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Auto-Answer Quill: Frequently-Asked Questions

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#1 OFFLINE   Prof. Blake Balthazar

Prof. Blake Balthazar

    Ravenclaw Alumnus

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 05:02 PM

Auto-Answer Quill

written and compiled by Prof. Alden Harrington exclusively for Hogwarts Online
with contributions from Cassandra Winchester and Prof. Caleb Rothwell


This guide for new students is a compilation of frequently-asked questions at Hogwarts Online.


  • Roleplaying
  • Points
  • Classes & Quills
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Student Behavior




1) What is roleplaying and how do I do it?

Role-play is like acting and creative writing combined. You basically jump into the shoes of a person that you create and maneuver them and their actions through writing. An example of this is as follows:

Ashley walked into the classroom and sat down. She turned to her friend and said, “Hey!”

As you can see from the sample post above, we role-play in third-person, past tense. A post in first-person or present tense tends to throw people off; it is generally not how most people RP, and we would prefer that you stick to third-person, past tense.

The fun part about RPing is interacting with other people. However, you are never allowed to control the actions or thoughts of another character. This is called godmodding (GMing). Some people chose to let certain other characters control their own character. You must discuss with other writers before you write a post if it is okay to do that, and to what extent you allow it. For example, many writers let their spouses or close friends GM them.




2) What is a character face and how do I get one?

In role-play, a celebrity face (also known as a character face, face claim, or play-by) is required because it represents your character’s image. It is recommend that you use a live person (actor, model, singer, etc.) to represent your character. This makes it easier for other people on the site to visualize with whom they are interacting.

To claim a celebrity face, please visit and review the rules in THE CHARACTER MIRROR (also known as the Character Library). This link can be in the Admissions Office forum in the category Roleplay Central. To claim a celebrity face, you need to have more than 10 posts. To check your post count, look to the left at your information when you post something. You’ll see your username (your student name, what you log in to the forum with), your avatar, then your member group, the image for your member group, and then your post count. It's a light grey font, just above your "Time Online."

Once you have 11 or more posts, follow the guidelines in The Character Mirror to claim your face. This process involves sending Mirror Mirror a PM with your student’s name, House, and claimed face. Please be careful not to use a face that is already taken or off-limits.




3) What is godmodding and why is it bad?

Many thanks to Cassandra Winchester for authoring this answer.

Godmodding is where a character in an RP (role-play) has the ability to do almost anything without the permission of another character. If one character has a plot point to cover and another character overrules that with their own actions, it can mess the whole RP up! To control another character without their permission is Godmodding, so always ask permission first or just act it out like the correct example below in your RP posts. Godmodding isn’t allowed as it can cause a problem in RP’s. You may only control your character and their actions, no-one else, unless you have permission to do so. 

- It can be doing something to a character without the other character’s express permission.
(Example: Using a spell on one person and saying it worked and left them in pain, whereas the target may have been hit by the spell and not hurt as badly as the first character said.)

- It can be when they simply can’t be hit and dodge all attacks or anything for this matter aimed at them. 
(Example: In a snowball fight, you cannot say if your snowball hit the other person, they choose themselves, but the target cannot always escape, they must be hit at least once to make the RP realistic.)

- The worst is making out another character to be what they’re not, just to make your own character seem superior. (Example: Not all Slytherins are the best at torture spells, not all Gryffindors can fight off the Imperius curse, so you cannot say your spell tortured them or that you fought it off fast. Your characters are new at school and still learning. There is nothing wrong with showing house traits in RP’s but be realistic with the spells and effects they have.)

Example of Godmodding:


Character A: Uses Petrificus Totalus on Character B 
Character B: Dodges spell, uses same spell on Character A and the spells works, making Character A completely rigid. 


Character A: Uses Petrificus Totalus on Character B 
Character B: Hit by spell, but didn’t completely work. Tries same spell on Character A.
Character A: Hit by spell and completely rigid.

Each character chooses themselves what happens with a spell when it hits them, not the person casting the spell unless they have been given permission to do this by the other character. This doesn’t just apply to spells, but also things like:
- B grabbing A’s arm and pulling them over to somewhere
- If A falls on floor, B cannot say they lift them back up
- In a snowball fight A cannot say they hit B. B chooses if they were hit




4) What are call boards, profiles, plot pages, and special abilities? How do I get one?

callboard is basically a character advertisement that describes all your characters and is a platform to help you develop relationships with other characters on the site. See THIS FORUM for examples of callboards. To get a callboard, you need to have a topic made for you; follow the instructions HERE.


Profiles are topics in which you can outline your character's traits, characteristics, family and history. Be as creative as you like! Be aware, you are not allowed to have a real life celebrity's name as your own, or be related to one. Not mentioning the name, but information that can only lead to one person, is also not allowed. 

Plots gare generally storylines that you come up with that affect a large range of characters on HO and usually require governor approval. To get one and learn more about them, read the pinned threads in THE PLOT VAULT.

Special abilities are special magical powers that students can develop throughout the course of their lifetime. Some examples of special abilities include Healing Hands, Telepathy, and Astral Projection. Generally, these are specific powers that wizards and witches have which can be performed without the use of a wand. To learn more about them, the rules attached to them, and how to get one, please visit THIS THREAD.




5) How do I get people to RP with me?

To request an RP with someone, simply POST HERE and say that you’re looking for someone to RP with. Someone will usually contact you and ask if you want to set up some RPs. Another way is to start an RP Challenge and post in the House’s General Announcements thread (or just PM your friends) to get more people involved. If you start an RP Challenge, you can also PM the Head of House or Deputy Head of House and ask them to spread the word.

Another way to get people to RP with you is to post a request in your forum status, such as "Looking for RPs!" and people will PM you to set something up once they've seen that. To update your forum status, scroll to the top of the forum and locate the black bar. On the far right, you will see the Sign Out button. Just to the left of that is your name; click on your name. A drop-down menu will come up with some grey text that says "What's on your mind?". Click on that text, type your message or request, and then click "Update." The forum status will show up in your profile, and the most recent status updates will show up in the sidebar pod on the forum index.




6) Can I do spells? Which ones am I allowed to do?

Yes, of course you can do spells! Check out the SPELLS LIST, and make sure you read the rules and regulations at the top of the post. If you are caught using a spell that is meant for a higher year, and you are not in a situation that permits you to do so, you will have to suffer the consequences (which might include deduction of House points or serving a detention).




7) What should I do if I get hurt in an RP?

If you get hurt, you are welcome to role-play being treated in THE HOSPITAL WING. Most people like to do this if it’s significant to their character’s development, but it’s not required. If you get hurt, you can just say you healed on your own or stopped by the Hospital Wing. Coming to the Hospital Wing isn’t required.




8) Rules of RP Etiquette

  •  It’s best not to interrupt an RP. Ask for permission first before you can join others who are actively posting in a topic. You can do this by PMing one of the people who have posted in the topic.
  • On the other hand, don’t nag or bother people to post back to you. Be considerate of other people’s real-life, offline, and out-of-character situations. Many people have school or work priorities, and on HO we always say, "Real life comes first."
  • Try to post at least five sentences in each RP/in-character post. This will give the other people you’re RPing with enough to reply to. A short post with only one sentence (also known as a “one-liner”) is frowned upon, and if you post only one sentence, you might not get a reply or the kind of reply that you want.
  • You’re only a first-year student, so you don’t know everything and you won’t be able to dodge every single spell thrown at you. You won’t be able to perform all your spells in class correctly the first time. And this is okay! Making mistakes is great character development. Your character is a human being, so it is expected that they will not be perfect. Modesty is the best policy.
  • If you’re in an RP with someone, try to post back as soon as you can. If you leave the thread for more than 7 days, someone else might come along and start a new RP in that thread. If you’re having real-life complications or you’re suffering from a lack of muse, just PM the person you’re RPing with and let them know. This is common courtesy. 
  • If there’s a place that you want to post in, but someone is already posting there, wait at least 7 days before you start a new RP.




9) What NOT to do at Hogwarts
  • Do not post in the Forbidden Forest unless you have explicit permission from a professor.
  • Do not post anywhere outside the school during term time. While classes are in session, you may only role-play in Hogwarts.
  • Do not perform spells that are meant for higher years unless you are in class or have explicit written permission from a professor. To learn more about how spells work at Hogwarts Online, see the RP section below or read the rules in the SPELLS LIST.
  • Do not perform magic in the corridors (unless it has prior approval, such as for a plot or RP Challenge).
  • Do not start a club or organization unless it is first approved by the Coordinator of Clubs (Prof. Elizabeth Lapointebete). If you want to start a club, please see the information located HERE.



What are points for?
Each term, the four Houses compete for the House Cup. Winning the Cup brings your House glory for the whole year. In honor of the win, many celebrations are held. This is a school-wide competition to foster team spirit and something to fight for each term. Some Houses may also have contests or special awards for the students who earned the most points for the House.
You can earn points in many ways. Listed below are just some of the options.
How can I earn points?
  • ● Points Offered: Varies by professor, up to 400 points per class each term
    ● Who to Contact: Respective Professors

    Classes are a prime way to earn points. Different professors have different points philosophies; some may award a lot, some may not award you any at all. Ask the individual professor or check the class syllabus for more information.


Being a TA
  • ● Points Offered: Up to 100 points per term if you perform your duties fully; this is up to the discretion of the professor
    ● Who to Contact: The professor for whom you wish to be an assistant

    Being a Teacher’s Assistant can include lots of duties, a few of which may be counting posts during lessons, grading journals, looking up information, creating journal topics, looking up student ID numbers, and any other duties that the professor may have you do.


Making Graphics
  • ● Points Offered: Varies
    ● Who to Contact: Artist Association Moderators

    People like to request graphics for their characters (and other reasons) often. If you’re a graphicmaker, either experienced or just starting out, you can join the Artists Association and get points for the graphics that you make. Professors may also request graphics from you personally for classes or things around the site; you can get points for these graphics to. The amount is at the professor’s discretion.

Club Duties
  • ● Points Offered: Varies, but likely no more than 50-100 depending on the nature of the task
    ● Location: CLUBS AREA
    ● Who to Contact: The moderator of the club(s) of which you are a member

    Depending on the nature of the club and your position in it, you may be able to get points for club-related duties. Activities for points vary based on the nature of the club; see the clubs and their forums for more details.

RP Challenges
  • ● Points Offered: Up to 50 per challenge; usually 10 points for the first post, and 5 for each subsequent post (but this can vary)
    ● Location: Check in your House’s Common Room
    ● Who to Contact: Your Head of House, Deputy Head of House, or In-House RP Challenge Moderator

    RP Challenges bring several students together around a specific topic to have an RP. Topics could be wacky and out there like “give a guy a makeover;” others may be simple like “umbrella” or “cardboard box;” others may be complicated like “try to get as many people into one thread as possible.” Some Houses even have additional points and prizes if you complete multiple RP challenges. There is usually a thread in your Common Room somewhere with more instructions about how to carry out an RP challenge.

New Kids @ Hogwarts Program / In-House Mentoring Program
  • ● Points Offered:
    New Kids = 50 points to mentor, 30 points to mentee
    In-House = 50 points to mentor, 50 points to mentee
    ● Location: NEW KIDS @ HOGWARTS AREA; check your Common Room for the in-house mentoring program

    ● Who to Contact: Prof. Caleb Rothwell
  • The New Kids at Hogwarts Mentoring Program helps new members become acquainted with the site and how to become a productive member. You will walk them through the office, explain basic things, and help the members get on their feet. This is usually OOC-based and takes place via Private Messenger or Instant Messenger. The in-house mentoring program is more house-specific and usually more RP-based to learn about life within your house.

Pride / JW Events
  • ● Points Offered: Varies
    ● Location: Varies; new forums will be created
    ● Who to Contact: Head of House, Deputy Head of House, Prefects, or Head Students

    Each house has a month specially set aside for activities and contests devoted to showing house pride. During other months, such as the holidays (or HO-lidays), the Junior Wizengamot (JW) will put on special events. During all of these events, there will often be contests, activities, and RP challenges which you can do to earn points. Keep an eye on the announcements to see when these will happen. Hufflepuff Pride Month is in March; Ravenclaw Pride Month is in May; Gryffindor Pride Month is in August; Slytherin Pride Month is in October.



How do I get my timetable of classes?

At Hogwarts Online, we don't pick classes for you. While all students are given a timetable in the books before the school year begins, we do not do that here. We allow you to enroll in any classes that might be of interest to you. You also need to enroll yourself into them through the Office. To get to the office, click the tab at the top left of the forums that reads "Hogwarts Online." When you get re-directed, there will be a sidebar on the left with navigation links.


In order to advance a year, we only require you to take and pass 3 classes. We do this because the classes on HO are more demanding, as they are mostly RP-based rather than homework-based. This often requires more time from you, so most people can only handle doing 3 classes while they juggle real-life responsibilities. Since classes are RP-based, they are also updated frequently and might require an RP post from you once a week.


What classes should I take?

You can take any classes you want! Take whichever classes that interest you. However, it is best to view the class syllabi beforehand. You may need to base your decisions on the workload with your real-life schedule in mind. Some classes have more work than others.

You should also keep in mind that, if you are a first-year, you will most likely not be able to take classes with course numbers that are 300 or higher (ex. ANCI 401, DADA 401). Some courses may also require pre-requisite courses; this means that a class may require you to have taken another class before enrolling. Other than the courses which may have pre-requisites, we do not require that you take any specific classes to advance a year or to graduate. Take what you want!


The only exception to this at Hogwarts in the two testing years. During 5th year, you will enroll in OWLs. You will not be able to advance to 6th year unless you complete at least 3 OWLs. In 7th year, you will enroll in NEWTs. You can still graduate without NEWTs, but if you choose this option, you will only be able to be a Shopkeeper on that account. This means you would not be able to apply for other jobs with that account, such as Auror or Curse-Breaker, and you will not receive the prestigious title given Official HO Alumni.


Official HO Alumni accounts are the only ones who are allowed to have alumni badges awarded to their member sidebar (which shows up underneath their profile information to the left in topics). Although it can be difficult to become part of the Official HO Alumni, it will be worth it to you because they are few in number, and any character that is an Official Alumnus does not count towards your character limits. Official HO Alumni also never lose their character's face claim.


How many classes should I take?

You may take anywhere from 0-6 classes during any term. As stated before you need at least 3 passed classes to advance to the next year, for a total of 15 classes, 3 OWLs, and 3 NEWTs for graduation. This, however, can be taken across any number of terms. Should you feel you need to take more than 6 classes in a term, please contact Prof. Britney Bryne-Rothwell, it will be up to her discretion as to whether or not he will grant the ability to take more than 6 classes. 





What is a quill and how do I get it?

A quill is like a class credit. It’s what you get when you successfully complete a class with a passing grade. You will need 3 quills to advance a year (i.e., go from first year to second year); you need at least 15 quills, plus 3 OWLs and 3 NEWTs, to graduate from Hogwarts School. Most professors list their quill requirements on their class websites or in the classroom forum. If you need a professor to clarify their requirements, you have the right to PM them and ask.




How do I enroll in a class?

To enroll in a class, follow these simple steps.

1. Click the tab at the top left of the forums, just under the Hogwarts Online banner. The tab reads 'Hogwarts Online.' This area is known as the Office.

2. Click Enrollment in Classes.

3. Scroll through the list to see which classes you like. When you see the one you want to enroll in, click the large green plus sign (+) at the far right). This enrolls you in the class.

Make sure to check back here often to verify that you have been accepted into the class. You’ll know that the professor has accepted you when you see CLASS MEMBER - ACCEPTED listed next to the classes that you’ve enrolled in (not “CLASS MEMBER - PENDING”). 

4. Once you have been accepted into the office, go directly to that class’s forum and see if the professor has an additional sign-up thread. Post your student information (such as name, student ID, why you took the class, or whatever the professor asks) in that thread. Only when you have signed up in the office and on the forum will you be officially considered a member of the class.

If you have problems adding or dropping classes, please post in the Questions & Answers forum.

Keep in mind that most first-years, such as yourself, will not be able to enroll in classes that are higher than the 100-level (for example, CHAR101: Basic Charms). To see who can (and who cannot) enroll in each class, refer to the box at the far left (which lists the years that the professor will accept for that class) or check the class website. If all else fails, PM the professor of that class and ask if you are able to join.




How do I drop a class?

Send a private message (PM) to the professor teaching the class and ask them to drop you.




What is the grading system and what do the grades mean?

We use the traditional O. W. L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) and N. E. W. T. (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test) grade scale that was used in the books. It is somewhat similar to the American system of grading. (If a professor uses a different grading scale, that professor will explain it on their class website.) Generally, quills are not awarded for failing grades (see below) so you need to get at least an A (or 70%) in most classes to receive the quill.


You can see below how the grading scale goes. However, keep in mind that while the American equivalents are listed, the grading system in the UK is slightly different compared to the one in America, so if you get an Acceptable or higher, that is actually a very good grade.

Passing Grades


  • 90-100%: Outstanding ( O ) = American equivalent of an “A”
  • 80-90%: Exceeds Expectations ( E ) = American equivalent of a “B”
  • 70-80%: Acceptable ( A ) = American equivalent of a “C”

Failing Grades

  • 60-70%: Passing ( P ) = American equivalent of a “D”
  • 50-60%: Dreadful ( D ) = American equivalent of an “F”
  • 49% and below: Troll ( T ) = American equivalent of an “F” or an “Incomplete”



What should I do if I have a question about the course materials?

First, you should probably send a PM to one of the TAs, or Teacher Assistants. The TAs are likely to be very familiar with the course material and have taken the class before, so they will be able to clarify something for you. If that doesn’t work, you can always send a PM to the professor and ask as many questions as you need to.




What should I do if I am falling behind in my classes?

We understand that people have real-life obligations and can sometimes fall behind in classes. If this is happening to you, please PM your professors as soon as you can and let them know that you are falling behind. When you PM them, ask them if you can do any make-up work. Ask the professors if your absence in the class will affect your grades, and if it does, then ask them what you can do to improve your grade (such as extra credit).





How do the year move-ups work?

There are no special or additional requirements to advance a year (i.e., go from first year to second year). All you need to do is get 3 quills.

Since you are able to take 10 classes a term, you may be getting more than 3 quills per term. This will help you with future move-ups, but keep in mind that you can only advance one year per term. For example, if you get 9 quills during your term as a first-year, you have met the 3-quill requirement; however, you will only be able to advance one year. But since you already have 6 extra quills, you have met the move-up requirements for the next two terms. Technically, if you already have enough quills to move up, you don’t have to take any classes.


How do I complete the move-up process?

Near the end of the term, someone will post a Year Move-Up Request Thread in the Hogwarts Announcements forum. If you have at least 3 quills, you can post in that topic to be moved up. That topic is usually open for a week. If you don't post in that topic, you might not be able to move up.




What is Quidditch? How can I join my House's team?


To join the team, look for information in your House Common Room. Ask a Prefect or a Head Student who the Captain is or who is in charge of Quidditch for your House. When you find out that information, contact the person and ask how you can join. Be advised that your House might already have a full team, but your interest is still appreciated because the teams will always need some alternates on hand in case a main team member can't go to the game.




How do I join a club?

To join a club, simply go to that club’s forum and see if there is a sign-up or club information topic. If you have any questions, PM the professor or student who moderates that specific club. For more information, please see THIS FORUM HERE.




How do I become a Prefect or Head Student?

You need to be at least a 2nd-year to be considered for a Prefect or Head Student position. These students are generally very active on the site and within the House. They help the Head of House and Deputy Head of House with planning House parties, moderating the House, and generally keeping the House active. Prefects and Head Students are also considered members of the Junior Wizengamot (or JW). The Junior Wizengamot is a group of active, dedicated students who work with the Director of Activities (the leader of the Junior Wizengamot) to plan site-wide events, such as the HOlidays.

To become a Prefect or Head Student for the upcoming term, watch the House announcements forum. Each House tends to do things a bit differently. Some may ask for nominations (to see who you would want as a Prefect/HS), while others ask you to fill out a form to show your interest in the position. Some House leaders tend to pick students without application.

Student Behavior


Student Drinking Policy


Only 7th-year students are allowed to drink, and they may only drink during School Breaks at home in a private residence. They may not drink at school or in the pubs on Hogsmeade Weekends.


Anyone under 17 may not drink. Adults and Graduates may drink.



Posted by Elizabeth Peevison (Portrait) on 27 February 2012


After much discussion the Governor's Board has agreed to lessen their rules on student drinking -slightly-

This is for students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each of the other schools have their policies.

Effective immediately the new rule is as follows:

7th years are allowed to drink in the following situations only:
  • During School Breaks Only [this does not include Hogsmeade Weekends]
  • Only at a House/Home in the Hogsmeade/London Areas
There is still NO drinking at Hogwarts or in the pubs/bars

Any 7th years that break the rules and post drinking anywhere other than in houses and only during school breaks, will receive a warning, loss of 150 house points and put on a list that says if they are caught again, they will be suspended for a week. And this whole rule change revoked. Yes 1 person can ruin it for you all.

1st-4th years are still not allowed to drink, at all, whatsoever. If we find out that you have been role playing that you are drinking, you will lose 150 house points and possibly risk suspension from the site for 1 week.

5th & 6th years are not allowed to drink.





Dating & Relationship Policies


We want you to keep in mind that Hogwarts Online is not a dating site. We realize that, as adolescents and teenagers, students are starting to experience hormones and curiosities about the opposite (or in some cases the same) sex. In general, please keep all relationships* at a PG level. Only third-year students and above can be in relationships. At ages eleven and twelve, most still think that that kind of stuff is "icky."

For a more detailed explanation of our relationship guidelines, outlined year by year, please see this topic.

* Here, “relationships” refers to relationships that are romantic or “boyfriend/girlfriend” type.




Harrassment Policy


Click here to learn more about HOS's Harassment Policy.

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