The Coffee Nebula Board is for the discussion of Star Trek: Voyager and other sci-fi/cult shows. Anyone is welcome to post, so long as they are polite and considerate to other users and keep to the topic, more or less! Please note that inappropriate and/or offensive posts may be deleted.


Board Help

Topics Covered

Browser Cookie Use
Brief Overview
Using Smileys In A Message
Common Board Acronyms Or Warnings


Posting Conventions
Using HTML In A Message
Board Message Archives

Browser Cookie Use

The WebBBS script used to run the board requires browser cookies in order to provide some of its functionality. There are two of these, which are created when you view the board for the first time unless you have set your browser to refuse cookies.

  • WebBBS+Master - holds your posting name, email address, and posting/deletion password if you have set these. Expires on 19 January 2038.
  • Coffee+Nebula+Discussion+Board - holds the date and time of your last visit to the board so that it can display "New" icons against messages that have been posted since then. Also holds your index display and sorting preferences if you have set these. Expires on 19 January 2038.

If you do not wish to allow these cookies, please go into the settings for your browser and set it to not accept cookies. There will be some reduced functionality.

The Coffee Nebula uses no third party cookies, and does not use cookies at all elsewhere on the site.

Brief Overview

I apologise for the fact that this help page is a bit minimalist at the moment. It's been revised from the equally minimalist one at the old board, and I plan on extending it as soon as I get time. In the meantime, here are a few general hints on how to use the board:

  1. The board only shows one page of index. It'll tell you the following information at the top of the screen about the messages that it's displaying:

    • How many messages have been posted since the start of your last visit:
      "Since your last visit began, x new messages have been posted"
    • How long a period it's displaying messages for:
      "Messages Posted Within the Last x Hour(s)|Day(s)|Week(s)"
    • How many messages it's displaying for that period, and the total number of messages which are on the board:
      "xx of yy Messages Displayed"
    • The index and message viewing option currently in use:
      "(xxxxx Listing)"

    To display more (or less) messages, and change the index/viewing options, go to the Set Preferences link (which you'll find on the board links at top and bottom of the index page, and on the sidebar if you're using it, but not on the message pages).

    The default duration is currently "1 Day(s)". Increase that if the board tells you that there are older messages that you can't see, and you want to go and read them. Decrease it if you're getting more messages than you want on your index page. If you want to know about all new messages since your last visit, whether that's a hour or a week ago, try selecting "Posted since your last visit began" instead of a set duration.

    The default view is "Threaded List - Single Message - Mixed Order", which is the equivalent of "Mixed Threaded Listing" at the previous version of the board. Change it if you want to try a different way of viewing the board. The ones I like best are "Threaded List - Single Message - Mixed Order" and "Compressed List - Single Message - Mixed Order", but experiment for yourselves.

    Click on the Update Preferences button to save your settings and return to the index page, where they will now be displayed. Please note that if you click on the "Return to Index" link your settings won't be saved.

    You can now also set your posting name, email address (optional) and posting password (optional) from this screen, which enables you to set or change the details without having to post a message to do it.

  2. There isn't an edit facility, probably because it would slow the board down, but Preview Message is a pretty good substitute. There's no danger that half the board will have read your message before you manage to nip back and add your corrections that way either!

  3. If you type a password in the box given when posting a message, you can then go back and delete that message entirely if you really make a mess of things. Once you've typed the password once, the board will remember it when you post a message from the same computer again.

  4. The board will convert URL links automatically. It won't do the same with images (it'll just turn that into a link too), but there's a box called Optional Image URL if you want to post just the one, and you can always use HTML in the normal way.

  5. If messages get accidentally posted in the wrong thread, don't worry. I can move them to the right one later. (I love that facility!) And if you decide you do need to delete one of your messages and it already has answers to it, they'll be okay. A placeholder saying "(Message Deleted by Poster)" will replace it. People might wonder what they're responding to, but the messages won't end up in limbo.

  6. The board checks for double posts, and will check with you if it thinks it's detected one. It therefore shouldn't be possible to post one unless you add extra text to the message before you post it the second time, effectively making it a different message, or unless someone else has posted since your first attempt. In which case... you did remember to set that delete password, didn't you?

  7. If you're on a slow machine and having trouble downloading pages, click on the No Sidebar link on the top and bottom navigation bars. It'll take you to a different version which some machines or browsers may like better. It's not actually faster at loading the entire page, but it will load the first screenful quicker, so that you're not left looking at a blank screen.

  8. I doubt if it'll become a big issue, but if you set up a profile for yourself nobody else will be able to post using your posting name. It'll default to using the same password as the one you entered to allow you to delete your messages (if you've set one), and I recommend that you leave them the same. It's easier to recover access to edit it, if you ever have your browser's cookies deleted.

  9. If you create yourself a profile and then forget the password, email me. As administrator I can change the password and mail you the new one.

  10. If you see a message from me that starts admin!, read it. It'll have information on how to use the board which may make life easier for you, and answer some of your questions.

  11. Above all, experiment! If you're not sure what a link does, why not follow it and find out? The board's pretty robust; you won't break anything.

Using Smileys In A Message

The board will automatically translate certain character sequences into a graphic of the type usually known as a smiley or emoticon. Those currently available are:

:agree: = :agree:
:angry: = >:( or >:-(
:biggrin: = :D or :-D
:confused: = :confused:
:cool: = :cool: or 8) or 8-)
:disagree: = :disagree:
:eek: = :eek: or :o or :-o or :O or :-O
:idea: = :idea:
:indifferent: = :| or :-|
:rolleyes: = :rolleyes:
:sad: = :( or :-(
:smile: = :) or :-)
:tongue: = :b or :-b or :p or :-p or :P or :-P
:wink: = ;) or ;-)

Plus the following images, which are intended to go in the header of a message starting an episode discussion thread:

:tv: = :tv:
:book: = :book:

If you want to display the happy face smiley in your message, type in ":)". Or ":-)". When you post your message, the smiley will show up in place of the characters you typed. This substitution will also happen when you preview your message, so that you can see how it will eventually look when posted.

Common Board Acronyms Or Warnings

There are a number of acronyms which board members use as a shortcut for referring to something, or to act as a warning about message content. Some of the most frequently used ones are shown below:

  • ABOTW (Alien Babe Of The Week)
    Female guest star, generally cast as a love interest. Usually gets to dupe Chakotay by Act 4.
  • AOTW (Alien Of The Week)
    Guest star. For obvious reasons, given Voyager's isolation from the Federation and Enterprise's mission to explore strange new worlds, they tend to be alien with the usual assortment of forehead bumps.
  • ASATT (All Seven All The Time)
    Commentary on Seven of Nine's uncanny ability to get episode time, particularly in season four when she was everywhere. In the interests of equal time, some of us were clamouring for ATATT (All Tom All The Time) but sadly TPTB aren't cooperating.
  • GI (Graphic Inside)
    Warning in topic line that there is a graphic image (or 47) in the message, in case those with slow connections want to avoid it. If someone's going really overboard with the graphics they may try to indicate it by modifying the warning, for example BHGI (Big Honkin' Graphic Inside).
  • GWG (Girl With Gun)
    Janeway's pretty fond of picking up her compression phaser rifle Betsy and wading into the action. You didn't think we'd have a term for it?
  • NIM (Nothing In Message)
    Warning placed at the end of the message header to indicate that there is no message content. The header line is all there is. Be aware though: sometimes people indicate this but put a joke message in there anyway.
  • OT (Off Topic)
    Warning in topic line that you're about to post something which is an off topic post. Flagging the fact in the subject line allows people who aren't interested in your digression to avoid it if they wish.
  • POTC (Pirates Of The Coffeebean)
    Pirates Of The Coffeebean was the board's second communal fanfic. If you see this in the header line, it's usually a sign that the message contains another chapter of it.
  • ROTFL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing)
    Self explanatory, I hope.
  • TPTB (The Powers That Be)
    Those that make the program. Generally speaking it's a reference to the production and writing staff, for example Brannon Braga, Jeri Taylor or Rick Berman, but sometimes the term has been used more sweepingly in order to encompass UPN and those in charge of scheduling and promotion as well.
  • VC (Voyager City)
    Voyager City was the board's first communal fanfic. If you see this in the header line, it's usually a sign that the message contains another chapter of it.
  • YAATE (Yet Another Abrupt Trek Ending)
    Any episode where the plot gets wound up in the last couple of minutes when there's been no hint that they've even been making progress for the rest of the hour.
  • YATTL (Yet Another Top Ten List)
    Top ten lists are a discussion board tradition. Which is why we have a term for them.
  • YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)
    Poster's own opinion, while freely acknowledging that other people may think differently.

Posting Conventions

There are certain habits and customs that the people posting on the board have fallen into over the passage of time, aimed at making it easier to read and follow the discussion.

New Episode Discussions

On the day that a new episode of Enterprise is due to air, somebody (probably the first person to comment) will start a new thread. It will have a title something like:

":tv: ENT: Broken Bow Discussion (NIM)"

and generally won't have any actual content. When people visit the board to make their comments on the episode, they know to look for that message and will post their messages as replies to that thread rather than starting a new one of their own. This keeps all of the initial discussion of the episode together in the same place.

Those posting comments on the episode after subsequent episodes have aired may well start a new thread if they can't find that one. Please use the original thread if you can find it though, as it makes it easier to pick up all the related messages for the archive. If a new message is posted to a thread it will float to the top of the board's index again, so you don't need to worry about your comments getting overlooked. Your message may get moved if I think it belongs in an existing thread rather than on its own.

Episode Spoilers

Not everybody likes to know the entire plot of the episode in advance. Some people don't even really want to know if the upcoming episode is a T'Pol episode, or if Reed gets a romantic interest, or whether the transporter goes horribly wrong yet again. They believe it detracts from their enjoyment of the episode when it airs, if they know too much about it in advance.

So, while your red hot information about an episode in production that hasn't aired yet is certainly welcome, please try to remember to indicate it as such by putting "Spoilers!" in the subject line so that those who don't want to read it can avert their gaze!

Episodes which have aired on UPN but not necessarily in the rest of the world are fair game. It's impossible to keep track, and since the majority of those posting on the board reside in either the US or Canada, everybody else is presumed to be proceeding at their own risk in any case.

Message Layout

Posting a message entirely in CAPITALS is considered to be shouting. It's also very difficult to read. You may want to capitalise the odd word for emphasis, if you don't know HTML, but it's best used sparingly. Alternatives you may consider for emphasising a word are to enclose it within *asterisk* or _underline_ characters.

It's also very difficult to read a solid block of text. Consider the eyes of your fellow board members and break it up into paragraphs by hitting return twice to create a blank line at places where your message can sensibly be broken up.

Using HTML In A Message

You can use HTML tags in the text of your post in order to create special effects in your messages. It's beyond the scope of this help page to give a complete tutorial on HTML, but some of the easier things you might like to try are shown below:

Desired Effect   The HTML You Need To Use   How It Looks In Your Message
Bold text   <B>Bold text</B>   Bold text
Italic text   <I>Italic text</I>   Italic text
Bigger text   <BIG>Bigger text</BIG>   Bigger text
Smaller text   <SMALL>Smaller text</SMALL>   Smaller text
Strikethrough text   <STRIKE>Strikethrough text</STRIKE>   Strikethrough text
Underlined text   <U>Underlined text</U>   Underlined text
Coloured text   <FONT COLOR="blue">Coloured text</FONT>   Coloured text

Text colours you can use with the <FONT> tag are: red, maroon, yellow, green, lime, teal, olive, aqua, blue, navy, purple, fuchsia, gray and silver. Plus black and white, although as these are the text and background colours for messages on the board it would be a bit pointless!

You can also use several of the tags together, although if you do so you should take care to nest them properly so that they are opened and closed in the opposite order. For example, to display bold italic text in green, you would use the following HTML:

<B><I><FONT COLOR="green">Example text</FONT></I></B>

Example text

Don't use the <P> or <BR> tags to lay out your page. The board software itself will handle that, based on the line breaks that you typed into the "Message" field. If you do a double line break, or indent the text after a single line break, it will turn that into a new HTML paragraph for you. Single line breaks on their own will be closed up with the text on the preceding and following lines.

If you want to type non-flowed text on consecutive lines - for instance if you're posting poetry - try using the <PRE> and </PRE> tags to do it, as in the following:

<PRE>Diverted from my wished for life at conn
I woke to find myself in New Zealand,
Career in Starfleet wholly lost and gone.</PRE>

Problems With Posting HTML

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. If you do decide to use HTML tags, please try to remember to close them correctly. Forgetting to close a tag or mistyping it can create some very bizarre effects in the display of the thread hierarchies and index pages. You might want to preview your message to make sure you got it right, and edit any such problems out of it before posting!

Board Message Archives

Messages don't remain on the board forever. The oldest ones will be deleted from the database at some point by me, in order to make it quicker to access the remaining messages. However, most of the interesting and Voyager relevant messages will be saved at one of the following places:

  • The Board Archive - episode discussions, top ten lists, major discussions (note: this is currently being transferred across from its old home at Geocities and is not yet complete.)
  • The Fan Fiction Archive - songs and fiction
  • The Voyager City archive - the board's first collaborative Voyager AU fanfic, set in the Wild West.
  • The Pirates Of The Coffeebean archive - the board's second collaborative Voyager AU fanfic, set in a pirate infested Caribbean.

There is also a Roll Call site which includes brief biographies of many of the regular posters at the board. This is now somewhat out to date, so you may wish to update your entry (or add one if you weren't posting back then) by adding a profile to the board instead.