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Du choc des idées  jaillit la lumière. ( Some famous dead Frenchman )

Read me first 

     Orientation boot camp

Enter Forum

   What is a discussion group
    What should we discuss ?
    What language to use ?







Newsgroups or discussion groups have been around well before your kids have even heard of the Internet. The mother of all newsgroups services is the Usenet. You can access it with your internet program, Explorer or Netscape, It is a service separate from the Web and your e-mail service. ( To give you an idea Usenet is served to you by news servers, your e-mail by mail servers and your w.w.web websites by web servers ). Nowadays it has thousands of forums, each dedicated to one topic. Topics range from French poetry to salt water pet fish to freeing Tibet to roller blades.
Today, more and more websites offer their own discussion groups, modeled after the Usenet, but focused on the site's theme. They are software-based, are set up within the websites and so are part of the w.w.web, not Usenet. Services such as Yahoo, MSN and many others offer to establish a newsgroup for anybody who wishes to start one, for "free". To reach the newsgroup you have to go through them. They are called portals and make money, billions of it, by exposing you to advertisement and directing
advertisers to you. Your info and habits are monitored and used or sold for money you can't imagine. Recently one such web company sold all the communities that created themselves on its forums and their info for $ 200 M ! ( Microtimes Nov 2000). Not that it's all bad for you, just the facts of life.
This board is also a web-based discussion board, is a part of this web site and this website alone. In fact it is contained on the same server as the site. If the site goes down the group also goes offline. ( Usenet, on the other hand, being a part of the Internet can never be interrupted. )
People use newsgroups to talk, voice their opinions, exchange ideas and points of views, ask and answer each other's questions about hobbies, sometimes to find long-lost friends or matching blood types... all within that strange place called cyberspace. They slowly build up cyberspace communities, communities that transcend space and boundaries. AfarOnline will be such a community. Hopefully.

        Enter Forum                Glossary                                                                       Back to top   

Newsgroup = discussion group = Forum with a capital F ( note that the news in newsgroup has nothing to do with news, as in newspaper. It's just a name given long ago by the inventors of the Internet.) Newsgroups only exist in cyberspace.
Discussion board: the actual place in cyberspace where the newsgroup meets.
Moderator: a member of a forum designated to facilitate and monitor discussions.
forum: a section of the board where discussions about a particular category of topics are contained.
Subject: see standard dictionary. 
Topic: a subject. Same as above.
Reply: to reply, verb. To write something pertaining to a posted topic. As opposed to starting a new subject.
Thread: A starting topic post and the ensuing reply or the chain of replies constitutes a thread. Board software have different approaches to displaying threads. In this board, you  will find threads when you click on the topic. The first post is the post that started the thread, the newest reply is at the bottom. You'll get a hang of it by visiting the topics.
Post: a post, noun. Anything written by a member that is put on the board.
To post: to write an opinion, rebuttal, question, answer ... to be put on the board.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions, netspeak for questions & answers. Actual answers to questions that have often come up or  that are anticipated, for economy of time and bandwidth.
Sysop: system operator, the person who sets up the board and administers it technically. Also referred to as the administrator.The sysop sets up forums and designates moderators.

   Etiquette                                                                       Back to top  
- Keep an open mind, allow others to make their point. The code of conduct is the same as if we were meeting face to face in a civilized venue, or conferencing over the phone.
- Watch the forum for some time to see what the current discussions are about. Start a new topic only if nobody has addressed it yet.
- Post in the appropriate forum.
- Do not use capitals indiscriminately. Using capiltalized words is perceived as SHOUTING accross the forum. Use bold or italics instead. This board accepts HTML tags, please learn from the FAQ.
-Use the testing forum to try the features of the board and experience how it works, do not try your hands in the real forums.
        Enter Forum               Read before you post                                                   Back to top


Read before you post. Go around the forum to see if anybody is talking about a subject that interests you, or any subject you have an opinion about. Read the post. Then you can reply to that post by clicking on Reply ( as opposed to starting a new suject - or topic.) If nobody is talking about your particular topic you can start a conversation about it by starting a new topic ( click on New topic ). 

   What should we discuss about                                     Back to top

Everything and nothing. The purpose is to keep human relation and exchange alive. It's not about ego, not about how much you know. It's about voicing your opinions and listening to others', arguing  and accepting, learning and teaching. It's about being a friend, giving people and their point of views respect, making peace but sticking to one's own convictions. The purpose is just plain old interesting conversation.

    Moderators                                                                  Back to top

A moderator has to be a member of the group first. The sysop can then set that member to be a moderator. Moderators have certain privileges that regular members don't. They can edit, even delete members' posts if they are against the forum policies. Moderators can do it from their home or from wherever they can access the Web. Moderators' duties are to monitor the forum and enforce its policies, to keep in contact and collaborate with the sysop. They are chosen because of their volunteer spirit above all, not because they are morally or intellectually superior. They are not responsible for the opinions of other members or the gentlemen's' differences and disputes in their forums. They should be active in discussions, even bring up topics to elicit conversation and discourse, in other words to keep the board alive. On the other hand, they don't need to be involved in all discussions.

   Membership                                                                Back to top

Membership is nominal. Registering doesn't require a lot of info from you. It just gives a human face to a name or code name. It is not required to browse the board and see the discussions going on. It is only required when you post topics or replies. For the purely technical side of membership and other procedures, see the FAQ when you access the board.

   What language should I use                                        Back to top
There is no language of choice. All of us should already write fair English as well as French. Vietnamese can be typed on a QWERTY keyboard with reasonable  clarity. Just put make-up accents like ~ ` ' . ? ^ where most needed. All that people need is to read what you have to say, not classic litterature.  
        Enter Forum               About this discussion board                                         Back to top
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Copyright AfarOnline 2000

The software (freeware) to set up this board comes from the great people at Snitz Forum Communications (Snitz.com). We would like to extend our sincere thanks to them and commend them for their generosity and the high quality of their product.