Original Metachat FAQ 2005-2009

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Who runs this thing?

Metachat was founded by taz and dodgygeezer in May 2005. In August, 2006, seanyboy took over for dodgygeezer when dodgy faced worsening RSI problems.

As of November 2009, the site admins are Miko and BoringPostcards, and the tech admins are chrismear and gomichild.

In addition, we have a team of moderators: arse_hat, dg, gaspode, iconomy and richat.

Anyone else?

No. If you need to be contacted regarding anything to do with the site, it will be from one of these people using their own email, or from the mod team at metachat.org@gmail.com, or the tech team at metachattech@gmail.com.

If you receive an email that seems to come from metachat, but isn't from one of these people, or seems strange, please forward it to metachat.org@gmail.com.

I've found a bug!

  • Get a glass and a piece of card
  • Put glass over bug
  • Slide card under glass
  • Toss bug out the window

No shithead, I meant a bug on the website!

Check the Site To-Do List. If it's not already there then add it and the team will get around to it as soon as they feel able. If it's more important than that then email metachattech@gmail.com with the details.

It's 5am and the server vanished

At 5am UTC (otherwise known as GMT) the server will often take a break for about twenty minutes or so. This is because the server has gone outside for a cigarette break, it gets talking to that nice girl server from accounts (Sage if you must know) and, you know, sometimes he forgets himself and is a little late back.


The boring but more likely explanation is that the server is being backed up and this necessitates some brief downtime. Don't be upset. Maybe go out and chat to the milkman, the binmen or anyone else around at that ungodly hour. When you're finished then I'm sure everything will be just fine.

I'm new around here. Did I miss any good threads?

Try the Notable Threads page where I'm sure you'll find plenty of great stuff.

Pink bunnies on a hillside! What do these stupid in-jokes mean?

Damned if I know. Try the In-Jokes page

Safety! How do I practice safe Metachatting?

Use a bit of caution when revealing personal details on the site. Even though metachat seems like a fairly closed community, it's just as open as the rest of the internet and here, as there, you need to be careful about sharing any information that allows people to easily locate you, spoof your ID, harrass you by publishing personal anecdotes elsewhere, or cause trouble with your family or employer. If you use a webwide handle on here, people who bear you a grudge on another site may be tracking your comments here; additionally, if you get too intimate in the details that you share here, you may attract unwanted attention based on that. So, please, for bunny's sake, have fun - but be safe, and have a care.

Posts and Comments

What can I post?

The Metachat posting policy is that almost anything goes.

What shouldn't I post?

  • Slagging off other users is not cool
  • Posts about or links to Metafilter are usually fine unless:
    • You want to bring some drama to our attention.
    • You want us to laugh at someone you think is an idiot.
    • You feel you've been on the receiving end of some injustice either from Matt or Jess or another user. MetaFilter issues belong on Metatalk, and will be deleted here.
    • "Wouldn't it be cool if we all went to Mefi and did X?" No. No it wouldn't.
  • Don't make posts asking for gifts or contributions. More info here.

Is Metachat "self-policing"?

Many Metachat users also use Metafilter which has a self-policing policy - that is, users are encouraged to publicly call attention to poor quality posts, doubles, self-linking, etc. usually within the thread.

This is heavily discouraged in Metachat.

Metachat's policy is so loose that no user should ever feel the need to admonish another user for not meeting the guidelines.

If you see a post or comment that you think should be deleted or edited then e-mail the mods and they'll deal with it.

So, just chill out, enjoy yourself and leave all that crap to someone else.

Wow HTML is like, totally awesome! I'd love to use it in my comments and posts!

Of course you would.

Permitted tags for comments are:

<p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <address> 
<blockquote> <ins> <del> <a> <span> <bdo> <br> 
<em> <strong> <dfn> <code> <samp> <kdb> <var> 
<cite> <abbr> <acronym> <q> <sub> <sup> <tt> <i> 
<b> <big> <small> <strike> <s> <img>

The list is the same for posts except the <img> tag is not permitted

Some tags are not permitted within other tags. Some attributes on tags are not permitted.

If you come across any exclusions that are a) unreasonable and b) potentially useful then report them to seanyboy and he'll change it as soon as he's finished extracting the cheese from between his toes.

I've tried those tags and it doesn't work. What's happened?

Every time you put a line break in your comment, it'll be replaced by <br /> tag. This means that if you put a line break anywhere in your img tag it'll cause an error. Remove all line breaks and it should work fine.

Here's an example.

Hunky dory:

 <img src="cuddlybunny.gif" />

Bad karma:


Note the trailing slash on the hunky dory version.

Why doesn't my post appear on the front page?

It may be because it's extra-long. Posts over a certain number of characters must be okayed first. Contact a mod to have it published, or if you don't feel like waiting, just put something like "(more inside)" at the end of the post, and put the longer part into the first comment.

How do I break up posts with that slick, awesome [more:] tag?

When you've typed the first part that you want to appear on the front page, click on the [MI] button (only available on the New Post page), or hit Alt+M, to generate the marker. The remaining text will appear only inside the post.

When users see a post, if they click on the Read more..., they will jump to a named anchor at the location of the [more:] marker. If they click on Comments, they will jump to a named anchor below the first post.


Why doesn't my account work?

  • Account approval
    All accounts need to be approved before they're enabled. This can take anything from five minutes to twelve hours depending on time zones / public holidays / alignment of the planets / etc. No one should have to wait longer than twelve hours at worst, but the average is four hours. It's possible you may have been forgotten about (sorry, it happens sometimes) so just email taz and she'll sort it out for you.
  • Additional accounts
    If you already have an account on Metachat and want to open another one then it'll be refused in most instances.
  • User imitation
    Trying to imitate other users, even in jest, is a big no-no on this site. Any accounts set up for this purpose won't be enabled.
  • You've been a very naughty boy/girl/crab/spaghetti monster
    It's possible you've been banned. Check the e-mail account you registered with as you should've received a message about this from the mods. Failing that, contact the mods and they should be able to clear things up.

Oh yuck! My lovely username is in lowercase!!

There was a bug in the code of the profile page (which should now be fixed) that was mucking up the case. Contact seanyboy and he'll restore your lovely username to its former mixed-case glory.


Why does everyone link to images with the text "Click to see image"?

They don't.

It's come to the attention of those of us who run Metachat that many of you are accessing the site from work. Your bosses are strangely inconsistent, puritanical beasts who happily tolerate you wasting time writing nonsense on the Metachat all day, but will instantly fire you if you happen to look at an image of a naked mole rat doing squat thrusts in a bowl of custard. We don't like to see people get the sack. And certainly not because of a naked mole rat doing what comes naturally.

Because of this there are two views of the site that you can enjoy: Images On or Images Off. The default is Images Off and will result in you seeing the "Click to see image" links. If you click on Images On at the top of the page you will hence forth see images as the HTML gods intended. If the naked mole rats get too much for you you can always click on Images Off and go back how things were before.

Pretty nifty eh?

Posting images

Direct linking: Etiquette

If you include an inline image from another web site (or even just make a regular link directly to the image, instead of to the page it's on), that site is getting all the hits (bandwidth drain), and usually no credit or link that might possibly make it worthwhile. This is bad image etiquette.

Direct Linking: Danger, danger!

If you post a photo from another web site, say "cutepic.jpg", and the site owner notices that this has happened, they may just upload say, goatse.jpg to their site, rename it "cutepic.jpg" and what you will now see on our page here is not an adorable fuzzy bunny image, but a much less adorable photo of a fuzzy gaping asshole. Or maybe they'll replace the original image with one that says something like "Bandwidth Thief!" - this is done to keep people from direct linking and teach them a lesson.

Also keep in mind that if an image just happens to be removed from the original site, or the site goes down, all you will see where you posted your image is the little red "x" box - so it's really usually an all 'round bad idea to direct-link images.

Big Images = Slow page loading. :(

If you post a large inline image, it slows down page loading for everyone who has "images on". Even so, this is usually not a big problem for most viewers unless it's a thread that has lots of images... then page loading can become very slow indeed, so try to avoid posting extra large images, or things like big (file-size) animated .gifs.

(Keep in mind that even if a hefty image doesn't seem to be slow-loading to you, this is probably because once you've viewed it the first time, it's temporarily in your computer's cache memory, and so actually loading from your hard drive instead of being downloaded from the site.)

The best way to post images?

You can avoid most problems by uploading images to your own web space, and linking them from there, or by using a free image hosting service such as photobucket.com (registration required, but dependable), imageshack or supload, where you can upload images from either your hard drive or from a web url, and usually also resize or re-name them - all in your browser.

If you're in a hurry (and aren't we all) you might want to try imgred.com. In summary, you copy the url of the image you want to use and then just preface it with http://imgred.com/. Go to the imgred.com link to see full examples and a description.

Did my image get resized??

Overlarge images break the page layout in MetaChat in many resolutions, so our CSS gives images a "max-width" of 500 pixels (which works in browsers that recognize this property but not in IE). It's important to remember that whether you put height and width declarations in the html to make the image appear smaller, or whether the image shows up smaller because of the CSS, the page still must render the image at the original size... so even if it appears smaller, the whole image file has to load for it to appear at all.

In other words, bigbig pics are ickypoo.

How to Post a Picture from Flickr

If you want to post one of your own Flickr pictures, this is how you do it.

Sign into Flickr.

Go to the photo page.

Click on the button above the photo that says All Sizes. This will take you to a page with a bunch of sizes listed above the photo.

Choose the size you want to use and click on it. (Photo Friday threads usually use Medium.)

Scroll down to see a box containing HTML.

Copy and paste it into the Mecha thread where you want the photo to go.


Remember that there needs to be a space between the final set of quote marks and the backslash.

Your picture will now show up. Hurray!