Forum Code of Conduct / FAQ Thread

edited February 2008 in Forum News and Issues
Welcome to the Official Jonathan Coulton Forums!

These forums are for the discussion of Jonathan Coulton's music and all things JoCo-related. We are a diverse group of geeks, video-makers, musicians, and just plain fans, united in our enjoyment of all things JoCo.

Because we are such a diverse group, we ask that you tread lightly in these forums. Please take the time to introduce yourself and spend some time lurking to get a feel for our style. We always welcome new members and, clearly, since you are here, you have impeccable taste in music (and are good-looking, too).

While we expect our members to know how to behave themselves and act like grown-ups, we do have a few hard and fast rules. Violation of these rules will likely result in a speedy ban from the forums.

  • No personal attacks
  • No "bad forum behavior" (including, but not limited to, using sock puppets, trolling, impersonating other members, abusing HTML, etc.)
  • No spamming (links to anything JoCo-related, however tangentially, are absolutely A-OK)
  • No excessive, gratuitous swearing (occasional swearing or quoted lyrics are fine)
Beyond that, the most important guideline here is to be respectful of others. If another member registers offense at something you say, please take it into account and respond appropriately. If you are out of line, you may receive a formal warning from a moderator. Repeated violations will result in your removal.

We like to keep this forum loosely run, and we like input from all our members, but all forum-related decisions ultimately lie at the moderators' discretion.

Drama Clause
We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to discipline or remove any member whose actions or presence disrupt the forum.

Your user admin is Bry (vaguelyamusing-at-gmail-dot-com).
Your master administrator is JoCo, Jonathan Coulton Himself.
Although Jonathan does post in the forums, he does not constantly monitor them. Therefore, contact Bry if you have any questions, problems, or complaints about the forums; contact JoCo if you have any questions, problems, or complaints about Bry. ;)

We hope you enjoy your stay,
The Management

(Credits: The well-written parts of this code of conduct are by SaintPeter, with input from many forum members; the bad bits are by Bry.)


  • How this is going to work is this:

    Feel free to ask a (JoCo-related or JoCo-Forum-related) question, or submit a question you feel should be answered, below. I will add these questions (hopefully with corresponding answers) to the FAQ and delete your post from the thread, for the sake of repression elegance.
  • BryBry
    edited February 2008
    This was asked elsewhere, but I'll copy and paste the answer:

    Q1: What do all the buttons above the "Enter your comments" box do?

    • b - bold
    • i - italics
    • link - hyperlink (for completeness's sake, although you knew that)
    • b-quote - blockquote
    • del - strikethrough
    • img - embed an image
    • ul - begin unordered (bulleted) list
    • ol - begin ordered (numbered) list
    • li - line item (one entry in either a bulleted or numbered list) - use within ul or ol tags
    • code - display preformatted, as for source code [DO NOT USE TO TYPE TABS OR CHORDS! USE "pre" FOR THAT!]
    • "Close tags" - well, yeah, you know
    Also, be sure and select the option for "Format comments as HTML" under the comments box.

    [too lazy to type out a completer / more accurate version of this answer right now. Anyone's welcome to chime in.]
  • Practicing these things. will not post. I hope.
  • BryBry
    edited March 2008
    Q2: What do we do in case the forums go down?
    A2: Well, obviously, if the forums go down, you won't be reading this, but I'll assume this is for those who want to be well prepared. Bah. You probably read air safety cards too.

    But if the forums go down unexpectedly, first check the front of to see if it's still up (if it's not, it's very probably a server problem). The next gathering place is the Jonathan Coulton Project website (, which redirects to, home of all kinds of wonderful user-submitted videos for JoCo songs. Kerrin, who owns that site, will put up an open thread for everyone to keep talking JoCo -- and if is down for long, Kerrin will keep you updated as to what measures are being taken to find a more permanent location to get together.
  • edited February 2008
    The Jonathan Coulton Project has an easier to remember url: which redirects to
  • edited February 2008
    Just curious ... is there a reason it's not just

    And another question: an alert at the top of the page saying "Please select a category for Private Messages at the settings page" - is that directed at everyone? Who put it there? What settings page?
  • Just curious ... is there a reason it's not just
    Good question, the answer is that was taken at the time I wanted to buy a domain name. I have been told it is now available, but don't want to double my costs and buy a second domain now, I quite like as a domain, and can't drop it now, as it is in a lot of my videos and stuff.
  • Shruti, is that message still appearing? I don't see such a message, whether logged in as Bry or as Socky. Does anyone else see that alert?
  • BryBry
    edited March 2008
    Q3: Polls?
    A3: Polls! All registered forum members can now attach polls to any discussion they started. Please don't abuse the privilege -- there are certainly many good times to use polls, but too many of them and it gets annoying, you'll understand.

    Since you can only attach polls to discussions you start, you will generally have to start a new thread in order to create a poll. Be equally cautious when you do this -- starting a dozen new threads just to say things like, "Mayonnaise or mustard? Vote!" is inadvisable. (Besides, we've already got a thread for that.)

    You can view the results of a poll once you have voted in it. I am given to understand that the creator of a poll can view the poll results by clicking "Edit this poll." But NOTE: Do NOT save any edits to a poll once it has been created! It will only end in tears (or having to delete the poll and reenter all the little poll entries and get everyone to vote again).
  • (Nope, the message has been gone for a while. It only existed briefly.)
  • BryBry
    edited March 2008
    (Non-FAQ comments have been deleted, as warned.)
    Q4: Private messages?
    A4: Private messages! When you're logged in, when you go to any forum member's profile, the sidebar on the left should include a "Send private message" option. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to check your private messages.

    Update: Agent Lex points out:
    I've found a roundabout way to get there. Click Account at the top, then Send private message (brings up a blank PM with your own name in the To field). From there, you can see Inbox on the left.
    In the current setup, there's very little in the way of notification that you have a new private message. Your best option, I think, is to go to your own account page (click Account on the top bar), choose "Forum Preferences" on the left, and turn on e-mail notification of private messages.
  • Q5: I'm new here. What should I do?

    • Read, and follow, the Forum Code of Conduct (first post of this thread).
    • Lurk for a little and see how everyone else behaves. Show some regard for grammar and spelling -- perfection is not required, but a good-faith effort is appreciated.
    • Introduce yourself.
    • Post about your 5 favorite songs.
    • If you're musically inclined, consider signing up for the all-Internet Jonathan Coulton cover band, the Mandelbrot Set.
    (Anything I'm leaving out?)
  • Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to check your private messages
    I've found a roundabout way to get there. Click Account at the top, then Send private message (brings up a blank PM with your own name in the To field). From there, you can see Inbox on the left.
  • I understand that one can ignore a single thread. How does one accomplish this? I don't see any obvious links/buttons to enable this.
  • I'm not certain that's possible with this software, SaintPeter. Can anyone with more Vanilla knowledge confirm or rebut?
  • I may be confused, then. Perhaps I was thinking of ignoring certain categories.

    Not a big deal.
  • What does "ETA:" mean, in the context of forum usage?

    I keep seeing people say go:

    ETA: Another unrelated comment here.

    I have been unable to divine its meaning.
  • "Edited to add." Thanks for reminding me -- that definitely deserves to go in the FAQ / glossary!
  • I would add smileys to the FAQ / glossary, since :-P confuses me somewhat.
  • BryBry
    edited March 2008
    I haven't been worrying about updating this too much, though I should start to get around to it more often.
    Here is a link to a Frappr map for JoCo fans to mark their locations. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of emoticons and their meanings, from Wikipedia (link active until declared non-notable / trivial).
  • BryBry
    edited March 2008
    Q6: Can I get a quick guide to linking?

    A6: I suppose. HTML-literate people should try not to grit their teeth too much, because I am going to go for "usable" before "technically correct."

    As far as we are concerned, links have two components: the text of the link (the part that shows up blue and underlined) and the target of the link (the webpage, etc. that it takes you to). The text of the link must be surrounded by HTML tags, to make it clear when the link begins and ends.

    Here is a link:
    Back to JoCo

    The HTML for this link would look like this:
    <a href="">Back to JoCo</a>
    where the link target is and the link text is Back to JoCo.

    You can type that in by hand every time (make sure you include all the punctuation!), but the forum software also allows you to create a link with the "link" button above the "Add your comments" text box. To do that, first type in the link text, then highlight the text, click the "link" button, and type in the address of the link target.

    (If you do not have any text selected, the "link" button assumes you are creating the first tag, that is, the one that reads <a href="Your URL Here"> -- so to finish the link, just type your link text and then </a>.)

    All this also applies to the other html buttons (with different tags than "a", of course), but linking's the one that comes up the most.

    (Edited to reformat, as was suggested.)
  • Q7: How do you get the little picture next to your name?

    A7: That's an icon, and here's how to get one:

    First, you need your picture. Make it as small as possible -- the forum software automatically crops and centers your image to 32x32 pixels, which is to say that if your picture's too big, your icon will be a little square taken from the exact middle of your picture. Any graphics-editing program should be able to shrink your picture to the right size. (Specific instructions will depend, of course, on which editor you use.)

    Then you need a place to upload pictures: Flickr and Picasa are two popular and free sites. If you're using an icon that already exists somewhere online, you can just copy the address of the image; if you can't find what that address is, leave a note and someone'll try and help.

    Once you've created and uploaded your pictures, go to the Account tab in the forums and choose "Personal Information." Select the check box for "Icon" and enter the address of your picture in the text box; save and you should be all set.

    Icons are not the same as account pictures -- the latter are the images you see when you click on someone's profile. Account pictures can be a lot bigger, but other than that, the process to add them is more or less the same (choose "Account picture" instead of "Icon," of course).
  • Q8: I'm having problems getting images to work.
    A8: That's not really a question.

    Q8: I'm having problems getting images to work?
    A8: Ha ha, wiseguy. There are a couple of things that might be causing the problem, depending on what you're trying to do and what result you're getting, but the one that arises most often is that the forum software really, really wants you to put in exactly the right kind of input, and it doesn't cooperate otherwise, and yeah, it's confusing, and yeah, it's not well documented (well, read this FAQ entry and then tell me if it's still not well documented).

    I'll try and try to simplify -- you have webpages, and webpages have pictures in them. When you're trying to use an image, the forum wants you to give it the picture itself, not the webpage with the picture in it. If you're trying to pull a picture from a site like Flickr or Picasa, it's very likely that what you're looking at is the webpage, not the image itself.

    Let me put it this way: The webpage is a kind of "wrapper" -- it has some things that are meant for humans to use, such as letting us move to a different picture, or resize the picture, etc. But the forum software doesn't know how to "unwrap" it, so you've gotta do that for it. And the way you do that is, you give it the address of the picture itself -- and the way you find the address of the picture itself is slightly different, depending on what you're using.

    On a Windows machine running Mozilla Firefox, right-click on the image and choose "Copy image location."
    On a Windows machine running Internet Explorer, right-click on the image and choose "Properties." One of the pieces of data you see should be "Address (URL)". That's what you want to copy.

    Then come back to the forum and paste that address wherever you meant to use it.

    (Tip: A lot of files have an extension, that is, the last few characters of the filename tell you which kind of file it is -- for instance, ".html" is a webpage, ".doc" is a Word document, ".mp3" is a sound file. There are certain file extensions that mean "picture" -- actually, there's a pretty lengthy list, but ones you're likely to see include ".jpg", ".gif", ".png", and maybe ".bmp", and I may have skipped some common ones but that covers most of it. So if the address you're trying to use ends in ".html", it probably isn't going to work, and if it ends in ".jpg" or one of the other picture extensions, that's probably what you're looking for.)
  • How do you view private messages without having to send one first? I've only just seen that I have one from Gamith from before the JoCoLoCoShow..
  • edited May 2008
    I mean, you can go Account -> Send Private Message -> Inbox. As far as I know, there is no more direct path.

    If you go Account -> Send Private Message -> Options (or Account -> Forum Preferences), you can check the box that says "receive e-mail notification upon new private messages," though.
  • The only more direct route is to click the link Lex provides above, which takes you straight to the Inbox.
  • You mean it's been adressed? I feel such a fool.
  • It has, in FAQ #4 (and Lex's follow-up).
  • BryBry
    edited June 2008
    Q9: I'd like to make a playlist of JoCo songs. Any suggestions for songs?
    A9: Sure! (I'm indebted to Colleenky for hunting out most of these links.)
    • First off, there's JoCo's official Listening Suggestions, with a selection of 24 songs divided into 6 groups, mostly by mood (funny, sad, geeky, etc.) Not really a playlist, but a good starting place for thinking about one.
    • In the "JoCo primer CD?" thread, Encubed drafted a playlist for introducing his friends to JoCo's music, and the forum members gave a lot of feedback.
    • Not two months later, the same question was raised in the "What would you include on your "Beginners Guide To JoCo" CD?" thread, with bonus footage of your forum admin trying to act all forum adminny.
    • There's the "Favorite Songs List" (which I still encourage everyone to participate in); it's a great resource for discovering underappreciated songs. It's very dangerous to read it while putting together a playlist, because you'll find yourself unable to exclude any songs, but even if you don't, it's a pretty good playlist on its own.
    • Not much commentary, but plenty of suggested playlists at the "Your Personal Favorite JoCo Mixtape" thread.
    • Encubed (again), in a fit of Coultonmania brought about by driving five hours and across a national border to see a JoCo concert, compiled the "
      JoCo Concert Stats 2008", a list of all the songs he's known to have played in concert, with frequencies, to give you an idea which songs are most popular.
    • Similarly, check out the Shows pages at JoCopedia, the Jonathan Coulton wiki, particularly the shows with full setlists -- setting up a setlist isn't quite the same as a playlist, but the idea's very similar.
  • OK I got a question and I can't seem to find it anywhere, I've seen people quoting each other, and I have /tried/ to make the blockquote button work but for the life of me it doesn't. So whats the trick?

    (Offtopic but I've seriously never had this much trouble using a forum and I am very very familiar with forums and have been for many a year now.)
Sign In or Register to comment.