Rules and Help

Contents


This board is NOT funded by the anybody but me.

The "vast right wing conspiracy" exists only in the fevered brain of Hillary Clinton, her admirers in the media, and anybody foolish enough to believe whatever someone with an authoritative demeanor tells them.  In fact, I suspect that Hillary herself is perfectly aware that there is no such thing, and I think that most of her media friends know it as well.  It's my opinion that they're cynical enough to think that most people will believe them if they simply speak with conviction and authority, and they're evil enough to take advantage of that.  Whatever.  This board isn't funded by some cabal of right wingers intent on imposing some dark dictatorship on America.

This web board is funded and maintained by me, personally.  I'm just a working guy.  I provide this board at no cost to its users. But, since I'm footing the bill, I expect you to follow some rules.  Read them carefully.  If you don't like them, don't post here.

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READ privileges

There are no special privileges required to read the POSTings on this page.  Simply click the GUEST button and you'll be sent to our main posting page. Click on a message title to view the associated text.

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POST privileges

Anyone is more than welcome to post on this board.  Informed opinions from all sides are welcome, but remember that uninformed opinions aren't worth very much.  If you POST here, you're quite likely to face an array of facts from the people with informed opinions.
 

Registering to post

I insist on having some idea of who you are.  On the other hand, you may not care to advertise who you are to all and sundry.  You might be concerned about harassment of one sort or another, either from some of the less savory denizens of the internet, or from some other source.

So, I'm not going to ask you for your real name, your address, or a credit card number.  The only thing I want from you is an E-Mail address that I can use to contact you.  And, I agree not to publish that without your explicit permission.  If you apply to post here, you're making the following contract with me, personally:

You agree to provide me with a legitimate EMail address and obey the guidelines for posting messages to this board.
I agree that nobody responsible for the management of this board will expose your EMail address without your expressed permission.  There are legitimate functions associated with the management of this board that may require exposing your EMail address to the person performing those functions.  The use of your EMail address is strictly limited to the performance of those functions.   Beyond that, I agree not to make your EMail address known to anybody else, period, unless compelled by court order.
If you violate this agreement, then this entire agreement is null and void.
So, you must register before you can post on this board.  That process entails your filling out my registration form.  On that form you are required to supply me with:
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Options available to registered users

On the main page, a logged in user sees a User Options button. Click this to go to the user options page, where several goodies are available.

Who's on displays a list of other registered users who have been active within the past hour. This is the default "User Options" display.

Mark all messages "read" causes the board to update its record of the messages you've seen, changing all messages to "read" status. This is handy if you've been on vacation or just don't feel like wading through some long thread that doesn't interest you. Note that the display for each message contains an option to mark the rest of a given thread as "read". If it's only one thread you want to ignore, consider using that instead.

Your personal messages displays a list of personal messages sent to you by other users. These are to you and you alone and don't appear on the board itself. The board lets you know if you have any outstanding personal messages. A personal message remains outstanding until you delete it, which you can do from the Your Personal Messages dialog. You can optionally EMail yourself a copy before deletion.

Send a personal message allows you to select a user by his handle and send him a personal message. Follow the instructions. Please remember that this is a message board, not an EMail system. It was purposely designed to be a little cumbersome to discourage long conversations. If you want to converse with somebody privately, consider getting a chat client (like an instant messenger), or send each other EMail.

Block/Unblock other users. "Blocking" allows you to make another user's postings (and any responses to them) invisible and prevents that user from sending you personal messages. Unblocking reverses the effect of that.

Change your background. By default, the board allows your browser to set a background image. If you like, you can specify a background image for the board to provide for you. There are several available in the background dialong, or you can point to anything on the web.

Change your password, etc. allows you to change your password and board preferences.

Change your nickname allows you to change your nickname.

Change your EMail allows you to change your EMail.

Successful changes to your EMail, nickname, or your "public/private" EMail state are propagated to all messages on the board.

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Using and Navigating the Board


When you log in or enter as a guest, the main message board is displayed.  There is some banner stuff, some buttons, and then the main page list of threads.  The board is sensitive to who you are.  If you're a guest, you won't see some of the things that a user will see.  This part of the document is largely intended for users, but guests might learn something here as well.

As users post messages, those messages are recorded on the server and the subject of the message is presented on the main board as a clickable link.  A typical entry might look like this:

This is a typical message entry Posted by: some-nickname on date and time

If you want to read the message, click on the title.  If the nickname shows up as a link, then clicking it will bring up your browser's mail function so you can send an EMail to the owner of the nickname.

You might decide to respond to this message.  So might any number of other users.  All of the responses to a particular new message are considered part of the message thread.  The main board indicates that messages are related by indenting and ordering the responses.  A message thread might look something like this:

This is a typical message entry Posted by: some-nickname on date and time

These responses are called "follow-ups".  When you click on a message, you be presented with the text of the message, with any follow-up messages presented below the message text.  That's presented on a "follow up" page, which looks something like this:

This is a typical message entry


Submitted by: some-nickname on data and time



text of message

Follow Ups:

  • This is a response to the first message Posted by: some-nickname on date and time


  • So, you can continue to read the messages and the responses to the messages, in the order in which they were posted, and in the context in which they were intended.

    At the bottom of the follow ups, there's a place where you may post a follow up to the message you're currently looking at.

    If you want to start a new message thread, go back to the main page, and click on the "Post a New Message" button, or scroll to the bottom.  Fill out the message form and submit it.

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    Other elements of board appearance and behavior

    Understanding how the board works is important in making it behave as you'd prefer.

    The internet is a dynamic place.  The most common behavior (and the one used by this message board) is:

    Your browser makes a connection, requests something, gets an answer, and breaks the connection.
    From the board's point of view, you show up out of nowhere, request something, and then disappear.  If you close your browser and go do something else, the board has no way to "know".  Worse, there's no guaranteed way to remember you from the last time you were here.  When was the last time?  Two seconds ago?  Two hours?  Two years?

    So, the board is designed to manage your "state" by making notes to itself in files on the server and then reading those files when it receives a request.

    This particular board establishes something called a "session".  When you log in, the board creates a session for you (which is represented in a file on the server).  Each session has a unique identifier.  When the board sends you a page, it includes your session identifier as part of the data on that page.  When you click on something (make a request from the board), that session identifier is sent back with the request.  The board uses that to validate the request.

    Of course, if you close your browser, the session record is still sitting on the server.  Then again, maybe you didn't close your browser.  Maybe you're reading a message and composing a response.  Maybe you went to the bathroom, walked your dog, and had a snack.

    At some point, the server decides that you're really gone, and gets rid of your session.  The time this board uses is about an hour.

    Why do you care about all this?  Because, if you sit idle on the board for an hour, your session authorization is removed.  If you make a request after that, it fails with a message saying that your authorization was not found.  That means you have to log in again.  To prevent this, read a message or post a message, or go see who's on before an hour passes.

    Hitting RELOAD, BACK, or FORWARD on your browser isn't reliable for this.  That's because your browser is designed to give you quick response, and it won't go out to the internet if it doesn't have to.  Instead, it keeps pages on your machine (in a place called the cache).  When you hit reload, you're likely to get the page back from your browser's cache, which won't result in any activity over on the server (where it needs to be).

    Sometimes composing a message can take a long time. Maybe you're engrossed, or maybe you're distracted. Whatever. If you let the board timeout on you, you could lose that message that you just sent so much time working on. If you think you might have taken too long, there's only one thing to do: Use your computer's cut and paste capability to save the text of your post before attempting to submit it. If you get an error trying to post, then open up a text editor and paste your message into it. At least you still have the text.

    A better practice is to use the message preview function. As you compose your message, periodically preview it. There's a Preview Submission button - use it. It not only shows what your message currently looks like (handy for you HTML jockeys), but it also "tickles" your session at the server and gives you another hour.
     

    Link colors and message graphics

    When you're presented with the main page, you may note that some of the messages have little graphics beside them.  There's a red NT graphic and a yellow new graphic.   The NT graphic is no problem.  It simply means that the message contains no text.  It's always right, and there's no need to click on a message marked with NT unless you want to respond to it.  The subject is the message.

    The new graphic is a different matter.  Every message has a unique number, and that number goes back to 1 after about 10,000,000 messages have been posted.  The server keeps track of every message you've read, and manages both the new graphic and the color of the link for you.  Why?  It's a security thing, trust me.  The result of this particular behavior is that you may notice that the new tags (and the colors of the posting titles) don't behave quite the way you'd expect.

    When you click on a link in most applications, your browser remembers that you've done this.  The next time you see that same link, it shows up a darker color.  Your browser may not do that in this application, because this application doesn't link directly to uniquely identified documents on the web.  So, if you read a message and then click BACK, you'll notice that the color of the link to that message hasn't changed, and the graphic still appears.

    On every page, there's a "Back to Main Page" button, which acts as an "express" button to get you back to the main page (DUH!).  On the main page itself, there's an Refresh Messages button.  If you use these, then the server sends you a fresh copy, complete with the updates to your new graphics and link colors.  However, clicking these buttons reloads the main page, which can take some time. It's your browser, and your time.
     

    Incorrect passwords

    From time to time, all of us get the login password wrong. The server doesn't get too upset, but will shut your access down for the rest of the calendar day if it detects 5 wrong attempts in a row. This discourages hackers. I can fix it if someone's bollixed your account as a prank. EMail me.
     

    Posting Limits

    You're limited as to often and how much you can post in a single calendar day. Those limits are set high enough to be a matter of no concern to legitimate discourse. The purpose of this is to defend against what's called a denial of service attack. In such an attack, the culprit attempts to "clog" the server with messages and/or data. You can't post more than 25K in a single POST, more than 250K a day in all postings, or more than 250 messages total. If I'm wrong about these limits, I'm sure you'll be letting me know. They're adjustable.

    To give you some perspective, I posted the entire text of one of the longer Federalist Papers as a test. It took 16K. If you have something really big, link to it, don't post it. You can code HTML into your message text, or use the handy "link" builder at the bottom of each page.
     

    Message Format and content

    Of course, if you're proficient at HTML, you can put it into your posting, and it will work. If you try to put HTML into your message title (subject) or your nickname, that won't work. Sorry, but stupid HTML tricks can render the board unusable, so the board doesn't allow HTML in anything that can appear as a link or text on the main page.

    As you type your post, remember that you don't have to hit enter unless you really want to. The area in which you enter text is setup to "wrap" as you type, so just type. Hit enter to start new paragraphs or for other output formatting considerations. Don't hit enter just because you're near what looks like the "end of the line". If your browser doesn't wrap this text, consider another browser.

    There are no content filters on this board. I expect each of you to respect the fact that you're "on my dime", using my resources. As long as you do, there won't be a problem. That's not to say that I won't disagree with whatever you may choose to say, but I won't be editing your POSTings. Unless...

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    Warning and Banning

    A few years experience in the message board business is an excellent teacher. The worst problem I've had to deal with as an administrator is bullying and disrespect. You don't have to agree with the other guy, but I do insist that you treat other opinions as honestly held. This is pretty important to me. To stress it, I've got a special policy with respect to bullying:
    This site does not tolerate deliberate acts intended to provoke a response by the use of ridicule or disrespect, or the posting of views intended to bring ridicule upon another board member by disparaging their right to express their opinions or facts. This is not to be confused with acceptable satire or even gentle mockery, but rather that which in my opinion or the opinion of those I appoint as auditors, is clearly antagonistic and offered in a spirit of ill will. Such behavior may result in action ranging from the deletion of the offending messages to the termination of the offender's rights to participate - sometimes (but not always) subject to a warning issued by the webmaster
    You might note the slight stress on the phrase, "in my opinon" above. The problem that usually goes along such behavior is disrespect for my authority. I try to address what I see as problems, in as non-confrontational a manner as I can. Sometimes people see things as problems that I don't see as problems. Sometimes people don't like the way I handle certain problems. In either case, it's fine to point things out to me. But there are limits. This board is my personal property, run and maintained at my personal expense. When all is said and done, my decisions are the ones that stand. And I do not take kindly to people nagging me about them, and I will not tolerate my authority being undermined with constant complaints about "fairness" or any other such nonsense. Do this repeatedly, and you'll be invited to go elsewhere.

    Bitter personal experience has obliged me to sound harsh and arbitrary here. Actually I'm pretty lenient, but sometimes folks get a little out of hand.

    1. If, in my judgment, you are making a nuisance of yourself, or are continually expressing yourself in an unacceptable manner, I may warn you privately, by E-Mail.
    2. If you fail to make corrections to my satisfaction, then I may warn you publicly by posting my objections in a "Warning" message, directed to you on the page.
    3. If you fail to make the required adjustments after either or both of these warnings, you'll be banned. That means you won't be allowed to post anymore. It also means one other thing, discussed below.
    4. If you attempt to sabotage this page or its server in any way that I can detect, you'll be banned immediately, without warnings.
    5. If, after being banned, I determine that you have returned to the page under another "name", I will ban you immediately and without warning.
    6. In cases of attack or sabotage, I will complain formally to the supplier of your E-Mail accounts and (when possible) your ISP that you are using their facitlities to harrass and annoy other users of the internet. I will also encourage all of the other users on the board to file similar complaints. Should your providers not respond to these complaints, I will take action to protect this board from those who are allowing you to access it.
    All of this is completely at my personal discretion.  If you can't live with that, don't register.

    Here are some of the things that constitute unacceptable posting content:

    Since many of you are more imaginative than I, there may be other things that I haven't mentioned here.  By and large, I don't care what you have to say, as long as you show reasonable consideration for the sensibilities of the other users of the board, and don't clog it with childish personal attacks.  The evaluation of these things is entirely up to me.  Don't expect me to be consistent or predictable.  I'll be taking things on a case-by-case basis. I may (and usually do) decide to skip either the EMail or the public warnings. Generally the problems that need to be addressed by one of these options are unsuitable for the other. My decision. I may decide to forego all of it if I think the matter is serious enough to warrant that. Also, my decision.

    Banning means more than "you can't post here anymore".  Anyone who is banned has, in my estimation, violated my trust and has quite likely caused me to spend time and resources correcting problems.  In short, if someone gets banned, they've failed to respect our contract.  As a consequence, the contract is considered null and void.  If you are banned, then you'll discover a couple of things.

    1. You won't be able to log in anymore, and re-registering won't work either.
    2. If you happen to be on at the time, you'll likely get an authorization failed error, or may discover that you've become a guest on the page (all of the registered user stuff is gone).
    3. Should you return as a guest, you'll discover that you've left a "parting message" explaining why you were banned.  You may also find that all of your messages have been deleted.
    4. Your EMail attribute becomes "public" in your parting message, so the other users can send you sympathy cards. Or whatever.
    Again,  if you don't like these rules, don't register. I cannot stress this strongly enough. To this day, I have to deal with bozos who think that nothing here applies to them. I don't know why they think that. But in every case, I've had to show them how wrong they really are.

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