An imageboard primer ---->  The basics - Wed, December 31, 1969 4:00 PM(
THE MOST BASIC THING EVER
TERMINOLOGYAnyway, let's take care of some of the basic terminology first (this will be very basic):
- OP - depending on the context it means either "original post" (the first post in the thread) or "original poster" (its author).
- tripcode - a code for identifying the posters. More about them in (2).
- board - a specific subsection of ponychan meant for making posts of a certain type. Different boards have a different focus and some features are board specific (like the NSFW tag on /pic/ or video embedding on /media/). /meta/ for example deals with the way the site itself works, while /pony/ is where all the general pony themed/related talk happens. /chat/ is for general talk that's not necessarily pony related, /ep/ is for discussing specifics of the show, /pic/ is where you can find lots of pony pictures and /arch/ is where really good or remarkable threads get moved (typically without being locked, so people can still post in there). There's also other boards, make sure you are at least aware of their existence when posting or looking for threads.
- secret board - some boards are secret which means they are not listed. If you know the name of a secret board you can get to it through a link like this: http://www.ponychan.net/chan/BOARD_NAME/ (replace "/BOARD_NAME/" with the name of the board). Example: /test/
- NSFW - "not safe for work". This is typically used to indicate that a picture is risquÃƒÂ©, gorey or not exactly safe for your mind. The site has pretty strict rules about posting those (particularily from the first category), more in (4).
- locked - when a thread gets locked people can no longer reply to it. Locked threads are indicated with a padlock next to the post number in the OP.
- bump - the act of sending the thread to an earlier position on the list, just below the stickies.
- sticky - A thread that always stays on top of the list of threads in a board. Mods have the power to "sticky" a thread. Stickied threads are indicated with a pin next to the post number in the OP.
- mods - moderators, people with various powers allowing them to manage the boards / keep them clean, and second only to the admin who has full controll over the site.
- saging - replying to a thread without bumping it. You can read more about it in (3).
- autosage - a thread on autosage is a thread which isn't bumped by replies. As with the above, more info is available in (3).
- bbcode - special codes allowing to change the way your message is displayed. Read more about them in (4).
- wordfilter - a substitution filter replacing certain words in messages with other predefined words. Example: "everyboÃ‚Âdy" wordfilters to "everypony"
- wordfilter evasion - doing certain technical tricks to ensure a word won't get wordfiltered, as seen in the example above. It's possible, but it will not be covered here.
- dubs/doubles, trips/triples, quads/quadruples etc. - the number of times the last digit in the post number repeats itself at the end. Dubs if two times, trips if three, quads if four etc. There's no special significance to these from the technical side.
- greentext - changing the color of text by starting the line with a '>'. The name comes from the color assigned to such text in the Futaba theme.
And now a typical post form. Later on I will focus on particular fields of this form. Remember that you don't actually have to fill out any of them except for the message or file fields (or both, particularily when creating a new thread).
- Name - Your username goes here. If you're using a tripcode, it should be instantly followed by # and a password to generate it. More about this field in (2). The information you put in here will stick, which means the board will remember the last thing you used here and you won't have to retype it every time.
- Email - This is where either your email code should go. Actually putting in an email may not be a good idea. The information here will also stick, except if you use the "sage" code. If you don't plan to use this field for anything other than saging things sometimes then keeping it filled with "noko" may be a good idea. More about these two codes and this field in (3).
- Subject - The things you put into this this field will precede your username in the post with big bolded letters.
- Message - Your actual message. The usage is obvious but there's still some things to keep in mind and you can read about them in (5).
- File - This field is for choosing the file to be uploaded, and if it should be hidden under a generic thumbnail. More in (4).
- Password - This one is used to allow you to delete posts. It starts filled automatically and the information here will stick, so it's possible that you might never actually have to touch this field even if you do want to be able to delete things. Read more about it in (5).
There's more fields possible, but they're typically board specific and will not be covered.
POST HEADERNow let's have a look at a typical post. While typically the most interesting part is the actual message/picture, there's may still be some other interesting info in its header, so let's take this one from the top (left):
- a checkbox - these are used in reporting and deleting posts, more in (6).
- big bold letters preceding the username (optional) - this is where the things written in the "Subject" field appear.
- bolded text - this is the publically visible part of whatever the poster put into their name field
- NOT bolded text, preceded with a '!' - this is the tripcode part. When two posts have the same tripcode it typically proves that they were written by the same person. More about the names and tripcodes in (2).
- an underline under the name!trip combo (optional) - if this appears, that means the poster put in something in the email field, and you can hover over their name to see what. 'noko' is an exception here and won't cause the underline to appear.
- the timestamp - the time when the post was made, according to the server. Ponychan is running on Pacific Time. You can look at these to ensure that you aren't replying to threads too long after your reply could be relevant, as sometimes ancient threads get bumped for one reason or the other long after the actual discussion in them ended.
- "No." - this is short for "number", but also a link. If you click on this refreshing the page will bring you back to this post. This link could also be useful if you ever wanted to link to a specific post from somewhere off-site.
- post number - the number of this specific post (useful in linking), and also a link that will add a reference to this post to your message field. This is particularily useful if replying to multiple posts.
- file data (optional) - if a poster uploaded a file, the data describing it goes here in this manner: File filename_assigned_by_ponychan - (file_size , file_dimensions , original_file_name )
And after that, there's the actual file and/or the message.
An imageboard primer Ã¢â‚¬â€  Names and tripcodes - Wed, December 31, 1969 4:00 PM
As you might have noticed, this site allows for posting without registering or anything like that - just write your message, click "reply" and it will appear, credited to "Anonymous" (or whatever the default name on your current board is). This kind of anonymous posting is pretty much the default mode of posting on chan boards, but ponychan spefically has an extremely large percentage of people who post with names. It's easy to give yourself a name, just put it in the "Name" field in your post and it will stay there until you change it to something else, but how do you then protect yourself from other people impersonating you through the magic of ctrl+c/ctrl+v? This is where the tripcodes come in.
A tripcode is a non-bolded series of symbols starting with a '!' that follow the username. It's generated using a password as a base, which is then evaluated by an algorithm and transformed into this series of symbols and appended to the name. Since the user never actually touches the tripcode, only feeds the password into the algorithm, the only real way to have a post with the same tripcode is to feed it the same password, which is kept secret from everypony else. And thus you can prove your identity by proving that you know this password. And it can't be faked by copypasting the evaluated tripcode into the "Name" field either, as then either a new tripcode would get evaluated using the pasted one as the secret password (as it would have to include a '!') or if somehow that reevaluation were to be avoided, the tripcode part would get bolded with the rest of the name.
To use a tripcode instead of just writing your name in the "Name" field, write your_name#your_code - the #your_code part will be automatically replaced by !tripcode. Instead of '#' you can also use a '!' for the same results.
The standard tripcodes are gibberish, but you might have noticed that not all of them are like that. Some have words in them, or actually look like a part of the name of the user or things like that. These are called custom tripcodes, and they work exactly the same as regular tripcodes. Typically to get a custom tripcode one simply checks millions (per second) possible passwords and the tripcodes they yield, and chooses one out of those. One of the ways to do that is to use a program like Tripcode Explorer:
- Here's a site about it: http://www.donutey.com/tripcodes.php
- And here's the program itself: http://www.donutey.com/images/tripcodes/TripcodeExplorer.zip
Basically, to use it write the possible words you're interested in and press the green symbol to run it. The program will then start testing different passwords at random and report back with an ever increasing list of passwords that contain the words you're looking for as a substring. Since this search is random, the length matters a lot - a single additional character in a word will make it many, MANY times less likely that any given tripcode will contain the desired substring. 6 characters or less should be pretty quick, 7 characters is as many as you can expect to find given a "reasonable" amount of time, 8 characters is ridiculous-but-still-possible-I-guess, 9 is basically impossible, 10 is a complete joke, and 11 or more is impossible for the simple reason that there's only 10 characters in a tripcode. Remember to set this program to ASCII only in the options.
A tripcode CAN be cracked. It's very unlikely that anypony would ever bother but it can be cracked, especially if the secret password is something simple like "banana" or something. If anypony wanted to try to do that, they could use some software similar to Tripcode Explorer to brute-force check many different possibilities (particularily using a dictionary) on their own machine until they finally stumble upon something that generates the same tripcode as yours (it most likely would simply be your password). If you're worried about that possibility use a secure tripcode - instead of name#code, write name##code. Secure tripcodes display with "!!" instead of "!" and are generated using your password and an additional secret component on the server, so brute forcing them on a local machine gets basically impossible. If you do so, it will make it basically impossible for you to have a custom tripcode for obvious reasons, though.
An imageboard primer Ã¢â‚¬â€  The email field and email field codes - Wed, December 31, 1969 4:00 PM
The "Email" field may have been intended by the authors of the board software to be the place where a user could put in their email for easy contact. Actually using it like that is possible, but may not really be a good idea - the web is crawling with spiders looking for innocent email addresses to be dragged down to their spamlists. But that doesn't make the email field completely useless. Instead of putting in an email address, you could type in a short message here that will only be visible after hovering over your name. Or, much more likely, use it as a place to input one of the email codes.
There's two of those:
- noko - this one is extremely useful. Typically when you click "reply" you're redirected outside of the thread and onto page 0 of the board you're on. This can be annoying if you're trying to still follow that thread, as now you have to find it again, which can be hard on a fast moving board. You could use the "back" button in your browser, but what if it's a completely new thread that you've just created? You can't go "back" to that. On the other hand, if you type in "noko" in your "Email" field (you have to only do it once and it will stay there), pressing "reply" will send you back into the thread without any additional problems. "noko" is special in that using it won't be visible to other posters - the post will appear as if the "Email" field were empty.
- sage - the use of this one is more situational. If you input "sage" into your "Email" field, your post won't cause the thread to be bumped. This can be useful if you wish to voice your disapproval of a thread without bringing it back into the spotlight of page 0. It can also be useful if you wish to reply to a thread, but would feel bad about bumping it - like if you're having a completely tangential subdiscussion in a totally unrelated thread, or if you're multiposting. If it isn't the "this thread is bad and you should feel bad" usage of sage, it's considered good form to make sure it's understood that it's not. Sage will show up as the used email, but it will NOT stay in the field afterwards.
"Autosage" is a term related to "sage". A thread being on autosage means no replies of any kind will bump it. Going on autosage can be automatic after a thread reaches a certain number of responses, or mod induced if a mod feels a thread is bad enough to be buried out of sight, but still with enough merit to not stop all discussion already going on by locking it. It's rare, but it happens. Also, a mod can disable autosage for specific threads - that's how the ridiculously large threads you might have noticed here and there can still get bumped, despite going past the autosage limits long ago.
An imageboard primer Ã¢â‚¬â€  The message and file fields: the obvious and the less so - Wed, December 31, 1969 4:00 PM
Making a basic post is easy - just choose a picture in the "File" field or write something in the "Message" field, or both, and you're done. Yet, there's still things that are good to know here.
First, there's the reference system:
- If you begin a line with a '>' symbol, it will change color. This is typically used for quoting specific fragments of other posts
- To link to another post on the same board, use >>POST_NUMBER. It's typically used to refer to other posts within one thread, but it can also be used to link elsewhere on the same board.
- To link to another post on a specific board, use >>/board/POST_NUMBER. This is typically used to link to posts on other boards, but technically speaking you could even use it to link to other posts within the same thread. Still, for linking within one board (and one thread especially) it's better to simply use >>POST_NUMBER.
- If you start a line with two '>' symbols and make those into a link, the line won't change color. Otherwise it will change color no matter how many '>' you put in there:
- Related to the above, the '>' symbol has to actually be the first one for the line to change color. Certain characters you can put in there (like spaces) won't be shown, but they will technically make it be NOT the first character in the line, and will stop the color change.
>Without a space
>With a space
You don't actually have to type in the post number by hand if you wish to reference it in the same thread. Just click on its number and a reference will be added to your "Message" field. Like I mentioned back in (1), this can be useful when replying to multiple posts at the same time.
If you wish to make a clickable link to another site, just paste the address starting with "http://" and a clickable link will be made out of that automatically.
Then we have the bbcodes. To use these place a [bbcode] before the text, and [/bbcode] right after it. For example, [u]THIS[/u] would get shown as THIS. Multiple codes can be used at the same time: EXAMPLE. There's 5 documented tags, and you can see them all after clicking the ? next to the message field:
- [b] is for bolding text: TEXT
- [i] is for writing with italics/cursive: TEXT
- [u] is for underlining the text: TEXT
- [s] is for putting a strikethrough on the text:
- [?] is for hiding the text, to be read only upon selecting it or mousing over it (useful to discuss spoilery things): TEXT
There are also two undocumented codes I'm aware of. [Ã‚Âspoiler] works exactly the same as [Ã‚Â?]. And then there's the [Ã‚Âcode], which is for writing things in a monospaced font (well, mostly, unicode breaks this):
like this for example
The usage of the "File" field is obvious. The interesting part here is the tags. If you select the "spoiler" tag for your file, its thumbnail will be replaced with a generic "spoiler" picture, which is useful for when you wish for only the people who click on it to actually know what is in the picture. This could be because it contains actual spoilers, or perhaps because you're trying to make a joke that won't work otherwise.
And then, there's the "NSFW" tag, which replaces the thumbnail with a generic "NSFW" picture. NSFW materials are generally permitted on boards that have this tag, but are restricted in the specific things that can be posted (for example, obvious porn is not allowed). If you have a picture that would likely need this tag, notice that the "NSFW" near the checkbox is underlined - if you hover over it you will get the specific rules. Read them and then decide if your picture is okay to be posted.
An imageboard primer Ã¢â‚¬â€  Passwords and the report system - Wed, December 31, 1969 4:00 PM
The password fields are there to enable you to delete your own posts. They are not related to tripcodes in any way. They both start autofilled, and then keep being filled with the last password used for sending a post, so it's possible that you would never actually have to touch them to be able to delete your posts. Still, if you wish to set the password yourself for one reason or another, simply type it in the "Password" field of the post form.
To delete a post select the checkbox near it and press the "Delete" button in the lower right corner of the page. You can select multiple posts for that. If the passwords (the one used to create the posts and the one in the field next to the "Delete" button) match, the posts will get deleted. You can also elect to only delete the pictures appended to the posts - to do this select the "File Only" checkbox.
Deleting the OP deletes the whole thread.