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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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Please fix the PM system

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    Originally posted by thenzero View Post

    It’s bizarre to me that this is your answer to everything. Why would the users of a forum be expected to supply the providers of the forum with forum code? That is completely nonsensical to me.
    I have to agree. Wouldn't this require some knowledge of vBulletin and the inner workings of this forum? VB scripting ain't hard but you'd have to have an idea of what the problem is.
    PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

    Comment


      Originally posted by thenzero View Post

      It’s bizarre to me that this is your answer to everything. Why would the users of a forum be expected to supply the providers of the forum with forum code? That is completely nonsensical to me.
      Because we're all volunteers and maybe somebody would like to help us by throwing some time into fixing a problem for us instead of endlessly bitching about it?

      If you were paying for this service I'd understand not wanting to lift a finger to make it work better ...

      Comment


        Originally posted by mbbrutman View Post

        Because we're all volunteers and maybe somebody would like to help us by throwing some time into fixing a problem for us instead of endlessly bitching about it?

        If you were paying for this service I'd understand not wanting to lift a finger to make it work better ...
        Again…that is completely nonsensical. We don’t have access to your code or the details of your configuration or your logs or…
        Toshiba T1000 w/ modem & memory upgrade
        Compaq Deskpro 4/25iS (Win3.1)
        Apple //e

        wanted: dx2odp66 or similar (169 pin overdrive chip)

        Comment


          Originally posted by mbbrutman View Post
          Because we're all volunteers and maybe somebody would like to help us by throwing some time into fixing a problem for us instead of endlessly bitching about it?
          Sorry, but even if you are volunteers, you are still responsible. You did choose to take care of the forums - no one forced you. And now you are bitching about no users are throwing in their time to help you out? Are you serious? Did you even ask the users if they want the upgrade? The mess we have now is not the fault of the users without this community wouldn't even exist.

          It sounds more and more to me that no one has the technical skills to even do simple changes that require little to no knowledge. The makers of vB won't add anything to the template for you, nor will they move links around, or whatever. That's stuff supposed to be done by the admin. This is common and the reason why software like this relies on very-easy-to-understand template systems like Smarty. Everyone can make changes to that when willing to invest a few minutes to learn the basics. But it seems that willingness isn't even there. Over three months have passed already since we got "this" with absolutely no progress at all.
          Last edited by Timo W.; July 17, 2021, 10:10 AM. Reason: typo fixed

          Comment


            Okay, I'm no web-monster, but I wondered at the beginning of this escapade if the http: content of the original forum software couldn't have been encapsulated in an https: wrapper.

            Perhaps more knowledgeable people would like to comment on this--I'm out of my wheelhouse on this one. It is a shame--users can no longer use their legacy OS and browser (e.g. Netscape 2.0) to access the web content.
            Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

            Comment


              I don't want to pillory you, Mike, you're a good guy and we appreciate the years of low-key responsible moderation. But the fact of the matter is that this forum was working A-okay for many, many years before the staff took unwanted actions that broke it for the users. Whether or not the users are able to help fix it has no bearing on whether they're entitled to feel a bit miffed at the staff for so doing.
              Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
              Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
              "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

              Comment


                Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                Sorry, but even if you are volunteers, you are still responsible. You did choose to take care of the forums - no one forced you. And now you are bitching about no users are throwing in their time to help you out? Are you serious? Did you even ask the users if they want the upgrade? The mess we have now is not the fault of the users without this community wouldn't even exist.

                It sounds more and more to me that no one has the technical skills to even do simple changes that require little to no knowledge. The makers of vB won't add anything to the template for you, nor will they move links around, or whatever. That's stuff supposed to be done by the admin. This is common and the reason why software like this relies on very-easy-to-understand template systems like Smarty. Everyone can make changes to that when willing to invest a few minutes to learn the basics. But it seems that willingness isn't even there. Over three months have passed already since we got "this" with absolutely no progress at all.
                Actually, no, I'm not responsible. While I support the upgrade and I know it was needed, I did not take part in the decision or mechanics of it except for some immediate damage mitigation after it went live. I stepped away from VCF leadership back in December and I've reduced the amount of time I spend moderating in part because I don't have a lot of time (or patience) for it anymore.

                I think the upgrade mostly went well. Where things have gone bad is in the post upgrade follow-up to the unforeseen problems. I agree that they should be more aggressively addressed and status updates should be provided. If it were my project I would be doing those things, but like I said I already had to step back quite a bit and I'm not willing to take on more projects. And to be fair, the people who did the upgrade are probably still very busy themselves which might explain why the problems persist.

                So please, if you want to complain about the upgrade and the aftermath, do so - just do it in a civil manner and to the people who are responsible for driving it. (https://vcfed.org/wp/about/governance/) If you have time, offer your assistance and if your offer is reasonable I'm sure people will consider it and grant you the access that you need to make things better.





                Comment


                  Originally posted by commodorejohn View Post
                  I don't want to pillory you, Mike, you're a good guy and we appreciate the years of low-key responsible moderation. But the fact of the matter is that this forum was working A-okay for many, many years before the staff took unwanted actions that broke it for the users. Whether or not the users are able to help fix it has no bearing on whether they're entitled to feel a bit miffed at the staff for so doing.
                  Commodorejohn - Thanks.

                  Everybody understands the frustration around the upgrade. Moderators were especially hit hard by it:
                  • New user permissions were immediately reset to a default allowing all sorts of spam.
                  • The spam control mechanism failed miserably in all sorts of ways.
                  • The hosting service spam controls were even more hilarious - I personally had my IP address blocked because I was doing a lot of moderation in the first few days trying to combat the spam problem. (Unfortunately we need those controls because spam bots are what are destroying our performance, even now.)
                  • All of the forum controls moved around to new and exciting places that we had a hard time finding.
                  • Even moderation controls were broken; we had to promote everybody basically to "super moderator" to get back to function that we previously had.
                  I think I had a chance to check out the new forum before it went live, but I didn't do anything more than a basic "does it load" type of check. The people who did the migration did far more extensive checks.

                  We understand. But you are shouting into the void here - the people who did the upgrade are generally not reading these threads. If you want to provide feedback, emailing them is more direct and might work better.


                  Mike

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                    <snip>
                    It sounds more and more to me that no one has the technical skills to even do simple changes that require little to no knowledge. The makers of vB won't add anything to the template for you, nor will they move links around, or whatever. That's stuff supposed to be done by the admin. This is common and the reason why software like this relies on very-easy-to-understand template systems like Smarty. Everyone can make changes to that when willing to invest a few minutes to learn the basics. But it seems that willingness isn't even there. Over three months have passed already since we got "this" with absolutely no progress at all.
                    By the way, guilty as charged. I have the technical skills and the brain power to learn what needs to be done and fix most things. I'm *not* willing to step into the cesspool that is vBulletin. I'm sure other people have their reasons too, which is why we keep asking for volunteers who want to make the investment.

                    I'd rather be polishing up my code that prints JPGs on my 35 year old thermal printer, finishing up my stratum-1 PCjr time server, making mTCP enhancements, etc. Modifying vBulletin templates is not on my short list of fun things to do. I've done enough here.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by mbbrutman View Post

                      Commodorejohn - Thanks.

                      Everybody understands the frustration around the upgrade. Moderators were especially hit hard by it:
                      • New user permissions were immediately reset to a default allowing all sorts of spam.
                      • The spam control mechanism failed miserably in all sorts of ways.
                      • The hosting service spam controls were even more hilarious - I personally had my IP address blocked because I was doing a lot of moderation in the first few days trying to combat the spam problem. (Unfortunately we need those controls because spam bots are what are destroying our performance, even now.)
                      • All of the forum controls moved around to new and exciting places that we had a hard time finding.
                      • Even moderation controls were broken; we had to promote everybody basically to "super moderator" to get back to function that we previously had.
                      I think I had a chance to check out the new forum before it went live, but I didn't do anything more than a basic "does it load" type of check. The people who did the migration did far more extensive checks.

                      We understand. But you are shouting into the void here - the people who did the upgrade are generally not reading these threads. If you want to provide feedback, emailing them is more direct and might work better.


                      Mike
                      I have to say I really appreciate this insight into the “rhyming” problems the moderators are also experiencing behind the scenes. Reading this makes it glaringly obvious that the new vbulletin is just the wrong software choice for the forums. I hope whoever is making the decisions on that also comes to the same conclusion.
                      Toshiba T1000 w/ modem & memory upgrade
                      Compaq Deskpro 4/25iS (Win3.1)
                      Apple //e

                      wanted: dx2odp66 or similar (169 pin overdrive chip)

                      Comment


                        Also, sometimes shouting into the void can be quite therapeutic
                        Toshiba T1000 w/ modem & memory upgrade
                        Compaq Deskpro 4/25iS (Win3.1)
                        Apple //e

                        wanted: dx2odp66 or similar (169 pin overdrive chip)

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by mbbrutman View Post
                          Actually, no, I'm not responsible.
                          Well, English is a terrible language when it comes to precision. I refered not to you as a person but to you as the people who run the forums, of which you are a part of.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                            Well, English is a terrible language when it comes to precision. I refered not to you as a person but to you as the people who run the forums, of which you are a part of.
                            Mike is the "Gatekeeper" so to speak. There are other in the background that have actual hands on. Try sending a PM to Erik. I did.

                            Surely not everyone was Kung-Fu fighting

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                              Well, English is a terrible language when it comes to precision. I refered not to you as a person but to you as the people who run the forums, of which you are a part of.
                              That makes as much sense as blaming a Red Cross aid worker for failings of the larger organization.

                              Your expectations needs to be adjusted or corrected if you think you have the right to hold every volunteer collectively responsible.



                              Agent Orange .. I am a moderator, not a "gatekeeper" in any way.

                              Comment


                                Well, I finally got one of those blank PMs.

                                In the message center clicking the title normally shows the entire message, but it appears blank.

                                Using the browser HTML inspector, I see the DIV where the message text should appear, but there is simply no text data loaded in to the page.

                                Since I have it set to send me an email, the email showed me a "preview" of the content. This means the content should be in the database somewhere. Since the message appeared to be short, I believe in this case the email contained the entire message. The only odd thing in the content was a couple of stray and visible "<br />" tags at the end of the first two lines. This is also how it appears in the raw e-mail source.

                                Also, the member that PMed me is a new member who does not yet have 10 posts.
                                Last edited by SomeGuy; July 17, 2021, 01:58 PM.

                                Comment

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