Timewaster's Guide Archive

General => Site News => Topic started by: EUOL on March 27, 2004, 05:39:56 AM

Title: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on March 27, 2004, 05:39:56 AM

Part One: The Time-Waster's Guide?
1) What is the Time-Waster's Guide?
2) Who runs the Time-Waster's Guide?
3) Where did the Time-Waster's Guide Come From?
4) Can I write a review?
5) Can I have something free to review?

Part Two: The Forum
1) What forum etiquette do I need to know?
2) What's the main theme of the TWG forums?
3) What are the different forum sections?
4) There's a lot here.  How do I know what to read?
5) People are making fun of me.  What should I do?
6) Who are all you people?
7) What's the deal with all these levels and titles?
8) Anything else I need to know?

Part Three: Writing Groups and Forum RPG games.
1) Any special etiquette I should know here?
2) How do these forum RPG's work?
3) How do these forum writing groups work?
4) How do I join one of the RPG's or writing groups?
5) What is TW(i)G and how do I participate?

Part Four:  Acronyms and Terminology
1) TWG
2) TLE
4) LDS
5) BYU
6) Regular User Nicknames
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on March 27, 2004, 05:40:31 AM
1) What is the Time Waster's Guide?

The Time Waster's Guide, or the TWG, is an on-line review site that covers a multitude of genres.  Our specialty tends toward paper RPGs and table top games (such as Warhammer 40,000.)  However, we also review all sorts of things--from novels, to movies, to CCGs, and even webcomics.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on March 27, 2004, 05:40:51 AM
2) Who runs the TWG?

The content of the Time-Waster's Guide is copyrighted to its founder and creator, Daniel Wells (a.k.a. Fellfrosch) He is the TWG's editor, and the ultimate source of arbitration, wisdom, and knowledge.

The web administrator is Ben Olsen (a.k.a. Tage)  He moderates the forums and makes certain everything works the way it should.

The original site design was done primarily by Jeff Creer (a.k.a 42)

Eric J. Ehlers (a.k.a. SaintEhlers, a.k.a. e) is the current editor in charge of content.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on March 27, 2004, 05:42:38 AM
3) Where did the TWG come from?

The Time Waster's Guide has its roots in a small science fiction and fantasy magazine called The Leading Edge (http://tle.byu.edu/). The Leading Edge, or TLE, is funded by Brigham Young University, and is run by students.  Many of the Forum participants and TWG writers were originally TLE staff members and students at BYU.  

During a particular issue (September 2000) Skar decided he wanted a free copy of Diablo II and thought he might be able to get Blizzard to send him one by offering to review it in the magazine. It worked.  Diablo II (http://www.timewastersguide.com/view.php?id=3).  While TLE focuses on fiction, it often includes book reviews.  The staff decided that a game review wouldn't be out-of-place in the magazine, but they didn't want to include it in the book review section.  So, they devised a new department for miscellaneous reviews and dubbed it "The Semi-Annual Time-Waster's Guide."  (TLE publishes twice a year, hence the 'semi-annual' part.)

When our time at BYU ended, Dan Wells got the idea of starting up the TWG as its own on-line review magazine.  Since many of us were eager to continue working together, we agreed to help with the site by providing content or administrative aid.  And hence, The Official Time-Waster's Guide was born!

(Note, there is some disputation about who originally came up with the name "Time-Waster's Guide."  I was there in the room when it happened, but I can't for the life of me remember whose idea it was.  Originally, however, the TWG print version was run by Ethan Skarstedt.)
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on March 27, 2004, 05:43:00 AM
4) Can I write a review?

TWG usually welcomes new contributors--however, you will need to prove that you have some writing skill.  

Please use the article submission form (http://www.timewastersguide.com/edit.php?page=articles) found through the main page.  If you've never written a review for us before please read our submission guidelines (http://www.timewastersguide.com/view.php?id=530).  If the article/review is approved by the department editor, we'll post it on the site.  If the article needs work, we might contact you via email.  However, we don't post everything--if the review is offensive, off-topic, obviously an advertisement, or poorly written, it will be deleted.


5) Can I have something free to review?

Fellfrosch has decided that the forum will no longer be used to request review materials.  Nor will it be used for discussions of the same. If you wish to review something, and think that we might be able to obtain a review copy, please email the appropriate editor (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=;action=viewprofile;username=SaintEhlers) with your request.

You're free to email Tage or me with your request, and we will be happy to make fun of you for sending your email to the wrong place.  Then we will promptly forget about it.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on March 28, 2004, 12:39:03 AM
1) What forum etiquette do I need to know?

I'm not sure if this is actually a 'Frequently-Asked Question,' but it sure should be!  You'll find your forum experience to be far more rewarding if you follow a few simple rules.

FIRST ITEM:  We ARE interested in hearing what you have to say.  
The more people who take part in the conversation, the more we all learn--and the more entertaining everything generally is.  

However, the TWG forum group is a very tight-knit community.  Many of us are friends off-line, and those we haven't met have been coming to the board for a long time, and we feel that we know them as well as our 'real life' friends.  You are welcome to join this group, but we ask that you respect the already-established community members.

SECOND ITEM: Avoid 'spam' posting.
Spam posting is when you post a short, pointless post to a thread without contributing anything.   When you post, try to make certain that your post is on-topic and valuable to the discussion.  Don't divert the thread, and don't simply post a smiley face or a 'lol.'  Many of the forum users employ the 'show the last ten posts' function to see what topics are hot.  If all they get are a bunch of one-word posts, they tend to get annoyed.

(Note, there ARE threads that intentionally disobey this rule, such as the 'word sense' thread.  You can post one-word responses to these.)

THIRD ITEM:  Don't resurrect old threads.
Newcomers will often scroll through the pages and pages of threads looking for ones that are interesting to them, then post a reply to each one.  The result is that dozens of old topics--ones that the forum community is tired of discussing--suddenly pop back to the top of the thread-order.  This annoys the established members.  I would suggest that rather than looking through old threads, you pay attention to threads that have already been posted on today, and respond to them in an intelligent way.  (Note--your post doesn't have to be brilliant to be worthy of posting.  If it's your genuine opinion, it has value.  Posting an 'intelligent way' means posting in a polite, on-topic manner.)

FOURTH ITEM: Be polite.  
I can't stress this enough.  Being insensitive to others' opinions is a failing of both newcomers and long-time posters.  Try not to contribute to this atmosphere. It is good to have strong opinions, and it's even better to have opinions that are different from those of other posters.  The forum experience is about discussion and disagreement.  However, you can disagree with someone without calling them names or otherwise insulting them.  Be nice and respect people's differences.

FIFTH ITEM:  Introduce yourself.
There is an 'introduce yourself' thread just below this one.  Tell us who you are in real life, and give a little bit about yourself.  I would also suggest that you read everyone else's introductions.  It always helps discussion when we all understand each other's backgrounds.

SIXTH ITEM:  Don't post to a thread twice in a row.
If you have something to add, just go back and edit your old post.  Don't hold conversations with yourself--it annoys people.

SEVENTH ITEM:  Avoid two-person discussions.
Try not to use the forum to do things you could simply be doing through email, a chat program, or 'Private Messaging' (bottom right hand corner of the main forum page.)  We don't want your personal discussions about where you should go to dinner appearing on our 'ten most recent posts' page.  

EIGHTH ITEM:  Avoid putting pictures in the body of posts.
A little of this is okay.  However, if you're going to be posting a lot of pictures, be respectful of those who have slow connection speeds.  Post links to the pictures instead of the pictures themselves.

NINETH ITEM:  No swearing.
Duh.  If you swear, the admins will delete your post.  If you do it a lot, they'll delete your profile.  This is a family-friendly forum.

TENTH ITEM:  Starting threads.
You are welcome to start new and interesting threads for people to discuss in.  However, don't spam here either.  Think carefully about your new topic--is it in the right category?  Is it something the rest of the forum will be interested in?  Is it something that, perhaps, might be better as a single post inside of an already-established thread?  (Such as 'cool things found on the internet.)

ELEVENTH ITEM: Spelling, punctuation, and l33t.
Okay, here's the thing.  On other parts of the web, you can get away with doing some annoying things like writing in all caps (shouting, as it's called), ignoring punctuation and capitalization, and writing in what is called 'l33t'.  I'll warn you now--if you do any of these things, we'll make fun of you.  Mercilessly.  

(Note--this hasn't stopped some of the rampant misspellers.  Nor does it, necessarily, have to stop you.  However, consider yourself warned.  We can be pretty harsh.  Please, just take the few moments longer it requires to do a spellcheck and to use punctuation.)

Whew!  That's a lot of things, but I hope you read through and pay attention to them all.   Following these things will make you look less like a 'newbie', and it will minimize the number of times you get made fun of by the regulars.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on May 16, 2004, 04:12:58 AM
2) What's the main theme of the TWG Forums?

This form might be a little different from others you're used to.  There are a large number of people on the forum who have various academic degrees, and we consider ourselves a rather literate lot.  To speak plainly, we don't deal well with stupidity.

That doesn't mean all of your posts have to be brilliant.  (Goodness knows, most of ours aren't half as brilliant as we seem to think they are.)  However, we prefer intelligent conversations about important topics, as opposed to random fluff.  Many of us are very experienced textual debaters, and if you get into an argument with us and can't support your claims, we will probably begin to make fun of you.  

That said, we really enjoy having discussions.  Your opinion is always valid simply because it is your opinion--just don't try and intimidate us with erroneous facts or miss-used quotes.  If you have something to say, state that it's your opinion, and we will respect that (hopefully...).  

Therefore, the 'theme' of the TWG Forums is our fondness for interesting discussions.  If it's clever, debatable, or unique, we want to hear it.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: EUOL on May 16, 2004, 04:44:16 AM
3) What are the different forum sections?

Site News (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=news)
This section is for news ABOUT THE TWG.  It is where you will find information about updates to the forum, upcoming TWG themes, and other information regarding the site.   It's also where you will find the 'Introduce Yourself (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=news;action=display;num=1051196804;start=0)' thread and the 'FAQ (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=news;action=display;num=1080380396)' thread.  (Though, you probably already know that....

As a rule of thumb, don't create threads in this section.  Feel free to respond to threads, however!

Note--News items not relating specifically to the TWG should go in the 'Everything Else (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=other)' section.

Suggestions Box (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=suggestions)
This section is for making suggestions or discussing improvements to both the TWG and the forum.  There is a general thread dedicated to suggested improvements, and this is probably the place you want to post your suggestions.  In this area, you will also find the 'Hey You' threads which you can post to if you need to get the attention of one of the editors.  

You should probably avoid making threads in this section.  Most suggestions are small items, and should go in the general 'TWG/Forum Improvements (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=suggestions;action=display;num=1084691883)' thread.  

Everything Else (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=other)
This is the 'catch all' section.  If it doesn't relate to something that there is an entire section dedicated to, put it here.  This is the home of the infamous 'Word Sense (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=other;action=display;num=1083288443;start=0)' and 'Cool Stuff Found on the Internet (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=other;action=display;num=1072235941;start=0)' threads.

Almost anything goes in this section, but make sure it is of potential interest to the forum goers.  Also, if it is something that you want to have an argument about, or just want to blow off steam about, put it in the 'Rants and Stuff (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=rantage)' section.  

Rants and Stuff (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=rantage)
This section actually comes above the 'Everything Else' section in the forum, but it's actually kind of a subset of 'Everything Else.'  So that the 'Everything Else' section doesn't get too full, we have a second section for miscellaneous discussions.  This is home to the 'These Stupid Titles (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=rantage;action=display;num=1080938464;start=0)' thread as well as '42's Therapy Thread (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=rantage;action=display;num=1073017801;start=0).'

If you have an 'Everything Else' style thread to start, but it's something that you think might be more of an argument, or if you simply want to rant about something you find stupid, put it here.  Also, if you want to make a shameless plug for a random website (perhaps yours) put it here.

Again, make certain there's not a better place for the thread.  'Rants' and 'Everything Else' get pretty crowded, so put a rant about a specific game in the 'Video Games' section, and so forth.

Video Games (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=video_games)
Pretty obvious, I think.  Feel free to create threads about video games, current or classing, from any platform or OS.

CCGs (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=ccgs)
This stands for 'Collectable Card Games.'  These are games that you buy packs of cards to play.  Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon are probably the most famous.

Table-Top (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=tabletop)
'Table-Top' games are usually games that use small figures to mimic large-scale battles.  Popular examples are Warhammer 40k, Battletech, and Heroclix.

Role-Playing Games (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=rpgs)
This section is for discussions about paper-based RPGs, like Dungeons & Dragons.  Put computer RPG threads under Video Games (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=video_games).
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers on May 17, 2004, 08:32:22 PM
3) What are the different forum sections? (part b)

Webcomics and Free Stuff (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=webcomics)
At the TWG, we like webcomics. ?We like to read them, and we like to review them. ?If you have a particular one you want to talk about, post a thread here. ?(If you don't know what a webcomic is, go to the main TWG page and click on the webcomic section (http://www.timewastersguide.com/Webcomics/) for some examples!)

This is also the section for discussion of websites and programming. ?If you need help with a program like 'Flash (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=webcomics;action=display;num=1078511750;start=0),' or perhaps some html help, this is the place to post.

Movies and TV (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=movies)
Yup. ?We put them in the same section. ?Deal with it.

Books (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=books)
We have several professional authors that frequent the board, and a few professional editors. ?We like books! ?Fantasy and SF are the general favorites, but post thoughts on any genre here.

Music (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=Music)
Discussion of songs, Mp3's, and Mp3 players.

Alternate Realties (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi#forumRPGs)
These will be discussed in a separate post. ?

Writing Group (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=writing_group)
Though it's actually under the 'Alternate Realities' heading, the 'Writing Group' section is actually a bit different. ?It's mainly the section dedicated to the Abridged Specialists (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=writing_group;action=display;num=1101266640) and the Ardent Scribblers, the local TWG writing groups. ?However, if you have a question about writing or being a writer, this is the place to put it. ?More on this later.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers on February 18, 2005, 02:44:49 PM

4) There's a lot here. How do I know what to read?

The tendency of a lot of people is to just hit the sections they're most interested in (say, Video Games or Webcomics) and then scan four or five pages of threads to find particular topics of note. I'm of the opinion that this doesn't necessarily give you the best experience. For one thing, it has a tendency to encourage resurrection of old threads, which, as you see above, annoys many. If you do this, I'd recommend just sticking with the first page of threads in any given forum (or two pages for something like "Everything Else," which has a tendency to get a lot of threads very quickly). Of particular aid to this is the "New Posts" icon (it looks like this: (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/YaBBImages/on.gif) which indicates that forum has posts you haven't read yet, and then the "new" button (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/YaBBImages/new.gif) which, in a forum, lets you know which thread has new posts. The forum also provides a link to the ten most recent posts (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi?action=recent) made on the forum (it's located at the bottom left of the main forum page). This is the best way to see what's current if you have a general interest.

There are other navigation aids as well. At the end of each article there is included a link to a thread made specifically for discussion about that article or the material it broaches. This link will also be found on the main TWG page along with the blurb for the article.

There is a search function at the top of each forum page you can use to look for specific topics. Remember that we change subjects frequently, and a thread in the book section may talk about middle-eastern geo-politics, so this may help you find topics of interest.

One useful tool is the "Your Guide to..." threads at the top of many of the forums. These threads are locked, which means you can't post to them, but you can read them to find out what strange threads pop up frequently in a forum. If the linked to thread is locked, it probably just got too long and a new thread with a similar topic has been started (and will be found on the first page or two of the thread listing). Feel free to let us know when a "Your Guide" thread needs updating.

Finally, if you find someone particularly interesting, feel free to look at their account by clicking their name, and then scrolling down to find recent posts by that person.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers on February 18, 2005, 03:52:58 PM

5) People are making fun of me. What should I do?

Ignore them.

That's not always a satisfactory solution, though. The thing about TWG is that the regulars have come to be able to depend on what type of information and posts they'll get from the others. They know and like each other. And they don't like change. This is not unuusual for online communities, and we try to be different, but "n00bs" aren't always greeted with open arms.

However, newcomers are usually accepted after a time. If you stick with it, and pay particular attention to the ettiquette notes above, and give us comments worth hearing, any teasing will cease soon enough.

Note that particularly irksome to our regulars are l33t-speak, capitals, and the resurrection of very old posts, especially for "me too" type posts.

If the teasing is particularly abusive, please feel free to contact JamPaladin, who is the forum moderator.
Title: Re: TWG Forum FAQ
Post by: The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers on February 18, 2005, 04:13:27 PM

1) TWG - This refers to this website and the people run and participate in it. It stands for Time-Waster's Guide.

2) TLE - This is the abbreviation for The Leading Edge. See Part 1, section 3 above.

3) AORP - Arthurian Online RolePlaying. Before there was TWG, many of the current staff and TLE staff participated in this forum based RPG. It migrated to TWG eventually and started the Alternate Realities (http://www.timewastersguide.com/boards/yabb/YaBB.cgi#forumRPGs) section of the board.

4) LDS - Latter-Day Saint. Also known as a "Mormon." Many of the staff and participants (probably a majority) are members of this religion, and they take it seriously. They don't force their views on you, but be aware of this aspect of TWG culture.

5) BYU - Brigham Young University. Located in scenic Provo, Utah, this is the LDS-owned university that sponsors TLE and where most of the staff attended school for undergraduate work.

6) Regular User Nicknames - There are a number of regulars, with sometimes strange and/or long nicknames. As a result, abbreviations are frequent. Fellfrosch is known as Fell, SaintEhlers as SE, Spriggan as Sprig, JamPaladin as JP, and so on.

Two nicks you should be aware of is that "fuzzy" always has and always will refer to FuzzyOctopus. And EUOL stands for Evil Undead OverLord. If you want to know where other nicks came from, you'll have to ask.

Another tradition at TWG is the celebration of holidays -- especially Christmas -- by nick changing. The person who can come up with the cleverest variation of their nick and still have it recognizable by the regulars feels good about himself.