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The Haven Herald

Article: Mulch’s Guide to a Forum (Without Getting Killed)

So you’ve finally decided to join an online community such as a message board (also known as a forum), but have no clue what and what not to do. Let’s face it, getting accepted into a closely knitted group is no easy thing to do, and it certainly doesn’t help if we are completely clueless. Throughout this journey expect to make many mistakes, and don’t be surprised if a staff member knocks on your door one day scolding you for double posting. So grab a cola, relax, and emotionally prepare yourself for the long journey ahead.

Did I mention before that I was messing with you during the second half of the above paragraph? Well, of course I was. The internet is not a scary place to be, and it won’t take long before you are part of that closely tied online community you’ve always wanted to join. Not only that, but staff members are people just like you, and make mistakes as with every other human being. I mean, after all, to err is to be human.

1. Check the Rules
Most, if not every online community has a distinct list of rules to be followed, set up by the site administrator and staff. This is always the first place you should check before registering just in case you do not agree with them. The rules are of course mandatory to follow, so if you don’t agree with them then don’t bother registering (unless you want to receive occasional bans, and warnings).

The rules can cover a wide range of topics depending on what the subject of the website is. You’ll see things involving maximum avatar and signature dimensions/sizes, double posting, flaming, spamming, illegal files, certain pictures, etc. Some whacked administrators like to add the cheesy “Have fun!” rule, so you’ll of course want to beware of that.

2. Netspeak
Netspeak is a type of internet slang designed to save time but cutting out letters in words and replacing them with other things. Some people decide to use it on forums where it actually isn’t uncommon. Others refrain from using it because it often makes people look like a newbie or unintelligent.

When in doubt, observe how other people talk on the website you are visiting. You don’t have to be a robot and act/talk the exact same way as them, but take it all into consideration. Whether or not you use it is ultimately your choice, beware of some super strict forums where it’s a rule to use proper English.

Example 1: ZOMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! like i think global warming is a really big prblm!!! we should all stop driving cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Example 2: u w!11 n3v4 b 4 haxor 1!k3 m3! pwned!
Example Analysis: As you can see in all three examples, the person posting is somewhat making a fool of himself by using way to many exclamation points or 1337 (an encrypted code).

3. Spamming
The definition along with the consequences of spamming can greatly vary from site to site. You should always check the forum rules to see their definition of spam even though it is often classified as any pointless, annoying, or off topic message (which does include one word posts). Even though spamming can be a great way to annoy people, it will surely lead you into a giant mess of flame wars or a ban. Just make sure when you post something, it will add to the conversation and you should be just fine.

4. Flaming
Flaming can be defined as verbally attacking another user using hostile and insulting language. Flame wars (when groups of people flame each other) can also be a great deal of fun. Who doesn’t like to get back and insult people who attack you and your opinions? Of course flaming is not the way to go, and will most likely get you severely warned if not banned from the site. Not only that but, flame wars never come in a package of one. When there is one, there will be another, so the best thing to do is to not get involved in one no matter how tempting it may be.

The following is an example of a flame war (remember it is just an example):
Person A: The new leader is responsible for this current problem in the government!
Person B: You stupid piece of ****. I can tell the sarcasm in you post about him. He is the best thing that happened to the world and is the savior that will some day be the martyr and die for all of our sins.
Person A: You’re so dumb. You’re being fooled by American propaganda, he is a dumb *** and if you support him you are one ******.
Person B: You loony liberal/marxist/commie! You’re letting those government school camps tell you how to think.
Example Analysis: As you can see, Person B attacked Person A for having a different opinion. Person A then retaliated and began to flame Person B.

5. Illegal Content
Unless you are visiting a site that allows you to download pirated or illegal material (or finding a program that can knock some sense into your administrator for adding that cheesy “Have fun!” rule), then talking about any type of illegal material or distributing it is a definite no. This includes music, books, movies, games, and everything else the corrupted government has control over. A site has to maintain its reputation, and it of course doesn’t want to get into trouble with the law, hence this rule.

6. Signatures and Avatars
A forum signature is a designated area after each post where you can add a small graphic or some text. Usually there are rules to how large or how long it can be. Always make sure you never go over as this can be annoying to some users and can surely lead to some problems. If you have an image in your signature, be sure to not include large animations that will take forever to load for dial up users. If you have text, then keep it to a reasonable size. Avatars on the other hand are only images that appear right below your username when viewing a topic. There are also rules that are associated with them which may set limits to the file size and/or the dimensions.

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Comments on This Post

15 responses to “The Haven Herald.” Join in!

  1. hEllO ouT tHerE! August 11th, 2007 at 8:56 am 1

    WICKED!!! LETS GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!

    p.s I am now using a chain for my Bobby

  2. I think I am certainly not the first and definitely not the last to say…The Haven Herald ROCKS! The comparison between Artemis/Minerva and Artemis/Holly ‘ships’ was really interesting. I’m not exactly sure which one I agree with more, but I think I prefer A/H. They would be a sweet couple in being so odd…even mismatched. Really good work to everyone who helped with the newsletter. Excellent job!

  3. I think Artemis should end up with Holly because since he and Minerva are genii, and this is just in my opinion, they would just compete with each other and try to see who is the superior to who. But aside from this, The Haven Herald rocks!!! And I think the name is awesome! I hope more of these with be posted in the future. Once again, awesome job to whoever came up with the idea and to everyone who helped.

  4. Insightful Newsletter, got some very good points in there, enjoyed the shipping article very much so. Do more things like that. The members of the month, and the fanart and fan fiction of the month and things like that were also great ideas.

    Downsides: What was with the “Articles?” Preaching to your users about web safety and forum conduct is a bit of a, well, naff idea. I mean, littering it with AF themes and calling it “Mulch’s guide to a forum” doesn’t really do it for me. Focus on what the site is about, not stuffing it full of meaningless crap that, to be honest, we don’t want to hear. The reason we visit these sites is to have fun and to save fro sifting through mountains of information to find a line that tells us what we need, not to read stuff that gets forced down our throats at every occasion!

    Keep up the good work… and make it better next time!

  5. I think this rocks!!! =D Great job. What does the example 2 of netspeak say? I don’t speak netspeak… It’s confusing… Well, this rocks!! And like c said, don’t just add names to the articles if there is no real mention of them. The Foaly one was a good idea because it sounded like something Foaly would say. But Mulch’s posting forum? I didn’t think that went as smoothly. If it sounded like Mulch was actually explaining it, I would give a thumbs up. but it was helpful for the form changed. (like me) Well good job and I hope to see another one in a month!!
    bones out>>>>>

  6. Fowlgirl – We will be publishing this once a month, every second Saturday. πŸ™‚

    C – I’m sorry you felt that way, but those 2 articles were actually extremely important to us. The newsletter is supposed to foster a good community here. (That’s why we have all the awards. πŸ™‚ ). Those two articles may appear obvious, and pointless, to an experienced internet user, but they aren’t obvious to everyone. We have actually had a few cases here where people would have benefitted from this advice, e.g. They wouldn’t report problems because they didn’t want to bother us, or they worried that someone was stalking them.

    Don’t worry – The advice has been written now. We won’t be repeating them in future letters, but we will definitely be referencing them on the forum. They will be very useful. πŸ™‚

    flamingbones – lol – Fair enough. The Mulch part was just an attempt to give it a little bit of an AF theme. πŸ™‚

    Glad everyone liked the shipping article though! πŸ˜€

  7. MaeveCrowArtemis August 13th, 2007 at 7:55 pm 7

    First of all I need to say that I’m very glad you all liked it.Your opinion is very important to us so thanks.
    I must agree with MichaelM about our two articles.They are very important for new ppl and new members.And theΓ½ are realy describing our community.
    This is our first issue and we’ll try to make it better next time.

  8. hEllO ouT tHerE! August 23rd, 2007 at 12:56 am 8

    hi again, i know that this has nothing to do with the haven herald but whos read ‘the supernaturalist’ because on this site http://www.thesupernaturalist.co.uk they have it wrong. it says that the parasites (un-spec4) suck the life force of people but they don’t. So i just thought that someone might be interested. ta ta

  9. I love it. Why Foaly may have a point is clever and funny.
    Long live the Haven Herald.

  10. what do you mean,hELLO ouT tHerE? I thought they did. Please explain…
    bones out>>>>>

  11. hEllO ouT tHerE! August 27th, 2007 at 3:46 am 11

    flaming bones the parasites never took life force they took pain. Lyk Ditto he lays his hands on them and takes their pain. An example of it is when Cosmo falls off the roof the parasite sucks up his pain, later on he says that as soon as it touched him his headache disappeared.

  12. […] The Haven Herald Issue#1 The Haven Herald Issue#2 The Haven Herald Issue#3 The Haven Herald Issue#4 The Haven Herald Issue#5 […]

  13. omg i cant wait for the next fowl book number six:-]

  14. ArTeMiS FoWl April 2nd, 2008 at 12:03 am 14

    lol matt

  15. artemislover18 July 17th, 2008 at 9:58 pm 15

    loved time paradox. read it in less than 3 hours. =]]especially artemis/holly. in my mind, it was perfect, even though i agree, min has a chance. ever since the beginning though, i have said they need to get together, cept my friends thought that would be weird. well here you go! i love it!the only thing about min is…. she’s a bit childish. she’s like a step down from artemis. she’s plenty smart, but i don’t think that she and artemis really have a bond together like holly and artemis do. and she doesn’t seem to really belong in the series, you know?

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