Tips for Newbies/FA


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Welcome, dear Newbie (or curious Oldbie) to my (hopefully) comprehensive help and information page. We really enjoy newbies here at the FFF and want you to enjoy us too. We hope this will give you some basic ideas about how things work and make your stay more comfortable.

What can be found in this FAQ? I'm glad you asked. Here's the contents:

History and Philosophy of the FFF

I (Caleyna) started the FFF in 1999 with the intention of creating a friendly place that people could call their home. Like most forums, it got off to a slow start, but eventually built up momentum and is now a thriving, if small, Internet community.

We know we can be intimidating for newbies and we really try not to be. Most of us have met at least a few other Freaks (as we like to call ourselves) in real life and a few of us have even become romantically involved with fellow Freaks. I married a Freak (you'll see him as Mike or Bubba) and other Freaks are engaged. That makes us sound like a meet-market doesn't it? But we really aren't. We are just a group of friends who spend a lot of time together. Romances naturally spring up in a community setting.

When I created this place, I wanted it to be a happy, drama-free zone. We've been very lucky and have had great success in attracting responsible, fun people. My biggest administrative concept is that people here should act like adults and be self-regulating. I am very active in the community, but aside from basic admin duties like purging the board and updating pages I have to do very little moderation. People here are expected to treat each other with respect. Since the people here really enjoy the FFF they respect this and take disagreements to a more private setting. It makes life simple. I know some Internet sites thrive on war and arguments and disagreements. This isn't one of them. If you are looking for a friendly little place to chat with intelligent adults (and a few teenagers) you've found the perfect spot. If you're out to cause trouble, move along. Just imagine this as a friendly little coffee shop ala Central Perk in "Friends". They chat about nonsense, they make jokes, they have philosophical discussion. We do too. That's the kind of place this is (with members ranging in age from 16-40+).

Since we are self-regulating, we don't make a big deal about chat moderators. They are there. They will give you a warning if needed. They will boot you if needed. They won't rub their status in your face or act high and mighty about their perceived power. If they do, let me know (with a chat transcript) and they will no longer be moderators. We view moderators as a necessary evil in the fight against stupid trolls. We don't view them as gods. We treat everyone as equals here, unless you come in and are obviously an idiot who's out to make trouble. If you're reading this you probably aren't the type of person I mean. If there's real trouble in the chat or on the boards you are always welcome to e-mail me (remove REMOVETHIS) your concerns (chat transcript should be included). However, please only resort to this if it is a real problem. It's much better if you can solve your own problems. Ignore is a great chat function.

Basic FFF Etiquette

These are the things that aren't against the rules, but will annoy your fellow chatters if you do them.

Internet speak (c u l8tr, u 2 dood, how r u, a/s/l) is really frowned upon here. It's very difficult to read and it doesn't seem very intelligent. It's not against the rules, but you won't find a warm reception if you use it a lot.

That being said, we do use a lot of abbreviations. We tend to use two asterisks in place of italics to emphasize a point or we use them to denote an action. For example I could say "I'm busy *writing FAQ*". We have several abbreviations that are common on the Internet. Here's a short list:
*lol*=laugh out loud
*g*, *s*, *weg*=grin, smile, wicked evil grin
brb, bbl, bbiab=be right back, be back later, be back in a bit
*rtoeb*= raises the ol' eye brow
mt, m/t, nt, NT=they all mean empty or no text. We use this to indicate that a post has no text in it, just the subject line. Important to use so people don't get excited and think you have something cool to say, only to click and be disappointed.
QotD=Question of the Day. This is just a simple way to head a post that involves a question. Anyone is allowed to ask any question they like (as long as it doesn't break the rules). These can be personal, silly, fantasy related, or whatever. There can be more than one a day. It's just our little thing we do to try to generate some reading material.

Please be aware of "spoilers." They are against the rules, but it bears mentioning twice. A "spoiler" is the revelation of a fact that will ruin (spoil) the plot of a book, movie, tv show, etc for someone who hasn't read it. Spoilers must be marked in your posts with a warning in the subject line. I will either delete unmarked spoiler posts or change the subject line. Spoilers in chat are trickier. Please use the conference whisper function if you must discuss spoilers.

Please don't be a one-time wonder. Sure, you can post once and decide you hate the place, but if you do a quick post and ask people to e-mail you their responses it just won't happen. Be prepared to come back if you want an answer. On that same note, don't ask people to do your homework. I used to be a teacher. That doesn't fly with me. I'll erase their responses if anyone is fooled by you. And lastly, please don't e-mail me about things that could just as easily be answered on the board. I get e-mails all the time about release dates and obscure fantasy facts. I know very little about all that stuff. You'll get a much better response if you post on the board. People won't bite.

Technical Help

Here are a few questions I get all the time:

What do I have to do to post?

You just have to click Post Message and take it from there. We are an old school forum, as you can see, so there is no log in or registration process. In the post form, you can see that there are fields for your name, e-mail address and subject line. You have to use a name (an Internet handle is perfectly fine, just don't steal one already in use) and you must put in a subject, but there is no need at all to fill in your e-mail address. If you ask people to e-mail you then feel free to fill it in, but it is not necessary.

Do I have to be listed on the member's page before I can post?

No! In fact, I won't list you on the member's page until you post several times and it seems like you are going to stick around. It's a waste of my time to add people who wander off and never come back.

How do I get color in my post or in the chat?

Good question! First you have to pick a color. Go HERE for a great list of colors on a dark background. Once you pick out your color, be sure to note the hexidecimal code. It's a six digit code comprised of numbers and letters. For example, if you pick "snow" from that color list, the hexidecimal code is FFFAFA. It's easy to use this color in the chat. Just log in and type /c FFFAFA and hit enter. You're color will be set. To use the color in a post, you must use html code. This is easy too, though harder to explain in an html document. You just have to type [font color=colorcode] replacing the [ with < and the ] with > and colorcode with your color code. Don't forget to turn off your font at the end! You do that by typing [/font], again replacing the [ with < and the ] with >. For a "hands on" view of this, look in the reply box of any post with colored text. You can see the html coding there.

Please be aware that some colors are more comfortable than others, so if someone in chat tells you your color is "eye burning" it means it hurts their eyes. Nothing requires you to change your color, but you'll have more success winning friends and influencing people if you do. Also, there are only a finite number of colors available so don't worry about "stealing" someone's color. They aren't property that can be stolen. Some people will be mad if you use their color, but that's their problem not yours. There's nothing in the rules stating you have to have a unique color.

How do I post links?

There's two ways to do this. You can either use HTML to embed a link or picture into your post (check out Lissa Explains it All if you need help learning html) or you can use the fields at the bottom of the post form. Just put in the link URL (address) in the appropriate box. If it's a link, you'll also have to put in the text that you want to indicate the link.

What time zone is the time stamp set for?

It goes off the server time. The server is located in Sweden. You can make a post in the chat to see what the time difference would be for you. It's six hours for Eastern Standard Time and nine hours for Pacific Time.

My post isn't showing up!

You probably just need to refresh your browser. However, our message board does employ a post preview feature, so if you just hit post but then didn't check it out and hit post again it probably didn't get posted. That really sucks. It doesn't happen often, but if two people post at the exact same second we end up with crossed posts. Sorry, but there's nothing I can do to recover your post. I always recommend copying and pasting your post into your computer's memory until you are positive it posted. Either that or type long posts in a word processor.

Can I have a fantasyfreaks.org e-mail account?

I do have a few available and if you sweet talk me I may even give you one. They are web based with no ads. I won't give them out to newbies, though. Sorry, but I only have 20 left.

Why isn't my book review posted yet? Or why isn't something else done?

Because we are only human and we do everything by hand. It's always a good idea to e-mail submissions for book reviews, recommendations, links, FFF kitchen, etc because I'm lazy and often forget to do things right away. If you keep reminding me I'll do it eventually, unless you remind me too much and then I'll just get stubborn and won't do it at all (you can remind me once a week, any more than that and I'll just be annoyed).

Can I tell all my friends and family about this place?

Sure, but do you really want them to know about your Internet life? Do they enjoy fantasy? Would they fit in here? Are you prepared to be banned if someone who uses your computer is offensive and I ban the IP? Use your own discretion.

Other Info

Why does this site suck so much? Other web sites are much more modern.

It sucks because I have to rely on minions to do the work for me. I can do basic html but that's it. I hate asking for favors, so now that we're set up it stays this way. If you have an idea to make this place more modern and up-to-date I'd love to hear it, but only if you or someone you know is willing to do the upgrade for free.

It seems like there are things going on that I don't quite get. Is this the only place you all post?

Many of us have LiveJournals and we share the more personal aspects of our lives there. If you have a LJ and want to share, just let us know. Look up "fantasy freaks forum" in the interest section and you'll find a few of us. One day I might actually add that sort of info to the member's page.
Also, several of us are friends in real life, though most of us met here. We have big meet ups (Freak Outs) every year and people have mini-meet ups throughout the year. There is a lot going on that doesn't get posted, so I suppose that can be confusing. The best way to deal with this is just jump right in, read as many posts as you can handle and then make posts of your own. It really doesn't take that long to get sucked into our little world, if you just have a little patience with us. We do like newbies and are sad that it is so hard for them to feel like part of the gang, but that's what comes of having a strong community for so many years.

I'm from POL. Am I allowed to chat here?

If you don't know what POL is, this doesn't apply to you at all. I'm sorry you have to see this.

The short answer is yes. There are many, many members who are both members of POL and FFF. There's no problem with that. Come here, fit in with the culture, have fun. It's all good. The long answer is: not if you're an ass. We don't do porno here. We don't flirt outrageously. We don't do many of the things that I understand happens at POL. Also, if POL is down this is not the place to come for a back-up. We are not affiliated with POL in any way and we are not their back up chat. Your own administrators should provide you with a back up. If you come in and say "What happened to POL? Why is POL down? I miss POL! This place sucks compared to POL!" Then expect to get a virtual smack upside the head. You wouldn't like it if people from wotmania invaded your chat when their place goes down. If you can be polite and appreciate FFF for what it is then by all means, join the club. If you can't, go away.

Take me to the Take me to the Forum!


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