Friday, November 21, 2014

IcyBoards and Free MyBB Forum Hosting!

My MyBB Forum

MyBB Forum Platform With Free Hosting

Many folks have followed me in forum activity on Delphi forums for over a decade.  However, Delphi has many limitations and keeps wanting more and more money to allow you to have a decent forum there.

Another problem with Delphi is that you have to log in to participate in the forums.  This appears to block the Google bot that roams around looking for content to place into search engine results.  So, most of the material shared on the Delphi platform never makes it to the general public via a Google search.

After doing some research, I ran across a decent forum platform called MyBB.  I then searched for a hosting company this forum platform.  I found IcyBoards that supplies the latest MyBB platform and will host it for free.

IcyBoards has some outstanding up time documented and a lot of wonderful reviews.  In fact, I could not find much that was said negatively about them.  Below are some highlights of IcyBoards and their MyBB forum platform.
  • 99.9% Up-time
  • Always Backed Up
  • Great Community
  • Fully Customizable
  • Rapid Support
  • #1 Forum Host!
  • Editable Template Files
  • Plugins/Mods
  • Your Own Domain!
So with all of this in mind I created my newest forum on IcyBoards using the MyBB forum platform. I then, of course, browsed around to find a custom theme for my new forum as I always like "unique" and a custom look.

You can see the birthing results of my new forum by visiting here.

So far I love the ability to do what all is offered and am still exploring a lot of options with the various plug ins as well and forum settings.

Some will ask how can they provide the great servers, great support and all with no cost to the user.  It is actually rather simple and is a concept used by many successful online sites and businesses today.  They run an ad on your forum.  From the ad is where they get revenue to keep things up and running. Quite a profitable venture.  I do the same on my blog, as well as YouTube, raking in some cash here and there all via Google Adsense ads.

During the set up process and getting familiar with the new forum, I have found some answers to some questions   Feel free to ask questions in comment below and I will get back with you on how I resolved some of the leading questions.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Marking Your Territory

Why Territory Marking?


In life we have boundaries and territories in which we can identify as being owned by something or someone else. Animals frequently will mark their territory with their urine or scent in order to show dominance to trespassers who intentionally or unwittingly fall into their domain.
Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Animals that intentionally wander into these domains will also mark this territory with their own urine. This way to challenge or acknowledge in some respect the ownership of the original territory. If they acknowledge the territory as not theirs, usually they will leave. If they wish to challenge they will wander farther into it.

Humans are also animals, and we still mark our territories but a little differently of course. We see this game of marking the territory clearly and in abundance within the depths of the internet. Two groups of opposition seek to gain as much ground as they can in reference to forums or online communities that are friendly towards them.

This marks a chess game of sorts where piece position matters. Territory of more important value is fought over in order to control more of the board. It must be remembered however that chess is a two dimensional game. Political intrigue with its aspect of board position and marking is much more advanced.

Territory Marking In Action


Let me give an example of political marking in regards to two internet forum environments. Lets say that Group A and Group B are in direct opposition to each other. Lets not worry about the why these two are at each other's throats just take into account there is no love lost between them. Also understand that these two forums hold similar goals or standpoints. Therefore those forums they might frequent hold a similar interest for each of them.

What this all means is each of them will be wanting to participate and be well known in any other outside forums that they see of value. The fact that these two groups cannot co-exist means that only one group may have the opportunity to be involved with individuals outside forums. This presents an interesting race. One of which I have enjoyed observing in some manner, but I will get to that later.
In one scenario Group A has come into a forum and posts fairly regularly. They have become friends with the management, and even might have been given a staff position. This would be a most formidable way to mark a forum. If Group B comes in poking around it would be very hard to remain, for Group A has the power to defend its position with both its staff placement and loyal friends in the staff beside them. Group B would have to retreat, else be locked out, or even both.

Now lets switch things up a bit. Lets say that Group A was a frequent visitor but had no staff position, and no real friends in the territory. This would mean more or less the position they occupy though perhaps better dug in would still be more or less a neutral position. Group B could come in and participate in order to refute the marking that Group A had already stuck on this particular forum. Depending on the administration in this particular forum either side would either have to behave or one of them would get thrown out. Thus by default the remaining Group would be the victor. We need to also take into account that one side may just willing give up ground that is not important or essential for any real victory. No campaign is worth fighting unless there is a distinct advantage in winning it. Remember we want advantageous board position. We want decent favorable contacts. If these things cannot be with this said forum and its management gained then there is no sense in fighting for them.  Let the other Group waste its time.
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As we can see there can be thousands if not an infinite number of scenarios which can be made up or in actual play. I think you all get the idea though. This aspect of territory marking makes up an interesting and fun game in which I have done quite a bit of work with. As I am sure others of you have as well though perhaps you haven't seen it exactly in the way that I have presented this. I know it might upset some of you and I wouldn't want that, well honestly I don't care any longer, but I have to say that I have seen no real gains in winning. Truly there has been no advantage in having the upper hand over Group B other than a little satisfaction that if I put my mind to it I can and have outplayed them every time. The forum I have in mind has not had people in which courting them completely has made any real difference over a long space of time. There is truly no defeat because anyone can pick up a new name and start over. This makes it all the more interesting because it proves to serve as an ideal training grounds.

I would warn anyone however in the same tactics offline. Offline is where it counts. You may not ever get any kind of second chance, indeed your first chance may prove have put you in a position that given your limitations you may never be able to conquer anything more than delusions of self worth. Those that are capable of gaining offline will end up being the victors. However once again online forums can prove to be a most amusing game.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tactical Foresight: Planning And Thinking Ahead

Tactician Practices


Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
A good tactician generally can see or map out events which are in a possible future.  Much to the chagrin and embarrassment of whom it is used against when the tactician is proven right these events usually have a high probability of occurring when most of the facts of the situation are known.

For instance, in a chess game, master players usually see and calculate a number of moves ahead.  Thus they have an advantage over those that only see the one they are in or perhaps a couple of their next turns. The board is set up in a way that often is able to give a decent prediction of what can happen if one knows the game well enough.

There are those of us that can do the same thing in our lives and often treat every day living as a giant chessboard.  This is not to trivialize how we or others live but give them a working strategy that they can employ with some success on how things are going now and how they can be positioned for a better future.

A number of things can be picked apart in those that play around us. There are many more I am sure that could be given but I will give a few that I think cover the majority of things you ought to understand if you intend to use this type of thinking.

Motive


What is it that the players, opponents, or allies want or need?  What drives them to obtain these things.  How badly do they want or need them?  Do they understand or know these needs or wants?

Capability


What aspects about these people allow them in some way to obtain their needs and wants?  What gifts do they have known or unknown that can be of help to them.  Can they sustain the actions they are involved in?  Do they have the resources to allow them to continue carrying on?

Gain to Risk Factor


In everything there is risk, There is no action in which any of us participate in that there isn't any risk of failure.  The probability of failure however for most of our mundane things we do is very low.  Most large ventures however have a larger risk factor as the gain from it increases.  How much of a risk will these people take will usually show how much gain there is to be gotten.  Are these people gamblers?  How far will they go?  Can they bluff well?  Can they afford to lose?  All of these questions should be looked at in order to pursue a more accurate prediction.

Insight and Cautions


Knowing the people around you will allow you to better make judgements on the different decisions they will be making, thus increasing your awareness of the decisions you will make and perhaps decreasing the risks involved.

I would warn you though in using these techniques and being too vocal you may end up upsetting those around you with the tactical predictions that you make.  I myself made vocal to someone  that I saw as weak and would falter in time in the hopes that they would be able to improve their situation and thus correct their position.  However it only angered them and they detached perhaps faster than they would have I hadn't of said anything at all.  They then fell directly into the pit that I had foreseen through my tactical foresight.  However perhaps if they had been stronger in some respects or valued my judgement a little more without being enslaved by their pride, they could have become something more and shown me how fallible my foresight was.  Once again we look at the aspect of gain to risk.

However in accounting for their lack of strength we were able to safeguard ourselves from any larger risk later on.  For instance we could have given them more power or control only to have it lost or used against us later.  Therefore trust is given to those that not only have a common interest but to those that are tactically in the right perspective and place on the board we are playing on, never forgetting though once again there will always be risk in everything we do.

Some people may find this way of thinking too structured and too ordered for them to pursue.  Calculating every move and every position that you are in can become tedious.  However once a practiced mind starts doing so patterns usually develop in various situations.  These patterns can become shortcuts and allow a less focussed mind to actively pursue different options in order to gain benefit from.  When a more difficult scenario shows itself on the board an accomplished tactician may then wish to go over every small detail in order to gather as much information as they can as to see every movement that would make up the similar pattern that you have seen before.  As everything isn't always the same, just using the pattern could possibly be a huge mistake if the risk you are involved in is great.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Opening The Floodgates

Emotions Flowing


It is in these times of weariness that I allow my senses to more fully open.  The inhibitions that I carry fade out just a bit to allow me to feel and sense in ways that I normally would close myself to.
Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

It is my belief that in most cases a steady case of detachment must be adhered to.  That our emotions must not rule our actions.  While this is an effective and efficient way of moving and practicing your craft at times it disallows a more full understanding of the people and creatures that you are dealing with on a consistent basis.

Opening the floodgates slowly once in a while keeps the emotional connections strong and allows you to remember important parts of yourself and see in others those same qualities that may not be getting enough clock time.  It helps to appreciate how deep our feelings might end up being and to reflect what we have been dealing with while merging those memories with the passions that have been held back.

Once I have had my feel of the passions that I let overwhelm me, the gates are shut once more and only a trickle of them is once again allowed to come forth in my interactions with most of those that I deal with.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Full Moon God or Goddess Meditation and Spell for Protection, Banishing and More

A Goddess Or God Meditation To Use or Build Upon For Spell Work and Magic


Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Full moons are good times for protection magic, banishing negativity from ones life, etc.
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Step one: Make sure you have prepared the area you plan to use including your altar. Have all your tools handy. I take a cleansing bath before I begin.

Step two: Decide your intent and cast your circle.

Step three: .Sit or lay in a comfortable position within your circle. Slowly breathe in and out until you accomplish a steady rhyme . Let your mind clear and become still with each breath. When you are clear raise your hand or athame - pointing at the moon. Say...

I draw down the power of the Moon(insert name of Goddess of choice) into myself. 
I merge with Her power and wisdom, and the eternal essence of the Goddess.

Remember to intone the words and let them resonate with intent and power.

You will feel the energy fill your hand/athame. Bring the energy into your chest/heart and feel it glow blue and silvery. Its power and energy filling you with every breath. Just let yourself feel the energy for several breaths as you relax and let it cleanse, heal, and fill you.

Step four: You are ready to begin your meditation/ritual at this point. You may use the energy for other workings--healings, protection, banishing, etc. Remember that full moon magic may take one full moon cycle to complete itself.

Recite the below mantra and envision as described:

"Divine Light"* Meditation Mantra.

I am created by Divine Light. 
I am sustained by Divine Light. 
I am protected by Divine Light. 
I am surrounded by Divine Light. 
I am ever growing into Divine Light.

Picture the light of the Divine Light encompassing you. It will heal, nourish and awaken you. Also, you can picture this light and repeat this mantra when you want to help someone else. Picture the light passing from you into the person you are healing.

Meditate for as long as you feel necessary. You can also add a vision quest, or do a working at this time.

Step five: When you feel done/ready you may end the meditation. Have some food and drink. Thank the Guides for their presence. Close the circle. Ground the any residual energy. Clean up the area.**

Tools: 

  • 1 White candle 
  • Incense of choice--cinnamon or sandlewood 
  • Besom/broom 
  • Athame/wand, or use hand 
  • Spring water 
  • Small hand fan

*Note: "Divine Light" Meditation is taken from the book Divine Light Invocation by Swami Sivananda Radha which I recommend for everyone's library.

**You may leave candle and incense burning. Just be certain that they are in a place where they can't start a fire, especially out of reach of pets and children, and don't leave the candle unattended. Accidents can happen.
 
As with any spell or magic that I share, it can be used "as is" or modified to fit your specific needs or methods.

The Internet Forum Troll Effect

Three Kinds Of Trolls 


Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
In every online community there comes to be what we call as Trolls.  These are people who have an agenda to disrupt a forum.  However there are many kinds of trolls.  I am sure there are a fair number few sites that people have seen that have given names to trolls that work in various ways.

I have however placed them into a few categories:

The first is the Basic Troll.


This is a troll that has no real interest in the forum they are trying to disrupt.  This person or people are only there to get a few quick laughs or to occupy them while they are bored.  They feel no general hatred or malevolence towards any individual within the group they just want to have a little fun and piss some people off.

These trolls generally get bored with their behavior or if there is a defense against them they will run off and find easier pickings.  They won't be around much at least in any kind of regular pattern as they are doing other things that interest them more or they just lose interest altogether.

The next kind of troll is what I deem as the Angry Troll.


This is a troll that maybe have started out in your forum or community and was upset about something.  Their motive is vengeance and they will do what they can to get that.  This troll is pissed off and most of the tactics it uses are much like the Basic Trolls however, it has a regular pattern and is driven to keep to that until either it runs out of steam or its demands are met in some form or another.

The attacks that this troll brings to a forum are more directed as it knows the people in it better.  This troll knows certain things about the forum they are attacking to get a better result than the Basic Troll can.  They may cool off and go to other things however this forum is still on the list to attack when they are upset again or they just want to rile things up a bit.

My third and last classification of the Trolls is what I call The Mastermind Troll.


This troll might be someone you don't even think of as being a troll.  It could be your best friend online or a trusted and fellow staff member in a particular forum.  You could eventually find out that the background of this person of whom you thought you knew was just a story in order to gain your trust.

The mastermind has it in for your forum and will use whatever tactics they can in order to either shut it down or take control of it altogether. The mastermind particularly likes to employ others for their handiwork.  Thus they either incorporate others of like minds or they trick and or employ the uses of the inferior trolls upon the other forum.

Options Available In Some Forums:


Some forums have put an option on their forums which is called Full Forum Moderation or similar. This easily bypasses if used correctly the tactics of the first two trolls.  It is in this aspect that our forums can be troll proof.  However the defense against the mastermind can only come at a good and knowing relationship out of all the staff.  Finding out that you are being lied to in many ways makes trust impossible even if the person doing the lying is the forum owner themself.  If they can't be straight with someone that they are online with for hours and hours a day, how can you be sure if their intentions and motivations are in effect in your best benefit at all?  How can you trust these people in little things if they have been lying about other little things?

So I again state a good trusting relationship is needed with you/your staff if you are the forum owner.  I am sure there are many past histories when all was not as it seemed.