EBBS

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The EBBS is short for "The Elite Bulletin Board System". It is a multi-site web board, with Usenet-style threading and indexing (as opposed to the more common phpBB style web board). It has been in operaton since 23rd April 2000. It has an NNTP (Usenet) interface as well as the web-based interface, allowing people to use Usenet newsreaders instead of the web interface if they prefer. The EBBS was started mainly to allow "in character" discussion to complement the more factually oriented Usenet group, alt.fan.elite. Although it still remains a place where fiction is frequently posted, it also contains normal discussion of the game, as well as some off-topic banter.

The board is written in Perl, and uses MySQL as its backing storage.

History

Background

The first incarnaton of the EBBS (or the Frontier News Bulletin Board, as it was originally known) was the 'wwwboard' message board from Matt's Script Archive. This opened for business in April 2000. However, it quickly became clear that wwwboard was entirely inadequate for the purpose - the user interface for message threading was awkward and it lacked any means to allow the user to customize the page presentation, nor did put older articles onto different pages, which would have meant that very quickly the main index page would have become unweildy - or messasges would have to be deleted. The other problem was that there were several Elite and Frontier message boards, none attracting much traffic, and most having other drawbacks (such as the infamous Re: Re: Re: Re: bug).

On the 17th June 2000, the 'wwwboard' was replaced by a new board, written completely from scratch. The new board was designed to look superficially similar to the MSA 'wwwboard', but it had new features that addressed some of the inadequacies of the earlier incarnation. It also gained the term 'EBBS' at this time. The immediate features were that the board could be linked to and customized to look like different sites - so the version of the board linked to by the Frontierverse looked like the rest of the Frontierverse site, and the Alioth.net version would look like Alioth.net. Webmasters could edit their templates with a simple template editor. The board also added a site signature to a posting, which was designed to help advertise each Elite website that had an EBBS portal. The threading user interface allowed users to skip to any messages in a thread, and a user log on system allowed users to optionally register so the system could keep track of what messages they had read already. Later, new thread modes were added (collapsed view versus threaded view).

Technical upgrades

The first upgrade was to change the message storage from flat files in a message subdirectory to storage in an SQL database. This upgrade enabled the addition of an NNTP server. The NNTP server was officially unveiled on 21st March 2001 and allows users to browse the board with the Usenet software of their choice. The NNTP server is available at news.alioth.net.

Notable threads

Fictional

Probably the most famous thread (or group of threads) was stretched out over a period of approximately two years, and was the HPA (Huge Plasma Accelerator) Saga - or as it was later known, Saaargha. This was a collaborative effort and principally involved the characters Norman Mosser, Mack Winston, Red Ravens and Frantic. It involved the theft of an enormous weapon from the Federation, and an attempt to use it in the Empire. The thread started humbly enough [1] with Norman Mosser at the helm. It is unlikely that he could have realised what he started with this.

Another notable ongoing story has been the continuing (mis)adventures of Mack Winston. Mack's constant flight from both enemies and relatives have been humorous in the blackest way. These have been written by Dylan Smith and have been occasional rather than regular.


'Deathwreaker - The Return of The Azure Sunset' is a new story, set two years after the original, in a galaxy having recovered from the debacle at Fort Donalds. The old crew are back with a few new faces, such as Cmdr. Maegil, Vasquith de Havilland and Kim Stenson

Many other fiction threads have been started by single authors, though fewer of these have been completed. They may generally be distinguished by the abbreviation "FEU:" in the subject line.

Other notable threads have included fictional advertisements, press releases and journal articles, both in a satirical and serious vein.

Flame wars

Undoubtedly, Jannah Berihn has been at the centre of the most heated flame wars on the EBBS. Some have included legal threats. Most have included attempts to unmask the true identity of Jannah Behrin.

Factual

Apart from the usual questions about how to run the game, or when will Elite: Dangerous come out, the most heated factual discussion probably happened in the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. The EBBS is not unique in this regard.

External links