If you already know how to use the Board, you probably don't need to read this.
So, if you're reading this, you might not have too good of an idea of how to use the Board. That, or you're here for kicks.
That said, no need to fear, JulyFlame and other Boarders are here, with this handy FAQ and some funny jokes.
First Things First
The very first thing to ask yourself, you, the newbie, is "How did I get here?" Said question referring to the Board, of course, not your existence in the universe and not this particular wiki article, since you likely got here through a link on the Board.
If you got here through the Board, you've probably already seen and read the PPC Constitution there. If you have not read it, do so now, and come back to this page after you are done there.
Have you done that? Good.
Let's move on to the next part.
Posting on the Board
Given you've wound up here, you probably have already made at least one post. Nonetheless, let's go over how the Board works.
The PPC Board uses a thread system, where topics and replies appear in chronological order. New topics appear at the top of the page. Replies to the original post appear in an indented, bulleted list below it, with the newest replies at the top; second-level replies are further indented beneath the first-level reply they answer; etc. The conversation thus appears as a line of links stretching diagonally down and across the page, and this line is known as a "thread."
When a thread is more than twenty-four hours old, new replies to it (made within the last twenty-four hours) are highlighted in gray to make them easier to spot.
Only twenty-five threads may be displayed on the page, and each new topic bumps an old one off into the ether. It is for this reason that "multiple posting," that is posting more than one new thread in a row, is frowned upon on the Board, as it means that a convoluted discussion or intriguing topic has been shunted from display. Some things, like introducing yourself, asking for Permission, or posting a new story, do deserve their own threads, but not everything does. Before you start a new one, please check to see if there is already a thread for talking about badfic, or discussing character creation, or asking questions, or anything else that you can guess comes up a whole lot.
On the subject of questions: we like them. Please ask lots of questions. The best place to do this is in your original introductory thread. Don't be worried that it will get lost in the bewildering array of posts in that thread; oldbies keep a close eye on most threads and someone will usually pick up questions and answer them for you. Don't, however, post a series of questions in individual threads, for the reasons given above.
To start a new topic, click the "Post Message" button at the top of the Board. To reply to an existing post, click the "Post Reply" button at the bottom of the post. You'll be taken to a screen that looks like the image to the right. Type your user name in the Author space, put a post title in the Subject space, and type your message in the big Message space. You don't have to fill in the Email space, but you can if you'd like to receive notices when people reply to that particular post.
One of the trickier things that you'll notice here is the inclusion of a "Login" link. As various Boarders can attest, this login button is very temperamental and does not usually work. It will serve you better to just fill out the "Author" text field every time.
As you have been told in the Constitution, when writing your post, make an effort towards good spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. Modern browsers such as Firefox come with a built-in spellchecker, which is very handy. Be extra-careful if you choose to post from a smartphone. Autocomplete may twist your words. Beware!
Remember to click "Preview Message" and make sure everything looks the way you want it before you hit "Post Message" or "Post Reply" in the composition screen, especially if you're using HTML formatting such as <i>italics</i> or <b>bold</b> text. Unclosed HTML tags can really mess up a thread.
Common Questions About the Board (and Boarders)
Now, some common questions about the Board and Boarders.
Help! X doesn't seem to like me!
This likely isn't the case; most of us love newbies if they behave themselves and don't go completely over the edge and end up in a sanitarium. Er, I mean, don't worry, we'll still love you even after you're occupying a room with padded walls, but not everyone is going to greet you; sometimes we have other things we want to do or are distracted away from, and might seem to be ignoring you.
We really aren't, honest.
But they keep correcting everything I say!
This shouldn't really worry you too much. The PPC strives towards accuracy as much as it can, and sometimes Boarders do this instinctively. The best you can do is work to minimize those errors, but no fear, everyone will accept the occasional mess-up or so in a post. Grammar Nazism is a common trait among us, and errors that should have been caught make a lot of us twitch in our boots.
Boarders may also sometimes call you on facts you might have mentioned. If you think you're right, say so, but remember that this is a friendly forum and that descent into flaming is Not Allowed.
I just asked for permission and got rejected! Why?
This can be for a variety of reasons.
It can be because you are too shiny brand new. Being active on the Board and participating through answering questions, getting involved in discussions, and regular Board shenanigans for a time will help us recognize you and help you become part of the community, which is important if you want permission.
It can also be because you don't show enough knowledge of how the PPC works. This can be due to what is in your permission request; if what you have in there is directly contrary to how the PPC is set up, either in the spirit of things or the canon itself (such as it is), you very likely won't get permission.
One other reason you might not get permission is because your writing is bad. If your writing has urple prose, a complete lack of understanding of how sentence construction works in English, or especially poor spelling or grammar, you will very likely not get permission.
You will also not get permission if, contrary to the spirit of the PPC and our Constitution, you are a complete jerkwad.
However, if you get rejected for permission, you can always wait and try later.
What's with all the weird swearwords?
Given that we like to keep the Board at a young-people-friendly PG-13 rating, that'd be because we tend to cling to words we like or find appropriate for substitute swearwords. They might come from a particular canon as a swearword, or from fandom.
A brief list of these, and where they came from, are:
- By the Lion's Mane, Lion Alive!: Commonly used by Narnian agents, the former is used like "good heavens" and the latter for unexpected dire situations.
- Camoudile-on-a-stick, what the Camoudile-on-a-stick?: The camoudile is a predator from The Age of Haven. Why it is on a stick is unknown.
- Flaming Denethor!: Loose translation; "Oh my fracking God!" or "WTF?!" The origin of this phrase is in the Return of the King movie, wherein Denethor, on fire, hurls himself from the top of Minas Tirith. This was a... surprise, to many fans.
- Fork, What the fork?, Forking: See "Spork, What the spork, Sporking" below; similar but more pointy.
- Frack, Fracking/Frak, Frakking: From the Battlestar Galactica continuum comes "frack." Roughly equivalent to an ancient Anglo-Saxon swearword that rhymes with "duck." Your mother is likely to know what this one means. "Frak" is also a common swearword in the Warhammer 40K continuum, as is "feth".
- Frell, What the frell?, Frelling: As "frack" and "kriff," only from the Farscape continuum. Phobos and Neshomeh (and some of Neshomeh's agents) use this one occasionally.
- Glaurung, Glaurunging: Also similar in meaning to the Anglo-Saxon duck rhyme. In use on the Board because of a discussion which hovered around Turin Turambar and, well, Glaurung. It continues in use because, as you may have surmised, PPCers are a strange lot. Glaurung, of course, was a dragon from the Lord of the Rings continuum. The first recorded use of this expletive is by Air of Mystery on the Board on September 27, 2007.
- Glod (noun): Used in place of "God" by some Boarders who read a lot of Terry Pratchett and have atheistic leanings. It's not a typo, promise.
- Great seasons: From the Redwall continuum. A very mild curse, roughly equivalent to "good heavens!" or "oh my god!"
- Grey Lady, By the Hat, Grey Lady and her Holy Hat, etc.: These derive from Greyladybast, patron Goddess of the PPC, and her symbol, the Most Holy Hat. This is a call for aid and perseverance for the invoker, or a wish for smiting of the infidels who inspired its use.
- Jadis in a block of ice!: Similar to "Flaming Denethor" above in usage and origin. It refers to Jadis' materialization in, well, a block of ice in the Prince Caspian movie.
- Kriff, Kriffing: This is from the Star Wars continuum, and is also equivalent to the word that rhymes with duck. It's a very naughty word in the Star Wars continuum, and if your mother knew she'd wash your mouth out with soap for using it.
- Oh my Aslan/Eru/Yahvo: Those are names for God in Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Myst, respectively.
- Spork, What the spork?, Sporking: A slightly modified use of spork and sporking. While the same word and general vague direction as their intended use PPC-wise, this is not naughty at all, unless you've been taking bizarre lessons from Agent Luxury, or some of the more perverse Boarders.
- Wohbanobongu: An interjection of surprise that used to be common in the Myst fandom. Originated in the Cyan Worlds game Cosmic Osmo and the Worlds Beyond the Mackerel.
I've found lots of badfic! Now what?
Your attention to duty does you credit. You should bring this stuff to the attention of the Board, of course, but try to do so by either adding it to a current thread on the topic of badfic, or putting it all in one post; multiple new threads with only one badfic in each is Bad (see above on why multiple posting is bad). Yes, we are a badfic-sporking association, but the Board is also where we have our fun and our downtime, and thus having it taken up with badfic notification is a tad depressing at times. (Also, when you make your post on the Board, please put the name of the fandom in your subject line—it makes it much easier to get the attention of someone who might want to take it on.)
You can also put any badfic you find on the Unclaimed Badfic page of the wiki; you should put Title, Link, and the Summary that the author wrote (resisting the urge to correct any mistakes in it). If something is NSFW or NSFB, you should also note that. Do resist the urge to add everything you find, though. Not all badfic is good mission material, so only add ones you think someone would have fun sporking.
Okay, but what is NSFW/NSFB?
These are warnings that the following link contains things that are likely to get you into trouble at work/school; NSFW stands for Not Safe For Work. NSFB is insanity taken to such a level that you yourself may suffer mental injury from reading it; it stands for Not Safe For Brain. NSFB links are usually, though not always, NSFW as well. Lots of people read and post on the Board at work or school during lunchtime, and it's best to warn them if you're linking to something that may potentially get them in trouble if someone reads over their shoulders.
Hey, why do we keep to the Board still? It's all old and topics drop off! Can't we go someplace else?
Simple answer: No.
More complete answer, which has been stolen from Huinesoron's latest reply to this question on the Board:
- This is where everything links to, including many pages we can't edit.
- When we have our occasional heated debates, it's actually better that they drop into said abyss.
- For the PPC, it's better to have a Board that's constantly moving than one where topics get pushed back to the top when commented on, since it means new topics don't get lost, old ones don't get dragged out by a couple of people, and any particularly interesting ones can be restarted after it falls off the front page.
- The simple layout is i) traditional, and ii) easy on the eye.
- People keep coming back after years of absence, and they wouldn't be able to find us.
- We're just too stubborn to give up on this place, especially given the weight of tradition behind it now.
Updated answer: It's Complicated.
The above answer is somewhat outdated, since at this point Oddlots has dropped off the face of the Earth, the community has swollen to a size that makes the Board difficult to use at times, and we've somewhat outgrown the current Board.
However, many of the previous items from the hS answer still apply (bump mode did not work out too well).
To this end, Tomash and Techno-Dann are currently working on a custom built new board in an attempt to resolve the current problems.
Whoever gave you that link ought not to have. In the PPC we label some stories Legendary Badfic. These are invariably NSFB and highly disturbing. Some Boarders occasionally think it amusing to give links to these stories to newbies and then watch the emotional fallout. Don't be tempted, and don't read until you've hung around for a month or so and learnt a bit more about why we label things Legendary.
Hey, everyone's RPing! Can I join in?
If you have permission, then jump in with right good will! If you don't have permission, don't fret. You may participate with any agent characters you've been thinking up; don't bung up an RP thread with OOC posts asking to be allowed to play. However, having participated in an RP thread does not mean you automatically have permission, and you must still ask for that separately.
What's a plover?
It's a type of wading bird. They're cute, and unless you happen to have recently moved yourself and your computer into their native habitat, and are being surrounded by dozens of the small birds, the reason you're asking is because you were probably given one by Tawaki in your introduction thread. They belong to the family Charadriidae, if that's any help, and generally eat molluscs and things that burrow into sand. More information can be found here.
I have a lot of questions that aren't here! What now?
We have a few other FAQs and generally educational articles around the wiki. Here are some of them:
- The FAQ: For Newbies contains more questions about the world of the PPC that we write about.
- The Mission Writing Guide contains mission-specific questions.
- The Permission article includes a FAQ for questions about—you guessed it—permission.
For questions about the wiki, try these:
- The Editing Tutorial will help you learn to use wiki markup, which is often helpful if Visual Mode isn't quite behaving or you need to do something it doesn't really allow.
- When you have permission and you're ready to add your characters, see the article How to Make a Character Page first.
- When you've got missions to post, use the Posting New Mission Reports article as a handy checklist.
As stated above, you're always welcome to ask questions on the Board. But for the love of cheese, don't flood the Board! Every topic posted pushes another off, so if you have several questions, ask them all at once! In one post.