The following topics are covered in this FAQ:
TERMS OF SERVICE
This system is restricted to users 13 years of age and older. Users who are not 18 years of age may register and use this site only with the consent of a parent or guardian who must consent to the terms of service when asked at the bottom of this page.
ALL MESSAGES ARE SOLELY THE OPINION AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THEIR AUTHOR AND MAY INCLUDE ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. YOU AGREE THAT NO REPRESENTATION BEYOND THE PERSONAL OPINION OF THE AUTHOR IS MADE BY ANY POSTING ON THIS SITE.
It is expected that you will post your messages only in a forum that reasonably corresponds with the subject matter of your message. The system maintains different "forums" or topic areas, all of which have descriptions posted on the top-level page. It is your responsibility to properly categorize your speech. Attempting to post something "over the fold" (e.g. in an area that is higher traffic simply to get it more noticed) is unacceptable.
Some forums may permit you to read them without being registered as a user. You must, however, register to be able to post messages. As such you understand and agree that any material you post here may be viewable by any person anywhere on the Internet, without limitation or registration.
You agree to keep your email address up to date and current. You understand that if the system attempts to email you for any reason and that email is returned as undeliverable that your account may be suspended or cancelled.
If there are one or more pinned topics in a given forum you are expected to have read, understand, and comply with the material therein when posting to those areas. Pinned topics (denoted with a "pin" in the subject line) are placed there by the system administrators for important information that all users are expected to adhere to.
Trolling, "flaming" and "spamming" (the repetitive posting of the same material) along with posting patterns that suggest your intent is to "drown out" other speech is expressly prohibited. Such acts may result in the no-notice restriction or cancellation of your access privileges.
Any action taken to impair the functioning of the system or damage its enjoyment by other users is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to actions such as initiating message "floods", using any robotic device or program to access the system, or intentionally exploiting "bugs" which you may discover. If you accidentally discover some operational misfeature, please report it using the link at the bottom of the top-level page.
Creating multiple accounts linked to one person (known as "sock puppets") or the sharing of access accounts is prohibited. The system enforces a one account per email address policy; using multiple email addresses to circumvent this policy is not allowed. Violations of this rule will cause all related accounts to be permanently banned.
Accounts are for your personal, exclusive use. If you are signing in from a shared computer, please do not click the "Remember Me" button on the login screen to prevent the storage of a persistent cookie. Clicking "Logout" will clear any stored cookies that may be on your system for this site at any time.
Exploitation or "mining" of the data on this system or its users is prohibited, and violators are subject to immediate and permanent bans. Serious violations may be referred to prosecution under Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, anti-spamming state and federal laws or result in a civil lawsuit being initiated. Prohibited acts explicitly include but are not limited to the posting of commercial messages without explicit permission, the "spamming" of users on this board, or the solicitation of users for any purpose via either public postings or the private email system. The use of contact information obtained from this forum, irrespective of the means later used, to solicit users is also prohibited. There may be commercial areas on this board - if there are, you agree that you must read and abide by the policies found in the "sticky" post(s) on that board, if any.
Content that offers or describes the construction or use of destructive devices, unlawfully-possessed or used firearms, illegal drugs, or any other item or act that is illegal is prohibited. Pornography in any form is not allowed on this system.
There is no such thing as anonymous speech on this forum nor any right of privacy. While the forum does not force you to use your real name, when registering, all access is logged and those records are maintained indefinitely. In addition, even if you edit or "delete" a message your original text is maintained in the system and can be retrieved. The owners of this system will comply with all lawful service of process requests and will investigate reported or suspected abuses. If the administrators have reason to suspect unlawful activity is taking place using or through this system they reserve the right to refer their suspicions to the appropriate authorities.
Abusive users - including but not limited to spammers, trolls, sock puppets, those who mispresent vested interests and others deemed disruptive by the site administration may be outed. By using the system you agree that if, in the sole opinion of the system owners, your acts constitute abuse in any form or fashion your identity may be revealed and consent to same.
The use of anonymizing proxies is strongly discouraged. This forum does not condone or support the paradigm of true "anonymous" speech; we believe that you should be willing to stand behind your words and the consequences that may flow from speaking them. While anonymizing proxies are not strictly banned per-se, many "Tor" and similar exit points are in the "blocked IP" list. Anonymous proxies and other similar "hiding" techniques have a high degree of association with abusive access patterns and the forum contains code that automatically identifies many such suspected patterns. Using such "anonymous proxies" or "proxy surfing points" to access the forum may result in your account being flagged by the software and/or associated with accounts that have been previously restricted for abusive conduct.
We do not censor "words", but you may. The use of "foul" or "profane" language is not restricted. By definition investing is an adult activity (you must be 18 or older to open an investment account under your own name.) However, the forum does have a "hide offensive words" selection in the Control Panel, and you may also place users whom you do not wish to view on "ignore". If you are offended by the use of coarse language you probably want to turn the "hide" option on, and if there are users who particularly offend you, the "ignore" function will make them "disappear." In addition, if you object to what may be "rough" images, you can shut off all image display as well from the control panel. It is strongly recommended that if you choose to use foul language that you do so without attempting to hide or obfuscate your words so that users can choose whether or not to display your original posting or have the offensive language replaced with "***".
You agree that jurisdiction in all matters related to your access and use of this forum resides in the United States, State of Florida, County of Okaloosa, and that all disputes between yourself and Tickerforum's owners, agents and assigns will be construed under and, if necessary, litigated therein.
You agree that by using this system you waive any putative or actual right to seek class-action status in any legal action related to this site or its owners and assigns and that you will bring any action related to your access, acts, privileges or otherwise only in your personal capacity.
You agree to indemnify Cuda Systems LLC against any and all fees, costs and/or judgements accruing to Cuda Systems LLC or its owners arising from or related to your actions on this site, including but not limited to reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
We expect you to respect copyrights and other intellectual property while using this system, as well as to respect the general civil legal code. Reproduction of copyrighted material without express permission is prohibited, as is defamatory, libelous, threatening or otherwise actionable speech.
The linkage of images or to any external site that violates any of these terms is prohibited in messages on this site, or in your control panel settings, will be treated as identical to actually uploading such content.
Linkage of images or other material that disrupts proper functioning and/or display will be removed. While the system attempts to detect these problems and remedy them, there is no guarantee that this functionality will be effective. The administrators will remove content that causes topic display to be malformed.
User signature blocks may not be overly intrusive or contain commercial content of any sort. The ability to attach a "user signature" to your messages is a privilege, not a right, and is intended to uniquely identify your content. It is not an advertising medium and attempts to use it as such will result in your signature block being removed or your account restricted.
Any donation you make to the system is explicitly a voluntary donation as described in the donation section of the FAQ. You agree that donating to the system does not create a fee-for-service arrangement, bailment, contractual obligation to provide services or any other duty to you under any legal theory and that donations are explicitly non-refundable.
Your access to the system, either as to specific capabilities or in total, is a privilege, not a right or a contractual obligation, and may be enhanced, modified or withdrawn by the administrators of the system at any time with or without cause. We also reserve the right to edit messages that are deemed offensive or off-topic at any time, and to move messages as we see fit, with or without notice to you. You are a guest on the system owner's property; please comport yourself accordingly.
There is a "REPORT POST" button under the user name of each posting on this system in the form of a graphical image that says "Off Topic". If you believe that any posting on the system violates these terms of service, please click this link and alert us. Using this facility will email all of the moderators of that particular forum a copy of your complaint, along with a link to the suspected posting.
You agree and understand that while we will endeavor to respond to complaints, we cannot be everywhere at once, that we cannot guarantee a response within any particular timeframe. The software design on this system does not permit the practice of prior restraint (e.g. "editorial control") As such it is entirely possible that offensive postings or materials that are in violation of these terms of service may exist on the system at any given point in time, and you consent to the potential display of same by accessing this forum.
By posting here you are granting an unlimited, royalty-free license to the system administrators and owners to use your contributions in any compilation, without limitation.
Any violation of these terms of service may result in the removal or "hiding" of the offending postings and/or suspension of your account. Serious violations may result in permanent banishment of your account or even the IP block from which you use the Internet.
The owners of the system reserve the right to interpret this document liberally and all decisions made by the administrators are final. If you believe your account has been unreasonably or unfairly restricted, you may use the "contact" link at the bottom of the top-level page to email the administrators directly.
We reserve the right to make changes to this document at any time with or without notice to you. If this document is changed you will be required to agree to it once more in order to sign into the system upon your next login attempt.
You may find a current copy of this document by using the "FAQ" link if you have forgotten what you agreed to. The changes in this text are copied over to the "FAQ" with each revision.
The following is a summary of the copyrights held by posters and the operator of the forum.
The impact of these copyrights leads to the following policies related to the use and republication of material.
Robotic spiders may archive material here. This action is under the control of Cuda Systems LLC through the configuration of its "robots" control file, which all common robotic spiders (e.g. Google, Yahoo, etc) honor. These spiders operate without sign-on privilege and as such can access material only in areas of the forum available to not-logged-in users. If you implement a robotic spider you must honor the robots control file, any META tags in the header of pages that are returned, and you may not use login credentials (yours or anyone else's) in accessing the forum's content.
GENERALIZED COPYRIGHT - A PRIMER BOTH ON AND OFF THE INTERNET
If you are posting material sourced from somewhere else (that is, not your original work) on the forum please be aware of the following:
Please note that with the exception of the compilation copyright release (which is in the "Terms of Service" above) this is not a "declaration" of a policy; it is rather a short explanation of how Copyright works in an online forum environment, and the logical (and legal) realities of Copyright in an online medium. All users should be aware of the fact that while copyright is frequently honored more in the breach than the observance in the online world this does not absolve them of their responsibilities, and that those responsibilities can include not only loss of privileges to access the forum but in some cases can lead to lawsuits and other legal enforcement actions being taken against the violators.
Note that it is the user who commits the primary act of copying when posting to an online forum or other system, in that it is by that person's hand that the machine is commanded to commit the copy to storage, and in most cases the online system's owner exercises no prior review or restraint on the machine's activities. As such primary responsibility always rests with the user for the improper action, just as an internet company in fact copies material through it's routers and caches when you go to a web page.
The above is not legal advice. If you intend to "dance close to the devil" in this regard here or elsewhere, online or not, you would be advised to seek competent legal counsel before doing so, as the penalties for willful copyright violations can be quite severe, especially if the work is registered with the Copyright Office (as essentially all movies and music are, along with some other works.)
The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) provides certain "safe harbor" provisions for online forum operators (and other forms of "communication system owners" such as telephone and cable companies) against copyright infringement performed by its users, provided that a conspicuous and readily-available "takedown notification" mechanism exists for any medium on which storage can take place at a user's command and specific procedures are followed when an allegation of a violation is made. This system complies with these requirements as the DMCA notice provision is clearly noted and available on the top-level forum page and the system's owners have registered with the Copyright Office as is required.
Please be aware, as a user of the forum, that if you choose to violate copyrights by posting someone else's material in excess of "fair use" without their permission you may be exposing yourself not only to loss of access privilege on the system but also to legal action by the owner(s) of material you post. The DMCA specifically permits the holder of a copyright to issue subpoenas to determine your identity, and the system's owners will cooperate with service of process to the fullest extent we are technically able to do so. In addition, under the Terms of Service you have agreed to indemnify the system owner(s) against any harm that may come to the site or it's owner(s) as a consequence of your actions here, including but not limited to attorneys fees and costs.
While the DMCA's "Safe Harbor" provisions are robust they do not IN ANY WAY absolve you of responsibility for your actions.
You should assume that any material you post on this system can be traced to you personally and that you can (and will) be held accountable for its posting.
In short, just because you're on the Internet does not mean that the law suddenly stops applying to you.
The forum has a "Strike" system. This works similarly to baseball - that is, three strikes and you're out.
The strike system is intended to provide you with serious and formal warnings related to your conduct that, in the opinion of the administrators, do not merit immediate and permanent removal of your access, but which as a cumulative matter may exceed administrator tolerance. In addition the strike system is intended to meet the legal requirements of the DMCA's "Safe Harbor" provision for barring repeat offenders of Copyrights from the system.
Only an administrator (not moderator) can give you a "strike", although a moderator can recommend that an administrator provide a strike, and most of the time a moderator's recommendation in this regard will likely be followed. A strike must be put on your account from and associated with an explicit item you posted to the forum; it cannot be applied to your account "at random."
The most-common causes for a "Strike" to be applied to your account are:
All "Strikes" received against your account in one calendar day (as computed by the system's time) will count for the purpose of terminating your access to the forum as if they were one strike. That is, if we receive a DMCA complaint about five of your postings in a given day, you will receive five strikes when those complaints are processed and the messages referred to are hidden. However, for purposes of computing whether your access will be terminated to the forum, all five will count as one strike.
After the third strike (as computed by this mechanism) you will be unable to sign into the forum; all access will receive an error message. This message is distinct from that you will see as a consequence of an administrative ban on your access. Strikes do not "roll off" the system with time.
Note that the "Strike" policy means that if your account receives three separate and distinct DMCA Complaints through the entirety of your tenure here your access will be terminated even if you ultimately prevail in a counterclaim, as these complaints generate significant work for the system administrators and owners irrespective of their disposition.
If your account has strikes against it they will be displayed at the top level of the forum along with other restriction messages. The specific content that caused the strike to be received may or may not be visible; if content was hidden from ordinary user viewing as a consequence of a TOS or DMCA violation, while the link will be presented in your "Strike table" you will not be able to see the actual content. Likewise, if the content was moved (e.g. "Bilged") if you do not have access to the forum area where your content was moved to then attempting to follow the link will elicit a "permission denied" response.
Strikes are generally non-appealable unless given in error. If you believe you received one or more strikes in error please send email to the system administrator using the link at the bottom of any page, and reference the strike(s) you believe were erroneously applied.
The administrator(s) reserve the right to be completely arbitrary in the provision of Strikes. As access to the forum is entirely at the discretion of the system admin stators and/or owners (see the TOS) there is no representation made that a Strike will not be applied to your account for content that the administrator(s) find offensive, even if it does not merit removal or a formal TOS violation.
The "best" (most-privileged) level is displayed and used to determine what privileges you have.
Posting limits, gallery access and other privileges may change on a highly-dynamic basis. The forum will, if it is configured to allow it, display the current set of post and other limits for users upon request from the Control Panel screen under the clickable link Classes. Please see that link for current information.
The forum contains a number of features on the top level and other pages that will help you customize it to your desires. This section will help you with some of those features.
On the top level of the forum to the right hand side is your "user
This pane contains your login ID (if you are signed on), the percentage of users who have been active in the last 30 days who have you on ignore (note that it is possible for this percentage to go over 100), your "Long Name", and your email count. If you have private messages in the system the "Read email" link will be present with the first number being the total number stored in your account, and the second being the maximum allowed. If your total stored exceeds the maximum allowed only a system administrator can send to you; all others will have their transmission refused.
The "Control Panel" is your "Grand Central" for forum features. In there you will find settings to control whether you want to be notified of new messages by the system, whether you want the profanity filter on or off, whether you want your "online" status displayed, items per page, and your preferred time zone. You will also find under the Control Panel tabs to view your donations (if you have made any) along with subscriptions (to forums and/or threads), exclusions (forums you do not want to be in the "New Posts" display) and management of your "ignored posters" list.
Note carefully that there are several options you can choose to enable or disable under the Control Panel; of particular interest to you are likely to be the Profanity Filter (defaults on) and whether you wish any moderated posts you make that are approved to generate a notification, as well as whether you wish to be notified if someone uses the "@yourlogin" mention format when replying to a message on the system. In addition you may select to suppress the social media click buttons should you prefer not to have them available.
The form supports image galleries for some classes of users. Galleries are a different class of object than an "attached" image in that they can appear anywhere in a posting. Also, the "thumbnails" stored are much larger, typically either 400 or 512 pixels wide, where the small thumbnails of inline images are usually set to 100 pixels.
In addition a gallery image is "active" - that is, if it is larger than the thumbnail it will be able to be clicked to retrieve the original copy.
Note that galleries can be organized by directory at the user level, but for the purpose of display all gallery images use an "ordinal" value, which will never be repeated.
Gallery images can be deleted and replaced at will, but any referenced image that is replaced or deleted will result in a notice in all places where it was displayed previously.
The system administrator may select which user classes have access to gallery images and may also set a configurable maximum size for all images combined for each user. Note that the system does not "charge" you for the thumbnails, even though it is storing them - only the base image itself counts in your space allocation.
Clicking the "Gallery" tab will open a new browser window with your image gallery contained in it, if you have access to this feature, so you can see and manipulate the images easily. To descend into a subdirectory, click its name. To return to the top level, click the banner bar (in blue.) Directories may contain either files, other directories, or both. Note that it is not possible to delete a folder that has anything in it - to delete a folder you must first delete all the files and subdirectories contained therein.
Your top-level directory is called "[root]" (for the root of the tree) and cannot be changed.
DEPARTING (OR "RESIGNING") FROM THE FORUM
There is no ability to "cancel" or "resign" an account on the system. This is due to the fact that your messages inherently become an interweaved part of the whole of the message base, and as such removing your login ID would cause "gaps" in message threads that would likely render some of them unintelligible.
As such the forum's database system has been specifically instructed to prohibit (via what is called "referential integrity") an attempt to remove a login ID that has posted to the forum or received a donation, even once. Not even an administrator, acting directly on the database instead of through the forum software, can remove an active login, no matter how much time has passed since your last use..
The easiest way to "resign" from the forum is to simply stop accessing it.
If you insist, however, it is possible to intentionally and permanently lock yourself out of your login and forum account. To do so go to the control panel and change your email address to something that is invalid (NOT someone else's email address, but a known-invalid address.) The system will immediately place your account in a "pending" state where you will be unable to post messages when you take this step as it will try to confirm your "new" email address that you have entered.
If you then change your password to a random string of characters you do not write down and sign off the forum, you will be permanently unable to recover your account. Since your email address is invalid, you also cannot use the "password recovery" function to obtain a link to reset your intentionally-lost password either.
Please be aware that doing the above is irrevocable, since it will be impossible for an administrator to verify, at a later date, that you in fact own the account in question. In addition due to passwords being stored as a "one way hash" it is impossible for an administrator to look up your password - even if that person has physical access to the database.
"AM I BANNED?"
In short, if you can sign into the forum, you are not banned.
There are three levels of system-wide suspensions that can be implemented against your account:
There are several other levels of access restriction that may be imposed on your account by an administrator if, in their opinion, it is warranted.
If you posted material that was off-topic for the place that you posted it you may have "earned" a timeout for posting in that particular subforum by an administrator. These can be either timed (they automatically expire) or permanent. In general for a first offense you will earn a one month timed suspension from posting in that particular area. For second or subsequent offenses the suspension is usually permanent. If you receive a message from the system that a message thread you participated in was moved, there is a chance you have earned one of these restrictions. In general the administrators will only penalize the person who causes a thread to first go "out of bounds", but for truly outrageous examples of misconduct anyone participating may earn a suspension in that area.
The forum will display on the top level page any system-wide or forum-level restrictions that are active against your account; if you have subforum-level posting restrictions the display will include a link permitting you to view them in detail.
Some forum areas may have a "Thread Ban" feature enabled. If that feature is enabled the originator of a thread can ban you from posting subsequent material to that thread only at any time. Should such a ban be placed the "reply" box will be missing and a message indicating the restriction will appear in its place. These bans are not placed by a moderator or administrator and can only be removed by the person who placed them. Note that it is not possible to "prospectively" ban someone before they post in a given thread using this feature; you must have commented in that specific thread to be able to be banned from further comments, and the posting ban is thread-specific, not having an effect in any other thread on the system. Abuse of this feature by thread starters will lead to the abuser being denied posting access to that area in the future.
It is also possible for you to run into the "rate limit"; see the above section for details. This rate limiting is always present based on user classification and, if you have been disruptive in the past, a system-wide override on posting rate may also have been imposed on your account by an administrator.
Note that access is a privilege, not a right; see the Terms of Service if you need clarification.
When signing into the system, you may set the "Remember me" checkbox. If you set this box, then a "cookie" will be stored on your computer which contains a key to your user authentication. This code will remain valid for up to one year, unless you explicitly click "Logout" or clear the cookies on your browser. If you use https to access the site, or check the box when signing in, your browser will be asked to pin this site to secure (HTTPS) access from that point onward. Support of this feature is browser-dependent.
All user information you enter other than your email address, password, and current status is visible to other users. Information on your interests, birthday and other data is voluntary and not required to access the system.
Your password and login ID are your "keys" to the system and should be guarded appropriately. You can change your password at any time from the control panel.
When registering for an account the system will email you at the address you provided with a validation URL. This special URL will be valid only one time, and is required to "unlock" your account. Until you visit that URL, your account can be signed into but most functions of the system will be disabled.
For security reasons, if you change your email address the system will temporarily lock your account and issue a new validation URL. You must visit that URL to unlock your account. If for some reason you do not receive this email, you will need to contact the admins via the link at the bottom of the top-level page to arrange to have your account manually unlocked.
You may upload a custom "avatar", or user "picture", to your account via the control panel. The image MUST be 100 pixels wide, and may not exceed 20kb in total size; the system will reject too-big files. (If the image is not 100 pixels wide, it will be resized by the software with almost-certain undesirable results.) Square 100x100 pixel images are recommended. The file must have an extension of "GIF", "JPG" or "BMP" and must be one of those three types for it to display properly. If you have an avatar uploaded, it will display under your name on all posts you make; changes to your avatar will show up on all previous and new postings immediately. You may see your current avatar and either change it or remove it entirely from the Control Panel. Inappropriate avatars or those which do damage to the display of the messages on the board will be removed by the administrator; see the TOS.
There are a handful of issues that can lead to login problems with the forum; all can be easily corrected. The most-common ones are listed here.
This forum system supports a "subscription" mechanism for all registered users. If you have selected a notification period in your user control panel, the system will begin tracking message threads you participate in automatically.
If you subscribe to message forums, then the system will cease tracking new individual messages in that forum, and will instead notify you on all message activity in that forum (whether you were active in that thread or not.) This notification will contain a link to the forum, rather than to an individual message's new content. Note that existing thread subscriptions will remain active, however, unless you manually remove them.
You may also elect to be notified when new email is sent to your personal email box.
Note that if you have selected a notification period then you will be notified only when that period has passed since the last time you were notified, and only once until and unless you sign on again. For example, if you have the "General" forum subscribed to, and someone posts with your notification period set to one hour, you will be notified within one hour of that time. However, if a second person posts, you will not receive a second notification email until and unless you log back into the forum.
If you enable subscription notification, you may wish to sign on with "Remember me" (see below), otherwise the links you are sent by email may be invalid, as many functions will not operate unless you are signed in. If you do not wish to have a persistent session on your computer (e.g. you are using a shared computer), you can avoid this problem by opening the forum before clicking the links in your email; once your browser is open and you are signed on, your session ID will remain valid until it is closed. Note that following emailed links without being signed on, either individually or via the "Remember Me" facility, may either result in the display of error messages (e.g. if you attempt to access your email) or non-intuitive output (e.g. the system will take you to the new posts on threads you are following, but has no way to know where to place you if you are not signed in.)
You may disable notification emails entirely by turning off the period in your user control panel; this will not affect existing subscriptions but will prevent any new ones from being entered. You may also go to the "Subscriptions" tab off the control panel and add subscriptions to forums (or your email), or remove any existing subscriptions.
For a new user, notifications and subscriptions default to immediate.
Note that the notification system will only send you notifies when you are not actively using the forum. That is, if you are reading messages and browsing forum content and someone posts a reply to a message for which you have a subscription, or you receive an email, you will not be notified as the forum presumes that if you are actively on the site you do not need to be emailed.
All notifies that are intended for you at any given time will be delivered via one email message complete with links back to each individual item you requested to be informed of.
The forum software supports an embedded "email" system. If you have private messages, you can access them from the link which will appear on the top level forum page. Email may be sent from a top-level link as well, by typing in the user's name (on the forum system), the subject, and the message.
If you read a message from a given user, and click on their user ID at the left of their post, you will see their published user information. There is an active link on the button bar to initiate an email to that user on the user details display page.
You read a message by clicking on the top level link displayed. Once you have displayed a message, you may delete it or reply to it directly from the display page - either action will result in you being returned to the email "folder".
From the top level, the system permits "marking" of multiple messages. The selector at the bottom gives you the option of either deleting all marked messages, or emailing them. If you select "email", then those messages will be sent to your registered email address in the system's files for "offline" archiving.
Note that while "email" is stored in such a fashion that it should only be available to your login id while you are signed in, there is no means of guaranteeing that email will not be intercepted. As such if you're concerned about the possibility of interception either do not use the email function or "forward" your email to your own computer system and remove it from the forum.
The AKCS software supports syndicated feeds, otherwise known as "RSS". Internal support is provided for RSS V2.0, including authentication, such as it is. Due to the fact that not all forums are visible to non-logged-in users there are special restrictions on RSS and its interaction with the forum software, which can lead to "surprises" for users. RSS 1.0 and other syndication formats (e.g. ATOM) are not supported.
RSS uses HTTP (the normal web protocol) to actually transmit its data. The user's client software "polls" for new information on intervals; the returned data is an "excerpt" or "lead" of the item in question, along with a link back to the actual item on the forum. The length of that "lead item" is under administrative control, and is returned as an XML page, not HTML.
RSS normally does not pass any login credentials (e.g. cookies) because RSS readers are not necessary full web browsers. In addition, because RSS is a "polled" technology, there is no provision for the sort of "redirected" login that a regular web login can display. This is a problem, because some areas of the forum require that you be signed on. When you go to the RSS area for feeds (the little icon that looks like this: ) you will see the list of forums accessible to your user classification. If you are signed out, only public areas available to users who are not logged in will appear.
When the system attempts to retrieve from an area that requires authentication if your RSS reader has passed an authentication cookie (that is, it is internally using some web browser functionality, and thus "knows you" from a previous access where you told the forum to "Remember you") and that particular authentication token is valid for the area you are trying to access then it will be able to obtain articles in that area. If not, and your RSS reader supports it, you will get a browser login, which is a popup that comes from your RSS reader. (Readers that cannot support authentication will receive an error message.) In this case you will have to supply your login ID and password.
If your RSS reader is reasonably competent it will "store" and either properly handle the cookie that will be passed back after this, OR it will retain the authentication data and re-present that. Either case is fine, but a login "cookie" (that is, from clicking "Remember Me") will always take precedence.
Please bring problems with RSS to the attention of the system administrator, along with the exact software you are using. Unfortunately due to the lack of standardization for authentication in RSS readers, there is no guarantee that consistent and reliable access to "donor only" areas will be available via the RSS system.
This system may, under certain circumstances display advertising produced and delivered by third parties. This third party content may come from multiple sources and is typically not stored on or served by our equipment - rather, the advertiser provides us with a "snippet" of HTML that requests your browser to download the advertisement from their computers when you view a particular page. We may be paid for impressions, clicks, or other behavior as our agreement with the advertiser directs. Our ability to police and restrict the activities of advertisers is limited, and content that is delivered from other than our site and machines (including but not limited to "in-lined" advertising) may contain tracking cookies and similar devices that are able to discern your behavior online.
Third Party networks (including but not limited to Google Adsense) with which we have a relationship for the delivery of advertising will typically serve one or more "cookies" to your device that allows them to optimize advertising. These cookies are not served by Cuda Systems LLC and are typically opaque to us; we do not generate, monitor or store such cookies ourselves nor do we control their use of same.
The system will store a cookie on your machine in the form of a randomly-generated identifier that is used by the database system as a login "key". This number can only be linked to your user identification on this system - it is not possible to discern your password or other identifying information from the cookie that is on your machine. However, disclosure of this cookie (by someone who inspects your computer or intercepts it in use on the Internet) could allow a third party to impersonate you on the forum, and if used in that fashion would give that person access to the visible parts of your control panel profile.
If you check "Remember me" when you sign on, that cookie will be stored on your machine across uses, and will remain valid for a maximum period of one year. You may remove it at any time by clicking "Logout". If you do not click "Remember me", then the cookie will be set to expire automatically when you close your browser session, but will remain active in the system's database. Even if you never log out and have selected "Remember Me", once a year the cookie will expire and you will have to sign back on.
You may sign in from more than one computer if you wish; however, if you click "Logout" or change your system password you will cause ALL sessions for your login ID to become invalid, irrespective of what computer they may be on. This is an intentional security measure and allows you to "revoke" access from any authenticated devices from any signed on session.
In addition the system will send a unique identifier to your machine that is not connected to your sign-on credentials, and will be sent even if you are not logged in. This cookie is used for statistical purposes (e.g. how many unique computers access the forum) and, if you are signed in, can be correlated with your login ID.
Note that if you browse through the various areas on the system that include Blogs, the domain name you are on may change. The system implements "single-sign-on" and will transparently forward your authenticated status between these domains. Please be aware, however, that the actual status is temporary - that is, if you check "Remember Me" on the forum that is not carried through as a persistent state on any blog in the system, which means if you go there directly (before accessing it via the forum) you will not be signed in. To have persistence apply you must specifically authorize it in each domain where you want it to be present.
Be aware that if you reply to a "browser authentication request" (most commonly sent as a consequence of trying to use RSS to read an area that is available only to donors) that your browser and/or RSS reader may retain and send your login credentials (login ID and password) in what amounts to trivially-encoded clear text. Responding to an RSS request over an insecure network may expose your password to hostile third parties. Computer viruses and other malware that you may have on your computer may also be able to capture and expose your password. The use of strong anti-virus software to prevent such threats (such as Avast) is recommended, and if you are on an insecure connection (such as a public WiFi spot) you are strongly urged NOT to respond to RSS authentication requests, as your password WILL be transmitted in clear text under those circumstances.
The AKCS Software uses a form of encrypted password storage. This means that nobody (including an administrator who can directly access the system's databases) can discern your password, as it is stored as a "one way" hash. This allows the system to verify that you typed the same thing twice, but makes impossible (within reasonable amounts of computer resource) recovery of the actual password. As such if you lose your password you will be sent a "recovery" link. That link will work exactly once - it is invalidated when you sign onto your account automatically, as part of the hash that is used to generate the reset code to to you includes your last access time. Likewise, if you change your password in the control panel your account will be signed off automatically on all machines where you are signed in as the cookie previously generated is invalidated when your password is changed.
The software may support the use of HTTPS (SSL security) for sign-in and changes to your control panel settings to make interception of your password less likely. If supported you may choose to use HTTPS for all communications by selecting the checkbox when signing on.
All content here is archived. Even if you edit a post, any moderator or administrator of that forum can see the original content you posted. That archive cannot be erased except by an explicit administrative action from outside the forum software; it is "write-only". This provides you with both protection against claims by others that you have posted something "bad" when you have not, and also protects the moderators against claims that they censored something when they did not. However, it also means that your accountability for your words is irrefutable. If an administrator makes a post "disappear" it has not actually been erased - rather, it has been hidden from public view and is still retrievable by an administrator or, if necessary, in response to legal process such as a subpoena.
All accesses to this web site, like all web sites, are logged, and those logs typically contain sufficient information to identify the sort of computer you are using (Macintosh, Windows, Linux, etc) and the browser you are using as well as the content you request and view. Unless a web manager intentionally and explicitly disables this logging it is part and parcel of the world-wide web, and does permit the tracking of the IP Address your computer has at any given point in time and exactly what you requested from the forum. You have no expectation of privacy on this system for this reason.
The system must be able to send you email. If your email address becomes invalid for any reason, including your email provider blocking our machines from sending you notifications, your account will be placed in a "pending" state. In a "pending" state you cannot post and enhanced privileges are disabled. If this occurs you must either correct the problem and use the forum's "password recovery" function to have a validation link re-transmitted to you, or you must change your registered email address in the forum. Note that if you lose BOTH your password and access to your email account you will be unable to recover your account.
The system will send you email to (1) notify you of a system action that impacts your usage (e.g. a message you posted was moved, your account received increased or reduced privileges) (2) you have a pending private (email) message in your mailbox, (3) if you have requested to be notified of activity in various threads or message areas or (4) if the owners of the system choose to offer new products and/or services, or curtail existing products and/or services. The control panel allows you to choose how often or if you wish to be notified of activity (other than system actions, changes in product and service offerings, and private messages, which will always be sent and cannot be disabled.) By obtaining and using an account you explicitly consent to these email transmissions.
This system will not transmit electronic mail of a marketing nature from or on behalf of third parties nor will we share your contact information with third parties except as required by state, local or federal law, subpoena or other legal process. Any such transmission is likely to be a "pfishing" attack intended to compromise your identity and/or login credentials here and did NOT originate with us. Do not click any such link or respond to any such email as you may divulge your login credentials by doing so.
We refuse to "snow" you about claims about so-called "encryption" on messages here. A short primer - secure encryption requires at least one key that only you have. A stored password on the system is NOT sufficient, as that password can be easily looked up by the administrator, and once looked up the administrator can query the database directly for whatever he or she wants to look at. Thus, forums that claim to "encrypt" your email on the system are about as secure as someone putting a 10-cent lock on a suitcase. As such all data (other than your password) stored in THIS software is stored in plain text, and we make no claims that an administrator (someone with actual administrative access to the computer on which the software runs) cannot access anything here. If you need secure email, get a copy of PGP, learn how to use it, secure your private key on something only you have (e.g. a floppy disk or "dongle") and use that for your secure email transactions. If the system is compromised by an intruder, or if the administrator needs or wants to get to any content stored here, he or she can.
However, the system does make every attempt to enforce your user permissions against intrusion from the OUTSIDE; to "cheat" you would have to have a valid session cookie from another machine that was left logged in. For this reason if you are concerned about security we strongly recommend that you click "LOGOUT" when you are finished - this clears the cookie not only on your machine but also removes it from the database here, thereby making it very difficult for someone to get into your account without your password. We also permit passwords of up to 20 characters, require one of at least five characters, and strongly recommend frequent passwords and STRONG passwords (e.g. those with both letters and numbers or symbols contained within.)
To help prevent you from being spammed, the software does not display your email address when someone looks up your user ID, nor is it publicly accessible to ordinary, non-administrative users. To further help prevent your email address from being picked up by persons who would spam you, we also strongly recommend that you NEVER post your email address in public messages here on the board. The system will, however, send you emails in accordance with your wishes regarding message notification, and the administrators may, in the event it becomes necessary, transmit an email to all or selected groups of users to notify you about operational issues, upcoming downtime, or other important board-related news.
We are, however, unable to guarantee the security of your user data on this system. Specifically, it is possible that an unauthorized intrusion into this system, or the service of legal process, will cause the release of some or all of the user data stored herein. You explicitly consent to this risk by signing into and using the system here.
You may withdraw your continued consent to this policy at any time by emailing the owner of the system at the link provided at the bottom of the top-level page. Withdrawing your consent will cause your account to become permanently inaccessible and your email address blocked from future registrations; any comments you have previously posted will, however, remain in accordance with our terms of service, and any data already submitted will remain.
This package is a custom software product and is Copyright 2004/2017 by Karl Denninger. It is based on the former "AKCS" software product which was a text-based message forum system written in the late 1980s. AKCS, in turn, was based on a message forum system that ran on the TRS-80 Model IV as a multitasking executive, originally developed in 1982/83. That system broke new ground in several areas, including being the first forum system on a personal-ownership microcomputer to support cross-machine conferencing and email delivery. The original AKCS product was one of the first message systems to support threaded-mode conferencing in a multi-system, networked environment.
The AKCS-WWW package was developed with a primary focus on quick response. Indeed, we believe you will find that in terms of actual performance it simply leaves the other alternative products in the dust. Not only in the area of CPU performance - but also in the performance perceived by the user! This is especially true for users that are not on high-bandwidth broadband connections. There is just no substitute for tight, "C"-based code. Tests have shown that the forum is very usable even from a slow, cell-phone GPRS connection into a laptop - a tough test for any environment.
Unlike most other forum packages, the full-text search facility has almost no impact on system performance when it is used. Indeed, almost all of the overhead is incurred when a posting is made, rather than when a search is performed, in that the indices necessary for the searches are built and updated at that time. Full-text search, however, does have an impact on system storage requirements - significantly more storage is required to store a forum on disk that has full-text indexing enabled.
This product operates on the FreeBSD operating system, and uses Postgres as its SQL database. The SQL transaction functions are heavily used in order to maintain concurrency control and guarantee proper synchronization of data across the various database tables. All data is stored inside the database, including binary images such as avatar pictures - there are no "external" links to filesystem data.
This package is entirely written in "C" as a compiled binary executable, and is data-driven for all user display functions. This permits the almost unlimited customization of the displayed environment to suit the particular forum being implemented for a given function or feature set.
While the web server used here is Apache 2.x, there is no particular tie in the product to that architecture. The CGI interface is, however, heavily used and MIME/multipart form upload support (that works correctly!) is required in order to handle binary image uploads (such as avatars.)
There are no known specific web browser constructs used in the base distributed display templates, but as the author is unable to personally verify all available browsers, correct operation across all former, present and future browsers cannot be assured. No particular attempt is made to support text-based browsers such as LYNX; this software is inherently a graphically-rich environment, and as such no special attention has been paid in the base template files to enhance for or accommodate text-only displays.
This package is under current development and the feature set is expanding on a regular basis.
If you would like to discuss using this product for your own forum, please email Karl Denninger.