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TORn 101
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When they say "Basic Information" they mean basic

(By the way, as I write this, I have the Change Defaults page open in another browser window. I recommend you do the same, or you might not see what I'm talking about, and I like to be given credit for the times I'm not talking gibberish.)

First things first:

basicinfo.jpg

This is all the truly essential information on this page, and to the best of my knowlege, this is all you need to be a registered member of the message boards. And even then, the e-mail address is not required. Nevertheless, this is a good time to say a few words about e-mail addresses, safety, and the boards.

It is useful to have an e-mail address for use on the boards -- no denying it. However, spam and potential weirdos should be enough to make you a little cautious about giving out your primary address. The general custom at TORn is to have an 'expendable' account at Yahoo, Hotmail, or some other free provider. This way, you can dump the account if you want to and control how much of the 'real you' goes out with each e-mail: having bob.smith@jonesarchitecture.com as your e-mail address is a wee bit revealing, especially compared to something like screenname@email.com.

Spambots are another major concern. These pesky buggers skim websites looking for e-mail addresses to bombard with offers of weight-loss drugs from Canada and who knows what else. The best way to avoid getting signed onto these Spam lists is to type out your email address as "screen name at email dot com" when posting it on the boards. Then if a real person wants to send you an e-mail, all he or she has to do is close up the spaces and translate the "at" and "dot" into the appropriate symbols. If you want to be really sneaky, make a small image file with your email address pictured in it; for example, type your name in Word, make a screencap, and crop it into a manageable size. Only human beings will be able to obtain your email address from an image. (I know! I thought this was super clever when I first heard it too!)

Just something to think about; obviously, you never have to admit to having an e-mail address if you don't want to.

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