A. You can go here to register your account.
Q. How do I set up a personal photo, a custom signature, or an avatar?
A. Go here and look at the left-hand menu. There are several things to note when using these. Make sure that the image you're using is hosted on your own server or through an account at a hosting service, rather than "hotlinking" directly to the image on a third-party site without permission; this will steal bandwidth from them. A simple, free hosting service which requires no registration can be found at Image Shack. Also makes sure that the image you're using is shrunk down to the proper dimensions (100x100 or less for avatars, 150x150 or less for personal photos). An easy way to do this online is via Resize2Mail. Enter your image and then set what size you want to set it to. For an avatar, if the image is higher than it is wide, set the height to 100; if it's wider than it is high, set width to 100. If it's exactly equal in all dimensions, set 100 in one of the two fields. Then click OK. The image will be spit out and you can save it to your hard drive for uploading to your host. Finally, ideally no image should be larger than 50kb. If your image is larger than this, it's almost certainly because you are not resizing it to the proper dimensions or it's far too long an animation.
Note that you are not allowed to use the heraldry from Westeros.org for avatars, due to copyright and licensing reasons. You are permitted to use the smaller images available here.
Q. I've set up a custom signature, but it doesn't show in my posts!
A. On the posting page, there's a series of boxes under the text entry window. Makes sure the 'Enable Signature' one is marked. If you're using a graphic, please use it only sparingly (such as once every 20 posts in a thread).
Q. How do I insert links?
A. Like this:
Q. Wait a minute -- who are Ran and the moderators?
A. Ran is the King o' the Board and co-webmaster of Westeros.org. He's the Head Honcho, the Big Cheese, the Administrator, etc., etc. e's an American living in Sweden with his lovely partner and personal wench, Linda, the designer and maintainer of Westeros.org; she posts on the board on occasion as well.
The moderators are KAH, TerraPrime, mormont, X-Ray the Enforcer, Davos, Stubby, Bellis, Aratan, Lady Blackfish, and Angalin.
Q. What are the rules of etiquette on the board?
A. Sometimes discussions can get a little heated, but we ask everyone to show a certain politeness towards one another. If you can't argue without cursing or being insulting, don't argue, or you're going to be shunned, warned to back off, or have your posts deleted. Cursing on occasion is fine, but cursing for the sake of insulting people is a quick way to get posts removed. One-liners are not much tolerated (see below for more information). Spoilers (information from very recently published ASoIaF books/stories or unpublished material red at conventions)should be kept carefully hidden through the use of the spoiler code like this:
[SPOILER]text to be hidden[/SPOILER]
In general, the first month or three after a release (it depends on the span of time between the releases in the U.S. and overseas) will be considered a spoiler period, and topics should be marked by [Spoilers] at the beginning of its titles. The titles themselves must not reveal spoiler information as well (such as, '[Spoilers] Winterfell Sacked?!' shortly after the release of ACoK). Ran will make appropriate announcements concerning spoilers at the time of a new release.
Finally, good grammar, spelling, and punctuation makes posts more readable. Long posts should be split up into paragraphs as often as possible, to increase readability. The more readable, the more likely people will take the time to read what you've written.
A good idea is to check the Board Style Guide for further tips on posting etiquette. Another good guide to look at is the Guide to Flame-avoidance.
Q. Can I send whatever I want to other people using the private messaging system?
A. The software that runs this board provides the ability to send private messages between users. This is a feature intended to foster a sense of community and also to serve as a channel for communication that would otherwise be inappropriate in the public forum. It is not to be used to deliver messages to harass others, to intimidate others, or to offer sexually lewd or otherwise offensive material without the explicit consent of the recipient.
Users who abuse the private message system here will face consequences, up to and including being banned from this board. We will not hesitate to report the abuse to appropriate law enforcement authorities either, should the situation warrant it.
We depend entirely on users to report abuses of the PM system: unlike on the 'open board', we cannot observe abuse. Users who receive harassing messages, threatening messages, or unrequested sexually explicit materials should contact the administrators or moderators with the problem so that we can put a stop to it. Users should please bear in mind when receiving inappropriate unsolicited material that, even if they are not offended by it, such material may be distributed to other users (including minors) and that tolerating abuse of the PM system may encourage further incidents.
Q. How do I report posts that violate rules of the forum?
In the lower left area of each post, below the name and avatar of the poster, there will be two buttons. The second of these is 'Report'. Simply click the Reprot button, provide us a brief explanation as to why you are reporting the post, and send. This will send all moderators a message with a link to the post, which we will then examine as soon as possible to determine what should be done with the post if it violates any of our rules of appropriate conduct.
Q. Can I post fan fiction?
A. Definitely not. Short stories set in Westeros or using characters from "A Song of Ice and Fire" are not to be posted here (and if you've written one, don't even _mention_ the fact). GRRM doesn't approve of fan fiction, so we honor his wishes on the board concerning this. Taking this a step further, individuals who are aware of fan fiction elsewhere should not point users of the forum to it. This includes linking to fan fiction in your personal profiles, or linking to a site that links in turn to fan fiction. Failure to observe these rules will lead to a warning at minimum.
Q. Did my post get deleted? I don't have any mail explaining why!
A. If you think it was deleted, it probably was, and you very probably know why. Don't complain on the board about it, as it doesn't really look good and it will win you no sympathy. Ran generally sends no explanations either privately or publicly on the theory that people are wise enough to know why their posts were deleted. Each moderator, however, is allowed their own policy -- some prefer to give a warning before moving on to removing posts that flout the generally accepted rules of etiquette on the board.
If you really have no reason why your post was deleted, you can e-mail Ran and ask. If he deleted the mail, he'll tell you why, and if some other moderator removed it he'll forward your mail to them so that they can answer. Public questions about deletions will rarely be answered, and are usually unappreciated, as the moderators prefer to keep moderation decisions a private matter.
Q. I have so many questions and ideas that I'd like to discuss! Can I just start posting after I am registered?
A. Sure, you could do that. Or better yet, you could take a day or three (at least) to lurk and examine current threads and some of the older threads to see if any of your ideas or questions have been answered. You might also want to look at resources such as the So Spake Martin collection to see if GRRM's answered any of your questions as well. The more informed you are when you post, the more impressed everyone else will be. But don't feel you have to look at every thread -- just try to get a passing familiarity with what's gone before.
Q. You have links to other boards (including one with chat) on your board. Are you endorsing them? And if I have a problem with the people who visit them, or get banned, can I post about it here?
A. No and ABSOLUTELY NO. The other forums are linked to as a courtesy to new users, who may want to know about other fan forums. Further more, if you have a problem with those forums, their users, and/or the people who run them and the rules they set, post about them in those forums. Similarly, if you have a personal beef against a user of this or any other forum, deal with them directly, post to your blog/LiveJournal/MySpace, whatever, so long as this forum is not used to air out your dirty laundry.
Q. How can I get a Custom Title?
A. Custom titles are currently being granted only to those people who have reached the posting level of Council Member. When you've reached that level, edit your profile and you will have the option of setting a title. You may only make three title changes per month.
Q. Just what are these posting levels?
A. As you post, the forum keeps a tally of your total. When you reach a certain number, your title will automatically change. Here is a listing of the levels:
Unregistered -- Wildling
Newly registered -- Commoner
25 posts -- Freerider
75 posts -- Sellsword
150 posts -- Squire
250 posts -- Hedge Knight
375 posts -- Landed Knight
525 posts -- Noble
700 posts -- Council Member
Once you reach Council Member, you will be able to change your title to something of your choosing via My Controls.
Q. What about if I do a lot of short posts? Do those count?
A. Yes and no. The board is dumb and it'll tally them. But Ran or the moderators will delete them, and maybe you'll be titled something humiliating if you do this chronically. They don't like a lot of short one-liners. If you feel a need to make a quip in a thread (especially in forums dedicated to series discussion), try to give the post some substance. And definently don't start any threads for the sole purpose of making a short joke or a series of the same.
Q. How about roleplay threads?
A. Roleplay is not allowed on this forum.
Q. What are some of these acronyms I see being tossed around?
A. AFAIK -- As Far As I Know; AFAICT -- As Far As I Can Tell; BTW -- By The Way; IIRC -- If I Remember Correctly; IMHO -- In My Humble Opinion; IMO -- In My Opinion; GUCT -- Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory (mostly invalidated by ASoS); AGoT or GOT -- A Game of Thrones; ACoK or COK -- A Clash of Kings; ASoS or SOS -- A Storm of Swords; AFfC or FFC -- A Feast for Crows (fourth book); ADwD or DWD -- A Dance with Dragons (fifth book);TWoW or WOW -- The Winds of Winter (sixth book); ADoS or DOS - A Dream of Spring (current title for the seventh and probably final volume).
Q. How many books will the series run?
A. In short, GRRM is now working to get it done in seven (after admitting, with the completion of AFfC, that he could not manage the six volumes he's hoped for since around the time of ACoK).