Rock Net FAQ and User Tips
What is Rock Net?
Rock Net is a moderated topical discussion group serving rockhounds, mineral and fossil collectors, lapidary hobbyists and others with related interests in rocks and the earth sciences. It was designed and created to facilitate contact and interaction between rockhounds using the World Wide Web. Rock Net provides a topical discussion forum for sharing experiences, questions, answers, and advice on the multitude of subjects germane to academic and hobby interests in rocks.
Rock Net is provided as a resource for the rockhound community by Bob's Rock Shop. The software implementing it is constantly undergoing further development. User questions, feedback and bug reports are welcome by Bob Keller.
How do I read the messages at Rock Net?
Links to active user messages are provided on the Active Message Index page by message subject and are organized by conversational threads. The full text of each message is accessed by clicking the subject line link on that page. You may return to the message index page from the messages or any other Rock Net page via the navigation bar at the top and sometimes bottom of each page.
Active messages are periodically archived and moved under the Archive Message Index page. Note that while you can still access and read the archived messages, you cannot reply to them as you can active messages, and you cannot upload new messages to the archives.
How do I upload a message to Rock Net?
There are two different types of messages you can upload to the active Rock Net message board:
A Reply Message - You can upload a reply or answer to a previously posted message. A response form for replying to each message is provided at the bottom of it. When you use that form, the link to your message will be posted on the message index page with those in the original subject's conversational thread. In addition to replying to the author of the originating message in a conversational thread, you can reply to the author of a reply to the original message, the author of a reply to a reply to the original message, etc., anywhere in the thread.
- A New Topic Message - You can upload a message on a new topic or subject via the Start New Topic form and initiate a new conversational thread. A link to this form is provided in the navigation bar at the top and sometimes bottom of each Rock Net page. When you use that form, the link to your message will be posted on the message index page separate from existing conversational threads. Links to any messages posted as replies to your new topic (or your responder's replies) will be posted as conversational thread beneath the link to your originating message on the message index page.
Will responses to my post be forwarded to me?
Yes - Assuming of course that you supply your correct email address in the appropriate form field when you post your message, the Rock Net daemon will automatically email forward those posts made in direct response to your message.
Here's how the automated forwarding functions: Kathy K, the originator of the example Pipestone thread, would be sent automated email copies of the replies posted by Betty, Harold and Julie. Andre replied directly to Harold's post and not Kathy K's, so Kathy K won't get an automated email copy of Andre's post - only Harold will. The automated forwarding extends one response layer down for posts anywhere in a message thread.
Please help me find Pipestone! - Kathy K. 2/29/98
- Re: Please help me find Pipestone!... - Betty G.3/18/98
Re: Please help me find Pipestone!... - Harold 3/11/98
- Re: Re: Please help me find Pipesto... - Andre 3/14/98
- Re: Please help me find Pipestone!... - Julie 3/1/98
How do I restore the "broken" email addresses?
Automated email address harvesting and spam has become a serious issue for many Internet users. Rock Net users have the option of including their email address with their posts or not. If you do not want to include any email address with your posts, simply leave the "Your E-mail" field blank on the Message Upload Forms. Note however that if you do not provide your email address on the upload form, the Rock Net daemon will not be able to automatically forward direct responses to your post to you by email.
As a preventive measure against automated address harvesting by spammers, email addresses submitted via the "Your E-mail" field in the upload forms and published with Rock Net Messages are automatically "broken" by the Rock Net daemon by substituting the characters "[ ]" for the "@" character in the published address. If you want to directly email another Rock Net user via their address as published in Rock Net, you will first have to manually restore their "broken" address by substituting the "@" character for the "[ ]" characters in their published address.
Use concise and descriptive subject lines.
When you upload a message on a new topic, take the time to compose a subject line that is descriptive of it. Remember that the subject line of your message is all that other users will view on the message index page. If you need help locating parts for an obsolete rock saw or some to-die-for tanzanite rough, please don't post a subject line that just says "Help!" You have up to 50 characters allotted to you for your message subject line - use them!
Use personal email instead when appropriate.
Before you hit that upload button at the bottom of a message reply form, ask yourself if your response is really didactic or of potential interest to the discussion group at large. If you have personal or private business to discuss, please lay off that upload button and show the group the courtesy of taking it off Rock Net and switching over to personal email.
Commercial posts are unwelcome here.Be prepared to lose your Rock Net user privilege permanently if you choose to ignore this policy and use Rock Net for commercial purposes! Show Annoucements by non-profit gem and mineral societies and clubs are exempt from Rock Net's non-commercial policy and welcome on Rock Net.
Ads and other promotional messages by non-sponsoring commercial interests are inappropriate and unwelcome in this forum. They will be deleted as Rock Net policy at the editorial discretion of Bob's Rock Shop. If you have rocks or other items for sale, you are welcome to use the Shop's Rock Trader Classifieds as well as the Rough for Sale List, the Minerals for Sale List, the Gemstones for Sale List, the Meteorites for Sale List, or the Fossils for Sale List as appropriate.