures and Images (#)
If an image posted in the forum is wider than 700 pixels, its width will automatically be scaled down to 700 pixels. A small bar will be displayed immediately above the image, which visitors can click on to see the image at its full size. To prevent this from happening to your images, re-size them using your favorite image editor.
Note that if your or another user are viewing the forum in its “Wide” format, as selected in your forum account options, posted images will only be re-sized if they would otherwise horizontally extend beyond the width your web browser’s window or screen.
Two search engines are availabe to search within GTPlanet. The Google Site Search is best for most general queries: it searches all sections of the website, including the News and Guides sections. The advanced search searches only within the forum but allows you to construct more specific queries. In addition to the advanced search tools, you can also use many operators to further manipulate the results:
Here are several examples which make use of these search operators:
To “quote”, or include, another user’s post in your own, click on the “Quote” button next to any of their posts and it will be automatically inserted in a new post composition box. To quote multiple posts, click on the small speech-bubble icon next to the “Quote” button, after which a small green “+” icon will appear. The next time you post a reply, all of the posts you have chosen to multi-quote will be automatically included in the post composition box for you.
Reporting Posts to Moderators (#)
When you report a post via the “Report” button, the post in question is marked and emailed to all staff members for review.
As explained in Warnings, Infractions, and Banishment, if the reported post is in violation of AUP, the offending poster will be dealt with by staff. If you do not see immediate consequences of a reported post, that does not mean your efforts to maintain a healthy forum have been disregarded; only that the action has been conducted in private unless the staff feel a public announcement is warranted.
Your forum signature is automatically appended to each post that you make. To keep the forum fast and organized in appearance, images (other than smilies) and videos are not allowed in signatures. Instead, use your signature to tell the world about yourself, share your favorite quote, or link to other forum threads or websites that you would like to bring attention to.
You can edit your signature here.
Renaming Your Thread (#)
You can rename any of your topics by clicking the “Edit” button of your first post in the thread, then clicking the “Go Advanced” button to proceed to the advanced editor. Edit the title field as desired and save your changes. When viewing your thread within a forum, you can also “double click” the area surrounding the thread title to edit the text directly.
Moving Your Thread (#)
All users can move their own threads to any forum on GTPlanet, so long as it is an appropriate destination for the topic. To do this, click on the “Thread Tools” menu, select “Move Thread”, then click “Perform Action” and follow the instructions. If a moderator has previously moved your thread, do not move it again.
Adding a Poll to a Thread (#)
To add a poll to a thread, open the “Thread Tools” menu, then select “Add a Poll to This Thread”. Note that removing a poll is difficult, so please use this option with care.
Removing a Poll from a Thread (#)
To remove a poll from a thread, you must contact me directly due to technical limitations of the forum software. As you can understand, this is often an inconvenience, so please take advantage of this sparingly.
My account became de-activated, but I never changed anything. What happened? (#)
If GTPlanet receives error messages after attempting to send you email notifications, your account will become de-activated automatically and you will need to re-activate it with a new address.
This occurs because sending email to addresses that are invalid or no longer in use is harmful to GTPlanet’s “reputation” with spam-catching services. By ensuring GTPlanet only sends messages to active email addresses, our mail is less likely to be incorrectly marked as spam by email service providers, thus causing fewer problems for all our users.
How does account activation and approval work? (#)
Upon registration or after updating the email address associated with your account, you should receive an email with an activation link. After clicking on that link, your account will be verified and you can begin posting messages.
I did not receive the activation email. What can I do? (#)
** PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER OR JUNK MAIL FILTER **
You can re-send the activation email here.
Some commercial and ISP email systems may “silently” block these automated activation messages as spam, without giving you the chance to retrieve them. You will need to work with your email service provider to ensure these messages are delivered, or activate your account with another address.
All automated GTPlanet emails will be sent from forumsgtplanet.net. Your account must be associated with an active email address and cannot be manually activated by a member of the staff. GTPlanet recommends Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail as free email service alternatives if you cannot activate your account with your primary email address.
How do I change my username? (#)
Your GTPlanet username is more than just a name – it’s your identity and the way people recognize you. Though significantly changing your username for novelty is highly discouraged, there are many reasons you may wish to do so and this is a service available to Premium users. If you are a Premium user and wish to have your name changed, please contact me via private message.
Name changes are allowed once per year, per account. If you want a name that has already been registered (please search for available usernames before sending your change request), that name can be reclaimed if the user in question has not been active on the site within 2 years and has less than 20 posts. Note that GTPlanet user names cannot exceed 15 characters in length.
If you wish to close your account and open a new one under a new name, please sign in to your account (so your ownership of the account can be verified), then contact the administrator by clicking on this link and describe your intentions in detail. By opening a new account and closing your old one, all of the posts and information associated with your old account will no longer be available for you to manage or edit.
How do I retrieve a lost password? (#)
You can reset your password using this form.
Can I retrieve my account password if I no longer have access to my old email address? (#)
Send me an email with your original username, your old email address, and your new email address. Though not all accounts can be verified and restored, a reasonable effort will be made to solve the problem.
How do I delete my account? (#)
For record-keeping and accountability, user accounts are not deleted from GTPlanet. If you no longer wish to be a part of the community, simply stop visiting the site.
To completely disable your account, sign in to the account (so your ownership of it can be verified), then contact the administrator by clicking this link.
Account closures are permanent. Requests for “temporary” account banishment will not be honored.
How do I delete all of my posts? (#)
Your posts will not be deleted en masse on request, though you are free to edit the contents of any of your messages (provided your account has not been banished). Keep in mind each edited version of your post is stored within the site indefinitely, should the staff need to review the contents of any post at any time in the future.
How do I permanently delete visitor messages on my profile? (#)
You can delete any public visitor messages posted on your user profile. They will be marked as “deleted”, but will still be visible to you and site staff. However, there is no evidence to the public or any other users those messages previously existed. To control who can post messages on your profile, edit your Visitor Messaging account options.
How “private” are “private messages” on GTPlanet? (#)
Private messages are stored in GTPlanet’s database and are readable only by myself, the site owner. As part of GTPlanet, private messages must also adhere to the site’s Acceptable Use Policy and, if necessary, may be shared with other members of the staff. Please do not use GTPlanet’s private messaging system to share any sensitive personal or financial information.
Can I have more than one account? (#)
No. Only one account per person is allowed on GTPlanet. If it is discovered that a user has two active accounts, they will be asked which they would like to continue using and the other will be permanently banned.
What are the benefits of a Premium membership at GTPlanet? (#)
A complete overview of the Premium service can be found here.
Can I give another user a Premium subscription, as a gift? (#)
Yes. Click on their username in any of their posts, then click “Give GTPremium”. Complete the sign-up process as normal and, at the end of the transaction, the user’s account will be upgraded with the appropriate subscription. Your username and payment information will remain entirely confidential to the recipient.
Can I sign up for Premium without a PayPal account? (#)
Yes. PayPal is simply the payment processor, and holding an account with them is not required to submit a payment. Most credit and debit cards are accepted – simply follow the instructions during the checkout process.
I sent payment, but my account has not been upgraded. What can I do now? (#)
Your account will be upgraded immediately after your payment is received, if paying by credit card, debit card, or from your PayPal account balance. If you have paid by eCheck (by transferring the funds directly from your bank), it may take several days for the transaction to complete. As soon as the funds are cleared by PayPal with your bank, your account will be upgraded automatically. If your account was not upgraded or if anything is out of place, please contact me and I will be happy to resolve any issues.
I don’t have a credit card, debit card, or bank account. Can I still sign up for Premium services? (#)
If you live in the United States, you can purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak with cash in many locations around the country, such as Walmart. You can use the funds on the card to purchase your subscription here.
If you live outside the United States, other types of pre-paid debit cards might work, but are not guaranteed. Be sure a pre-paid debit card will operate with PayPal in your country before purchasing it.
How long does a “lifetime” Premium membership really last? (#)
Due to an unfortunate software quirk, “lifetime” Premium subscriptions are currently shown to expire 20 years after their purchase date. In reality, however, lifetime Premium subscriptions will remain valid indefinitely, as long as GTPlanet exists and the user account remains in good standing with the community.
Can I just mail cash to pay for Premium services? (#)
No, all payments must be sent electronically via PayPal.
What happens if a Premium user is banned from the site? (#)
Premium users must follow the site’s Acceptable Use Policy, and may be issued warnings and infractions. Premium benefits are suspended and no refunds are provided if the user is banned from the site. If the user’s banishment expires, Premium benefits will be restored.
What are warnings and infractions? (#)
If a moderator believes you have done something in violation of GTPlanet’s Acceptable Use Policy, they may issue infraction points against your account. If you receive 30 total infraction points, your account will be automatically banned.
Infractions may be set to “expire” after a certain period of time. After expiration, they will no longer be counted, and your account, if previously banned, will be restored. For minor issues, you may receive a formal “warning”, which carries no points.
All warnings and infractions are logged and can be reviewed by any member of the staff at any time. Information about disciplinary actions taken against a user is considered private and will not be released to other users or the public.
You will be immediately notified of any warnings or infractions received via a private message. You can review all warnings and infractions you may have received in My GTPlanet.
What happens when a user is banned? (#)
When a user is banned, they can continue to read the site, but may not send or post any messages. If the banishment expires, they will be able to return using the site as normal.
How can I contest a moderator’s actions? (#)
You are welcome to contact me privately if you believe a moderator has made a decision that I would not agree with. Depending on the situation, I may or may not consider it appropriate to reply. However, I will review all complaints and will take action, privately, if deemed necessary.
Double Posting (#)
“Double posting” occurs when a user makes two consecutive posts, one after another. If this is done for no apparent reason, or if the posts are unimportant, “double posting” is looked down upon and may result in a warning or infraction for “spam”. You can edit any of your forum posts on GTPlanet at any time, and this is generally the best option to take if you have more to add to the discussion. However, it is not expressly forbidden, and can be useful in many cases. For example, if a reasonable amount of time has passed or you have significant information to add to the topic, present it in a new post so that others, including thread subscribers, are made aware of the update.
Thread Bumping (#)
Thread “bumping” is the practice of replying to a thread solely for the purpose of bringing attention to it. This is looked down upon and may result in an official warning or infraction for “spam” or “useless posts”. Your posts in a thread should contribute to the discussion or introduce new information in some way. Limited, overt bumping is permitted in The Trading Post (not to be confused with the GT5 Marketplace).
When to Create a New Thread (#)
Threads are the lifeblood of any online forum, and keep the discussion fresh and moving forward. They also help logically segment and organize conversations in very useful ways. Sometimes, however, there may be confusion about when to start a new thread or reply to an existing one. As a general rule of thumb, if a thread has not received any replies in the past year, you should probably create a new one on the general topic unless you have something to contribute that is specific to the older conversation.
Criticizing “Those Who Do Not Search” (#)
It has long been popular on Internet discussion boards to ridicule or embarrass users who may ask questions that could have easily been answered by searching the web or the forums. Indeed, many questions can be answered this way, and indeed, many users could make better use of the tools available to them. However, that is no reason to treat them with disrespect, as there is a wide and legitimate range of experience among users on the Internet. If you see someone on GTPlanet asking what you believe to be a trivial question, suggest keywords or links or simply ignore their questions altogether. Do not harass them.
“In Before the Lock” or “IBTL” Posts (#)
When a new thread is created that is obviously inappropriate, some users may be tempted to post “IBTL”, or “in before the lock” comments, suggesting they believe the thread will be soon closed for new replies by the moderators. Such posts are considered “spam” and may prompt a warning or infraction by the site staff. If you see any such threads that are out of line, simply click the “Report” button to immediately notify the moderators and move on.
Nudity & Sexual Content (#)
Sexual content is prohibited by GTPlanet’s Acceptable Use Policy. This is an intentionally ambiguous term that is open to interpretation at the discretion of the staff. As a general rule, assume any body parts not “visible” or socially acceptable at the average public beach or pool may not be visible in any images or videos posted here. If you are concerned content you would like to post may be questionable, feel free to contact any staff member for advice or approval.
Gore and Graphic Content (#)
The Acceptable Use Policy forbids “obscene” content, which includes but is not limited to images or videos of the graphic injury or death of people or animals.
Wishing Harm to Others (#)
While discussing any sporting event, you may not express a desire for a competitor to be injured, killed, or become involved in an accident of any kind.
International Languages (#)
All messages must be posted in the English language, as specified in the Acceptable Use Policy. This requirement exists to make it easier for myself and the other moderators to resolve any disputes and to understand all of the content transmitted via the site.
How does GTPlanet work? (#)
GTPlanet is a private website, independently owned and operated by myself, the site founder. The Super Moderators and other Administrators (the “staff”) are volunteers who help me enforce the rules I have established for the site. I manage the design, software, infrastructure, business, and legal issues alone. As such, any issues pertaining these matters should be directed towards me, via a thread here in The Help Desk, private message, or by email.
Why does GTPlanet have unusual rules? (#)
GTPlanet’s Acceptable Use Policy applies across all areas of the website and is somewhat unusual on the Internet due to its request for “decent grammar” and the prohibition of “txtspk”. Such rules are often met with confusion and contempt by some new users. However, GTPlanet is not just another disposable “video game forum” – it is a community and a home for thousands of like-minded people which has thrived for more than a decade. These rules have always been in place, and remind everyone to put a little more thought into what they’re contributing to the community. In turn, this creates a more pleasant and attractive place for everyone.
How does someone become a moderator? (#)
The moderators and administrators of GTPlanet are chosen by myself. I watch for people who are actively involved in the community over a very long period of time, and whom I believe understand and share my vision for the site.
What are the differences between moderators? (#)
“Moderators” have access to moderation tools in a specific set of forums, usually one or two. “Super Moderators” have access to the moderation tools across all of the forums. “Administrators” also have access to all of these tools in all areas of the forums, in addition to more user information and basic forum settings. A “Super Administrator” has complete access to the forum’s settings and configuration in addition to all moderator tools.“Staff Emeritus” users are, by definition of the word “emeritus”, former moderators. They no longer use the site’s moderation tools, though do still have access to the moderator’s private discussion forums and user infraction information. They may return to their previous position at any time, if they wish.A complete list of all forum staff members is available here.