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Author Topic: [STS] SHARE THE SEEDS - FAQ - Please Read!  (Read 72844 times)


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[STS] SHARE THE SEEDS - FAQ - Please Read!
« on: May 18, 2013, 04:40:49 PM »

Share the Seeds FAQ

Please take a moment to browse and read this post if you have any questions about the community guidelines. These FAQ will keep being updated as necessary, and hopefully address all the basic issues for a good experience in Share the Seeds. Thank you for coming, and I hope your stay is long and fruitful!

Best wishes,

- Mandrake

1. Purpose of the Community and Content Rules

1.1. What is Share The Seeds?
1.2. Are there any global STS Rules?
1.3. How can I contribute to Share The Seeds?
1.4. What contents are allowed in the forum?
1.5. Any tips I should keep in mind when posting?
1.6. What about fungi?

2. Forum Features

2.1. Which user classes does the community have?
2.2. So, I just registered. How do I get promoted to Member?
2.3. What can I find in the User Profile?
2.4. What is Karma?
2.5. How do attachments work?

3. Trading Questions

3.1. How do trades work?
3.2. What about trade feedback?
3.3. What if I don't receive what I was supposed to get?
3.4. What are Giveaways?
3.5. What are User Seed Banks?

1. Purpose of the Community and Content Rules

1.1. What is Share The Seeds?

STS is a community for people interested in growing, preserving and researching botanical species, particularly those with remarkable therapeutic and/or psychoactive properties - species with medicinal, ethnological significance. The aims of the site are:
  • Putting in touch gardeners, botanists and other scholars interested in sharing and trading seeds, live plants, tools and resources for growing.
  • Gathering reliable information and experience from gardeners and botanists all over the world.
  • Promoting plant knowledge and preservation, generosity and sustainability.

1.2. Are there any global STS Rules?

Yes. They are implied in the Terms of Agreement you signed when joining the site, and the essential points can be found summarized in the STS Rules page.

1. No Trading Illegal Materials. Only legal live plants, legal viable seeds and other legal gardening tools or equipment are acceptable for trading between users. Other items outside of gardening work, and particularly materials like dry plant matter, non-viable seeds, extracts or preparations are not acceptable materials for trade. Users are bound to know the laws and restrictions in their country or state of residence, and to follow them. Trading is done at users' discretion. STS has no control or responsibility over trades privately arranged between STS users.

2. No Discussion of Illegal Activities. This includes topics like trading or smuggling illegal goods and materials, and discussions about procuring, preparing or consuming scheduled compounds. The only exceptions are discussions about the historical, traditional use of plants containing scheduled compounds by the cultures that coexisted with them.

3. No Extraction Talk. Discussing methods of extraction of psycho-active substances from plant materials is not allowed in STS.

4. No Buying or Selling. Please keep money out of the talk. In the case you have to discuss the covering of shipping costs, do it privately.

1.3. How can I contribute to Share The Seeds?

If you want to help make the site better, there's several ways you can contribute.
  • First and foremost, follow the rules and participate. Be respectful and help out other users whenever you can. 
  • Bring to the site useful information on topic. Botanical information, gardening hints, new pictures for our Seed and Plant reference galleries, useful resources, or ideas and suggestions for the community.
  • If you trade with other members, be upfront and trustworthy. Remember that a contact can eventually become a friend, so treat others the way you expect to be treated.
  • And one of the most welcome contributions to the community is giving. If you have an excess of seed that you cannot plant or store properly, you can share with other members who wish to grow it, not only making people happy but also effectively propagating the plant variety and helping to preserve it.

1.4. What contents are allowed in the forum?

Taking a look at the forum categories will easily tell you the relevant topics for STS, but there is also a General Discussion area for off-topic conversation.

We discourage topics that often bring dissent and circular arguments, such as religion, certain political discussions or conspiracy theories. We also discourage cursing words.

Please do not discuss gardening of Cannabis or trade cannabis seeds or plants in STS. There are many specific communities for Cannabis online if you're living in a country that allows you to grow it.   

Also, STS has some general content restrictions. Posting about restricted topics or violating these restrictions will result in intervention of the moderators. Offending content will be removed and the user can be warned, suspended or banned.
  • No copyright infringement. This means you cannot post copyrighted materials without the consent of the copyright owner.
  • No spamming or advertising in public or personal messages. This also includes your public profile information, like message signature or personal text. The only exceptions might occur in the Supplier sections. If you are an active STS member who runs a business and you are interested in posting about it in the Supplier section, please contact a site administrator and we'll discuss it.
  • No racism, sexism, apology of aggression or any other show of scumbaggery.
  • No discussing illegal activities. Among others, this means no discussion about trading or smuggling illegal materials of any kind, included any illegal or restricted botanical materials in your country or state of residence. It also means that discussing preparation or consumption of botanicals that contain scheduled substances is NOT allowed.
  • No discussions about extraction of psycho-active compounds from plant sources.

1.5 Any tips I should know for posting?

These are familiar to anyone who has some experience in internet communities, but the reminder never hurts.
  • Post your thread in the proper section of the forum, and use a clear subject for your post. This allows us to know at a glance what are you going to talk about, and makes much easier for people to search for a particular topic.
  • Before making a question, please use the search function to see if it has been answered before.
  • Please don't flood threads with very long quotes or lots of pictures. Use abstracts and links, and if for some reason you need to go beyond the attachment limit of ten files in one single post, use external image hosting.
  • Before posting in a forum section, make sure you read the section guidelines for posting, if any, in the section top.
If you intend to make a post with an informational video in the corresponding forum section, include the [VIDEO] tag in the beginning of the thread title to differentiate it from regular threads. YouTube videos do not require specific BBCode tags in the post contents, the forum software will recognize the link and embed the video automatically for easy viewing in the forum.

1.6 What about Fungi?

We have a dedicated forum section to discuss the culture of edible and medicinal fungi. You can find the guidelines here for details.

Some users may be interested in discussing or trading other mushroom related materials, particularly the psycho-active species containing psilocybin and psilocin. Sadly, growing these types of fungi is illegal almost everywhere, so trading live fungi tissue or discussion about them, including growing questions and grow logs, is not allowed in STS.

Mushroom spores of any kind do not contain scheduled substances, hence they are technically legal. Please note, however, that unless you live in a country where growing psychoactive mushrooms is allowed, their spores are basically precursors for producing illegal substances, so we do not allow trading spores of psychoactive fungi.

Discussion about growing other species of fungi that do not contain scheduled substances is allowed, and so is trading legal mushroom growing tools or supplies.

2. Forum Features

2.1 Which user classes does the community have currently?
  • New users (no user class)
  • Member – Promoted by the site staff. Can send Personal Messages, Access the Trading Area and the Suppliers and Resources Area in the forum, access the site Chat and give Karma votes, among others.
  • Trader – This class is given to Members with good trading references (at least 10 positive feedback) and has also been given to special invited members with an existing, relevant trust record. Traders have the abilities of Members, plus they can have a custom title and access a few other minor features.
  • Senior Member - Promoted by the site staff. This class may be awarded to experienced members with a good sharing record, and/or who have contributed to STS in special, meaningful ways.  Senior traders have the abilities of Traders, plus they can lock/delete their own started topics and polls, and access other forum features.
  • Moderators - Have content moderation abilities (for threads, posts, polls) in one or more specific forum sections.
  • Global Moderators - In charge of global forum and user moderation.
  • Administrators - In charge of site features and management.

2.2 So, I just registered. How do I get promoted to Member?

Promotions are awarded by the staff based on certain criteria. This means you should give us the chance to know you, what you have to offer and what you're looking for. You may be eager to contact with other members or to access initially restricted forum areas, but simply asking for promotion will basically not work.

A good start would be reporting to the Welcome and Introduction Area and telling us a little about yourself, and about what brings you to STS. After that, take some time to fill the grow/share/wish lists in your profile, or even better - participate and contribute with something of your choice (post gardening tips or resources, add good photos you took to the Seed or Plant Galleries, answer questions, etc). If you fit in the community you'll be a full Member in no time. Just have patience and understand that the promotion process benefits all in the long run, including yourself. Membership is well worth the wait.

2.3 What can I find in the user profile?

You can access your profile page from the upper menu. The Summary page is what will be shown when another user clicks on your name. By default, the information provided is very simple: Name, User Class and a few forum statistics like the post count.

You can optionally use the following additional data fields by going to Profile – Forum Profile. If you do, they will appear in your profile Summary page.

Personalized Picture - A small image to use as your avatar. You can upload it, link to it or choose it from the site gallery.
Personal Text - A greeting, a quote or a comment for whoever visits your profile.
Birthdate/Location/Gender - These are completely optional and you should not fill these fields if you don't want this information to be public for other users to see.
Signature – This will appear below your posts in the forum.
Growing List – Here you can list the plants you are cultivating, so other users can know your growing experience and skills.
Share List – Seeds, plants or tools you have available for trading or sharing. Once you become a Member, you can also offer them by starting your personal thread in the Trading Area if you want.
Wish List – Which species would you like to grow? Hints other users with seeds or plants you are interested in.
Trading Feedback and Trading Score – This will reflect the received trading votes, displaying the list of users that have awarded you with Trading Feedback, and the overall Trading Score, and can only be updated by STS staff.

The other Profile option, Account Settings, allows you to access the basic account information of your user profile.

2.4 What is Karma?

Karma is a score reflecting how many times other users have appreciated or particularly agreed with what you wrote, or what you shared with the community. This score is completely independent from user category, number of posts or trading feedback. Promoted Members can give Karma points.

2.5 How do attachments work?

You can post up to ten files attached to each of your forum posts. Acceptable file formats include text files (pdf, doc, odt, txt), image files (jpg, gif, png) and .zip archives. Within reason, file sizes should not be a problem. Images will be automatically resized to a maximum height/width of 1,500 pixels, when necessary.

Full members can also add up to two attachments to the personal messages they send to other members. These attachments can be useful for trade discussions, and will be recycled from the server after two months.

3. Trading Questions

3.1 How do trades work?

This is basically up to every user since trades will happen outside of STS, but it should be something like this:

- Browsing Offers and Requests threads in the Trading Area, or Share/Wish Lists in Users Profile pages, you find something you're looking for and have something to trade it for.
- You contact the user via Personal Message, and either using the site messaging system or by exchanging private emails, agree in a trade.
- Each user involved sends what has been agreed upon.

Other trading rules, such as a "Sending First" rule for members with no current positive trading feedback, can be arranged if the users desire to do so. It ultimately depends on every particular agreement.

3.2 What about trade feedback?

Once you have received something from another user, and as long as what you received meets what was agreed upon, you should leave feedback in the Trading Feedback subforum, inside of the Trading Area. Please check the posting guidelines in the Trading Feedback subforum before doing so.

Once feedback is left in the corresponding section, user profiles will be updated by the staff to reflect the Trading Feedback status of each user, including the name of the user giving the reference, whether those references are positive or negative, and the total Trading Score, in order to make the feedback received easily visible for other users. As soon as you have a Trading Score value, it will be shown in the "Author" column in the left of your forum posts, below the total post count.

Users showing a poor balance of positive vs. negative trading feedback will be demoted by the site staff, or have their account suspended irrevocably.

3.3 What if I don't receive what I was supposed to get?

STS staff tries to make sure that members of this community comply to good standards, and work towards keeping mischievous people and scammers away.

However, shipments can be lost or damaged, specially if the contents are not properly packaged. If someone inadvertently ships materials that are restricted for import in the receiving country, customs in destination might keep them. And although it is not common, packages or envelopes might be lost in the mail. Also, in some cases, traded seeds might not be viable enough, plant cuttings might be in bad shape and gardening supplies or tools might be damaged. Hopefully, these situations will not occur often and it's each user's responsibility to meet the requirements of the trade and to follow their part of the deal.

That said, please keep in mind that the outcome of any trades performed between STS users is solely the responsibility of the users involved, and that STS cannot be held responsible of lost shipments, mislabeled seeds or plants, damaged materials or scams of any kind. STS will register positive and negative trade feedback for users to have in consideration, but trades are ultimately personal agreements between community members. Resolution of conflicts should be done privately, and we appeal to the good will and the responsibility of members to keep the sharing and trading working smoothly.

3.4 What are Giveaways?

Giveaways are special events started by generous members who want to selflessly share their seeds with other community members. By default, giveaways ask nothing in return (with the exception of postage costs, that might have to be covered by the receiver if the donor so desires), and will remain valid until the donor runs out of seeds, or for another reason decides to lock the event.

If you decide to share seeds with other members, you can start a Giveaway thread in the proper subforum in the Trading Area, stating what you have to share and any particular requirements for applying.

If you want to benefit from a Giveaway and you meet the Giveaway requirements if any, you can contact the donor using a Personal Message. Remember it's not allowed to post personal information in the forum.

Please note that giveaways deserve positive trading feedback, even more rightly so than regular trades. This means that giving away seeds is an excellent way to raise your positive trading feedback and to improve your status in the community. When you receive a free gift from another STS member, make sure you leave positive feedback for them in your feedback thread.

And finally, please do not abuse other members generosity. Users that repeatedly leave trading feedback but receive none (that is, users who ask but not share or trade) will have their membership suspended.

3.5 What are User Seed Banks?

Seed Banks are repositories for preserved viable seeds, to protect biodiversity and optionally to provide a service for gardeners. They can be dedicated to a geographical area, or to a particular type or family of plants.

STS Members can start a User Seed Bank in the corresponding Trading subforum if they are willing to dedicate the time and work required, and have the resources to manage it. Members are also able to participate in any services or trades that a User Seed Bank is offering.

A User Seed Bank can offer specific trades, like any user, and work like a center for preservation and distribution of small amounts of viable seeds. In order to be able to distribute seeds, User Seed Banks necessarily rely on donations.

Donations to User Seed Banks are encouraged, and in the case of Seed Banks offering to Members free seeds, a valid donation is mandatory for the first time a Member makes a request to the seed bank. The bank keeper should state in the thread what is an acceptable donation for the seed bank. Seed banks should be by statement non-profit.

Seed bank keepers can define additional terms of use for their User Seed Bank as they see fit, as long as they agree to STS Rules. In any case, any valid donation made to a seed bank should receive positive trading feedback from the bank keeper.

Please remember that User Seed Banks are subject to STS Rules, and this means they have to comply with the laws in their country. Seed Banks should not store, send nor receive any seeds or live plant tissue that are illegal in the Seed Bank location. 

« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 02:53:03 PM by . »


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Re: [STS] SHARE THE SEEDS - FAQ - Please Read!
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 06:33:08 PM »

Bumping this tread.

Please read these and if you've read them, please re-read them.