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pipTalk Forums FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

The software we're using for the Passionate Forums comes from the Ultimate Bulletin Board ( Infopop Corporation, 1999), and has long been recognized as one of the most popular packages on the Internet. I've purchased a license, moved the Perl scripts to our server, and made, oh, one or two changes. I'm sure I'll be making more as our little community adapts to this new environment.

Most of the FAQ stuff below came with the software. I've made a few minor changes, based on our unique configuration, and I've added one or two topics. If you have a question and it's not covered here, by all means, feel free to write me. Or, uh, post it on the forum.

Make it easy on yourself!
Do I have to register?
How can I use smilies?
Can I add HTML to my messages?
What are moderators?
How can I change my registration profile?
Can I customize the bulletin board in any way?
Are cookies used?
Can I edit my own posts?
Can I attach files?
Can I search?
Can I add a standard signature to my posts?
What are announcements?
Are there any censor features?
What do I do if I lost my username and/or password?
Can I be notified by email if someone responds to my topic?
What is the "Today" Active Topic List?
Can I search private forums?
What are Mood Icons?

Make it Easy!
There are a few things you can do to make the Forums easier to use. First, make sure your browser accepts cookies. In your profile, instruct the system to store your Username and Password in a cookie, on your machine - and you'll never have to log in again. Second, while you're editing your Profile, set yourself up a signature - and save a few keystrokes on each of your posts. Finally, read the entry below about the "Today" Active Topic list. Then use it every time you come to the forums, rather than wade through every category.

Registering
Registration is only required if you plan to post new topics or reply to existing topics. Registration is free, and you are not required to post your real name. You are required to post your actual email address, however. If you don't want anyone to see your email address with your posts, be sure to make the appropriate field in your Profile. Note that a few of the Forums (and they're marked) do NOT require you to register.

Smilies
You've probably seen others use smilies before in email messages or other bulletin board posts. Smilies are keyboard characters used to convey an emotion, such as a smile :) or a frown :(. This bulletin board automatically converts certain smilies to a graphical representation. When you are posting (either reply or new topic), look for the Quick View bar of links - one of which will show you all the available smiles and the code to make them work.

Using HTML and/or UBB Code
Most of the Forums allow you to use HTML in your posts. It can offer you considerably more options for how your post (and especially your poetry) is displayed. Each of the forums will tell you if the HTML feature is enabled. You'll also see a reference to UBB Codes, which is turned off in most forums. UBB Code is similar to HTML, but offers just a few basic functions, such as hyperlinking, image display, bolding and italicizing. The software supports only one or the other, and I've elected to go with the more powerful HTML. If HTML is on, you may use any HTML tags, but please be very careful that you use proper HTML syntax. If you do not, your moderator or administrator may have to edit your post. If you don't know how to use HTML, there's a link at the top of the page (under our usual Menu) that will give you some basic pointers. It's really not at all difficult, especially for the simpler functions. You'll also find a link to some graphics available for use in your posts.

Moderators
Moderators control individual forums. They can edit, delete, or prune any posts in their forums. If you have a question about a particular forum, you should direct it to your forum moderator. If anyone would like to volunteer to moderate one of the Forums, please explore our Deputy Moderator program. We can definitely use your help!

Changing Your Profile
You may easily change any info stored in your registration profile, using the "Profile" link located near the top of each page. Simply identify yourself by typing your username and password and all of your profile information will appear on screen. You may change any items, except your username.

Customizing Using Preferences
As a registered bulletin board user, you may store your username and password in memory for up to one year at a time. This will prevent you from having to type your user name and password every time you post a note. You also have the option of changing the default number of days back to view topics. Just click on the "Prefs" link and you can make either of these settings. I'm hoping to add more options in the future, and would love your suggestions!

Cookies
This bulletin board uses cookies to store the following information: the last time you logged in, your username and password, and your preferred "topic view", if you set it in preferences. These cookies are stored on your browser. No cookies are used to track your movement or perform any other function other than enhance your use of the bulletin board. If your browser does not support cookies, or you have not enabled cookies on your browser, many of these time-saving features will not work properly.

Editing Your Posts
You may edit your own posts within 24 hours of posting. Just go to the thread where the post to be edited is located and you will see an edit icon on the line that begins "posted on..." Click on this icon and edit the post. No one else can edit your post, except for the forum moderator or the bulletin board administrator. A note is generated at the bottom of each post that is edited so that every one knows when a post has been edited.

Because editing is limited to 24 hours after the post is made, you should always take a moment to make sure you said what you think you said. If you need to Edit after the limit has passed, you'll need to contact one of the forum Moderators for help.

Adding Signatures
You may use a signature (commonly used in email messages) on your posts. If you click on the profile link at the top of most bulletin board pages, you will be able to edit your profile, including your standard signature. Once you have a signature stored, you can choose to include it any post you make by checking the "include signature" box when you create your post. You may also change your signature at any time by changing your profile.

Note: Signature don't support HTML tags (yet), but you can use UBB Code (except for the UBB Code Image tag). The only reason to do so would be to include a home page URL in your signature (though it should already be available in your Profile).

Attaching Files
For security reasons, you may not attach files to any posts. You may cut and paste text into your post, however, or use HTML to provide hyperlinks to outside documents. For those who don't know (Windows users, at least), you can cut/copy text via the keyboard with a Ctrl-C (highlight the text, hold down the Control key, then press "c") and can paste with Ctrl-V (put your cursor in the Reply or Post form, hold down the Control key, then press "v" - and don't ask me why it's "v").

Searching For Specific Posts
You may search for specific posts based on a word or words found in the posts, user name, date, and particular forum(s). Just click on the "search" link at the top of most pages. Note: announcements are not included in the search returns.

Announcements
Announcements are one-way communications from either a forum moderator or a bulletin board administrator. No one may post replies to these announcements. If you want to talk about specific announcements, you will have to create a new topic in the appropriate forum.

Censoring Posts
The bulletin board administrators have the power to censor certain words that may be posted. This censoring is not an exact science, however, so certain words may be censored out of context. Please realize that the censoring, if any censoring is being performed, is being done by a computer based on the words that are being screened. Words that are censored are replaced with asterisks.

I don't consider myself a prude (it's hard to get through a hitch in the Marines without hearing one or two cuss words). But I will have the posts automatically censored for what I feel are two good reasons. Firstly, there are words that some people just plain find offensive. Secondly, poetry is about feelings, not about shock value. Language is our tool, our only tool for communicating. If you can't convey your poetic message without using profanity, I would suggest you find another medium. Or, at least, another forum. 

Lost User Name and/or Password
Retrieving your username and password is simple. All of the pages that require you to identify yourself with your username and password carry a "lost password" link that you can use to have your username and password emailed instantly to your email address of record.

Email Notification
If you create a new topic, you have the option of receiving an email notification every time someone posts a reply to your topic. Just check the email notification box on the "New Topic" forum when you create your new topic, if you want to use this feature.

What is the "Today" Active Topic List?
When you visit this bulletin board, you will see a link at the top of the list of forums called "Today". Clicking on this will provide you with all topics in all open forums that have been posted to that day.

Can I search private forums?
Currently, only administrators and moderators can search through private forums. We do plan to support searching of private forums for other authorized users in the future.

What are Mood Icons?
Depending on the configuration of your forums, you may be able to associate an icon with each post that you make to indicate your "mood" when you made the post. There are currently 14 (ah!) 87 icons, each expressing a different emotion or identification. These icons range from a simple note to sadness to warning. These icons appear on each post. If you do not see icons, your forum administrator may not be allowing icons on this particular forum.

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