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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Proprietary documentation from the past

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    Proprietary documentation from the past

    I have been working in IT/Computers for over 42 yrs starting with GE/Honeywell Mainframes. I have accumulated documentation and software that I would love to share. I have a question about proprietary items. What are the rules for sharing that kind of (and marked as such) documentation I collected over the years? I have Honeywell mainframe "dittibooks", Apple documentation, floppies and CDs, PC test programs from the 80's and microfiche. I also have several technician tools like wirewrap tools, Selectric typewriter tools, etc.
    At Honeywell we had a program to look for things a customer had from other vendors that we could service while we were on a call for our equipment. As such we were provided microfiche and a portable reader (unfortunately the reader is not in my possession any longer) so that we could do the job on literally thousands of different products mostly peripherals. I am looking to see it can find a good home before I pass away and it gets tossed in the landfill. I don't have a catalog of it (I may have to start one). I'd just like to settle the proprietary question first.


    Originally posted by Jim Turk View Post
    What are the rules for sharing that kind of (and marked as such) documentation I collected over the years?
    Any rules about proprietary technical data have to be interpreted in the context of what they were intended for at the time. At the time it was to protect the financial interest of the company, fair enough and to be respected.

    If the technical information is so old that it cannot be regarded, if released to a public forum, as having any effect on the financial position of the company in modern times, in reality, it is more of a crime that the data is not shared. This is because future generations and Electronics and Computer Historians need this data to keep the old equipment running and preserve history. This is actually a tribute to the company that once made the equipment and all the engineers who contributed to it. Or, it could be lost from the face of the planet, to the sands of time.

    So whatever the "rules" it is more about understanding the intention of what the rules protected at the time, rather than just blindly applying them 40 or 50 years later when they don't really apply to the subject matter anymore, because its technological ancient history.

    At least that is my view of it.


      It's a legal question so your best answer will come from a lawyer. After asking 5 lawyers and picking the answer you like best.

      If these materials were readily available to other people or customers I would not be concerned. If they were trade secrets then they are still potentially sensitive. I don't think that anybody is worried about revenue loss at this point, but surfacing old information that might be relevant to a lawsuit or patent dispute might make things "interesting."

      You might consider contacting one of the larger computer museums. Even if they are not interested in the material directly they can help you organize it and put it in context. Documentation and artifacts without context are difficult to deal with - so much depends on the context. They might also be able to give you an idea of how sensitive the documents are.