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FAQ
Login and Registration Issues
Why can't I log in?
Why do I need to register at all?
Why do I get logged off automatically?
How do I prevent my username from appearing in the online user listings?
I've lost my password!
I registered but cannot log in!
I registered in the past but cannot log in anymore!
Why do I have to wait before I can access the forums?
Why can't I use free-mail?
How can I create an acceptable e-mail account?

User Preferences and settings
How do I change my settings?
The times are not correct!
I changed the timezone and the time is still wrong!
My language is not in the list!
How do I show an image below my username?
How do I change my rank?
When I click the email link for a user it asks me to log in.

Posting Issues
How do I post a topic in a forum?
How do I edit or delete a post?
How do I add a signature to my post?
How do I create a poll?
How do I edit or delete a poll?
Why can't I access a forum?
Why can't I vote in polls?

FTMB Guidelines
What is appropriate to post?
How much should I quote other users?
What are the privacy issues on the FTMB?
Tell me about spamming, flaming and trolling

Warnings, Bannings and Deletions
Tell me about warnings
What are warnable offences?
Why do you ban users?
When is an offending user deleted?

Formatting and Topic Types
What is BBCode?
Can I use HTML?
What are Smileys?
Can I post Images?
What are Announcements?
What are Sticky topics?
What are Locked topics?

User Levels and Groups
What are Administrators?
What are Moderators?
What are Usergroups?
How do I join a Usergroup?
How do I become a Usergroup Moderator?

Private Messaging
I cannot send private messages!
I keep getting unwanted private messages!
I have received a spamming or abusive email from someone on this board!

phpBB 2 Issues
Who wrote this bulletin board?
Why isn't X feature available?
Whom do I contact about abusive and/or legal matters related to this board?

 

Login and Registration Issues
Why can't I log in?
Have you registered? Seriously, you must register in order to log in. Have you been banned from the board? (A message will be displayed if you have.) If so, you should contact the webmaster or board administrator to find out why. If you have registered and are not banned and you still cannot log in then check and double-check your username and password. Usually this is the problem; if not, contact the board administrator -- they may have incorrect configuration settings for the board.
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Why do I need to register at all?
To be able to fully utilize the Fortean Times Message Boards (FTMB), we request that you register. Registering is simple, and takes only a few minutes. Here are the steps: Go to our rules & registration page, read the site rules, and if you agree to the terms, fill out the short registration form. Once you've submitted your information, user accounts are pre-screened and approved manually so you must wait for approval by the FTMB Moderators. Please allow 1-3 days for registration approval, it requires no action on your part, and will come to you by e-mail, so make sure you use a valid POP3 e-mail account. Please note free-mail accounts ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE. Once you're approved, you can then read and post to all of the forums at FTMB. Please note, due to the way the Forum is run, if you change your email address you may find yourself temporarily locked out because the board re-confirms your new email account via your old one. In order to smooth out the transition, simply let a moderator know when you’re going to change, and it can be done manually.
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Why do I get logged off automatically?
If you do not check the Log me in automatically box when you log in, the board will only keep you logged in for a preset time. This prevents misuse of your account by anyone else. To stay logged in, check the box during login. This is not recommended if you access the board from a shared computer, e.g. library, internet cafe, university cluster, etc.
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How do I prevent my username from appearing in the online user listings?
In your profile you will find an option Hide your online status; if you switch this on you'll only appear to board administrators or to yourself. You will be counted as a hidden user.
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I've lost my password!
Don't panic! While your password cannot be retrieved it can be reset. To do this go to the login page and click I've forgotten my password. Follow the instructions and you should be back online in no time.
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I registered but cannot log in!
First check that you are entering the correct username and password. If they are okay then one of two things may have happened: if COPPA support is enabled and you clicked the I am under 13 years old link while registering then you will have to follow the instructions you received. If this is not the case then maybe your account need activating. Some boards will require all new registrations be activated, either by yourself or by the administrator before you can log on. When you registered it would have told you whether activation was required. If you were sent an email then follow the instructions; if you did not receive the email then check that your email address is valid. One reason activation is used is to reduce the possibility of rogue users abusing the board anonymously. If you are sure the email address you used is valid then try contacting the board administrator.
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I registered in the past but cannot log in anymore!
The most likely reasons for this are: you entered an incorrect username or password (check the email you were sent when you first registered) or the administrator has deleted your account for some reason. If it is the latter case then perhaps you did not post anything? It is usual for boards to periodically remove users who have not posted anything so as to reduce the size of the database. Try registering again and get involved in discussions.
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Why do I have to wait before I can access the forums?
The approval process gives us a mechanism to ensure that everyone who participates in the forum isn't registering anonymously for the sole purpose of causing trouble.
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Why can't I use free-mail?
In the past troublesome members have registered anonymously and made themselves nuisances to the extent that we have had to ban registrations from web-based e-mail accounts (e.g. Hotmail, yahoo, etc). We apologize for the inconvenience, but it is an unfortunate consequence of our goal to have the highest-quality discussion possible.
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How can I create an acceptable e-mail account?
We accept ISP subscription accounts, for example Freeserve, NTL or Blueyonder in the UK, or AT&T, RoadRunner or Verizon in the US, and of course, AOL and MSN globally. You can also use your work e-mail if you wish.
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User Preferences and settings
How do I change my settings?
All your settings (if you are registered) are stored in the database. To alter them click the Profile link (generally shown at the top of pages but this may not be the case). This will allow you to change all your settings.
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The times are not correct!
The times are almost certainly correct; however, what you may be seeing are times displayed in a timezone different from the one you are in. If this is the case, you should change your profile setting for the timezone to match your particular area, e.g. London, Paris, New York, Sydney, etc. Please note that changing the timezone, like most settings, can only be done by registered users. So if you are not registered, this is a good time to do so, if you pardon the pun!
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I changed the timezone and the time is still wrong!
If you are sure you have set the timezone correctly and the time is still different, the most likely answer is daylight savings time (or summer time as it is known in the UK and other places). The board is not designed to handle the changeovers between standard and daylight time so during summer months the time may be an hour different from the real local time.
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My language is not in the list!
The most likely reasons for this are either the administrator did not install your language or someone has not translated this board into your language. Try asking the board administrator if they can install the language pack you need or if it does not exist, please feel free to create a new translation. More information can be found at the phpBB Group website (see link at bottom of pages)
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How do I show an image below my username?
There may be two images below a username when viewing posts. The first is an image associated with your rank; generally these take the form of stars or blocks indicating how many posts you have made or your status on the forums. Below this may be a larger image known as an avatar; this is generally unique or personal to each user. It is up to the board administrator to enable avatars and they have a choice over the way in which avatars can be made available. If you are unable to use avatars then this is the decision of the board admin and you should ask them their reasons (we're sure they'll be good!)
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How do I change my rank?
In general you cannot directly change the wording of any rank (ranks appear below your username in topics and on your profile depending on the style used). Most boards use ranks to indicate the number of posts you have made and to identify certain users. For example, moderators and administrators may have a special rank. Please do not abuse the board by posting unnecessarily just to increase your rank -- you will probably find the moderator or administrator will simply lower your post count.
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When I click the email link for a user it asks me to log in.
Sorry, but only registered users can send email to people via the built-in email form (if the admin has enabled this feature). This is to prevent malicious use of the email system by anonymous users.
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Posting Issues
How do I post a topic in a forum?
Easy -- click the relevant button on either the forum or topic screens. You may need to register before you can post a message. The facilities available to you are listed at the bottom of the forum and topic screens (the You can post new topics, You can vote in polls, etc. list)
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How do I edit or delete a post?
Unless you are the board admin or forum moderator you can only edit or delete your own posts. You can edit a post (sometimes for only a limited time after it was made) by clicking the edit button for the relevant post. If someone has already replied to the post, you will find a small piece of text output below the post when you return to the topic that lists the number of times you edited it. This will only appear if no one has replied; it also will not appear if moderators or administrators edit the post (they should leave a message saying what they altered and why). Please note that normal users cannot delete a post once someone has replied.
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How do I add a signature to my post?
To add a signature to a post you must first create one; this is done via your profile. Once created you can check the Add Signature box on the posting form to add your signature. You can also add a signature by default to all your posts by checking the appropriate radio box in your profile. You can still prevent a signature being added to individual posts by un-checking the add signature box on the posting form.
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How do I create a poll?
Creating a poll is easy -- when you post a new topic (or edit the first post of a topic, if you have permission) you should see a Add Poll form below the main posting box. If you cannot see this then you probably do not have rights to create polls. You should enter a title for the poll and then at least two options -- to set an option type in the poll question and click the Add option button. You can also set a time limit for the poll, 0 being an infinite amount. There will be a limit to the number of options you can list, which is set by the board administrator
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How do I edit or delete a poll?
As with posts, polls can only be edited by the original poster, a moderator, or board administrator. To edit a poll, click the first post in the topic, which always has the poll associated with it. If no one has cast a vote then users can delete the poll or edit any poll option. However, if people have already placed votes only moderators or administrators can edit or delete it; this is to prevent people rigging polls by changing options mid-way through a poll
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Why can't I access a forum?
Some forums may be limited to certain users or groups. To view, read, post, etc. you may need special authorization which only the forum moderator and board administrator can grant, so you should contact them.
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Why can't I vote in polls?
Only registered users can vote in polls so as to prevent spoofing of results. If you have registered and still cannot vote then you probably do not have appropriate access rights.
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FTMB Guidelines
What is appropriate to post?
The board is divided into 4 areas: General Fortean news and stories, Specialist Topics (Cryptozoology, Ufology, etc), Fortean Pursuits (Fortean culture and Charles Fort's ideas), and This Place (the board itself, and 'off-topic' chat). If you are posting to the first three areas, your contribution should have Fortean relevance (especially Specialist Topics). The Chat area is for more lighthearted and not necessarily Fortean banter, but you should still use some common sense when posting here, i.e. if you are asking about grouting techniques, maybe you should be posting to a DIY message board instead.
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How much should I quote other users?
Unless it is really crucial, do not paste long quotes of other members' posts.
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What are the privacy issues on the FTMB?
This board is a very friendly and sociable place, but don't forget that it is a public space. Just use your common sense. If you post pictures of yourself on the board, don't be surprised if they turn up 6 months later on the net, Photoshop'd onto some porn scene. Not all members of the public are nice and fluffy. We also recommend that members use private messaging rather than emails to contact each other.
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Tell me about spamming, flaming and trolling
Spamming generally refers to mass emailing of advertising material, and on Message Boards it refers to posting identical or similar posts on different threads. This is annoying to readers, and a waste of server space. But sometimes a post is relevent on two or more threads: in this case, make your post on the most relevent thread, and post short links to it on the other threads. Spamming is one activity that Trolls sometimes practice. A 'Troll' is a malicious poster, whose posts contain personal abuse and foul or obscene language. These unpleasant characters will be banished from the Board by the Moderators as soon as possible.

You can help by following these three simple rules: 1. Never reply to a Troll. (They are attention seekers and will enjoy your reactions, especially if you feel tempted to respond in kind!) 2. Report Trolls to the Moderators - there is a link provided under every post. 3. Put them on your Ignore list - then you you don't have to read any more of their nonsense! The simplest way to do this is to click on the Profile button under the post, scroll to the bottom of the Profile page and click the 'Add to Ignore List' link. (You can also edit your Ignore list from Control Panel.)

A Flame is an insulting criticism or remark meant to incite anger. Flaming isn't exclusive to Trolls however. Otherwise amiable board users can find themselves suddenly spitting out bile at other members, for the pettiest of reasons. Again - try to keep your hair on, and remember it's just a message board at the end of the day.
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Warnings, Bannings and Deletions
Tell me about warnings
Before anyone is banned, they will be warned: any more than three warnings and they will be banned for an indefinite period until the moderators and or administrators have an opportunity to discuss the circumstances of the suspension, and the subsequent action. Members will be notified via PM each time they are warned, and if a third and final warning is reached their Username will be posted on this thread (hopefully this will be a rare occurrence): by these means, though it may smack to some of 'Traitor's Cloister', it will be unequivocal who is on their final warning: we as mods have been accused of heavy-handedness rather too often when others are unaware of the background. This way everyone knows who is likely to be banned, and why.
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What are warnable offences?
Simple: flaming, provocation to flame, trolling and conspiracy to troll or harass other posters. Some clarification here - heated debate regarding a topic is not flaming, nor is it trolling; the instant it gets personal, however, it becomes certainly the former and frequently the latter. Personal insults, speculation regarding the real-life identity of another member and so on are completely against the rules of this board, and as such are warnable offences. In most cases, unless things have escalated rapidly, we will have made one or more overtures via PM before resorting to a private warning. Provocation to flame, where a member already known to be volatile (and as such would already be on the warned list) is subtly, or overtly needled by others in an attempt to provoke a reaction and thus get them banned is equally reprehensible, and therefore carries equal censure. Trolling, either individually or in the form of co-ordinated harassment of individual members, is also both warnable and ban-able: see next section for details.
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Why do you ban users?
Banning is the action of placing a member into stasis: it is not deletion, most of their posts remain unscathed, and their account can easily be re-activated. It is within the power of any Moderator to place any other member under a temporary ban if such action is warranted - for example, if a flame war rapidly develops between two members of otherwise previously good character - no extant warnings in either case - any Moderator has the mandate to warn and ban each of the perpetrators for a day or so to allow them to cool off; if one of the members had previous warnings for similar behaviour, however, their ban may be somewhat longer. Similarly, Mods may temporarily close a thread at their own discretion if the entire discussion has descended into a mass slanging match, or complaints are received regarding the content: such bans and closures will only ever be temporary: longer term bans and closures should be done as a result of discussion between two or more moderators, and the rationale for such posted at the end of a closed thread or on the 'Warnings, Bannings, etc' thread. NB: Anyone who attempts to re-register under a different username whilst their original is the subject of a banning order will have the new name, and any posts in that name, deleted without further discussion. Any registered sock puppets of banned users will also be automatically suspended. Unregistered sock puppets will be deleted without further discussion. Indiscriminate trolling will result in an immediate, permanent ban. Lower level harassment, individual or coordinated, will result in an immediate, temporary ban, with a final warning in place in the event of reinstatement.

Finally, remember that posting to this message board is a privilege, not a right. Membership is free, the only cost being your agreement to abide by the guidelines as set down here.
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When is an offending user deleted?
Deletion is the entire removal of a user from the board. The option of preserving their posts is available, however. Deletion will only happen in two cases: 1) A repeated offence as listed above, despite a third and final warning, will result in an indefinite ban until moderators and/or administrators have an opportunity to discuss and deletion is agreed upon. 2) A full-scale troll attack: in these circumstances, Moderators have the power to delete all posts and the user without further recourse and under their own initiative. We wish to be as open and accountable as possible: please appreciate that moderation is a difficult job, and whatever action is taken will invariably provoke a mixture of support and criticism: we as moderators merely wish to propogate an atmosphere in which members can feel free to express themselves and engage in debate: 95% of the members herein wish to, and do, just that. Our job is to allow them to do so.
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Formatting and Topic Types
What is BBCode?
BBCode is a special implementation of HTML. Whether you can use BBCode is determined by the administrator. You can also disable it on a per post basis from the posting form. BBCode itself is similar in style to HTML: tags are enclosed in square braces [ and ] rather than < and > and it offers greater control over what and how something is displayed. For more information on BBCode see the guide which can be accessed from the posting page.
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Can I use HTML?
That depends on whether the administrator allows you to; they have complete control over it. If you are allowed to use it, you will probably find only certain tags work. This is a safety feature to prevent people from abusing the board by using tags which may destroy the layout or cause other problems. If HTML is enabled you can disable it on a per post basis from the posting form.
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What are Smileys?
Smileys, or Emoticons, are small graphical images which can be used to express some feeling using a short code, e.g. :) means happy, :( means sad. The full list of emoticons can be seen via the posting form. Try not to overuse smileys, though, as they can quickly render a post unreadable and a moderator may decide to edit them out or remove the post altogether.
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Can I post Images?
Images can indeed be shown in your posts. However, there is no facility at present for uploading images directly to this board. Therefore you must link to an image stored on a publicly accessible web server, e.g. http://www.some-unknown-place.net/my-picture.gif. You cannot link to pictures stored on your own PC (unless it is a publicly accessible server) nor to images stored behind authentication mechanisms such as Hotmail or Yahoo mailboxes, password-protected sites, etc. To display the image use either the BBCode [img] tag or appropriate HTML (if allowed).
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What are Announcements?
Announcements often contain important information and you should read them as soon as possible. Announcements appear at the top of every page in the forum to which they are posted. Whether or not you can post an announcement depends on the permissions required, which are set by the administrator.
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What are Sticky topics?
Sticky topics appear below any announcements in viewforum and only on the first page. They are often quite important so you should read them where possible. As with announcements the board administrator determines what permissions are required to post sticky topics in each forum.
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What are Locked topics?
Locked topics are set this way by either the forum moderator or board administrator. You cannot reply to locked topics and any poll contained inside is automatically ended. Topics may be locked for many reasons.
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User Levels and Groups
What are Administrators?
Administrators are people assigned the highest level of control over the entire board. These people can control all facets of board operation which include setting permissions, banning users, creating usergroups or moderators, etc. They also have full moderator capabilities in all the forums.
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What are Moderators?
Moderators are individuals (or groups of individuals) whose job it is to look after the running of the forums from day to day. They have the power to edit or delete posts and lock, unlock, move, delete and split topics in the forum they moderate. Generally moderators are there to prevent people going off-topic or posting abusive or offensive material.
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What are Usergroups?
Usergroups are a way in which board administrators can group users. Each user can belong to several groups (this differs from most other boards) and each group can be assigned individual access rights. This makes it easy for administrators to set up several users as moderators of a forum, or to give them access to a private forum, etc.
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How do I join a Usergroup?
To join a usergroup click the usergroup link on the page header (dependent on template design) and you can then view all usergroups. Not all groups are open access -- some are closed and some may even have hidden memberships. If the board is open then you can request to join it by clicking the appropriate button. The user group moderator will need to approve your request; they may ask why you want to join the group. Please do not pester a group moderator if they turn your request down -- they will have their reasons.
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How do I become a Usergroup Moderator?
Usergroups are initially created by the board administrator who also assigns a board moderator. If you are interested in creating a usergroup then your first point of contact should be the administrator, so try dropping them a private message.
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Private Messaging
I cannot send private messages!
There are three reasons for this; you are not registered and/or not logged on, the board administrator has disabled private messaging for the entire board, or the board administrator has prevented you individually from sending messages. If it is the latter case you should try asking the administrator why.
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I keep getting unwanted private messages!
In the future we will be adding an ignore list to the private messaging system. For now, though, if you keep receiving unwanted private messages from someone, inform the board administrator -- they have the power to prevent a user from sending private messages at all.
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I have received a spamming or abusive email from someone on this board!
We are sorry to hear that. The email form feature of this board includes safeguards to try to track users who send such posts. You should email the board administrator with a full copy of the email you received and it is very important this include the headers (these list details of the user that sent the email). They can then take action.
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phpBB 2 Issues
Who wrote this bulletin board?
This software (in its unmodified form) is produced, released and is copyrighted phpBB Group. It is made available under the GNU General Public License and may be freely distributed; see link for more details
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Why isn't X feature available?
This software was written by and licensed through phpBB Group. If you believe a feature needs to be added then please visit the phpbb.com website and see what the phpBB Group has to say. Please do not post feature requests to the board at phpbb.com, as the Group uses sourceforge to handle tasking of new features. Please read through the forums and see what, if any, our position may already be for features and then follow the procedure given there.
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Whom do I contact about abusive and/or legal matters related to this board?
You should contact the administrator of this board. If you cannot find who that is, you should first contact one of the forum moderators and ask them who you should in turn contact. If still get no response you should contact the owner of the domain (do a whois lookup) or, if this is running on a free service (e.g. yahoo, free.fr, f2s.com, etc.), the management or abuse department of that service. Please note that phpBB Group has absolutely no control and cannot in any way be held liable over how, where or by whom this board is used. It is absolutely pointless contacting phpBB Group in relation to any legal (cease and desist, liable, defamatory comment, etc.) matter not directly related to the phpbb.com website or the discrete software of phpBB itself. If you do email phpBB Group about any third party use of this software then you should expect a terse response or no response at all.
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