This is the revamped FAQ: For Newbies proposal. It doesn't currently have an introduction, as the old one is unsuitable.
If you have other questions regarding any aspect of the PPC, please either look up the relevant articles here on the Wiki, or ask on the Board. If there’s anything you think belongs in this FAQ/Guide that isn’t here, mention it when you ask on the Board; we’re certain to have missed something.
What is the PPC? Edit
What are these PPC missions I've heard about? Edit
Where did the PPC come from? Edit
What is the PPC community? Edit
What's the PPC all about, really? Edit
Can I join? Edit
What sort of people are in the PPC community? Edit
How can I join? Edit
It's easy! Just make a post introducing yourself on the PPC Posting Board and receive the warm welcome of your fellows, and boom, you've officially joined the PPC.
Note, however, that you are not becoming an agent when you join the PPC. Agents are fictional characters who live in HQ and go on missions. You are a real person who lives in a house or dorm or something, hangs out in an online community, and may (or may not!) write stories about said missions. There is at least one whole world of difference.
What're the rules? Edit
What should I talk about? Edit
Can anyone help me settle in? Edit
Does joining mean I'm allowed to write PPC missions? Edit
- Main article: Permission
Not just yet! Some of the information from the Permission section in For Newbies will go here; the rest of it will go over to Permission if it's not already there.
What're the people like? Edit
Why is nobody answering my question? Edit
Why do people keep correcting my spelling? Edit
This shouldn't really worry you too much. The PPC strives towards accuracy as much as it can, and sometimes Boarders do this instinctively. The best you can do is work to minimize those errors, but no fear, everyone will accept the occasional mess-up or so in a post. Grammar Nazism is a common trait among us, and errors that should have been caught make a lot of us twitch in our boots.
Boarders may also sometimes call you on facts you might have mentioned. If you think you're right, say so (and back it up), but remember that this is a friendly forum and that descent into flaming is Not Allowed.
What's with all the weird swearwords? Edit
- Main article: Creative Curses
Given that we like to keep the Board at a young-people-friendly PG-13 rating, we tend to cling to words we like or find appropriate for substitute swearwords. They might come from a particular canon as a swearword, or from fandom. A brief list of these, and where they came from, may be found in the main article.
What should I do with this badfic I found? Edit
Your attention to duty does you credit. You should bring this stuff to the attention of the PPC Board, of course; try to do so by either adding it to a current thread on the topic of badfic, or putting it all in one post; multiple new threads with only one badfic in each is Bad. Yes, we are a badfic-sporking association, but the Board is also where we have our fun and our downtime, and thus having it taken up with badfic notification is a tad depressing at times. (Also, when you make your post on the Board, please put the name of the fandom in your subject line—it makes it much easier to get the attention of someone who might want to take it on.)
You can also put any badfic you find on the Unclaimed Badfic page of the wiki; you should put Title, Link, and the Summary that the author wrote (resisting the urge to correct any mistakes in it). If something is NSFW or NSFB, you should also note that. Do resist the urge to add everything you find, though. Not all badfic is good mission material, so only add ones you think someone would have fun sporking.
What's a Board? Edit
Seriously, what's a Board? Edit
The PPC Board is the main site and home of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. We've lived here for over fifteen years, ever since The Original Series was booted from fanfiction.net. It's a wonderful world of wacky writers willing to... wrestle with the... wily... world... no, we already used 'world'... oh, you get the idea.
The PPC Board uses a thread system, where topics and replies appear in chronological order. New topics appear at the top of the page. Replies to the original post appear in an indented, bulleted list below it, with the newest replies at the top; second-level replies are further indented beneath the first-level reply they answer; etc. The conversation thus appears as a line of links stretching diagonally down and across the page, and this line is known as a "thread."
When a thread is more than twenty-four hours old, new replies to it (made within the last twenty-four hours) are highlighted in gray to make them easier to spot.
Why are we using an old Posting Board instead of a newer type of forum? Edit
The answer you get to this will depend on who you talk to, what mood they're in, and what phase of the moon it is. Some common reasons includes:
- This is where everything links to, including many pages we can't edit, and a lot of old archives.
- When we have our occasional heated debates, it's actually better that they drop off the front page by themselves, rather than hanging around haunting us.
- For the PPC, it's better to have a Board that's constantly moving than one where topics get pushed back to the top when commented on, since it means new topics don't get lost, old ones don't get dragged out by a couple of people, and any particularly interesting ones can be restarted after it falls off the front page. We once tried 'bump mode' - it resulted in a massive Badfic thread that ate the front page, never went away, and resulted in people demanding that less badfic be posted. On the PPC Board. Yeah, it made us a bit crazy.
- The simple layout is i) traditional, and ii) easy on the eye.
- It's free. Making something that works the same way wouldn't be. T-Board is free only because it has a very small (relative to the Board) limit on the number of posts it can hold.
- People keep coming back after years of absence, and they wouldn't be able to find us.
- The PPC isn't actually large enough to need anything more complex. In general, it takes a week or more to cycle through the Front Page, which is more than enough time for everyone to lose interest in the conversation.
- We're just too stubborn to give up on this place, especially given the weight of tradition behind it now.
How do I post a reply on the Board? Edit
It's easy! You don't have to create an account or log in to use the Board, and in fact, we advise you not to try. The YourWebApps account creation and login processes can be temperamental, and there aren't any particular benefits to going through them that we know of.
To reply to a post, simply click the "Post Reply" button under the post you want to respond to, fill your user name in the Author space, put a post title in the Subject space, and type your message in the big Message space. You don't have to fill in the Email space, but you can if you'd like to receive notices when people reply to that particular post.
Remember to click "Preview Message" and make sure everything looks the way you want it before you hit "Post Message" or "Post Reply" in the composition screen, especially if you're using HTML formatting such as <i>italics</i> or <b>bold</b> text. Unclosed HTML tags can really mess up a thread.
Am I allowed to create a thread? Edit
Oh, sorry, you wanted more? Anyone is allowed to make a new thread, so long as it complies with the Constitution, but please be aware that the Front Page only holds twenty-five threads, and that practically nobody reads past it. It is for this reason that "multiple posting," that is posting more than one new thread in a row, is frowned upon on the Board, as it means that a convoluted discussion or intriguing topic has been shunted from display. Some things, like introducing yourself, asking for Permission, or posting a new story, do deserve their own threads, but not everything does. Before you start a new one, please check to see if there is already a thread for talking about badfic, or discussing character creation, or asking questions, or anything else that you can guess comes up a whole lot.
How do I create threads? Edit
It's very much the same as replying to a post: instead of hitting 'Post Reply', look for the button saying 'Post Message' at the top of the main page. Make sure to give your thread a title that lets people know what they're in for - 'Question about agent names' is going to get a lot more attention than 'I have a question'!
What should I say in my newbie introduction? Edit
The concept is simple: we want to know who you are, so your introduction should tell us a little bit about yourself. If you need suggestions, here are some questions that Boarders commonly ask newbies when welcoming them:
- Have you read the PPC Constitution, the Original Series, this FAQ, and/or the variety of other helpful materials we have prepared for you? (If you haven't read at least the Constitution and the Original Series yet, go do it! It's important!)
- What are your fandoms?
- How did you find the PPC?
- What's your favorite spin-off?/Who are your favorite agents?
- What else do you do for fun?
You may also wish to share information such as your gender/preferred pronouns, what you are studying/have studied/will study in school, what country you live in, and your native language if non-English. None of this is at all mandatory – and definitely don't reveal private information such as your real name or exact location – but we're a pretty broad group, and we're keen to know how broad. Diversity is fun!
Please refrain from playing a character on the Board outside of actual role-play events. We want to get to know you, not a fake persona.
What do I need to know when using the Board? Edit
As you have been told in the Constitution, when writing your post, make an effort towards good spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. Modern browsers such as Firefox come with a built-in spellchecker, which is very handy. Be extra-careful if you choose to post from a smartphone. Autocomplete may twist your words. Beware!
Why can't I post? Edit
There are a few reasons you might not be able to post:
- If you're using a smartphone, sometimes the message box can run over the 'Post Message' button and remove it from the screen. Some people have been able to correct this by altering the orientation of their phone (which is a fancy way of saying 'turn it sideways').
- If you try to post and discover that your messages aren't going through, it's possible that you've been accidentally IP-blocked. This is where we say who to contact.
What's a Discord? Edit
Seriously, what's a Discord? Edit
How do I get in? Edit
What are the rules of the Discord? Edit
What channels have you got? Edit
What's a Wiki? Edit
Seriously, what's a Wiki? Edit
A Wiki is an online compendium of information about a particular fandom or other topic. Named after the real world-focused Wikipedia, Wikis are unique because their pages are created and maintained by fans of the topic they cover, rather than by creators of the fictional universe.
Of course, that line gets a little blurry with us, since Boarders are both fans and creators of the PPC. As the community grew, and the number of spin-offs increased, the esteemed JulyFlame saw the need for a central information hub, so that research into the PPC setting was made easier, and so the many different stories, hosted all around the internet, could be linked to from a central location. She created the PPC Wiki in 2007, and it has only grown larger and more informative since then, with numerous Boarders contributing to it over time.
Do I have to register to edit? Edit
Strictly speaking, no, but it's strongly encouraged. It's incredibly disconcerting to some of us to see an unidentifiable stranger making changes to our wiki, and logging in is actually more secure for you, since your IP address will no longer show up.
If for some reason you can't register/log in, at least leave your name in your edit summary.
What can I edit? Edit
We encourage everyone to edit and alter as much as they want, within reason. We don't generally like people making massive floods of edits outside established projects, and please bear in mind that this isn't a comprehensive wiki - it's intended for things that are relevant to the PPC, not every little thing that springs to mind. It's perfectly acceptable to link to other wikis where they're more comprehensive.
When editing the wiki in general, please follow the established format for that page or type of page. If you don't know how, check the Editing Tutorial or ask for help on the Board or on someone's Talk Page. Some things, like adding infoboxes, are a little tricky. Also, some people find it much easier to edit in source mode than Wikia's shortcut mode, and there are established problems with the shortcuts anyway. You can switch to source mode temporarily using a toggle in the shortcut mode's toolbox, and permanently in your account preferences. Doing this also enables you to copy and paste pieces of other people's code if you see something you like, and you will very quickly learn to do it yourself. Source mode does have editing tips, which tell you how to do just about everything you'll need.
What can't I edit? Edit
Out of politeness, we generally don't touch other Boarders' user pages, or the pages of characters that belong to a certain Boarder. Those sorts of pages are personal to their authors, and we don't want to change things around without their permission.
Some pages are programmed not to allow editing. This is mainly the Things I Am Not Allowed to Do at the PPC pages, since the content therein is the result of games played on the Board, and new entries to those lists shouldn't be added. Other pages may be protected only against new users if they were regularly targeted by spam or trolls in the past. If you're blocked from editing something and don't know why, let one of the Administrators know of the change you're wanting to make.
I'm not really sure how technical we want to go here. List of protected pages is here, but I'm sure we don't want to list all of them, eh? --doctorlit
Can I add a new page? Edit
Absolutely - but make sure it's a page that the Wiki will actually benefit from having. A fandom with a dozen missions needs a page - one which no PPCer has ever glanced at doesn't. Similarly, a random badfic you've just run into doesn't need a page about it, whereas a Legendary Badfic probably does.
What about OFUs? Edit
Seriously, what's an OFU? Edit
An OFU is an Official Fanfiction University. The concept was created by Miss Cam back 2002; they're basically stories where fangirls Learn Through Pain why their inability to write anything but badfic is Bad. They usually feature moderately caricatured versions of canon characters, moderately malicious minis, and moderately high death tolls.
The PPC is closely affiliated with the OFUs as a concept, and many OFUs are/were written by PPC members, but they aren't strictly a part of our organisation. In particular, the concept of Permission does not apply to OFUs.
Can I start an OFU? Edit
In years past, one would ask Miss Cam for permission to do a spin-off, but she’s no longer involved, so generally, one can just start at will. You still need to credit Miss Cam for the original idea of OFUs.
It is, however, quite rude to write an OFU for a fandom that already has one, so make sure you check here and to see if there's already one out there. If there is, you could ask the author if you could contribute, or - if it's been abandoned - try and get in touch and ask to continue or replace it.
Bear in mind what you're getting into, though: an OFU is a huge committment as a story, and most never get anywhere near finished. Make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew!
What's a mini? Edit
- Main article: Mini
A mini is a creature created by a misspelling usually, though not always, made in fanfics. Minis vary according to fandom. For example, The Lord of the Rings has mini-Balrogs, Harry Potter has mini-Aragogs, Pirates of the Caribbean has Misspelled Monkeys, etc. Mini-Balrogs were the original minis, debuting in Miss Cam's Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth.
Each mini is unique. If an already-discovered mini is mentioned again in another badfic (in other words, if the same typo is made), the original mini will be called into the new mission. It will then have to be returned to the OFU or response center it was living in prior.
Can I adopt a mini? Edit
Well, if a Boarder has put up a list of ones they’ve found recently, you can simply ask then and there. If there aren’t any around at the moment, go to the List of Everything PPC and scroll down to the links concerning minis, though we're afraid some of those are broken. Generally, volunteers now keep tabs on different mini lists; Cassie, for instance, took over the list of mini-Balrogs from Miss Cam. There are also several lists on the wiki; just check the Mini page to see what kinds are linked.
Can I create a new kind of mini? Edit
Only if it’s not already listed for that fandom and you've actually written an OFU or mission in that continuum. When creating a new mini type, try to choose something unique – not dragons, for instance. Lots of continua have dragons. Also, because minis are treated as pets, some people are creeped out by minis with human or human-like intelligence and emotion, so try to avoid minis based on sentient beings.
What else have we got? Edit
Do we have an RPing site? Edit
RP sometimes breaks out on the Board, and more organized or long-lasting RPs tend to be started on or migrated to the T-Board.
Our Discord server has two channels for role play: #Rudi's for PPC-based RP, and #Other_RP for . . . um . . . other . . . ones.
Some folks also have in-character journals for their agents, and use them to role-play on Dreamwidth.
Are we? --doctorlit
Where do I find PPC missions to read? Edit
You're in the perfect spot for that! Our Wiki has all kinds of ways to search for missions. If you're looking for missions set in a particular universe, you can look in the list at the bottom of each continuum page. If you want missions dealing with a specific type of badfic, the Complete List of PPC Fiction organizes spin-offs under the department their agents work in. You can also use the search bar at the top of every Wiki page to find individual character pages for all the stories they've appeared in, or for a Boarder's page to find a link to their site.
Additionally, the most recent story releases appear in the right-hand side bar of the Wiki main page.
What about my other questions? Edit
This is where the odd questions from 'The Board' and 'For Newbies' will end up; the stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else.