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RPGBoard Posters' FAQ

The latest version of this FAQ can be found here.  If you have a question, ask your administrator, not me.

  1. Posting Messages
    1. There are so many knobs and switches on this thing!  What do they all do?!
    2. The MB allows HTML, but I don't know any!  What can I try out?
    3. HTML is turned on, but I still can't use TABLE tags.  What's wrong?
    4. Can I post a no-text message with a link or image?
  2. Message Defaults
    1. What are message defaults?
    2. What do all the fields and buttons on the defaults screen do?
    3. What's the ignore list for?  Why would I use it?
    4. How come, when I changed the screen size, nothing happened?
    5. It's nothing much, but why could you have changed the daylight savings time automatically?
    6. What are the different header styles?
  3. Operating RPGBoard
    1. How does message deleting work?
    2. What's with these cookies and why should I use them?
    3. What are the thread modes and how do they work?
    4. Why does the "Preview Message" stay on all the time?  People have to select "Post Message" in order to post it.
    5. How does the advanced search work?
    6. How does user moderation work and what is it used for?
    7. How exactly does hybrid mode work?
  4. Miscellaneous
    1. Where can I download this great script?
    2. Why is the script called RPGBoard?
    3. Hey!  What happened to ResonatorSoft.com?
    4. Help!  I forgot my password!  What do I do?!
    5. I'm having trouble posting!  Could I e-mail you for help?
    6. I have a feature I want to add to RPGBoard.  Can I e-mail you about it?
1 Posting Messages
1.1 There are so many knobs and switches on this thing!  What do they all do?!
The posting screen(NOTE: Not everything on this display with be included on the message board that you're posting.  It depends on the configuration of the MB.)
  1. If you are in a MB that uses multiple thread modes, this message will appear to briefly describe how they work.
  2. Some forums may not allow you to post unless you're at a certain user level.  This message will appear if that is the case.
  3. This is where you put your nick, or if you prefer, your real name.  If you've posted a message before, this entry automatically gets filled using a Name cookie.
  4. If you are posting on a protected message board, you will have to enter your password.  This entry will disappear after the first time you enter it.  (This is because it records a Password cookie.)
  5. You are not required to enter an e-mail address to post unless you plan on the replies to be mailed to you.  (See #21.)  This entry disappears if you already have it filled in on your defaults.
  6. This display reports your IP number, including all the proxies you hit and the IP name.  It's used to prevent name spoofing and makes the banning of users much easier.  The administrator may have disabled this display for privacy reasons, so you might not be able to see it.  However, admins can still see it, regardless of the setting.  This is so admins can still ban offensive users.
  7. This reports your browser and OS.  There is no real reason for it, except for the stats screens and as a conversation piece.  If you encounter a browser/OS that it can't detect properly, e-mail me with the HTTP_USER_AGENT info and I'll add it into the next version of RPGBoard.  (The HTTP_USER_AGENT info is located next to the reported browser/OS in the form of a HTML comment.)
  8. This is the subject of your message.  Self-explainatory.
  9. This button is used for posting "No Text" messages.  NT messages are short messages/replies that don't have any real content in them except for the subject.  They are marked with a "(No Text)" tag in the headers.  (Putting *nt* on the end of messages was used to simulate this, hence the name of the button.)
  10. You can post an image before your message by inserting a complete URL here.  You can also put images in your message by using the IMG tag (if HTML is completely enabled on your MB).  (NOTE: This blank is not available if the administrator set Limited HTML or No HTML on messages.)
  11. This is where you put your message.  Duh!
  12. If you're writing a rather long message, it's recommended that you save your message often (in case your browser or OS crashes or some other mishap).  Or if you want to save a partial message and finish it later (like on another computer), you can do that, too.  You can only have one saved message.  Saving another one overwrites the first.
  13. Appearing on replies only, this button will grab the text of the current message and place it in the body of your own.  If HTML is enabled, it will automatically boldface the paragraphs for easy replying.
  14. Spoiler messages are black-on-black (or white-on-white or whatever) messages that aren't normally shown unless you highlight them either with your mouse or pressing Ctrl-A.  (NOTE: This feature might not available on your MB.)
  15. Normally, when you write a message, RPGBoard formats it to look right, such as <BR> tags after returns, <P> tags after double-returns, etc.  In some occasions, you don't want it to do this, like when you are writing pure HTML code.  The default is on.  (NOTE: This feature is not available if your administrator has disabled HTML for messages.)
  16. If you want to include a link to a page, you can fill in the title of the link and a complete URL of the page that you want to link.  If HTML is enabled on the message board, you can alternatively use A tags in your message body.  (HTML is described below.)
  17. This link points to the background display page.  (This is provided, of course, that the administrator has enabled multiple backgrounds.)
  18. This entry is to choose your background.  You can select a default background on the defaults page.
  19. If your administrator included message tags, you will be able to use these as warnings/notices to the content of your message.
  20. This is used to further describe the content of your message.  The text before the entry blank is editable by the administrator.
  21. Some people just want to pop in a message board, ask a question, and wait for an answer.  This option is for them.  Every reply to this message will be e-mailed to the e-mail address you specify as a HTML message.  (A text version is also supplied if your e-mail viewer doesn't support HTML messages.)
  22. This will give you three options: Preview & SpellCheck, Preview w/o SpellCheck, and Post Message.  It's recommended that you preview your message before posting it.  (NOTE: The adminstrator may have turned off the SpellCheck, in which case, you will only see Preview Message and Post Message.)
  23. This link points to the defaults page.  You can set various options to suit your enviroment, including your background (if enabled), your e-mail address, your standard font, your standard screen size (to elongate the blanks to your screen width), etc.  Also, you will need to register your name to post messages on protected boards, and to delete your messages.
1.2 The MB allows HTML, but I don't know any!  What can I try out?
Well, here are a few HTML tags to try out (They can be in lower or uppercase.):
<b>Bold</b> Bold
<i>Italic</i> Italic
<u>Underline</u> Underline
<font color="red">Red</font> Red
<font color="#FF0000">Also Red</font> Also Red
<font face="Impact">Impact Font (if available)</font> Impact Font (if available)
<font size="+1">Bigger Font</font> Bigger Font
<big>Also Bigger</big> <small>and smaller</small> Also Bigger and smaller
<a href="index.html">A link</a> A link
<img src="sample.gif" width=200 height=50 alt="Sample"> (Don't forget the width/height/alt stuff!) Sample
<b><i><u><font color="red" face="Impact" size="+1">All together now!</font></u></i><br>Don't forgot to close your tags, else you might get attributes that stay on (like this boldface).</b> All together now!
Don't forget to close your tags, else you might get attributes that stay on (like this boldface).
1.3 HTML is turned on, but I still can't use TABLE tags.  What's wrong?
I've included the option to disable TABLE tags (by default) because they can cause some major problems with messages if somebody screwed them up.  Common problems were: none of the message could be seen (missing </TABLE> tag), message text that spilled outside the main message table (using a </TABLE> tag to end the table), a never-ending link/font that extended past the message (using the above trick and forgetting to end the A/FONT tag), etc.  The best solution was to remove TABLE and T[HRD] tags altogether.  Sorry, but by containing the message inside its own table limited message and HTML problems to only the message body, and not the rest of the page.
1.4 Can I post a no-text message with a link or image?
Yes.  If you fill-in the link or image fields at the bottom and post it as a NT message, it'll post the message with the link or image (or both) in the message.  NT messages with links and/or images have a "Link/Image Inside" inside the tag.  (This is the reason for two *nt* buttons.)
2 Message Defaults
2.1 What are messages defaults?
Message defaults are various customizations you can make to your account to make your messages unique and set various options to suit your enviroment, including your background (if enabled), e-mail address, standard font, time zone, standard screen size (to elongate the blanks to your screen width), mini-biography, etc.  Also, you will need to register your name to post messages on protected boards, and to delete your messages.
2.2 What do all the fields and buttons on the defaults screen do?
The message defaults screen(NOTE: Not everything on this display with be included on the message board that you're posting.  It depends on the configuration of the MB.)
  1. This is where you put your nick, or if you prefer, your real name.  You can change to something else, though your old name will be removed.
  2. This is where you can change your password.  Please remember it as it is used for changing your defaults, deleting messages, and in some cases, posting messages.  (See question 4.4 for hints if you forgot your password.)
  3. If, for some reason, you need to delete your record, you can do so by checking all three boxes and hitting the button at the bottom.
  4. This is your e-mail address.  Not necessary, but it is required for the e-mail reply functions.

  5. Your default font is automatically used in all of your messages.  It's recommended that you include multiple fonts (separated by commas) as alternatives for people who don't have your font.
  6. If you want your font to automatically be bold or italic (or both), this option is for you.  (Any B or I tags in messages are adjusted such that it will be the opposite of your setting.)
  7. These obviously adjust the default alignment and margin of your messages.
  8. This link points to the background display page.  (This is provided, of course, that the administrator has enabled multiple backgrounds.)
  9. This entry is to choose your default background for all of your messages.

  10. You'll need to set your time zone to get the correct times, as everything is recorded in GMT.  Be sure to get the right daylight savings time, too.  (See question 2.5.)
  11. These various options control how dates are displayed.

  12. This controls how you want to display replies on the main index pages.  Some options are affected by the thread mode of the message board:
    • Only show root threads: Hides all replies in all thread modes.
    • Show conversations: Hybrid mode, hides all replies except new conversations.  Threaded mode, shows everything.  Semi-threaded mode, hides all replies.  (Option only available if a hybrid mode forum is set up.)
    • Include last message indictator: Hybrid/semi-threaded modes, like show conversations, but adds the LMI to all messages/conversations with replies.  Threaded mode, shows everything.  (Option only available if a hybrid/semi-threaded mode forum is set up.)
    • Show everything: Shows all replies in all thread modes.
  13. Usually, RPGBoard will display the entire root message thread in messages.  You can change it to only display the replies (based on the current message).
  14. RPGBoard has various header styles to choose from, based on styles from other (inferior) message board scripts.  (See question 2.6 for information on the different header styles.)
  15. If set to "neat", very long subjectlines on the index will be truncated, based on how deep the message is in the thread. This is to curb the one-word-per-line phenomenon, usually found on 10+ deep message threads.
  16. If this is turned on, your deleted messages will be shown on the main index pages.  (NOTE: This option is always on for admins.)
  17. If the board has user moderation turned on, you can control how low the score needs to be before a message disappears from view.  The lowest setting turns off moderation ignoring.  (The latter is always the case for admins.)

  18. These two options affect whether you want to block out footers or cosmetics (= custom fonts and backgrounds), on both single and collated messages.
  19. Normally, NT messages are shown as headers in collated messages, to save on bandwidth (and give another use for NT messages, which are otherwise pointless in collated messages).  This option affects this behavior.

  20. By default, your name and password cookies last for a year before they expire.  If you're on a public computer most of the time, you might want to change this to 10-15 minutes so that nobody abuses your nick and deletes your messages.  (See question 3.2 for more info on cookies.)
  21. This is used for setting the default setting for the submit box.  Normally, a message will always preview on default, but this behavior is changable through this option.
  22. Set this to your screen size to change your field sizes.  (See question 2.4.)
  23. If turned on, RPGBoard will automatically save your messages every time you preview or post a message.  This is helpful for those people that forget to save their messages, or it can be a easy way to correct errors on messages you've already posted.  (For the latter case, you would delete your old message, reload it from the saved file, correct the mistakes, and post it again.)

  24. Here you would put all the nick/forum combos that you want to ignore.  See question 2.3 for more details.  (NOTE: Admins have a limited form of ignore lists.  They can still see the header, but they can't reply to the message.)

  25. Your footer goes here.  You can use HTML tags if it's allowed in messages.
  26. See item 12 in question 1.1.
2.3 What's the ignore list for?  Why would I use it?
The ignore list is a "personal ban list" of sorts.  Any messages from the names that you list will not show up in the threads.  (This includes any replies from those messages, for obvious reasons.)  There are a couple of reasons why you would use this.  One, if you have some spammer annoying the site, you can ignore him/her until the admin comes in and kicks him/her out.  (Of course, you should still warn the admin first.)  Also, if you have somebody who is just plain annoying, you might go so far as to use the ignore list.
2.4 How come, when I changed the screen size, nothing happened?
You probably didn't notice it but it does change the size of some of the form fields to match your screen size.
2.5 It's nothing much, but why could you have changed the daylight savings time automatically?
Believe me: when I was implementing the time zone feature, I really wanted to do that.  However, you can blame the loose implementation of DST for the lack of automation.  Not only do some of the countries not follow it, some of the states in the US don't even follow it.  On top of that, there's no standard date on when they follow it.  Ugh!
2.6 What are the different header styles?
RPGBoard: WebBBS: WWWBoard: DiscussionApp:
3 Operating RPGBoard
3.1 How does message deleting work?
If you make a mistake in a message, or figured out an answer to your question just after you asked it, or just otherwise want to delete your message, just go into your message and click on the delete button.  You may or may not need to enter your password, depending on whether you have a password cookie.  (See the next question for more information on cookies.)  You can only delete a message if you own it and there are no replies to it.  Beyond that, you'd have to ask an administrator to delete it for you.  Also, only admins can undelete messages.  This is so that a spammer/flamer couldn't undelete his own messages (which the admin just deleted).
3.2 What's with these cookies and why should I use them?
Cookies are small pieces of information stored on your computer that can be retrieved later.  RPGBoard uses these to store your name and password.  Once you type in your name and password, you never have to enter them again.  You'll notice that your name is automatically filled-in, and the password blank disappears if you already have a valid password cookie.  You can set the expire time for your cookies in your message defaults.
3.3 What are the thread modes and how do they work?
There are five different thread modes in RPGBoard:
  • Threaded:
    • Description: Messages are fully threaded.  All replies are connected to each other.  This is the default mode.
    • Pros: Good multi-purpose thread mode
    • Cons: Doesn't work well with the two extremes of message population
    • Uses: General forums
    • Netiquette: Obvious
  • Non-threaded:
    • Description: All messages are unthreaded, similar to the way mailing lists work.
    • Pros: Index headers are easier to read
    • Cons: Lacks the structure of threaded mode
    • Uses: ML/MB crossovers, small forums, guestbooks
    • Netiquette: Try to compose long list of replies into digests, instead of sending multiple messages.  Address the person you're talking to, or use quoted text.
  • Flat:
    • Description: Similar to non-threaded, except all of the messages are "opened".
    • Pros: All messages are on one page; no clicking on links
    • Cons: Lacks a threaded structure (like non-threaded), messages tend to expire faster
    • Uses: Very small forums, personal chat forums, guestbooks
    • Netiquette: Same as non-threaded, though more care should be taken with the netiquette in flat mode forums.
  • Semi-threaded:
    • Description: Combination of threaded and flat modes.  All replies are connected to the root message.
    • Pros: Everything is put into structured conversations
    • Cons: Limits threads to one topic
    • Uses: Q&A forums, UBB junkies
    • Netiquette: Address the person you're talking to, or use quoted text.  Please stay on the topic of the thread.
  • Hybrid:
    • Description: Combination (hybrid) of threaded and semi-threaded modes.  Like semi-threaded, except conversations can deviate to other sub-conversations (by clicking on the "View Message" link and replying to it).
    • Pros: Thread structure is much neater than threaded mode, theorically the best mode available
    • Cons: Hardest mode to use
    • Uses: Forums with very high thread density, UBB junkies
    • Netiquette: Address the person you're talking to, or use quoted text.  If the current conversation is shifting out of the current topic, please start a new sub-conversation, but only do it if you have to.  (Constantly starting a new sub-conversation for a two-way debate is fruitless.)
3.4 Why does the "Preview Message" stay on all the time?  People have to select "Post Message" in order to post it.
The reason it behaves like that is because some people have browsers with the unfortunate behavior of clearing the message boxes when they hit back.  This causes a lot of grief, especially with long messages.  Another unfortunate thing would be to post a message accidently and realize that it contains a slew of errors.  That's why the "Preview Message" option is default.  However, this is configurable as an option in the defaults menu.
3.5 How does the advanced search work?
The advanced search method should work just like most web search engines.  It uses +/-/"phrase" searching, similar to AltaVista and Excite.  For example, say that I use the following:

+"foo bar" -Train +password testing words

The messages MUST have the phrase "foo bar" and the word "password".  The messages MUST NOT have the word "Train".  The messages should have AT LEAST ONE of the following: "foo bar", "password", "testing", "words".  Since the word "Train" uses capital letters, it's a case sensitive match.  The rest of the words are matched case insensitivly.

3.6 How does user moderation work and what is it used for?
User moderation is a feature for regulars to "vote" on the quality of the messages.  It's basically a form of democratic administration, best used on very large and popular message boards.  It works like this: If you are a fairly regular poster (= usually 100+ posts; though it is on a per-forum basis), you will be able to vote once on a message to upgrade or downgrade the score.  Messages with a high score have a square bullet on the headers, while messages with a low score have a unfilled disc for a bullet.  When the score drops below your moderation threshold, the message disappears from view.

Please note that this is to mark the quality of the messages, not to reflect your opinions of them.  If you disargee with a message but it makes a valid argument, then don't downgrade it.  As a general rule, just ask yourself "Should this message be deleted?", because downgrading a message below somebody's moderation threshold has the equivalent effect of deleting it.

3.7 How exactly does hybrid mode work?
Hybrid mode is a combination of the threaded and semi-threaded modes.  All of the messages are combined, like semi-threaded, but you can start different sub-conversations, like threaded.  However, as it's a unique mode not found in any other message board, it may cause some confusion as to how it works.

It's relatively simple.  You start out with the main thread.  Then, people reply to that main thread.  Instead of threaded-mode's forced threading for a simple conversation, all of the replies are found under the main thread, similar to the way semi-threaded works.  However, unlike semi-threaded, you can click on "View Message", reply to the message, and start a new sub-conversation.

For example, Person A starts the thread about the founding of religion.  Persons ABCD continue with the main conversation, based on the main topic (the founding of religion).  Person C writes a message relating to science versus religion.  Person D, sensing that Person C's message would open a whole new can of worms, clicks on "View Message" and starts a new sub-conversation on Person C's message.  Person C's message is both a part of Person A's main thread (founding of religion), and as the conversation starter for a new sub-topic (science vs. religion).  The conversation on both ends goes on as normal, and then Person B writes a message about evolution, within the science vs. religion thread, which Person A starts as another new sub-conversation.  This sub-conversation stretches on for 30-40 replies, but since it's within Hybrid mode, it doesn't cause that 40 threaded-deep bullet nightmare.

Two-way conversations (aka bitching matchs) don't have to kill the thread's structure with all of that thread pollution.  Instead, they are nice and neat, and if you select a Header Index mode beside "Show Everything", you don't even have to see the replies for a conversation that you don't care about.  The Last Message Indictator (LMI) is useful for figuring out if there are any new messages in a conversation (while keeping the threads as small as possible), as well as proper use of the log viewer.

BTW, I recommend you start out with these defaults:

Headers in index: Show everything
Collated messages: No footers or cosmetics
Collated NT messages: Expand as messages

Look at it that way first and experiment with it to your own tastes.  Any other (helpful) suggestions and comments about the format are appreciated.

4 Miscellaneous
4.1 Where can I download this great script?
Here.  I'm always around if you need help setting up your own message board.
4.2 Why is the script called RPGBoard?
When it was first started, RPGBoard was originally a message board script designed for role-playing game (RPG) message boards because that was what my MB was.  Later, people wanted to use it for their own MBs and it grew to include a bunch of features that could be used in any message board script, such as the message defaults and spell checking.  So, I included configurability for the gaming-specific features (like the message tags and spoiler message field).  Since V2, RPGBoard is an all-purpose message board script, but I've decided to keep the name anyway.
4.3 Hey!  What happened to ResonatorSoft.com?
Heh...now there's a story!  Too big for the FAQ, so I put it here.
4.4 Help!  I forgot my password!  What do I do?!
Don't panic!  If your password cookie is still stored in your computer, then you can change it without even knowing your old one.  Go to the defaults screen and enter your name.  Leave the password field blank and click on the button.  If it lets you in, you can change your password to something that you won't forget this time :)  If not, you can still ask an admin to change the password, as they have the power to do that.
4.5 I'm having trouble posting!  Could I e-mail you for help?
No!  I, SineSwiper, am the guy who maintains this script, NOT the maintainer of the message board!  The admins (and in most cases, only the admins) can solve your problem themselves, if you ask them.  I'm not trying to be rude, but I get plently of e-mail as it is from administrators (much less misguided users) who need help.
4.6 I have a feature I want to add to RPGBoard.  Can I e-mail you about it?
Yes!  Feel free to e-mail me if you have anything to add.  However, you should read section 6 of the Admin FAQ first.