The Mote Interface explained

The Mote Interface

The Home Page

Welcome! You arrived here from the Mote's home page. It is dominated by the list of discussion threads. They are displayed in order of most recent post. In the left column you find Topics of Interest. These links take you a specific post or the beginning of a sequence of posts in one of the discussion threads. Topics of Interest are maintained by the thread hosts. In the right-hand column you can see the Mote informational links -- the FAQs, your profile, the ROE, etc. Below that are general links to search engines, references, etc. At the very bottom of the page are links to Mote contacts.

Setting the Display Time

The default time of the Mote is Greenwich Mean Time, GMT. You can set the time to your local time by changing your profile. Your profile page is linked under Utilities in the right column of the home page. It can also be reached from the thread pages. If you don’t know by how much your local time is offset from GMT click on Mote Clock in the links list. The current GMT time is displayed below the table of cities.

Thread Navigation

Clicking on a thread link will take you to the last 10 posts in a thread, unless you are using bookmarks (see Profile Options). You can move around in the thread by using the VCR buttons. The host may post a list of links related to that particular thread in the column at the right. Some hosts have collected an impressive array of links, others have been less ambitious. Below the links you find short-cuts to the other threads. At the top right is a field you can use to go directly to any post within the thread.

The default number of posts per page is 10; you can customize this using the Posts per page field at the bottom of the page next to the Posting Window. The most common number used is 20, but the upper limit on the number of posts per page is 999 (ymmv).


Compose your post in the Posting Window at the bottom of the page, or use an editor and then cut and paste. The Mote does not support post edits, but it has a Preview button, which allows you to review and modify the formatted post prior to submission.

Any links in the post are active in preview mode so you can check that they work. It is recommended that you preview all posts containing HTML tags. Any unclosed tags will affect subsequent posts. We refer to unclosed tags as "Toys". The phrase "Do you have toys to put away" which displays below your text in preview mode is intended to help you. If it shows up in italics, for example, it means you have an unclosed italics tag. If someone complains that you didn't put your toys away but the page looks fine to you, it usually means you closed an <b> tag with an </i>. Note: Netscape is more forgiving of certain errors than IE is, though IE is more forgiving in general.

When you are satisfied with your post click the Post button. You will be taken back to the thread where your post will show at the bottom. If you don’t see it press the VCR button for "most recent message". DO not use your browser’s "refresh" or "reload from server" button when you are in a thread page; this will resend your last post to the database and you will have made a duplicate post. If you forget, don't worry about it. Everyone does it at first.

Post length is limited to 2000 characters, including HTML tags. If your post is too long you will get a warning message. You will not lose the post, however; just cut and paste into two posts. One minor bug: the Preview length and the posting lengths are processed differently; every so often your post length will pass Preview check and then fail when you try to Post. If you make a long post, save a copy before posting just in case.

The Mote accepts virtually all of the basic HTML tags. Before you start using HTML check HTML hints, linked in right above the posting window and on the front page.

Take a minute to read the Mote's Rules of Engagement.

Profile Options

  • Timezone: enter - or + hours from GMT. For example, PDT is -8.
  • Login automatically: Click the box if you want the cookie to remember your login each time.
  • Bookmark threads: The Mote has a Bookmark function. If it is on, you will be taken to the first unread post in the threads (i.e. to post #1 the very first time you visit a thread after Bookmark has been turned on). The function does not work well for all versions of all browsers. It isn't used by many Mote folk, so it isn't supported on anything other than an "as is" basis. If you have questions or problems, post in Technical.