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When your computer connects to a website, it sends technical information about itself, such as its IP address and user-agent string, so the server knows where and how to send the response. This information is analogous to the return address on an envelope. When a post is submitted, this site stores that information in an anonymous fashion, to assist the moderators in keeping the site clean, and to track abuses of our software. This information is not shared or sold, and this site does not have third-party advertising.
There are blue ? buttons near some of the fields of the post form. Remember you can click on them to get some basic help.
And now a typical post form. Later on I will focus on particular fields of this form. Remember that you don't actually have to fill out any of them except for the message or file fields (or both, particularily when creating a new thread).
There's more fields possible, but they're typically board specific and will not be covered.
And after that, there's the actual file and/or the message.
As you might have noticed, this site allows for posting without registering or anything like that - just write your message, click "reply" and it will appear, credited to "Anonymous" (or whatever the default name on your current board is). This kind of anonymous posting is pretty much the default mode of posting on chan boards, but ponychan spefically has an extremely large percentage of people who post with names. It's easy to give yourself a name, just put it in the "Name" field in your post and it will stay there until you change it to something else, but how do you then protect yourself from other people impersonating you through the magic of ctrl+c/ctrl+v? This is where the tripcodes come in.
A tripcode is a non-bolded series of symbols starting with a '!' that follow the username. It's generated using a password as a base, which is then evaluated by an algorithm and transformed into this series of symbols and appended to the name. Since the user never actually touches the tripcode, only feeds the password into the algorithm, the only real way to have a post with the same tripcode is to feed it the same password, which is kept secret from everypony else. And thus you can prove your identity by proving that you know this password. And it can't be faked by copypasting the evaluated tripcode into the "Name" field either, as then either a new tripcode would get evaluated using the pasted one as the secret password (as it would have to include a '!') or if somehow that reevaluation were to be avoided, the tripcode part would get bolded with the rest of the name.
To use a tripcode instead of just writing your name in the "Name" field, write your_name#your_code - the #your_code part will be automatically replaced by !tripcode. Instead of '#' you can also use a '!' for the same results.
The standard tripcodes are gibberish, but you might have noticed that not all of them are like that. Some have words in them, or actually look like a part of the name of the user or things like that. These are called custom tripcodes, and they work exactly the same as regular tripcodes. Typically to get a custom tripcode one simply checks millions (per second) possible passwords and the tripcodes they yield, and chooses one out of those. One of the ways to do that is to use a program like Tripcode Explorer:
Basically, to use it write the possible words you're interested in and press the green symbol to run it. The program will then start testing different passwords at random and report back with an ever increasing list of passwords that contain the words you're looking for as a substring. Since this search is random, the length matters a lot - a single additional character in a word will make it many, MANY times less likely that any given tripcode will contain the desired substring. 6 characters or less should be pretty quick, 7 characters is as many as you can expect to find given a "reasonable" amount of time, 8 characters is ridiculous-but-still-possible-I-guess, 9 is basically impossible, 10 is a complete joke, and 11 or more is impossible for the simple reason that there's only 10 characters in a tripcode. Remember to set this program to ASCII only in the options.
A tripcode CAN be cracked. It's very unlikely that anypony would ever bother but it can be cracked, especially if the secret password is something simple like "banana" or something. If anypony wanted to try to do that, they could use some software similar to Tripcode Explorer to brute-force check many different possibilities (particularily using a dictionary) on their own machine until they finally stumble upon something that generates the same tripcode as yours (it most likely would simply be your password). If you're worried about that possibility use a secure tripcode - instead of name#code, write name##code. Secure tripcodes display with "!!" instead of "!" and are generated using your password and an additional secret component on the server, so brute forcing them on a local machine gets basically impossible. If you do so, it will make it basically impossible for you to have a custom tripcode for obvious reasons, though.
The "Email" field may have been intended by the authors of the board software to be the place where a user could put in their email for easy contact. This is not the only possible use for it, though - another, possibly more crucial is the email codes.
There's two of those:
"Autosage" is a term related to "sage". A thread being on autosage means no replies of any kind will bump it. Going on autosage can be automatic after a thread reaches a certain number of responses. It can also be imposed by a mod by hand - conversely, mods also have the power to remove autosage from a thread, even the automatically imposed kind.
Making a basic post is easy - just choose a picture in the "File" field or write something in the "Message" field, or both, and you're done. Yet, there's still things that are good to know here.
First, there's the reference system:
You don't actually have to type in the post number by hand if you wish to reference it in the same thread. Just click on its number and a reference will be added to your "Message" field. Like I mentioned back in (1), this can be useful when replying to multiple posts at the same time.
If you wish to make a clickable link to another site, just paste the address starting with "http://" and a clickable link will be made out of that automatically.
Then we have the bbcodes. To use these place a [bbcode] before the text, and [/bbcode] right after it. For example, [u]THIS[/u] would get shown as THIS. Multiple codes can be used at the same time: EXAMPLE. There's 5 documented tags, and you can see them all after clicking the ? next to the message field:
There are also some codes not documented in the ? section of the post form.
like this for example
The usage of the "File" field is obvious. The interesting part here is the checkboxes. If you select the "spoiler" one for your file, its thumbnail will be replaced with a generic "spoiler" picture, which is useful for when you wish for only the people who click on it to actually see the content. This could be because it contains actual spoilers, or perhaps because you're trying to make a joke that won't work otherwise.
The password fields are there to enable you to delete your own posts. When you send a post ponychan remembers the password that was used with it - that password can then be used for its deletion. These passwords are not related to tripcodes in any way. When arriving on ponychan without having a previously used password in your browser's memory one is automatically generated for you and put into the appropriate fields, so it's possible to take advantage of the post deletion system without ever explicitely selecting a password - though you are free to do so.
To delete a post select the checkbox near it and press the "Delete" button in the lower right corner of the page. You can select multiple posts at a time for that. If the passwords (the one used to create the posts and the one in the field next to the "Delete" button) match, the posts will get deleted. You can also elect to only delete the pictures appended to the posts - to do this select the "File Only" checkbox.
Deleting the OP deletes the whole thread.
Q: I'm still not sure what all the boards are specifically for, can I get more in depth descriptions of them?
The FAQ is currently being maintained by members of the Ponychan Staff for the next several months as of February 2013. Please direct any questions or suggestions for it onto any member of the Ponychan Staff - we can be contacted through our emails.