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FEATURES: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please read this before posting on our site

It will hopefully answer all the questions you have about B3ta and help you find your way around the messageboards.



About B3ta:

Newsletter

Messageboards

Making and Posting Pictures

NSFW

Challenges

Question of the Week

Other stuff



About B3ta:

B3ta is all about celebrating the best stuff on the internet. We send out a free, weekly newsletter stuffed with the finest links the internet has to offer and we also have messageboards where anybody can show off their creative skills.

Who founded B3ta?

B3ta was founded by Rob Manuel, Denise Wilton and Cal Henderson. Click each name to see our personal websites.

So who does which bit then?

There is a lot of crossover, but generally Rob does the editorial stuff like newsletters, quizzes and flash things. Denise is the designer. She makes the site look pretty and looks after the messageboard. And Cal? He coded the foundations of the site you see today. robtoo and cr3 now work on the backend, new features, security and maintenence.

Can I employ B3ta to make my website/viral?

Rob, Denise and Cal regularly take on freelance projects, sometimes as a team and sometimes individually - you can contact them through their personal websites. However, B3ta itself is not an agency and cannot put its name to your commercial product.


Newsletter

The B3ta newsletter is sent out every Friday and has the best internet links we have seen that week. It currently has nearly 80000 subscribers and is a great way to get your work seen - if the Magic Donkey likes it!

How do I subscribe to the B3ta newsletter?

Send a blank email to b3ta-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or use the little form at the top right of this page.

How do I unsubscribe from the newsletter?

Send a blank email to b3ta-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

I have made/seen something really cool, how do I get it in the newsletter?

You should send us a link using this form: www.b3ta.com/mailus/

Even if you have already posted your project on the messagebord, you must also send it to us via the form. We can't possibly monitor the board 24 hours a day and we will more than likely miss your work of genius.

We need all the links in one place for ease of showing to the Magic Donkey, so please take Obi Wan's advice and use the form Luke.

Who is the Magic Donkey?

His job is to look at all the stuff sent in for the newsletter and nod if he likes an item. Contrary to popular belief he doesn't handle the messageboard approvals and on no account should be thanked for adding images to the front page.


Messageboards

The b3ta messageboards are where you can show off your creative skills. There are currently three messageboards, the main board for all your projects, such as animations, photoshopping and images, the talk board where you can chat, and links board where you can post your websites, cool links or funny videos.

I have just registered for the board, but it won't let me post. Why not?

Due to the increasing popularity of the board, we introduced Newbie Tuesday. This means you can register any time of the week, but you can only start posting the following Tuesday. We would like you to spend a couple of days watching the board and seeing how it works before you jump in. In the meantime you could always read the older newsletters - there is lots of fun stuff in there to keep you busy.

You can also read the rest of this FAQ, so you will be clued up when you start posting.


Hooray - I am able to post now. What should I do?

You can post pretty much anything you like on b3ta, but we love to see your original pictures and projects. As a general guide:

Do: Don't: I have a little red L next to my name... what's all that about?

That is your L plate, just like drivers in the UK have before they pass their driving test. It just lets everybody else know you are new and that you may need a bit of help fitting in at the start. Don't worry though, it will disappear after your first week.

How do I get one of them there cool icon thingies?

Simple. Send us some money. You'll get an icon and the world will fear your mighty power.

How do I post links on the board?

Easy - you just need to type or paste the web address into your message and the board will magically make it a link for you.

If you really want to type the code yourself, this is it:

When typing the address, please make sure it begins with http:// otherwise it won't work properly.

How do I post an image on the board?

If you are having trouble making or hosting your images, read the 'Making Pictures' section.

If your image is finished and on the web ready to be posted, use the code:

Can I post this great link that I found?

We are always happy to see new and cool content on the links board, but it's best to make sure we haven't seen it already by using the search feature. It can be a bit annoying when dozens of people all post a link to the same site on the same day (it does happen). The search page can always be reached from the 'search' link at the top of any messageboard.

If you have found a picture you absolutely have to share with the board, please host it on your own webspace, or post it as a link. Posting an image hosted on somebody else's web space is not a very polite thing to do and we hate it when people do it to us.

Oh... and please never try to claim somebody else's work as your own. You will almost certainly be found out and end up looking very silly if you do.

Can I post my Flash movie?

Yes - but only in playable form on the links board. Please feel free to link to it on the main board, though - and don't forget to submit it to the newsletter. We are always on the lookout for new Flash movies and games.

What other HTML tags work on the board?

Fancy, isn't it?

Wah! I messed up my post! What do I do now??

Don't worry, you can click the 'Edit' link underneath your post - to the right of your username. Please edit your broken messages rather than starting a new message. If you have Javascript enabled, you will see a live preview of your post while you write it - if not, it's a good idea to use the 'Preview' button before you actually post your message, just to make sure your images and links have worked OK.

There is somebody really annoying on the board, is it OK to be rude to them?

Absolutely not. If you are really annoyed by another boarder, you can click the 'Ignore' button under their posts and everything they post will be hidden from you (you can always un-ignore them later if you like). Please don't be horrible to other people just because they are new, or you didn't like their picture, or posted something that bothers you. If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything.

If there is somebody on the board who doesn't know what to do, you can always point them in the direction of this FAQ in a friendly way (or use the secret code).

There are moderators about to deal with people who abuse the messageboard, replying to somebody calling them a cunt isn't very constructive and will just encourage people to keep trolling.

Is it OK to post a new message on the main board without a picture?

Generally not; your thread will be better received on the talk board, where discussion is encouraged. If you have tailored your post specifically for the image board, please be considerate to others; the board only holds 15 threads at a time and it's not fair to push somebody else's hard work into the archive just so you can say, "Ha ha ha... I bought new shoes."

If you just want to talk nonsense and chat to people, then you should go to the talk board where you can gabber on about anything you like and not worry about upsetting the people who make pictures.

If you want to discuss a link, the best place to do so would be the links board.

How do I fucking swear?

While swearing is permitted on the boards, we prefer more creative forms of profanity:

Stand out from the crowd and find your own swearing style. Maybe yours will catch on.

What are the secret codes?

Currently there are no others, but we are open to suggestions if you can think of anything genuinely useful.

Why is there a talk board too?

The main board can move really fast at certain times of the day and it can be hard to just have a conversation with your friends. We set up the talk board so people have a place to talk about whatever they like and not worry about intolerant people shouting silly things like, "THREADWASTE" at them.

This doesn't mean that conversation is banned from the main board, but you might just find that the talk board moves at a slower pace and is a nicer place to chat.


What are all these crazy slang words people are using?

The messageboard has thrown up a lot of strange words over the years, some have stuck and some have since disappeared. Luckily, the clever mictoboy has made this dictionary of terms for your convenience.

What is out of bounds on B3ta?

A quick look at B3ta will show that no subject is forbidden when it comes to making jokes, but be prepared for misunderstandings if you are dealing with a controversial subject. It's probably best to get to know your audience before you make jokes about anything particularly sensitive.

It's best not to use your real names on any messageboard, and posting other people's real names when they'd rather they weren't known is a big no-no, and the same applies to any kind of private details.

Please go easy on the misogynistic "I would" type posts whenever a picture of an attractive lady is posted on the board. Not only can it get a bit tiresome, but it can be intimidating and unwelcoming for a lot of lady boarders. Besides, even if you would, she probably wouldn't.

Also, remember there is a difference between poor taste and being hateful. Please don't use b3ta as an outlet for racism, or your posts will be deleted and your account banned.

What happens if I decide to be naughty and disobey all these rules?

If people make the occasional mistake or if they unknowingly do something wrong, a friendly board moderator will edit your message and point out what you did. Anybody on the board trying to annoy and cause trouble will be banned.

How do I close and delete my B3ta account?

Go to our mail form and select "messageboard stuff" and write a message asking to be deleted. Then one of our mods will remove your account and all your posts will disappear from the site. We're sorry we don't have an automated process to handle this but writing code takes time and we tend to only get a handful of delete requests a month, hence doing it manually works for us.


Making and Posting Pictures


How do I get inspiration for my pictures?

From anywhere. It could be something you read in the paper, something you saw on TV, an idea that popped into your head when you were doing the dishes, who knows when inspiration will strike?

If you are really stuck, then try a random image search and see what you get.

Warning: These may well bring up images not suitable for the office.

All we ask is that you don't resort to tedious and unfunny bandwagon pictures. There's nothing wrong with keeping a theme going on the board, but simply changing the text on a source picture that has been used many times before gets on people's nerves. We would much rather see what the dark recesses of your imagination can produce instead.

Where can I find source images to play with?

The web is full of photos just waiting for you to play with them. The best place to start is a Google Image Search, but there are lots of photo sites out there, including:

Or if you fancy working with moving pictures:

If you have a digital camera or a scanner, why not try photoshopping your own pictures? You can be sure nobody else will have used your source pic before.

What Software Should I use?

There are literally hundreds of software packages for manipulating images and making animations, we couldn't possibly list them all, but here are some of the more common ones:

Everybody has their favourite and we could argue for days about which is the best. It's best you try out as many different packages as you can and just go with the one that feels good for you. It's the pictures that matter, not the software you use to make them.

Where can I host my pictures?

For most users, the best way to post an image is to use b3ta's built in image hosting. Simply press the "Switch to image mode" button before writing a new post. The uploader will automatically resize your images based on the current dimension and file size limits, so you don't have to.

Alternatively, it is worth considering buying some webspace to host your images there. It's not all that expensive, you get to have your own domain name and you can also make your own website with cool stuff like a gallery of the pics you've made for b3ta.

The other option is to find somebody on the web willing to host your pictures for free. there are a few options out there, including:

Angelfire, Photobucket, Geocities and Tripod are not good places to host B3ta pictures, so please try somewhere different if you already have an account with them.

OK, my image is hosted on the internet. What now?

If you used the built in uploader, the following code will be inserted automatically and shown in the live preview.

If you need to get the address if the image, it will look something like http://www.woo.com/image.jpg

PC: Mac:

You use this address to post your image on the board, using this code:

Note: If you are using a free web host that gives you a thumbnail gallery of images (like MSN) make sure you use the address of the big image and not the thumbnail.

How big can my image be?

Using the built in uploader

If you use b3ta's built in image hosting, you may upload any image up to around 400kb in file size, and the site will do any resizing work required for you. Animations are not optimisable - if they do not meet file size restrictions, they will be linked with a static image. Files larger than 400kb will be instantly rejected!

Optimising images yourself

If you wish to optimise your images yourself, as far as pixel size goes there is no real limit, but you will rarely need to make your image larger than 700 pixels wide. To be put on the frontpage, your image can be no wider than 400 pixels.

For file size, 50k has always been a good target for a still image, but anything up to 100KB is acceptable. Likewise, animated gifs should be kept as small as possible, but never exceed 400 KB. Please do your best to optimise your work where appropriate, as some users still use dialup. A good joke won't be spoiled by a slightly lower quality image.

If you really can't bear to make your image or animation smaller, a good idea would be to make a smaller version for posting on the board and you can link to the full glory of the huge version for those with a fast connection. You can use this code to do that:

If you do post something that is too big, a board moderator will make your pic a link. Please don't be offended by this, it's nothing personal. We just like to keep the board running as smoothly as possible for everybody.


How do I get my images on the front page?

The board moderators have the power to approve the best pics they see on the board. Make us laugh or make us say, "Wow!" and your picture stands a good chance of being approved.

I am really proud of my picture, is it OK if I post it again?

Please don't repost your picture as a new message. If everybody on the board decided to repost their old pictures then there would be no room left for any new stuff. If you didn't get the reaction you hoped for the first time, then don't be disheartened - it's just the nature of the board and something we have to live with.

If you really want to show people your hard work again, you could try these:

Just remember that there is limited space on the board and it's a bit rude to push somebody else's picture into the archive in order to post a picture that has already had it's chance.


NSFW

What does NSFW mean?

This means 'Not Safe for Work' or in other words it's porn. We like to keep b3ta free from any images which are, or could be mistaken as pornographic. Lots of employers take a dim view of people using their work computer to look at porn and in some places it can get you sacked on the spot.

We don't want to censor people, or make a moral judgement about what they should be looking at, we would simply ask that any pictures which could be mistaken for porn are linked with an appropriate warning for those viewing at work. Same goes for any links to sites with porny content (watch those banner ads), please give fair warning about the content.

Please don't be offended if your picture is linked by a moderator for being NSFW, it may well be very tame but we tend to err on the side of caution in these circumstances. It's nothing personal.

I'm not sure if my picture is NSFW or not, how do I tell?

Just ask yourself, "Could this be mistaken for porn?" A suggestive picture of a lady in her underwear is probably NSFW even though there is no nudity, but a badly drawn picture of a spunking cock isn't NSFW (unless there is a fetish site for badly drawn, spunking cocks that nobody told us about).

It's 10pm, surely nobody is at work now

You should always assume that people will be viewing from work, no matter the time. Not only do many people work funny shifts, but B3ta attract viewers from many timezones all over the world.

Surely if somebody is at work, they should be working and not looking at B3ta.

Lots of people are allowed to use their work internet access for personal use during lunchtime and breaks. It doesn't mean they are allowed to look at porn during these times though.

It's not fair, my picture of a woman in a bikini was linked by a mod, but I have seen much worse go uncensored.

B3ta is moderated by volunteers who aren't able to be on the board at all times of the day and night. Also, different mods may consider different things to be NSFW. We are only human and can't promise to be perfectly consistent about the stuff that gets linked and stuff that is left alone. If you get upset about this kind of thing, then you should probably leave the naked lady pictures alone and Photoshop kittens instead.


Challenges

Every week we run a Photoshop challenge based around a different theme to try and inspire the boarders to make fantastic new pictures.

When are the challenges?

A new challenge is set up every Wednesday evening and is announced via the messageboard, front page and in Friday's newsletter.

Who decides what theme to use?

Every second Wednesday around 8pm GMT, the messageboard is asked for theme ideas and a vote is taken on the best suggestions. The other weeks, the theme is decided by the mysterious Challenge Dictator. He is a dark and shadowy character and we are all too scared to disagree with him.

How do I enter my image in a challenge?

Easy! Just post a new message or reply to a message as normal. Above the "Post This Message" button is a drop down menu - you can select whichever challenge you want to enter from there.

Please note that you don't have to post a new message to enter the challenge. A reply to a previous message will show up in the challenge archive the same as a new message and will have just as much chance of winning.

I made an image ages ago that fits with this week's challenge, is it OK to repost it?

We would prefer that you made a new picture instead, that's what the image challenge is for. No reposted image has won the challenge yet.

How do I know if I have won?

The winners are announced in the newsletter.

What do I win?

Neverending respect from fellow boarders, and the next 5 seconds off work.

Who judges these things?

We ask board members to judge the challenges for us. If you post enought good stuff on the board and catch our eye, we may even ask you.


Question of the Week

Every week we set a new question and ask you to answer it with your stories and anecdotes. It was originally set up to provide material for the now finished B3ta Radio Show, but it proved so popular that we brought it back.

When are the new questions set up?

There is a new question set up every week, on a Thursday.

I liked one of the answers, what should I do?

You should click the 'I like this' link underneath the answer. When the question is closed at the end of the week, the most popular stories will be shown on the first page of the archive.

The best of these stories will also make it into the newsletter too.

Can I answer one of the old questions?

Sorry, but once the question is closed, no more answers can be added.


Other stuff

What is your cookie policy?

You can read it here. It explains what we store on your computer and why.

How do I say "b3ta?"

It rhymes with Peter.

I want to link to b3ta - have you got a graphic?

Why yes...

 

Is there a big logo I can download and play with?

Yes.

Can I download the Furtive bear?

Here's the cliches but please think twice about using them. We have seen 1000s of variations on the same themes and would much prefer you used fresh images. Try looking at todays papers or thinking of something really odd to type into google images.

Do you have a RSS/XML feed?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact we do.

Can I have a copy of the b3ta messageboard software?

Sorry, the b3ta code isn't open source. WWWThreads is a sort of similar alternative. You can get a copy here.



Credits: Mystery_Bob, David Stevenson, Rob Manuel, Hal9000, Monk3yspunkmop3d, cr3.

Pictures by: Chobb, Cthonic, Druid, Eclectech, Strawberry Dragon, Sunshine Elephant, Zak McFlimby.



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