Unofficial Frequently Asked Questions for Archers Addicts Web-board and Chat


General Questions



General Questions

What is an FAQ, and why does the web-board need one?

FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. On the FAQ page, you should see answers to all, or most of such questions.

Acumen (the people who provide the web-board service) have a help file on the program, but that is a general help file, and doesn't address issues specifically related to the AA. It should also be noted that it tells you that you can do a lot of things, that you can't do, and it fails to mention several things that some users have discovered by accident or educated guess work. Generally, if you have a question that isn't answered here, then try the Acumen help (by clicking the help button on the web board banner).

Also, if you feel that this help doesn't address your question, and should, or if you find something wrong, or misleading, then please, please e-mail me at chris_squires at btinternet dot com

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What do these Acronyms mean?

There are literally thousands of acronyms in use on the internet. Few of these are very helpful, but the following list consists of those that I've found to be of real use in more than one newsgroup or circle of friends.

(thanks to cmellisa for helping me to compile this list)

BRB = be right back
BTW = by the way
FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions
FOTWD = fly on the wall documentary (which is what The Archers is... isn't it?).
ICBW = I Could Be Wrong
IIRC = If I Recall Correctly
IMO/IMHO = in my (humble) opinion
LOL = laugh out loud [or as dougie says: larf out lewd!!!]
LMAO/LMBO = laugh my arse/bum off
ROTFLOL = Rolling on the floor and laughing out loud

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What are Smileys?

Smileys are a simple way to communicate expressions or mood. Basically, if you tilt your head to the left, you should see that the characters form a face, with an expression on it. I've seen many variations of these, but the basic smileys are:

:) or :o) or :^) = smiles (with variations showing nose)
;) = winks.
:( = frowns
:)~ or :P= sticks tongue out
xxxx = kisses
oooo = hugs
xoxoxo = hugs and kisses (Warning.. the chat room can get very friendly at times.)

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What about other AA running themes/jokes?

Doggie's Dog House = where the bad and nasty people are sent!! [has it's bonuses: Dougie stocks fridge with London Pride, there is a modem jack and apparently it has wall to wall carpet now! Rumour has it, indoor plumbing is next on the cards]

Chesterfield Sofa = Where we sit and chat when in the CyberBull. We also hide behind it when frightened, or have cushion fights on it when arguing. It has been known for the sofa to be used for other things, but we don't talk about those!

milk run = [or just MILK] getting a beer from fridge or feeding the weenie boppers or both as in dougie's case

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What's this netiquette thing all about?

As with most rules of etiquette, there are usually good reasons for the conventions that are suggested for using on web-boards, newsgroups and chat rooms. Probably, the most contentious, and certainly the most well known, of these is the use of capital, or upper-case, letters.

When the internet first started, people who wanted to emphasis certain words, used CAPITAL LETTERS to stress their importance. Today, with improved software, they are more inclined to use bold text. However, there is still the feeling that somebody typing using all CAPITAL LETTERS is effectively stressing EVERYTHING that they say, which is what some people refer to as shouting.

Mixed case text is easier to read. There are two or three primary reasons for this. Firstly, when a capital letter is used at the beginning of a sentence, the position of the start and end of a sentence is clearer with a quick glance rather than forcing the reader to search for tiny full-stops. Secondly, lower case word are easier to read because some letters have a top (such as b, d, f, h, t, j, k & l, ) and some letters have a tail (such as p and y). these letters stand out, and make reading far easier. The third, and least important, reason is that any acronyms will be more obvious.

Overall, I am assured, that reading and understanding speeds are improved by a factor of 3 or 4 by using mixed case. I have heard higher factors quoted, but I'm unsure of those sources. I am also told that there is still some equipment around which only allows upper case characters, including some aids for suffers of conditions such as cerebral palsy.

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What are the reasons for Anonymity?

This is one of those debatable, and emotive issues, but I'll try and explain it in a balanced way.

On the web-board, there are several different types of anonymity.

Providing a false name, is very common, and not very contentious. In fact the site providers (Acumen)recommend it! Personally, I don't really see the need.

The reasons for providing no-e-mail address are debatable. Some users argue that an e-mail address enables other users to pass private comments, but others do not welcome the possibility of unsolicited e-mail. One user, that I'm aware of, has received unsolicited mail from somebody who was pretending to be one of the characters. They found this quite distressing and, in response, removed their address from their user profile. Speaking personally, I have always made my e-mail available to the AA web-board users, and have never received anything like that. If one does receive such e-mail, then all e-mail programs, and some ISP's, are able to block e-mail from particular people. In extreme cases, it is possible to complain to the senders ISP, and have their account deleted.

Anonymous posts to the web-board have a few problems. Of course there may be occasions when somebody would say nothing otherwise. However, many users dislike this practice for two reasons. When hiding behind anonymity, there is often a tendency to pass rather nasty comments. Secondly, it is impossible to tell how many people are expressing a particular opinion.

My personal practice is to provide all of my e-mail details and my correct name, and rarely reply to any anonymous posts. For security reasons, I would never publish my postal address, or details about my being away from home.

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How can I find out about other contributors to the chat and web-board?

When you create a user ID, you are given the opportunity to say something about yourself. This can be read by anyone who uses the web-board. To read somebody else's profile, either:

To edit your own profile, click on "More..." & then "Edit Your Profile"

Personally, I'd encourage everybody to put a little bit about themselves in their profile, especially gender (if your login name is ambiguous), marital status and kids. However, as always, nobody has to tell anybody anything.

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What is the best way to minimise the time I'm logged on, and using the telephone?

How can I change the way my text looks?

In any posted message you can use some HTML commands. These are special strings of characters that instruct your computer to display the text that follows in a certain way.

For example.

If you type "hello <b>this is bold</b> text", when it is posted, everyone will see "hello this is bold text"

If you type "hello <i>this is italic</i> text", when it is posted, everyone will see "hello this is italic text"

If you type "hello <u>this is underlined</u> text", when it is posted, everyone will see "hello this is underlined text"

put the following command in angled brackets

If you type "hello <font color=blue>this is blue</font> text", when it is posted, everyone will see "hello this is blue text", or whatever colour you chose; (note the yankee spelling of colour here!)

You can also change the size of your text <font size =1> makes the following text small. I think that a size of 2 or 3 is the default, although I've never tried it.

<br> means line-break. This one is only useful when you edit a message that you typed in earlier.

My personal practice is to use italics when quoting something, bold when pointing to a reference, and to use underline to emphasis a particular word in a sentence. I only use a small font for my signature.

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When is the best time to chat?

The most busy time is on Wednesday between 9p.m. and 10p.m.. However, personally I'd advise against a new user starting there first. Conversations tend to be fast, furious and multi-threaded (I.E. several conversations at once).

There is usually somebody around after 7.30 p.m. during the week, and often at weekends. If you are a new user, I'd suggest that you join a chat room when you see the number of users is between 2 and 4. Then, you can get to know a few of the chatters, before diving into the Wednesday "deep-end" session, where there are regularly more than 10 users, all chatting at the same time. If there is only one user in the room, that will be a virtual user program called "wbbot". It isn't very talkative. In fact, if anybody ever manages to get it to say anything, I'd by very interested to know what it has to say!

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What is whispering, and how do I do it?

Whispering is to chat rooms what e-mail is to the webboard. To whisper to another user, double click on their name in the box of the right hand side of the main chat window. This causes a new window to be created, which contains text which only two people can see.

This can be especially helpful if you want to ask a question or when you've made friends with a particular user.

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How can I change the way my text looks in chat?

You can include bold text in your chat text by holding the control key down and typing "b". This toggles between bold and normal.

If you type control-k followed by a number, you can have different colour text. After pressing control-k the list of colours is displayed. For example, control-k followed by the number 4, turns your text red.

Unfortunately, these effects only work on the one line.

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What else can I do in the chat room?

There are a number of chat commands which can be useful:

/me. If I typed "/me is going to get a beer" then everyone will see "chris_squires is going to get a beer"

/topic. This command may be used to change the sub-heading for the chatroom. This can be useful to tell people outside the room what the subject of conversation is, so they can decide if they want to join the chat.

/nick can be used to change the name that you wish to be known as in the chatroom.

More details of these, and other commands can be found in the Acumen help pages.

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The chat window isn't big enough. What can do?

In the main chat window, there is a button called "float". Clicking on this, causes the chatroom dialog to move to a brand new, dedicated, window, which you can then resize to your hearts content.

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It takes so long to get into the chat room! What can I do?

By default a program, called an applette, is loaded onto your computer every time you enter the chat room. However, there are a couple of free programs that you can install on you computer which do the same job, so you don't have to wait for the applette to download.

One option is the Microsoft Chat program, and another is VIRC (which I use)

Thanks to Snatch Foster for providing the explainations of how to set them up.

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Why does everyone ask me how old I am etc?

We are an inquisitive bunch and like to consider all new chatters as friends. So you may find yourself bombarded with questions such as:

Of course, we are more than happy to impart the same information about ourselves. Obviously, you do not have to answer any of these questions, but it does help us all to understand each other.

Another way, in which you can tell us about yourself, and you can find out about some of us, is to use the user profiles.

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