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Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.


Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.


Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.



Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.


Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.


Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.


Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.


New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.


Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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If we were to move away from vBulletin, what would you recommend we use?

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    #61
    Originally posted by VERAULT View Post
    I vote a HARD NO for discourse!
    SECONDED.

    Hijacking CTRL-F is downright f⬛ing EVIL.

    Also the way you have to drag down that scroll thingie to get to the bottom of a discussion. It's just incredibly unpleasant.

    Comment


      #62
      Can we implement Gopher?


      But in all seriousness, is there a way to have web based IRC front end on the VCFED.org website so we can hop from the forum to the IRC chatroom?

      Comment


        #63
        Originally posted by hackerb9 View Post

        Facebook? Are people making the (quite reasonable) assumption that Discourse and Discord are the same?

        Discourse is forum software inspired by phpBB and vBulletin. Someone else pointed out that Discourse is Open Source so you could self-host if you wanted full control. Not every group has the admin expertise to do that, but Open Source is still a positive as it means you're not locked into one hosting provider.

        Discord is a social media company that tries to try to compete with Facebook, WhatsApp, and Slack using its own Proprietary system. It has carved out a niche with gamers. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree that moving to Discord would be hardly better than moving to Facebook.

        Whatever the admins here decide, I am quite relieved to hear that Morse Code is higher than Facebook on the list of alternatives.

        —b9
        No bro we know what it is, we just hate it. I like Discord btw

        Comment


          #64
          Mind, I'm not on the admin side of this.

          But is VB5 so bad as to be worth migrating from already? After all the work and teeth gnashing from the first one? And after all of the work so far on stabilizing this?

          As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side, but you still have to mow it.

          And to also quote the late, great Erma Bombeck, (who I'm sure folks on this forum actually have familiarity with) "The grass is always greener over the septic tank."

          Comment


            #65
            Originally posted by maxtherabbit View Post

            No bro we know what it is, we just hate it.
            You're not one of the people who I thought might be confused. You quoted a statement from them and called it "cringe".

            I'm not against boycotting a company based on their public ethical stances, but I'd like to hear more about what "cringe" means to you. In particular, why you believe it should matter for VCF as an organization.

            Thanks!

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              #66
              Cringe: you just posted it

              Comment


                #67
                Hes talking about me isn't he? I hate when people talk about other people behind their back... Just grow a pair and NAME who you are talking about.... passive aggressive nonsense.

                Comment


                  #68
                  Keep it civil and stay on topic. I don't want to have to close this thread. Post your preference, and it's pros and cons if you have them, but let's not get into meaningless back and forth about each others picks.

                  IBM 5160 - 360k, 1.44Mb Floppies, NEC V20, 8087-3, 45MB MFM Hard Drive, Vega 7 Graphics, IBM 5154 Monitor running MS-DOS 5.00
                  IBM PCJr Model 48360 640kb RAM, NEC V20,, jrIDE Side Cart, 360kb Floppy drives running MS-DOS 5.00
                  Evergreen Am5x86-133 64Mb Ram, 8gb HDD, SB16 in a modified ATX case running IBM PC-DOS 7.10

                  Comment


                    #69
                    Originally posted by lutiana View Post
                    Keep it civil and stay on topic. I don't want to have to close this thread. Post your preference, and it's pros and cons if you have them, but let's not get into meaningless back and forth about each others picks.
                    Sorry about that. I was honestly curious what was going on with the antipathy toward Discourse, but as you can see it came off as passive-aggressive. I don't think I have the ability to word my intentions any better so I will drop it.

                    To stay on topic: I have a mild preference for Discourse. I've used it recently on several fora and it struck me as one of the nicest user experiences I've had. The DiscoBot interactive tutorial was a helpful touch for people new to the system. The look and feel was clean and modern and I had no trouble with navigating it. Everything seemed to just work. For example, I wondered what the keyboard shortcuts were and, on a guess, I hit '?' and up popped and handy quick reference. (People of the right vintage may appreciate that the navigation keys are 'j' and 'k').

                    Of course, I should point out that this was from a user perspective; I have no idea how difficult administration is. Also, I don't have tons of experience with Discourse. Perhaps if I used it more, something would bug me.

                    The thing that made me speak up for Discourse was when I saw someone say that you could access it using a vintage computer. As people probably know, one of the nice things about vBulletin is that it (kind of) works without JavaScript. I would hope that any replacement for vBulletin would be at least as good and it appears Discourse meets that criteria.

                    digger mentioned a problem with scrolling to the bottom of long threads. Perhaps the issue was for an older version of Discourse? I perused a thread on try.discourse.org with over a thousand replies and there was a little slider on the right side for quick navigation. I hopped to the most recent post with a single click. I suppose other people may disagree, but I found it way better than the artificial page breaks vBulletin adds.

                    In a related issue, digger pointed out that Discourse redefines Control-F. I was going to say I didn't think that was the case, but it turns out they are correct. If there are more than a certain number of replies in a thread, the Discourse server dynamically sends only the posts that the user actually looks at. Since the browser doesn't actually have all the replies in the DOM, the builtin search wouldn't work. Discourse tries to fix that by showing you a database search of the current topic. If the user wants a browser search, they have to hit Control+F a second time. From a client/server point of view, this makes perfect sense, but from a user perspective, it's broken. I have to agree that hijacking Control-F is evil. While vBulletin's solution (Control-F "works", but only for the page of replies currently visible) isn't much better and I often end up doing a database search, I do appreciate that at least it is broken in a way that is obvious to the user instead of invisibly changing behavior as Discourse does.

                    I had previously said that the biggest negative for Discourse was the exorbitant cost of $100/month, minimum. whartung pointed out that Discourse is actually Open Source and one could self-host, which made me take a closer look. Sure enough, there are instructions for how to self-host. Setup doesn't look too hard as it is just a Docker container. The VCF admins could probably spin up a copy to evaluate in no time. I'm old-fashioned, so I'm wary of docker images for security reasons. Fortunately, the folks behind Discourse seem to have the kind of security outlook I would hope for.

                    In between self-hosting and full-support from Discourse.org is LiterateComputing.com, a provider who will setup a Discourse host for $10/month after a one time $300 fee. (There's a "coupon code", 99INSTALL, for a $99 setup fee and $5/month, but that is for the "LITE" install and I don't want to low-ball the estimated cost.)

                    One final downside of Discourse is that, while it's got good support for slack and discord, its IRC integration seems to require authentication through irccloud.com. I do not know how that compares with vBulletin and phpBB.

                    Again, I have a mild preference for Discourse. It is a nice, modern system and I enjoy using it. But, I'm not going to fight for it. If the VCF admins decide something else is the best, I'll trust their decision.

                    —b9

                    [Side note about vB5: when I tried to paste a screenshot in this post, vB5 acted like it worked, but the image was just a small white square. Dragging the corner to resize the square in an attempt to see if my image was being cropped created a duplicate copy of the square. There was no error message, but I'm guessing this is vB5's way of saying, “I'm sorry, Dave, but I'm afraid I can't do that.” Is this a known bug?]

                    Comment


                      #70
                      One more thing that I think needs to be mentioned.

                      If the decision is made to migrate to something else, then there should be a staging system.

                      Convert it over, open it up as a "beta" forum (perhaps for select invitees) to let folks rummage through it, and then, once that's done, you do another conversion migrate the sight.

                      Comment


                        #71
                        Originally posted by lutiana View Post
                        Due to the plethora of issues that we have been trying to solve with vBulletin, we have decided to start investigating the possibility of switching forum software, and would like to start looking into the options available out there.


                        To that end, we would like to ask all of you out there for some suggestions on what other forum software we should consider. It would be particularly helpful if you could comment on the admin experience for your suggested software, but we are also interested in your experiences as a user.


                        Just to be as transparent as possible, this does not mean that we will switch, it just means that we are investigating our options, and if we do decide to switch we plan to involve the community in the entire process as much as we can, as well as soliciting feedback before any major decisions are made. After all, this is your community as much as it is ours.
                        Hi Lutiana,

                        Thank you for all your work to keep this forum running.

                        Could you please share why you consider moving away from vBulletin?

                        I have no insight into the administrative side of it, but from a user's point of view it is "good enough".
                        I don't like what it does with "Image Uploads" where even after I compress my JPEG images to the small "allowed size" it then re-compresses my image and it becomes larger than the limit (this is a bit crazy in my opinion). Other than the "Image Upload" feature it works well enough from my point of view and I happily cope with a little craziness and some rough edges.

                        If it works don't change it.

                        Best regards
                        Tom Hunter

                        Comment


                          #72
                          Saying it is "good enough" is setting the bar to an unacceptable level. Too many things do that today. I am sorry but I strongly disagree Tom. I am not here to instigate trouble. But this new upgrade has lost us lots of usability and brought alot of bugs. And "just Dealing" with a bad situation is a lazy american bad habit that is too prevalent today and I will not just accept mediocrity because it doesn't make waves. I was in the NAVY... I like waves.

                          Comment


                            #73
                            Not only is this board somewhat kludged, and obvious to the casual observer, we have lost a good hunk of participation.
                            Surely not everyone was Kung-Fu fighting

                            Comment


                              #74
                              yeah... its a much quieter place now. Alot of the usual folks and contributors are elsewhere.

                              Comment


                                #75
                                Originally posted by thunter0512 View Post

                                Could you please share why you consider moving away from vBulletin?

                                If it works don't change it.

                                Best regards
                                Tom Hunter
                                As I read it they are simply doing their due diligence to investigate other options. Seems the recent upgrade did not go as well as planned. Never hurts to have other options explored.

                                It was working. Then they upgraded and now it semi works.
                                PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

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