The global options apply to the site as a whole and not to a specific theme template or module. They are set in the file
functions-options.php. You must be particularly careful if you choose to edit this file directly as it is called by
functions.php and any errors can have a knock on effect on your whole WordPress installation including the admin menu.
The first option simply chooses whether the default position of the sidebar is on the right (the default), on the left (as on this site), whether there isn't a sidebar at all, of if there are two. This might seem like it should just be a Sidebar option but it does need to be allowed for in most of the template code.
The second option is related to the first. The theme allows the user to select a preferred sidebar position using buttons on the Sidebar menu which in turn set a cookie. However if caching is being used on the site it is highly likely that the cookie will only have an effect when the page is first loaded in to the cache. So not only will the cookie be ignored when serving a page from the cache, but the sidebar position is controlled by whoever made that first page access. The selector can be disabled in the Sidebar options but this global option will act as a belt and braces to make sure that the cookie isn't used.
The entire page content, with the exception of the the top and bottom banners (defined in the Header and Footer), is wrapped in a padded
<div id="bhpagecontent"> with a plain white background. This allows the page background to be set to a different colour to provide contrast. The Scout brand colours (which include black and white) are offered.
When a single post is displayed the default behaviour is to show any comments that have been submitted along with a form to submit a new comment. The option will disable the display of the comments and the form. To allow for the possibility of the theme evolving to support comments in more than one place this was made a global option.
The next two options allow arbitrary HTML code to be injected into the HTML
<head> section (before the call to
wp_head()) and the HTML
<body> section (before the call to
wp_footer()). These could be used, for example, to insert Google Analytics tracking code without editing the theme files (there are plenty of plugins to handle Google Analytics but doing it this way ties in more closely with the instructions Google provide, which can be useful). These options could have gone in the Header and Footer but it seemed more appropriate to have them here.
The last option gives you the option of having shortcodes processed in widget text (specifically
add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode') gets called in
function-options.php). So if you have a plugin that is only implemented as a shortcode you could use a text widget and put the shortcode in that.