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Site Glossary of Commonly (and Uncommonly) Used Terms

If the boards or chat feel like a foreign country, littered by terms you don't recognize, this glossary should help. (Post to this thread if you'd like to make an addition).

Version 1.0 by Robert Sloan, community member additions credited in parentheses after appropriate entry

>^..^< - Cat emoticon perfectly acceptable to Zette and her horde of cats or anyone else onboard whether or not they have pointed ears and a tail.

AFAIK - as far as I know (Kay House)

AFK - Away From Keyboard (usually chasing a cat who's wrecking things)

ATM - It's not just a machine to get money out of, it's At The Moment. (Those expecting large sums in twenties out of chat will be disappointed, but it may come eventually in the form of cheques from editors for stories brainstormed in chat!)

BIAB - back in a bit (Kay House)

<bash> - Gesture - cat head into scritching or massaging hand, friendly greeting headbump.

BAK - Back At Keyboard

BBL - be back later (Kay House)

BBS - Be Back Soon, alternately Bulletin Board System though those are rare now having been replaced by the Internet or hosted on the Internet.

BNA - Big name author (Kay House)

Boughs of Holly - Large branches of wood which Holly administers across the head, (or anywhere else), to anyone breaking the rules, or misbehaving on the site. (Courtesy of BJ Steeves, Computer Wizard and Aspiring Author)

BRB - Be Right Back (Jehane)

Breadcrumbs - the string of words across the top of the page separated by >> such as Home >> Community >> General Interest and Chat >> Discussion that will let users easily navigate the site even if they can't read buttons and just read English.

<bump>...<n/t> - Moving a thread that has dropped out of sight back to the top. Used mainly for community notices. (Andi "Fetu")

Caffeine and Cat Hair - essentials for the writing life. For those who don't have cats due to allergies, landlords or disinclination, surrogate cats are often available in photo posts. Somewhere out there, Decaffeinated Dog Lovers will argue the point, but there's evidence in Darleesh and Mary Muse that horses can have the same effect on writing skills.

Cat hoovering (also Cat vacuuming) - 1. any excuse to avoid writing, even vacuuming the cat (Gerri); 2. A pointless exercise used to avoid real work. (HughSider)

Cato - The name an entity which lived in our former chatroom, now our backup chat room. This entity, (gremlin, demon, imp, electronic nuisance) or Word Vampire, was known to steal entire posts, knock interesting people out of chat, delay posts so that your comment comes up after the topic's changed or hold all posts including yours for a very long delay. Often posts vanished entirely by Cato's efforts, sent to wherever the other sock goes. Cato could sometimes be placated by sacrificing 'sims' from a computer game. Cato was first identified by member Darleesh (now known as "ladykesh." (Addition from Allikat -- "The chat was named Cato after the Pink Panther character of the same name, who likes to chuck people out of windows. As our chat likes to do the same, Dar decided it was a good match.") RS, Kay House (Has been replaced by Phoenix. HL)

Chat - French for cat, a program that lets literate cats who own writers talk to each other at Forward Motion.

Crits - Critiques. Posting or exchanging short stories, chapters or entire novels with other members of the community in order to locate strong and weak points in each other's work. (Holly)

CSL - C.S. Lewis, Christian philosopher and writer. (astropolis)

DNFTT - Do Not Feed The Trolls (SisterCoyote)

emoticon - an icon or symbol used to express an emotion which cannot easily be conveyed by the words used. (Kay House)

<EFG> - Evil eFFing Grin (one degree more evil than a VEG, which see) (Kay House)

<EG> - Evil Grin (Kay House)

Flames, Flaming - direct insults to other members. Flames are not tolerated on the site and may result in the user being banned, while offensive posts get replaced with an image or reference to a purple dinosaur well known to any parent of a toddler - or anyone who's ever spent even one afternoon with a toddler.

For polite company - Similar to "politically correct," the phrase "rendered, for polite company" means that an expression containing words or concepts that some people find offensive has been bowdlerized or otherwise toned down. This is so that the toned down word or phrase no longer contains words children would use to annoy their parents by repeating them in front of religious instructors (a/k/a sometimes as Sunday School Teachers), stiff necked school teachers or persons even more attuned to prunes or prisms. (Kay House)

FOTR - Fellowship of the Rings, by J.R.R.Tolkein (astropolis)

FUBAR - Worse even than SNAFU (which see), FUBAR is rendered, for polite company, as Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition. (Using "fouled" instead of f***ed.) FUBAR is not to be confused with community member FooBar, a delightful and beguiling creature created by Holly Lisle, site host, to test menus, systems and other working parts of the site. See FooBar's on-site bio! (Kay House)

FWIW - For What It's Worth

FYI - For Your Information (Jehane)

<G> - Grin. Like a smiley that's inoffensive.

<VEG> - Very Evil Grin.

Ghost - the anonymous person in chat who doesn't even have a "guest_name" listed. This is one of the things Cato can do to users. Sometimes the tagline after the blank space will reveal the ghost's identity.

GMTA - Great minds think alike (Kay House)

GMTABSTF - Great minds think alike but some type faster. (Nonny)

GMTABSTFEWD - Great minds think alike but some type faster, especially with Dvorak. (Nonny)

GMTABSTFEWQ - Great minds think alike, but some type faster, even with QWERTY. (Nonny)

GTG - Got To Go. (HughSider)

Holly Sighting - in chat is common when Holly is feeling inventive and looking for someone to experiment on. (For what may happen to experiments, read some of Holly's books...) Often results in site improvements like breadcrumbs, neat new menus and features.

Holly Threshold - When enough members get into chat, sometimes Holly gets curious and drops in to find out what the topic is. Sometimes it's pizza.

IIRC - If I Recall Correctly (Caroline)

IMHO - In My Humble Opinion (Caroline) IMNSHO-In my not so humble opinion

IMNSHO - In my not so humble opinion (Kay House)

IOW - in other words (Kay House)

Known Troll - a user who insults other users in posts or chat. Temporarily or permanently exiled to the Troll Cage. (A Cato usage. Now we just Mars Ban trolls. HL)

LOL - Laughing Out Loud, which chat will make you do...

LOTR - The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Often used as an example of everything that's right (or wrong) with epic fantasy series. (see WOT) (Katherine "kewms")

Lurkers - if you're in chat and someone's name is off to the side but they haven't posted for some time, it may mean they're actually writing. A mysterious numerical post out of nowhere like a non sequitur is usually good evidence of this and it's not intended as rudeness.

Maass Book - Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, recommended by Holly and used as a textbook for ...

Maass Class - which is a gruelling, miserable, grinding ordeal of writing and organizing and rewriting at a master level involving much homework, blood, sweat and tears but resulting in good books. Chatters taking the Maass Class will always be working on their homework.

Mars Ban -- a moderator prerogative in Phoenix that permits the moderator to ban a chatter and every ISP that chatter has ever used. Also known as Chat Hell. The new treatment for Trolls.

MC - Main Character. Often confused with Mostly Confused, Master Criminal, Mainly Crunchy or Makim Crazy...

Mobile smilies - If you don't LIKE the effects of the bouncing or jumping smilies, uncheck "Play animations in web pages." In your browser's "Tools" menu, "Option" item, "Advanced" tab.

Mugging the Muse - the best free writing book in existence, download it from this site if you haven't already.

Nightwriters - due to the time differences between some distant members and proclivity of some American members to late-night creativity, chat will tend to fill up around two or three in the morning with lively discussion that also sometimes carries lurkers who are banging out fiction or nonfiction while they chat.

Novel Writing Marathons - occasionally a site or contest will come up where members set out to start and finish a novel within a month, a week, a 3 Day Weekend without sleep. Usually these are accomplished in massive, never ending threads full of encouragement and rambling about process and plot.

n/t or NT - No Text, Null Topic, Nothing To (say) and there usually isn't anything in that post because its title says it all. (See TSIA) (RS) Also NM or n/m -- for No Message. (SisterCoyote)

OIC - Oh, I see (BlairB)

Phoenix Chat - 1. Welcome replacement for Cato. (HughSider) 2. The new, fast, beautiful chat entity that rose from the ashes of the late, unlamented, and utterly evil Cato. Phoenix has his quirks, but they're nothing compared to Cato's. (Holly Lisle)

POST - posting is how you make your contribution to an online "thread" (Kay House)

Private Chat - in the chat you can click on the browser that usually scrolls to All and select another member's name to send a private comment to. Warning. Cato will often transpose private comments to the entire group or public ones to the person you were privately chatting. (

ROFL - Rolling On Floor Laughing

ROFLMAO - Rolling On Floor Laughing My A** Off

ROFLPIMP - Rolling on floor laughing (so hard I'm) peeing in my pants. (Kay House)

ROTK -- Return of the King, by J.R.R.Tolkein (astropolis)

Shunning - a nonviolent approach to averting abusive posters either in chat or in posts: simply don't reply or acknowledge anything that's said. This works much better electronically than it did on the playground in grade school.

SNAFU - This is a military acronym that often applies to computer situations. It is rendered for polite company as Situation Normal: All Fouled Up. (Using "fouled" instead of "f***ed".) (Kay House) (see also FUBAR)

SNARF - 1. (n). a loud laugh, approximately equivalent to ROFL (Kay House) 2. (v). The action that changes a morsel in flight to a morsel in a dog's stomach, with almost no transition states. (HughSider) (ed. note: I always read <SNARF> as the action of laughing while drinking something, and the consequent noise of blowing Pepsi, etc., out the nose. HL)

Snerk - somewhere between a snicker and a smirk. (SisterCoyote)

<snork> -- A cross between a snarf and a snort. (Nonny)

Smilies - emoticons like :) will translate to smiley faces in the chat software and some sites provide exotic smilies like a little vomiting face or a skull or almost anything you can imagine. Be warned, if you import these when Zette is around you may see a large one where a smiley face is Splatted.... (In fact, Zette published a story featuring smilies.)

Taglines - the little comments to the side of a member's name in chat can be typed in by clicking Profile and then typing in the window next to "Chat Tagline" in the second set of window boxes. This results in two layers of simultaneous conversation, even sometimes three if anyone in there's using private chat behind the scenes. Much complexity and merriment. Please note that some commands, such as /memo, do not work if you have a chat tagline on. Please also note that in long classes, such as Think Tank, it is customary to disable taglines to reduce the amount of text which must be posted in the transcript. (RS, Kay House, HughSider)

Titivillus - the patron demon of typos. First identified circa 1285 in John of Wales' Tractatus de Penitentia, this little devil started out with copying and writing errors but rapidly discovered the joys of posting in chat. This is why so many brilliant writers can't spell in chat. Titivillus must've gotten out in North Carolina and gotten a modem.

Troll Cage - a special board set up with black on black text where Known Trolls who have been temporarily blocked from the site may continue to miserably flail at each other till amends are made and membership restored. (In Cato. Has been superceded by the dreaded Mars Ban. HL)

TSIA - Title Says It All

TT - The Two Towers, by J.R.R.Tolkein (astropolis)

TTFN - Ta Ta For Now

TTYL - Talk To You Later

TYVM - Thank You Very Much (often sardonic) (SisterCoyote)

<vhs> -- Very heavy sigh (Nonny)

Weblogs - Sometimes at http://www.blogger.com but may be at http://www.livejournal.com or any host that supports them. Viewing other writers' daily journals can often trick a writer into getting on with the writing. Neat little dodge around one's writer's block among other things.

Weird, mysterious numerical posts -like 1,118 or 2,500 or 40,112 - word counts usually posted by someone in a wordcount war. (See Wordcount War)

Wordcount War - where anyone who wants in on it will try to write a lot very fast on whatever WIP is on the menu. (See WIP) Also known as a Word War.

WOT -The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Often used as an example of everything that's wrong (or right) with epic fantasy series. (See LOTR) (Katherine "kewms")

WIP - Work In Progress or what your Muse is WIPping you on to get done today.

WW -- see Wordcount War (astropolis)

YW -You're Welcome (Kay House)

Zette Effect(tm) - Zette inspires anyone in the chatroom to sudden bursts of writing, massive word counts and superb efforts rewriting. If she complains about not getting it herself, reflect it at her with a mirror.

Zettercises - the "Exercises" board under Writing, Critiques and Research is still Zette's Gym though they're posted by several other Moderators. They have been known to produce good fiction and hefty wordcounts, there's a new one every day.

:-) or - the “smiley face.” An emoticon indicating that the writer is smiling and intends no negative connotation of any kind. An expression of goodwill. Not acceptable to 'Zette. (Kay House)

:-( or - the sad face. An emoticon indicating or inviting sympathy (Kay House)

;-) or - the winky face. An emoticon indicating whatever a wink would indicate in context. (Kay House)

>:( - the frowny face. An emoticon indicating anger, annoyance or frustration in connection with the information appearing in the accompanying text. (Kay House)

This article Copyright © 2002, by Robert Sloan, community, and Forward Motion. All Rights Reserved

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