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CowTownDance: Calgary's Online Dance Calendar

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Frequently Asked Questions
Registration & Logging In/Off
Why can't I log in?
Why do I need to register at all?
Why do I get logged off automatically?
I've lost my password! What do I do?
I registered but can't log in! What do I do?
I registered in the past but cannot log in anymore! What do I do?
When I click the Private Message or Reply link to a post, it asks me to log in. Why?
How do I register at CowTownDance?
How do I activate my account?

User Settings / Site Preferences
How do I change my settings?
How do I prevent my username from appearing in the online user listings?
How do I show an image below my username? / How do I create a site avatar?
How do I add a signature to my posts?
The times are not correct! How can I change them?

Using The Forums
How do I post a topic in a forum?
How do I edit or delete a post?
How do I create a user poll?
How do I edit or delete a poll?
Why can't I vote in polls?
What are smileys? / How do I use smileys?
What are forum Announcements?
What are Sticky topics?
What are Locked topics?
Can I post images? / How do I post images?
Can I use HTML in my posts?
How do I rate a dance venue?

User Levels & Site Permissions
What are Administrators?
What are Moderators?
How do I become a Moderator or Administrator?
How do I contact a moderator or the site administrator?

Messaging
Why can't I send private messages?
I am receiving unwated spam or abusive email in private messages or email. What should I do?
How do I send private messages or email to other CowTownDance members?
Can I send an email out to all members signed up on the distribution/mailing list?
How do I send an email out to all members signed up on the distribution/mailing list?
How do I subscribe to receive email notifications of news announcements? / How do I sign up for the mailing list?
Does editing a post in the news forums send a new message to the subscription list?

The Events Calendar
Can I post events in the calendar?
How do I post events in the calendar?
I don't see the events calendar at the top of each page. Where is it?
How do I post repeating/recurring events?

Miscellaneous
Where do I find the General CowTownDance Rules?

 

Registration & Logging In/Off
Why can't I log in?
Have you registered? You must register in order to log in.

Have you been banned from the site? (A message will be displayed when you attempt to log in, if you have.) If so, you can contact the site administrator to find out why, if you haven't already been informed.

If you have registered and are not banned, but still cannot log in, check and double-check your username and password. This is usually the problem. Remember that passwords on this site are case sensitive. Check the email address you entered during the registration process for a message from CowTownDance.

As a last resport, contact the site administrator.
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Why do I need to register at all?
You don't need to. However, if you don't register, you'll be missing out on a lot that CowTownDance.com has to offer. Specifically, you will not be able to sign up for email subscriptions to new forums, you will not be able to post to any forums or participate in any discussions, rate or review dance venues, or send and receive private messages. In short, if you don't register with the site, you will not be able to participate in the online community.
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Why do I get logged off automatically?
If you do not check the "Log me in automatically" box when you log in, the board will only keep you logged in for a preset time. This prevents misuse of your account by anyone else. To stay logged in, check this box during login. This is not recommended if you access the board from a shared computer (e.g. library, internet cafe, university cluster, etc.).

If you wish to change this setting now, first logout from CowTownDance, then login again after changing your preference.
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I've lost my password! What do I do?
Don't panic! While your password cannot be retrieved, it can be reset. To do this go to the login page and click on the "I've forgotten my password" link. Follow the instructions and you should be back online in no time.
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I registered but can't log in! What do I do?
First check that you are entering the correct username and password. If they are okay, then one of two things may have happened. First, you may have clicked the "I am under 13 years old" link when you registered. If this was the case, then you will have to follow the instructions you received. If this is not the case, your account probably needs to be activated. You should have been sent an email to the address you specified during the registration process. This email contains instructions on how to activate your account. If you did not receive the email, you may have entered an incorrect or invalid email address. If you are sure the email address you used is valid and correct, you can either create a new user account, or you can contact the site administrator.
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I registered in the past but cannot log in anymore! What do I do?
The most likely reasons for this are: you entered an incorrect username and/or password (check the email you were sent when you first registered); or the administrator has deleted your account for some reason. Either register again (if you know you haven't been banned from the site), or contact the site administrator.
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When I click the Private Message or Reply link to a post, it asks me to log in. Why?
Sorry, but only registered users can send private messages to other CowTownDance users and post in the forums. This is to prevent malicious use of the messaging system and forums by anonymous users.
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How do I register at CowTownDance?
If you've already registered and/or are logged in, you do not need to register again. In fact, only one registration/account per individual is allowed. If you have never registered before, click on the Register link, located in the button menu, just below the CowTownDance.com logo, at the top of each page. Follow the instructions on the registration page. Once you submitted your registration, you will need to activate your account in order to log in. Activation of your account can be completed by following the link in the email message sent to you during the registration process.
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How do I activate my account?
After you have registered for an account, it will need to be activated before you can log in. An email message will have been sent to the email address you specified during the registration. Open the mail message and follow the instruction in the message to complete the activation. If you entered an incorrect or invalid email address, you can either create a new account with a different username and using a correct email address, or you can contact the site administrator and ask that the account you created be deleted, so that the username you specified can be chosen again.
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User Settings / Site Preferences
How do I change my settings?
If you are registered, all of your settings are stored in the site's database. To alter them click the Profile link, found on the button menu, just below the CowTownDance.com logo at the top of each page. This will allow you to change all your settings. Unregistered users' settings are not saved.
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How do I prevent my username from appearing in the online user listings?
In your user account profile you will find an option to "Hide your online status". Your profile is accessible via the the top button menu on every page, just below the CowTownDance.com logo. If you switch this on you'll only appear to board administrators and to yourself. You will be counted as a hidden user.
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How do I show an image below my username? / How do I create a site avatar?
You can upload or link to an image for your account image (avatar) from your user profile panel. Click on the Profile link in the upper button menu, just below the CowTownDance.com logo, at the top of each page. Follow the instructions given to upload or link to an image. Please note the rules for user avatars in the General CowTownDance Rules.
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How do I add a signature to my posts?
To add a signature to a post you must first create one; this is done via your profile. Click on the Profile link in the button menu, located just below the CowTownDance.com logo on each page. Scroll down to the Signature section and enter your text for the signature in the text box. Please note the rules regarding user signatures in the General Site Rules.
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The times are not correct! How can I change them?
The times are correct for Mountain Standard Timezone (MST), Calgary's timezone. If you are accessing the site from a different time zone, you will see an incorrect time. Note that personal settings for timezone in your user profile are overridden by the site's default timezone setting.
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Using The Forums
How do I post a topic in a forum?
Click on the Home link from the button panel, located just below the CowTownDance.com logo on each page. Scroll down the list to find the forum in which you want to post a message. Note that only registered users can post in the forums. Also note that all News forums, except the General Community News forum have restricted access above regular registered users. If you are a dance venue operator, and would like to have access to post in the other News forums, contact the site administrator.
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How do I edit or delete a post?
Unless you are a forum moderator, you can only edit or delete your own posts. You can edit a post (sometimes for only a limited time after it was made) by doing the following: Browse to the message and open it in the forums, and click on the Edit button, found just above the upper right corner of the message body. If someone has already replied to the post before you edit it, you will find a small piece of text output below the post, indicating the time when the message was edited. Please note that regular users cannot delete a post once someone has replied.

If a post has been made which you feel is offensive, you may report it to a moderator or the site administrator by clicking on the Report Post link. The link is the red exclamation point button, just above the upper right corner of the message body. Clicking on this link will notify the moderatotrs and site administrators of the post. Note, abuse of this feature will lead to warnings or possibly a ban on your account. It should also be noted that editing a post will not cause a new email to be delivered to all subscribers to that news forum. If you've made an error in a post in the news forum and you wish to notify the CowTownDance members of the change, you should post a reply to the message in the forum.
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How do I create a user poll?
When you are posting a new topic you should see an Add a Poll panel, below the main posting box. (If you cannot see this then you probably do not have rights to create polls in that forum.) Enter a title for the poll and then at least two options. There is a limit of 15 options for any poll.
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How do I edit or delete a poll?
As with posts, polls can only be edited by the original poster, a moderator, or the site administrator. To edit a poll, click the first post in the topic, which always has the poll associated with it, and then click on the Edit button, just above the upper right corner of the message box. If no one has yet cast a vote then you can delete the poll or edit any poll option. However, if people have already placed votes only moderators or administrators can edit or delete it; this is to prevent people rigging polls by changing options mid-way through a poll.
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Why can't I vote in polls?
Only registered users can vote in polls so as to prevent spoofing of the results. If you are registered and still cannot vote, then you probably do not have appropriate access rights to post in that forum.
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What are smileys? / How do I use smileys?
Smileys, or Emoticons, are small graphical images which can be used to express some emotion using a short text code -- e.g. :) means happy, :( means sad. The full list of emoticons can be seen via the posting form. Please refrain from overusing smileys, however, as they can quickly render a post unreadable.
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What are forum Announcements?
Forum announcements often contain important information and you should be read as soon as possible. Announcements appear at the top of every page in the forum to which they are posted, above any sticky topics. Whether or not you can post an announcement depends on the forum permissions, which are set by the site administrator.
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What are Sticky topics?
Sticky topics are posts in the forum which always appear at the topic of the list, just below forum announcements. They will only appear on the first page of a topic thread. They are often quite important so you should read them before posting in that forum. As with announcements, the board administrator determines what permissions are required to post sticky topics in each forum.
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What are Locked topics?
Locked topics are topics in the forum that have been closed by a moderator or administrator. You cannot reply to any post in a locked topic, and any poll contained inside is automatically ended. Topics may be locked for many reasons.
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Can I post images? / How do I post images?
Images can indeed be shown in your posts. If you want to show images in one of your forum posts, you must link to an image stored on a publicly accessible web server -- e.g. http://www.some-unknown-place.net/my-picture.gif. You cannot link to pictures stored on your own PC (unless it is a publicly accessible server) nor to images stored behind authentication mechanisms such as Hotmail or Yahoo mailboxes, password-protected sites, etc. To display the image use the BBCode [img] and [/img] tags surrounding the image URL.
Alternatively, you can upload an image to the photo gallery. The photo gallery is accessible via the button menu, located just below the CowTownDance.com logo at the top of each page.
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Can I use HTML in my posts?
No, but you can use BBCode. BBCode is a special subset of HTML. It's similar in style to HTML: tags are enclosed in square braces [ and ] rather than the < and > symbols. It also offers greater control over what and how something is displayed. For more information on BBCode see the guide which can be accessed from the posting page, when you are posting a message in the forums.
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How do I rate a dance venue?
From the forum homepage and browse to the dance venue forum you're interested in (i.e ballroom, country, latin, swing, or miscellaneous). Click on the link for the venue you want to rate, scroll to the bottom of the list of messages to where the rating box is located. Choose a value for your rating in the Choose Rating drop-down box, and click on the Rate button.

You can change your rating for a venue at any time by following the same procedure.
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User Levels & Site Permissions
What are Administrators?
Administrators are people assigned the highest level of control over the site. These people can control all facets of the site's operation, including setting permissions, banning users, administrating the forums, etc. They also have full moderator capabilities in all the forums.
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What are Moderators?
Moderators are individuals whose job it is to look after the running of the forums from day to day. They have the power to edit and delete posts, and to lock, unlock, move, delete and split topics in the forum they moderate. Generally moderators are there to prevent people going off-topic, posting messages in the wrong forum, or posting inappropriate material.
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How do I become a Moderator or Administrator?
If you are an active participant at CowTownDance.com, and are interested in helping the admin team, please feel free to contact the site aministrator or any moderator. The decision of whether or not your status will be upgraded will depend upon your past involvement in the community, and is entirely up to the site administrators.
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How do I contact a moderator or the site administrator?
Moderators for individual forums are listed just below the forum title, on the upper left portion of the screen, above the actual forum body. Browse to the forum in question, open it, and you should see the moderators list below the forum title on the upper left. Click on one of the names, and you will be taken to that moderator's profile. Click on either the email or private message link to contact that moderator.

You can contact the site administator via private message (username: Justin) or or via email:

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Messaging
Why can't I send private messages?
There are three possible reasons for this: you are not registered and/or not logged in, the board administrator has disabled private messaging for the entire board, or the board administrator has prevented you individually from sending messages. If it is the latter case and you haven't already received an explanation why, you should try contacting the site administrator.
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I am receiving unwated spam or abusive email in private messages or email. What should I do?
You should forward the email or private message to the site administrator, with a full copy of the message you received. It is important for you to include the headers (if available). Any inappropriate behavior will be dealt with.
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How do I send private messages or email to other CowTownDance members?
There are two ways to send messages to other CowTownDance members. First, you can browse to a message posted by the individual you want to contact. If the individual has his account configured to allow others to email and/or private message him or her, two links will appear at the bottom of the post -- one for private messages (pm), the other for email. Alternatively, you can click on the Private Messages link in the button menu, just below the CowTownDance.com logo at the top of each page. You should then see your PM inbox. Click on the New Post button, and then enter the username of the individual you want to message, the subject, and the message itself.
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Can I send an email out to all members signed up on the distribution/mailing list?
Sending a mass email out to all subscribers on the distribution/mailing list requires special persmission. Only dance venue operators/organizers are allowed to do so. If you are a dance venue operator/organizer and you would like to be able to send mass emails out on the distribution lists, contact the site administrator.
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How do I send an email out to all members signed up on the distribution/mailing list?
Assuming you have access to do so (see above), you can send an email out to everyone on a distribution/mailing list simply by posting a message in the appropriate news forum. There is a separate distribution/mailing list for each news forum: ballroom, country, latin, swing, and out-of-town news. To send a message out on more than one list, you'll need to post the message in multiple forums (cross posting).

Alternatively, you can send an email message to the forums, and then have the message posted automatically and then redistributed to the mailing/distribution. Note, however, that you will need to have access to post in the particular forum you are sending to before your messages will be accepted at the forum email addresses. In other words, if you haven't been granted access to post in the news forums, any emails sent to the distrubtions lists will be rejected. Also note that news events posted via email will NOT appear in the site's events calendar. Only messages posted directly in the forums can be displayed in the CowTownDance calendar.

It's recommended that you subscribe to all distributions lists onto which you'll be posting or emailing. That way, you'll always know what your messages look like and when they're delivered on the distribution lists. To configure your subscriptions, and for the distribution list email addresses, you'll need to visit the subscription management page.

To be granted permission to post news announcements, see the Can I send an email out to all members signed up on the distribution/mailing list? entry.
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How do I subscribe to receive email notifications of news announcements? / How do I sign up for the mailing list?
After you have registered an account at CowTownDance.com, you can manage your email subscriptions by following these instructions:
  1. Browse to CowTownDance.comís forum homepage: http://cowtowndance.com/forum/
  2. Click on the Subscriptions link, in the button menu, just below the CowTownDance.com logo, at the top of each page.
  3. In the New subscriptions section, use the drop-down box to select one of the forums you would like to subscribe to (ballroom news, country news, latin news, swing news, out-of-town news, or general community news), and click on the Subscribe button. After clicking the Submit button, the forum you selected should appear in the Current Subscriptions section. Now, whenever a post is made in the given forum, you will receive an email message containing the same information. The message will be sent to the email address you used to register your account at CowTownDance.
  4. Repeat step 3, and subscribe to each of the forums youíre interested in receiving messages from.
You might notice that each subscription is associated with a forum email address (e.g. ballroom@cowtowndance.com). This is the address from which the annoncement notifications for that forum will be sent. This is also the email address to which you can send messages and have them posted in the forum, and then in turn forwarded to the email subscription list. Note, however, that you require special permissions to post to any of the News forums other than the General Community News. The reason is because posting access and the ability to send emails to the subscriptions is reserved for organizers and operators of dance venues. If you operate such a dance venue, and would like to be able to post to the Ballroom News, Country & Western News, Latin News, Swing News, or Out-of-Town Dance News forums, you will need to contact the site administrator.
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Does editing a post in the news forums send a new message to the subscription list?
No. Any editing of an existing post in one of the news forums (e.g. Ballroom, Latin, Country, Swing) will not send a new email notification to subscribers. Editing a post includes editing a post's title, body, or calendar details (date, time, etc.). If you've made an error in a post in one of the news forums and you wish to notify CowTownDance members of the change, you should reply to the post in the forums, and also (possibly) edit the original message, if for example you entered an incorrect date in the calendar.
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The Events Calendar
Can I post events in the calendar?
Posting events in the calendar is restricted to dance venue operators. If you are a dance venue operator/organizer, and you would like to be able to post events in the calendar, contact the site administrator.
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How do I post events in the calendar?
Assuming you have access to do so, browse to one of the News forums (except for the General Community News forum). Click on the New Topic link to post a new message; all events in the calendar must be created as a post in one of the news forums. That is, news announcements submitted via email will not appear in the events calendar. Give a description for the item in the message body, and then fill in the event information below, in the Options section.
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I don't see the events calendar at the top of each page. Where is it?
The calendar is probably just collapsed. On each page, there should be a small yellow arrow, beside the word Calendar. This link is located near the top of each page, on the right-hand side. To display the calendar, simply click on the arrow or Calendar link. If the calendar still does not display, or if the link is missing, contact the site administrator.

Alternatively, your browser may be blocking scripts. For example, if you are using FireFox, and you are blocking scripts, make sure to allow scripts from CowTownDance.com.
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How do I post repeating/recurring events?
Creating repeating/recurring events in the calendar can be a little bit confusing. Below is a brief tutorial on how to do it.

First note that all calendar events (recurring or not) must be entered by posting a message in the appropraite News forum (e.g. the Latin Nightclub News forum). Calendar events cannot be entered via an email post. Create a new post and give a subject. After typing in your message, scroll down on the page and look in the Options section for the Calendar information. In the Calendar Event section, enter the date of the first occurence of the event (i.e. the date of the first repeated event). As per a normal (single) calendar event, enter in the start time and duration in the appropriate fields. Next, you'll need to specify the options for repeating. In the Repeating drop-down box, select from: daily, weekly, monthly by day, monthly by date, monthly in last week, or yearly. These values represent the scale of the repetition. You'll also need to select a time increment in the Every drop-down box. In this box, you'll select the repeating period increment. That is, this number represents the number of periods (specified in the Repeating drop-down) that occur between repeating events. Finally, enter the date of the last occurence of the event in the Until drop-downs. This date specifies how long the event will be repeated. If you don't specify values in these fields, the event will be repeated indefiniately. Please don't do this!

Examples:

To post a weekly event that occurs on a Friday night, enter the following values:
Calendar Event: The date of first Friday you'll hold the event
Repeating: Weekly
Every: 1
Until: The date of the last Friday the event will be held
To specify an event which occurs every other week, you'd change the Every field to 2.

To enter an event which occurs on the 1st of event month, you'd enter the following:
Calendar Date: The first of the next month
Repeating: Monthly by Date
Every: 1
Until: The first of the month for some month in the future
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Miscellaneous
Where do I find the General CowTownDance Rules?
You can find them here.
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All times are GMT - 7 Hours

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