Lobster FAQ

Lobster Forest Answered Questions

Rather than laboriously Q&A this thing, I’ll just list points.  This page is visible to the general public.

General Comments

  • What’s the point of this site?
    • This is a reasonably secure site for an online community.
    • Most of us hail from the salted earth of Ratburger and other conservative sites.
    • Feel free to carry conversations or comments from other sites into the mix here.  The proprietors and very likely most of the members are familiar with situations where an off-site discussion can be a good thing.  Let this be your off-site.
    • Membership is by invitation (admin invite or member invite + admin approval).  There is no automated self-sign up.
    • An invitation can be requested by (figuring out and) following the ONLY BARELY obfuscated instructions on the CONTACT US page under ABOUT.  A short email conversation will typically get it done.
  • Traffic here is low for now.  If it ebbs and flows, that’s fine.  Nobody is under any pressure to crank out meaningless quizzes or engagement questions (“So what do you think about vanilla?  Tell us in the comments below!”)
    • Feel free to post your own, however.
  • Cross-posted content is welcome, if done tastefully and without abusing the hospitality.
  • We don’t swear a lot here.  Thank you very much.
  • Blog time is UTC.  There’s a clock in the top right corner, up in the “admin bar” the (probably) black bar across the top of the screen.
  • As much stuff as possible is being moved into the menu bar (under the site image) up top, although a long links list may eventually justify a sidebar list.
  • Several things work now that previously did not:
    • Quoted replies in comments
    • Edit comments (for 30 minutes)
    • Like / Dislike for posts and comment — no tracking by name though.
  • Lobster Chat is up 24/7, with a recommended “poke your head around” time of 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific, 0100 UTC.  See clock at top.
  • Tags are free-form, whereas categories are managed.  Categories should be at a level larger than, fewer than, and different from tags.  Suggestions for categories welcome.
  • Magic links (embeds, frames, other stuff) are gently “discouraged”, but still sorta work.  HTML is not entirely shut down in posts and comments, but is limited.  This is to reduce the amount of unknown junk that this website might throw at your browser.  If there’s a YT video that you just have to share, go for it.  In general, we don’t do a lot of that, but sometimes we do.  And so on.
  • This blog is readable by the general public and writeable only by logged-in members.
  • An exception to the above is anything marked private, which is read/write only to logged-in members.
  • Lobster Chat is always private, does not log IPs (for some reason, that was an option), and is wiped out from time to time.
  • By default, everything is “copyright” under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-4.0, which means anybody can redistribute content which you post here *with proper attribution*.  See the notice in the footer at the bottom of every screen, which also says “except as noted”.
  • An exception can be had simply by claiming copyright prominently in a post that you have written, or an original work that you post.  Suggested format: “Copyright [year] by aka [username].”

Security

  • Social media, email marketing, trackers and cookies are absolutely minimized.  We’re not experts here, but we’re pretty good.  We don’t load fonts from Guulag, we don’t traffic in FB or other social media identities (every FB Like button is a surveillance instrument), and we don’t allow avatars because:
    • WordPress is owned by Automattic
    • Gravatar is owned by Automattic
    • Gravatar is a tracking technology
    • Worpdress only allows avatars if their Gravatar is turned on
    • Ergo, we do not allow avatars
    • Disqus is worse — they host and serve the identity and content of your comments — and they like them some Gravatar too.
  • Everything you see is hosted right here in a simple, reasonably secure, mostly plain-Jane WordPress install.
    • We sit comfortably behind CloudFlare, and we do not dwell upon site visits, engagement, and all of that.
      • There’s nothing we can do about bad news (“HackerBot attacks for 2d6 damage!”) which might come from the “site analytics”
      • Good news that might come from there will be reflected up front or else it doesn’t matter
      • Ergo, we don’t care about analytics
    • We don’t much care how “busy” the site is, although we have a loving concern for the health of the site.  Nobody posts just for the finger exercise, so activity is nice, but it’s only nice to the extent that it makes the experience better for members.
    • There are no ads, no identity tracking, no laborious attempt to build a brand.
    • Our paid hosting provider is SiteGround, which is old, large, and has a good reputation.  UNFORTUNATELY, they have opted to move their entire universe to a particularly bad cloud hosting provider — the Guulag.  HOWEVER, such indirect hosting is not the same degree of despair-worthy digital Hell as, say, using a a G product like Gmail, G Groups, Blogger, or similar.
    • Specifically, the fact that our hosting provider is itself hosted in the Guulag means little more than that it is located on the internet somewhere, which is thoroughly monitored anyway by damned near everybody.
    • Our paid email is operated by Protonmail as a full domain.
    • Our domain records are stored by a fifth party unrelated to the provider of any other service here.
    • These things are somewhat more expensive for being segregated like this, but a grown-up approach to security requires this, in the absence of a paid staff or exquisitely more expensive arrangements.  It’s a bargain.

Terms of Service Abstract

  • No charge, few promises, good effort.
    • Members will never be charged for membership, nor will any identity/information selling/trading/bartering be undertaken.  It’s evil and we will have nothing to do with it.
    • Someday, if necessary and appropriate, we may sell merch or something as a fundraiser.
  • Don’t abuse the site or the people on it.
  • DO NOT spill identifying information about users which is not obviously, intentionally, apparent (I don’t mean constructively apparent, I mean apparent as in “IT APPEARS”) from that user’s own presence.
    • Conversely, do not expect more privacy than you have allowed yourself.
  • If you ever wish to no longer be a member, just ask at the same address your invitation came from.  Same as the address for requesting to join.  or put up a private post to that effect, and it will be taken down when your request to depart is fulfilled.
    • Your posts etc may or may not be deleted or un-published.  Case by case.  Certainly we have no desire to hang onto parts of somebody who wishes to go.  Yet there may be reason to retain or even to maintain as published.  Hard to tell in advance.

Welcome!

  • We the proprietors of Lobster Forest owe you patience and understanding – we certainly have benefited from yours as we have grown.
  • Suggestions and requests for features are always welcome.
  • You don’t have to be a Trump fan to fit in here, but if you’re not, there are plenty of other places you may feel more at home.

Comments are closed.