1. Are you Bungie Studios?
  2. What are some general guidelines for proper behavior in this forum?
  3. Do I need to register in order to post here?
  4. You said something about searching. How do I search to find items?
  5. Why are there multiple areas setup for searching, and what does that mean?
  6. What does the "Search the HBO News Archives" do?
  7. What does the "Search the Halo Updates DB" do?
  8. What does the term *NM* mean?
  9. What does the term *SP* mean?
  10. Why do some threads say "LOCKED" in front of them? Is that good?
  11. What do you mean by "banter or challenges"?
  12. Hey! There was a post I saw, but it's gone now! What happened?
  13. When would an Admin delete a forum thread?
  14. Banned? No way. What would you have to do to get banned around here? What kind of a "ban" is it?
  15. So, is there a more-or-less comprehensive list of things NOT tolerated around here?
  16. What is considered "off-topic"?
  17. Who do I contact if HBO is down?
  18. Who is the management here? What does it cost to run? What do you mean this is free?
  19. What type of software/hardware is used for this forum?
  20. Why use this software? Can't you switch to something like UBB, or vBulletin?
  21. When configuring my forum viewing preferences through "Set Preferences", what do I get?
  22. What can I do with the "View Profiles" section?
  23. How can I remove my login cookie from a machine I'm sharing with others?
  24. Were there counters here?
  25. Were there rankings here?
  26. How do I post an image with my post?
  27. If KP says he's going to stab me in the face, is he serious?
   
 
1. Q: Are you Bungie Studios?
  A: We are NOT Bungie Studios! Bungie Studios are bungie.net
Halo Bungie Studios, 1999-2006
Intellectual halo.bungie.org, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003,2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

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2. Q: What are some general guidelines for proper behavior in this forum?
  A: Behave in a considerate manner, regardless of the behavior of others. Read for a while before your first post, to try and get a feel for the general tenor of the community. Try to keep the discussion about Halo or Bungie Studios. Try not to post off-topic material too much. Don't start fights. Don't contribute to threads that look like bad news. Don't ever, EVER respond to trolls. Search the news and/or forum archives if you have a question and you might find your answer all by yourself! :-) If you don't find your answer, ask politely (or at least civilly) in the forum.

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3. Q: Do I need to register in order to post here?
  A: In a sense, yes. You need to create a profile so that only you can post under your name. Profiles used to be optional informational files about you - they're required now, an unfortunate byproduct of spam. You have to create one to post, but you don't have to put any info in it. (Many people create a profile simply to make their username exclusive to them.) Profiles are useful for several things: as mentioned before, if you have a profile only you can use your username. You can put professional or interesting information about yourself in your profile, so others can find out about you if they want. Or, you can leave it blank if you wish to remain mysterious. In the Edit Your Profile section, you can change your password, add or remove an email address associated with the profile, and change the content of the profile itself (aside from the post count and the date of last posting).

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4. Q: You said something about searching. How do I search to find items?
  A: At the top of this forum, above the blue and grey stripes of individual posts or the grey stripe denoting the Message Index title, there's a section entitled 'Search Older Posts On This Forum'. Each link brings you to a search form covering 25-40,000 posts, stored chronologically. Pick the archive you want to search, and you'll find you can search by date, or by specific search terms, or by poster. You can also combine several of these parameters to narrow down your search.

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5. Q: Why are there multiple areas setup for searching, and what does that mean?
  A: This forum is perl-based. Posts are stored as individual textfiles, instead of in a database. (This may change at some point in the not-so-distant future... but for now, this is how it is.) There are databased indexes with keywords, and postcounts, and other such info, so certain functions are faster than if EVERYTHING were file-based... but the bottom line is, when the forum gets above 30-40,000 posts, performance degrades significantly. When this happens (sometimes at a lower figure, if it's necessary), the forum is 'archived' - all the posts are moved off into a read-only archive. Searching is still possible, but the postcount of the archive becomes static; nothing changes. This keeps the current forum (where folks are posting) vibrant, without removing the ability to search older posts. The problem is, because of the age of this site, and the popularity of the forum, there have to be a large number of archives - more than 250,000 posts have been made since we opened our doors. We're still working on a system whereby you can search ALL older archives with a single search form... but we're not there yet. For now, if you want to look for specific things, you need to check all the individual archives. They're broken up by major events in the Halo world. Specifically:
  • pre-MS: Before Microsoft purchased Bungie. 26 May 1999 - 18 June 2000
  • pre-E32k1: Before E3 2001. 19 June 2000 - 15 May 2001
  • pre-launch: Before Halo was released. 16 May 2001 - 14 November 2001
  • pre-eu launch: Before Halo was released in the European Union. 15 November 2001 - 13 March 2002
  • pre-halo 2 announcement: Before Halo 2 was announced. 14 March 2002 - 7 August 2002
  • pre-XBL: Before Xbox Live was live. 8 August 2002 - 14 November 2002
  • pre-Skav: Before a visit to forum regular Skavenger7. 15 November 2002 - 14 February 2003
  • pre-E32k3: Before E3 2003. 15 February 2003 - 11 May 2003

While it's true that a visit from Louis Wu to a forum regular doesn't normally make the list of 'major events of the Halo world', in this particular case, the forum NEEDED archiving. Total number of posts were over 35,000, seriously impacting the performance of the server... and no major Halo event was in sight. Think of it as a tip o' the hat to a funny guy.

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6. Q: What does the "Search the HBO News Archives" do?
  A: Every news post made on the main HBO site since we opened our doors in mid-1999 is available for searching. If you find some cool Halo tidbit, and you want to post it on the forum to share with the world, typing a couple of keywords or a phrase into the news archive search box is a good way of ensuring that your news is, in fact, news.

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7. Q: What does the "Search the Halo Updates DB" do?
  A: From October 6, 2000 through October 5, 2001 (a month before Halo was released for the Xbox), Matt Soell posted a weekly status update on the development of the game. Tidbits he supplied ranged from straightforward (where the team was in terms of model development) to subtle (like this one to downright funny (like this one). The section is a veritable fount of intriguing information about the development of the game, as well as a nice record of when certain Bungie employees began working for Bungie.

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8. Q: What does the term *NM* mean?
  A: When a topic is posted without anything but spaces or blanks in the body of the message, a *NM* is automatically added to the end of the subject. This means: NO MESSAGE (so you don't have to click and read the body)

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9. Q: What does the term *SP* mean?
  A: Spoilers. When someone is posting spoilers regarding a book, film, or game -- this should be included (It's not automatic, like the *NM*, so you have to do it yourself). It is a warning to someone regarding the included comments. It is a nice-to-do thing. We like nice-to-do things. :-)

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10. Q: Why do some threads say "LOCKED" in front of them? Is that good?
  A: Not really. It means that the thread was heading in a bad direction, or that it was irrelevant to Halo, but might have had something of merit in it that would otherwise keep it from being deleted. If a thread becomes locked, you will not be able to reply to it. Sometimes a thread is locked as a way of showing what NOT to do on the forum. Specific examples might be:
  • Subjects which have already been discussed numerous times (please Search first)
  • Flames directed towards other users (not banter or challenges) (possibly with a temporary ban)
  • Anything not relating to the original subject of the topic (although General Chat is rather flexible)

Something to remember: This forum is not a democracy. Your right to free speech is not an absolute here. Your ability to post here is a privilege, and if an admin decides that your comments are inappropriate, that decision is final.

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11. Q: What do you mean by "banter or challenges"?
  A: We're not an entirely humorless bunch. We like to kid around. Sometimes, to the uninitiated, it might seem like people are arguing needlessly or attacking each other verbally. Usually, this is just good-natured banter. If you're not sure, try to give the benefit of the doubt and wait to see if it becomes clear. If it's really a negative thread, the chances are good that one of the Admins will see it and take the appropriate action.

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12. Q: Hey! There was a post I saw, but it's gone now! What happened?
  A: One of two things happened. It either moved itself or it was deleted. Posts can sometimes "move" around, depending on how your preferences are set. If a thread is a couple of days old it is usually near the bottom of the index. If someone replies to that thread, however, their reply might show up at the top of the index, while the rest of that thread has actually moved off down at the bottom. Make sense? ;-) If, however, the post or thread was deleted, that's something entirely different. If it was deleted, it's because one or more of the Admins decided that it had no place here. It's possible that the person who wrote the offensive material was banned also.

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13. Q: When would an Admin delete a forum thread?
  A: Well, for a number of reasons. Sometimes it's a matter of noticing that a thread has degraded and has become "unsalvageable." There are also a couple of definite things that will be removed:
  1. Images linked from other sites without their permission (simply giving a URL is much more polite)
  2. Any derogatory comments based on age, gender, race, ethnicity or nationality (which will probably be met with a swift IP BAN)
  3. SPAM. Do not post spam. Spam includes advertisements, content deemed inappropriate or illegal, and flooding of the boards; (Spammers will receive a swift kick in the ass, as well as a lengthy ban.)
  4. 'Forbidden content' - articles in their entirety reposted from pay-for-content sites, links to movies Bungie has asked that we NOT distribute, that sort of thing
  5. Pornography

Occasionally, an admin will simply remove the offensive material from a post, but leave the rest of the post intact. If this happens, an administrative explanation will always be included; your post will never be modified by an admin without a warning that this has been done.

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14. Q: Banned? No way. What would you have to do to get banned around here? What kind of a "ban" is it?
  A: The easiest way to get banned (aside from the above mentioned things) is to impersonate another forum-goer. However, excessive spamming, or continual offensive posts, or a disregard of the requests of admins or other forum-goers can also get you banned. Banning is IP-based; almost anyone who WANTS to circumvent this CAN. Nobody here has any illusion that IP-based banning will force anyone out permanently. It's designed, however, to make posting a bit harder, and maybe to make you think about what it is that you're trying to get from this forum. If posting is a hassle, and the posts you DO make get deleted... what's the point of coming back?

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15. Q: So, is there a more-or-less comprehensive list of things NOT tolerated around here?
  A:
  1. Illegal Postings: Postings that are illegal, such as Child Pornography, drug dealing or other illegal activities, images or information are not allowed. You accept full responsibility for what you post as we cannot be held liable for the activities of others on our sites.
  2. Duplicate/Repetitive Postings: Duplicate postings with identical or similar text are not allowed. Click only ONCE on the submit button, and your posting will appear. A new page will load showing your posting. This is your confirmation that it has been posted! Do not resubmit a posting that has been verified!!! Duplicate postings will often be removed.
  3. Multiple Personalities: Although we allow you to register multiple personalities, you should not use more than one personality in a single thread. (Identity spoofing - pretending to be someone else on the forum - is actually one of the few sure-fire ways of getting banned. Don't do it.)
  4. Flaming/Trolling: Flames are posts intended to insult and provoke. Posters who speak incessantly and/or rabidly on some relatively uninteresting subject or with a patently ridiculous attitude will be banned. Repeated posts directed with hostility at a particular person or group of people or their beliefs will be cause for banning. Any individual who chronically trolls, who regularly posts arguments, flames or personal attacks for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion will be banned. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that they have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to utter flame bait.
  5. Obscene/Violent postings: Unless these contribute something useful to the discussions, they will be deleted.
  6. Off Topic Postings: Often people post remarks that have nothing to do with the subject of the forum. Off-topic posts are tolerated here... but excessive off-topic posting will be deleted at the discretion of the Admins.
  7. Spamming: Those who come here and post numerous links to other commercial websites, forums, chatrooms or communities, without actually contributing any content to this website will be banned without notice. It's fine to post an occasional interesting link to another website, in the context of a thread's subject, but to only do that or to do it repeatedly is not allowed. If you have your own website, you can put the URL in your profile and a link will be posted to your site in every post you make so there is no reason to add it to your posts or signature.

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16. Q: What is considered "off-topic"?
  A: Remarks that have nothing to do with the subject of the forum. We are pretty relaxed about this for one or two. If you make it a habit, we will lock them and remind you that banning is an option. Additionally, posting personal messages to one or two people within the forum is a surefire way to get Admin-bombed. This is not your personal communications device -- use email.

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17. Q: Who do I contact if HBO is down?
  A: Almost certainly, the folks who need to know this know it before you do. However, if you absolutely must tell SOMEONE, send mail to halo@bungie.org. We'll do our best to get back to you with an update. (Of course, if we're back up, you probably won't hear from us...)

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18. Q: Who is the management here? What does it cost to run? What do you mean this is free?
  A: There are a number of people with admin privileges here... but management, by and large, is one guy. Louis Wu owns the server this forum runs on, he pays the bandwidth costs associated with it (and with the main HBO site), he takes care of the problems that crop up. This site is free to users; there are no donations asked for, there are no fees to pay, there are no ads to look at. Bungie.org was conceived of as a place for fans of Bungie games to be able to congregate and enjoy each others' company without having to deal with ads, or fees... and it will stay that way. Likely, if the day ever comes when money becomes an issue, the doors will close before we'll accept advertising or enforce a fee structure; we're that adamant about these things. The cost of running Bungie.org varies by year, and is a bit nebulous... but I've said before that I could buy a mid-sized car every year for what b.org eats, and that's not false.

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19. Q: What type of software/hardware is used for this forum?
  A: The forum uses WebBBS, a perl-based script running under Apache2 on a unix box running FreeBSD.

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20. Q: Why use this software? Can't you switch to UBB, or vBulletin?
  A: Sure, we could... but we won't. We (the folks behind Bungie.org, and more specifically the admins of HBO) believe that the threaded nature of WebBBS better complements the discussion type found here than the flat-style boards like UBB, iKonBoard, and vBulletin. Similarly, the relatively uncluttered interface (devoid of smileys, huge .signatures, and tons of graphic icons depicting various functions) helps the content drive the community. Bottom line: we like it. If you feel the index is too big, use the Preferences link to modify what you see, and how you see it; you can collapse threads so that you only see the beginning post (though all will be visible once you enter the thread), you can use the Guestbook-style options to come closer to the flat-style boards you miss. But you can't get us to switch; we like WebBBS.

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21. Q: When configuring my forum viewing preferences through "Set Preferences", what do I get?
  A: You can change how many days' worth of posts show up when you load the index, you can change the font-size you see, and you can change how the main index is organized. If you're more comfortable with the flat UBB-style forums that some other gamesites use, you might try experimenting with the Guestbook-style listings.

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22. Q: What can I do with the "View Profiles" section?
  A: Some people use profiles to provide information about themselves; where they live, or what their Xbox Live gamertag is, or maybe just something they want people to have access to. Profiles also keep track of how many posts someone has made on the currently active forum, and when the last post was. Profiles are never deleted - but if the forum gets archived for speed reasons, and someone hasn't made a post since that archive date, their profile will not show up on the 'View Profiles' page. It's still there - just waiting for another post.

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23. Q: How can I remove my login cookie from a machine I'm sharing with others?
  A: When you're done with a session:
  1. Type a random string into the password field.
  2. Hit 'preview message' (or even 'post message' - it won't get posted, because the password is wrong.)
  3. You'll get a note about how the password is wrong.
  4. Close the window.

Your name will still be in the cookie, but the password won't work until you change it back to whatever your REAL password is.

Make sure you do this each time, and you should be fine. :)

(source: HBO Forum)

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24. Q: Were there counters here?
  A: Yes. They were useful to some people who used them to determine what posts were popular; if you had limited reading time for the forum, keeping up on the most popular threads was a decent way of skimming. However, they were also a temptation to those who wanted to inflate their own importance; some people would constantly refresh a post they'd made in order to elevate the post count. In extreme cases, this could crash the server. (It did crash the server in the case that led to the removal of this feature.)

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25. Q: Were there rankings here?
  A: Well, there was a page showing the 'Top 10 Posters' - but ranking was by quantity, not quality. Many people tried to get on the list, mistaking a large post count for a valuable collection of information... the feature was removed to remind people that it's quality that matters, not how many times you can press the 'submit post' button.

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26. Q: How do I post an image with my post?
  A: Some boards allow you to upload images to their server for displaying with your post. We've made the decision that our bandwidth isn't great enough to offer that service indiscriminately. Therefore, you need to find your own host for pictures. Except in special cases, you will NOT be able to link to a picture on your own computer (the special cases all involve having server software running on your home machine, and if you had that, you wouldn't be asking this question at all.) Hence, you need to find an outside host. Many people get some free webspace with their internet connection - for example, AOL gives you 10 mb or so of space that you can use on their servers. Comcast (a cable internet provider) does the same. Check with your provider to see if you've already got this service - it's the easiest way to put up small files. If that doesn't work out, there are several forum regulars who are usually willing to host pictures, if you ask nicely - put up a post on the forum, soliciting help, and see what you get. You can also go with a free host, like Villagephotos.com or Geocities - but be aware that many of these hosts aren't happy when images on their servers are posted elsewhere; they don't get the chance to show people their banners, so they don't make any money. In a lot of (but by no means all) cases, if the picture is deemed interesting to all, we'll grab a copy and make it local - place it on our servers here. This will eliminate your bandwidth drain altogether, and ensure that the pic is visible in the future. Please do not ask us in advance to do this, however - if you're not willing to go to the small effort to secure hosting for yourself, we're not interested in helping you out. (And often, our judgement about whether a picture should be made local or not is dependent on forum reaction - so asking ahead of time isn't useful.) Once you've secured hosting for the picture, and uploaded it, you can use the HTML guidelines written up by forum visitor *Ar-Isildur to actually ADD it to the post.

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27. Q: If KP says he's going to stab me in the face, is he serious?
  A: No.

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