Wise Cat
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Wise Cat's Guide to b3ta

Hello, "new" person.

You're probably here because you've just made a post on the b3ta board and have possibly made a little bit of a bish of it. Don't worry, it happens a lot. And you can get over it and become a normal, dysfunctional b3tan like all the rest.

You've probably been flamed to high heaven and, all in all, so far, it's not been the fluffy, uplifting experince you were looking for: sharing your wit, photoshop chops and general "hummus" with like-minded beings in a light-hearted and friendly environment.

In all likelihood, you've committed one of the following cardinal sins (in approximate order of ascending severity):

  • TOO BIG: Your picture is far too big; either in pixels or kilobytes or both
  • NOT SHOPPED: Your picture is just a photograph or screen-grab you took - funny though it may be
  • NOT YOURS: The picture is not yours, you found it somewhere and wanted to share
  • A LINK: You've posted a link to a picture or video
  • NSFW: The picture contains excessive nudity and/or looks like porn
  • TEXT: You've started a new thread simply to introduce yourself, ask a question or make an observation
Now. All of these traps can be easily avoided, and we'll go into each momentarily, but for starters let's have a bit of a refresher on what you really should know already; because, before you posted, you made sure you read and understood the FAQ, didn't you?

Firstly, a few words about the FAQ. They will be invoked by many a flame-wielding board-fascist in an effort to guide you in the right direction. Just on the offchance you haven't actually seen them, here's a synopsis of the points that are relevant to the main board:

  • DO join in and have fun
  • DO post pictures you have made
  • DO say nice things about others' work that you like
  • Static pictures should be no more than 100 kilobytes
  • Animated pictures should be no more than 400 kilobytes
  • To appear on the front page, maximum width is 400 pixels
  • You can post anything you like, but be considerate
  • DON'T post stuff that looks like porn
  • DON'T post stuff that's not yours
  • DON'T repost old stuff
  • DON'T be nasty or offensive
One of the first things you will have noticed is that the board vigilantes have conveniently decided to enforce a subset of these guidelines; mostly forgetting about not being offensive and the "post anything you like" edict.

Taking the latter first: to be fair there is only room for a set number of threads on the board's main page at any one time, and at peak times it can move at a fairly rapid pace, so it is annoying, as the FAQ say, to see your work dropping off the bottom for the sake of someone's "I got new shoes" thread.

So far as politeness is concerned, you may as well forget about it. Well, no, that's not quite true. The board can be quite cliquey, often bitchy, and the "regulars" will indulge in "playful banter" (ranging from calling each other c**ts to pretending to bumsex each other) and as a casual observer it's often hard to tell whether it's intended or not. There's often a fair amount of flouncing going off too. In many ways, it's like beauty: in the eye of the beholder. I guess if you choose to take something in good humour then there's no harm done.
Unfortunately, many will also give no quarter when administering a spanking. Best to just take it and hope to not be the cause of another in the future.

On the other hand, if you adhere to the commonly perceived "rules", the board can be an inclusive and fuzzy place, and positive comments will be forthcoming. So, how do you make sure noses stay in joint? Let's look at some preventative measures for those faux pas mentioned above.

How What Not to Post Like

People will be upset at you if your picture/animation exceeds the data guidelines (100KB for stills, 400KB for animations, 400px wide). The first, and simplest way to get your image size down is to use an appropriate format. BMP is almost never appropriate. As a rule of thumb, JPG for photographic and GIF for graphic/line art type stuff. Once you have your format, choose options to bring the file size down. Rather than go through it here, there are some excellent tutorials at lemony.co.uk - read, understand and implement!
Alternatively, there is an online optimiser here but your file needs to be smaller than 300KB to start with, and many image failures are bigger than that.

This one's easy. Don't post unshopped (by which we mean, non-manipulated or hand created) images on the main board. There is a links board for that sort of thing. Put your picture/screen grab on an image hosting site and post a link to it on the links board. This includes, "here's a picture of my mate/my boss/some random twunt - please shop it for me," as you will be told in no uncertain terms that we are not your image manipulation bitches. To be honest, I doubt that sort of thing would go down too well on the links board either. DIY or GTFO.

Posting someone else's work is frowned upon. If you really want to show people the work of others, post a link. However, posting links on the main board isn't popular either. Fortunately there's a special place for doing that so that you won't put people's backs up. Once again you will be referred to the links board.

Meaning Not Safe For Work. Believe it or not, many people look at the board while they are at work, and worse than being caught looking at a non-work-related web site is being caught looking at pictures of human wobbly bits. If you think you have a good enough joke to share and the nudity is justified then you should link to the picture - preferably using a Safe For Work image (perhaps a censored version of the original). In this department you must try and exercise common sense - porn is not always photography, so be careful with cartoons in the Anime style and the like.

This is an absolute, cast iron guarranteed way to get flamed. If you want to ask a question, you will be excused a slight "thread-jack" in an existing thread. If you just want to chat, there's the talk board. If it was an accident then, if you're quick, you might get away with deleting the thread (WARNING: see below) but if it's gone beyond that then your best course of action would be to find a picture (preferably yours, shopped and funny), edit the post and stick it in.

Thread Deleting
If you've started a new thread and suddenly come under fire, you may be tempted to delete the thread. Perversely, despite all the haranguing, you will likely be just as unpopular if you delete the thread - especially if you've left it long enough for a number of replies to build up: people do like to have the opportunity to get their bitch-slapping photoshops out. Your best bet is to just lube up and take it like a man/woman/protozoan (delete those which do not apply).

Reposting (or Pea Roasts)
Sometimes you'll post a pic that took you bloody ages and you think is pretty damn spiffy, and for whatever reason you didn't get much of a response - maybe you accidentally ended up in the middle of a thread rush, or maybe some massively popular b3tan posted right after you. Other times, you might find there's a bit of a bandwagon (or theme) going on and you have a relevant image that you did previously. By all means, put your image in a reply to an ongoing thread. Do not start a new thread for it - you will, yet again, incur the wrath of the board nazis (probably).

Opening a number of new threads one after the other, even if you've got a series of bowel-shatteringly good stuff to show off, is considered rude. As a guide, you should really only be responsible for one active thread at once (active meaning present on the main page). Having said this, there are times when the board is moving slowly (tea-timeish and possibly in the wee, small hours) that you might be OK. Similarly, multiple images in your first post will probably not be taken too kindly.

The Image Challenge
This is really a particular bugbear of mine, but I know it gets a lot of other b3tans' goats too. If you're going to join in the weekly image challenge then please, please, please read what the challenge is and try and make sure your picture fits the challenge. For example, as I write this, the challenge is Extreme Horses: horses doing extreme sports and the like, yet it seems that this has generally been interpreted as "photoshop a horse". Although there are many excellent entries too.

Other Helpful Stuff

The following are a few things that may seem obscure to the newcomer. I've given you my take on them in the hopes it may save you the embarrassment of having to ask for clarification on the board. That way you can look like you're in the know right from the get-go. These are just a few of the common ones, for lots more go to mictoboy's b3ta dictionary.

Stands for Text On A Picture. This is considered the lowest form of shoppery as it requires very little in the way of skills. That's not to say it shouldn't be done, it had just better be a pretty good joke. One type of post that fits into this category and seems to be more acceptable is the "modified news web page screendump" but you will still have to make up for lack of technical difficulty with artistic merit.

You should be familiar with the memes as they crop up time and again. Of course your enjoyment won't be limited by not knowing them but it may well help you to understand why some posts are getting the response they are ("blimey, why is everyone going nuts over that guy with a croissant, a glass of wine and the head of a crayfish?").

Occasionally, somone's post will illicit many replies of 'RIS'. Now, as an intelligent being you will have realised that this means, "I don't get it". This originated from this post in which the intended joke was deliberately ignored with humorous results. Now we're stuck with it.

This will get called when two posters post [near-]identical comments. Now, when I was at school we used to call, "Jinx!" when two people said the same thing at once but then I am really rather old...also, "jinx" is probably not rude enough for b3ta.

Fucking Shitty Magnets
This seems to have started with this post. I guess it was just a funny phrase that stuck. Actually, it is bloody funny - it always makes me smile anyway, but maybe that's just me.

The Gay Shift (TGS)
This is the name given to the hours of night in GMT terms. Obviously, the web is global, so there's half the planet to keep the board going while us "Westerners" are all sleeping. Things do tend to get a little "different" on the Gay Shift - I've only really looked in on it a couple of times - you have been warned...

Now run along, and try to keep your nose clean in future. I don't want to see you in here again!


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