BoyChat FAQ as of November 1999

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Frequently Asked Questions

relating to FreeSpirits: BoyChat.

FAQ maintained by not.


Questions and Answers

  1. Who are these people posting here?

    They are a representative portion of the male population from teens to quite old who, for reasons beyond their comprehension, share the single bond of having a particular affinity for teen and/or pre-teen boys. In most cases this encompasses a clearly sexual attraction, plus an ability to relate to boys in an almost magical way. Many choose not to act upon their sexual attraction, while others strongly advocate boys' freedom to choose. Most of those posters accept the label 'boy lover', which is often abbreviated to 'BL' or 'BLr'. Some posters are or were boys who love older men, and we always have a few posters who do not identify as boy lovers, and who range from supportive to hateful. An increasing number of posters use a picture of themselves when they were young as their personal signature.

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  2. Can I be here?

    The short answer is a definite yes. BoyChat is an open forum. However it is primarily a forum for mutual support of males, young and old, who are especially attracted to boys. As such it can also be useful to any people who need to better understand boy love. Teens are most welcome to participate, but we encourage teens to be aware of <a href="#teens">a couple of extra points</a> before they start posting. Younger teens in particular, may find other forums to be more useful to them.

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  3. Are there risks in posting here?

    The worst risks are not specific to BoyChat, but are part and parcel of <a href="#secure">risks inherent in use of the Internet</a> for anything confidential, together with the risks of becoming known as a boy lover. It takes considerable expertise to find out anything about an individual poster from the logs that are automatically kept by Web servers. These logs are only available to the server administrators and the Boychat administrators, who purge the logs as frequently as possible. It would take a court order for anyone else to legally access the logs. However, there is no way we can stop you inadvertently revealing your own identity through something you post here. You should also be aware that your browser keeps records of sites you have visited; that, in some jurisdictions, some of what is posted here could be construed as illegal speech; and that your very participation here could conceivably be used as evidence against your character.

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  4. Is it ok to use my real name?

    Unless you are seeking public recognition in your real name, you should always use a nickname. From time to time persons who are openly hostile to boy lovers post here and more of their kind probably lurk here. One reason that BoyChat is so popular is that the Web Board structure provides such a simple means for effective anonymity. Even posters who are "out" in their private life or who are here only as sympathisers, not as boy lovers, generally opt for the protection of a "nick". And using a consistent nick enables your personality as a poster to develop in ways that enrich the BoyChat community and make it easier to give support.

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  5. Are there restrictions on what I can post?

    You should firstly keep in mind that BoyChat is meant to be a supportive, safe, creative and fun forum for boy lovers to discuss their thoughts and feelings, sometimes not even related to boy love. However, <a href="#rules">seven simple rules</a> are listed on the "Post a New Message" and below where you post a response to another message. The | detailed interpretation of these rules has developed over time to reflect the wishes of the Boy Chat community, so posts which "test" the rules will usually elicit a caution, while more flagrant breaches will be acted upon immediately. Some rules are to help avoid excessive expansion of the main index file. There is a definite limit of 36 characters in the subject field and strong discouragement of posts which say little of substance.

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  6. How long can my message be?

    Technical considerations mean that very short or empty messages are a bad thing. It is equally wasteful to post something that is so long that nobody will bother to read it. So the answer is somewhere in between. Graphical browsers generally allow you to scroll to any length in the message window, and it is generally easy to paste in text that you have written (and spell checked) in your word processor. However browsers such as Lynx may only have a fixed size text entry box which gives you a define limit.

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  7. Why are they all talking in another language?

    BoyChat is somewhere near the top of the heap when it comes to posters prepared to experiment with forms of expression. Poetry, philosophising and cryptic conversations abound, especially within sub-groups who have built up strong relationships. But if you are looking for a direct response, plain English is the best starting point. While BoyChat is nominally in English, it is not unknown for French, German, Italian, Portugese, Russian or Spanish threads to develop. We also have forums for people that find it easier to converse in their own languages. Click for the the Dutch, German and French Boards

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  8. I can't find my message!

    If you just posted it, you may need to Reload or Refresh the index which is otherwise retrieved from your cache. Later, it is likely that it will have been moved to Old Posts. Because of the amount of traffic on BoyChat, the main index is trimmed at least once a day, with the trimmed threads being added to the to of Old Posts. Old Posts and its subsidiary pages contain one to two months of older posts, a tiny proportion of which are selected to be preserved in monthly BoyChat Digest. If you still cannot find your post, there are a couple of other possibilities:

    • if you posted a response around the time the old board was trimmed, there
      might not be a link in the main index nor the Old Posts index, but your message
      is likely to be linked inside the thread, in which case you might want to
      repost a pointer on the new board
    • if your post was in a thread that is considered to be taking up more of the
      index than it warrants, then the thread may have been "collapsed" so only
      the thread starter appears in the index. A link to your post will still
      appear inside that thread starter post.
    • if your post was in breach of the seven rules, or was in a thread that was
      in blatant breach, it may have been deleted.

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  9. Who runs this place?

    Administration of BoyChat and other FreeSpirits sites is handled by a volunteer Steering Committee and financed by contributions.


  10. _________________________________________________________________________

    Why are posts hostile to BoyLove allowed here?

    FreeSpirits believes it is important to keep the board as open as possible. There is a strong body of opinion opposed to replying to blatant attacks. But there are also many important points made by people responding to hostile posts. If you do not like the tone of the board, the best way to do something about it is to start your own thread.

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  11. Is it safe to contact people here personally?

    Not all of the people who post to BoyChat are boy lovers or supportive of boy love, so ultimately this must be your decision. There is no doubt that we have been visited by vigilantes asking for personal contact in attempted sting operations, and by others impersonating a boy lover who just intend mischief. But in such cases alarm bells are likely to ring quickly. There is also no doubt that there are real boy lovers behind most of the regular nicks. However, we have our differences and you should take your time to build a relationship in cautious steps and not invest in unwarranted expectations.

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  12. Can I send private e-mail to a poster?

    This board is not intended to be used as a substitute for e-mail. So, if you are comfortable about a poster's identity, and his nickname appears highlighted as a link at the top of his message, that shows he has provided an e-mail address. Clicking on that link in many browsers will drop you into an e-mail form automatically addressed to that poster. But beware. Do you want to provide an anonymous poster with the address that you use for your regular e-mail? Remember your normal e-mail address will appear automatically in the From and Reply to spots unless you configure your browser to provide a more anonymous address.

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  13. How do I get anonymous e-mail?

    Many posters have obtained Operamail or similar accounts which require you to visit a Web page to check your e-mail, and which can be made reasonably anonymous by making up the details you use to fill in their application form. However views differ about the reliability and convenience of various services, so you might want to take a look yourself at <a href="#secure">a range of services</a> on offer for anonymous and pseudonymous e-mail.

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  14. I just want to chat with somebody!

    The nature of BoyChat is for responses to posts to come at any time over the next 24 hours or more, so it is not suited to real time conversation, although at times a couple of simultaneously connected posters will achieve a rough approximation by frequent reloading. This is generally frowned upon because of the resources it uses. The webmaster has been known to temporarily block people's ability to post if they consistently attempt to engage in real time chat on BoyChat. Internet Relay Chat is much better suited to such purposes, although some find it a little less civil than Boy Chat. _________________________________________________________________________

  15. Can I post pictures/fiction?

    Do not even think about using BoyChat as a place for exchanging pictures, nor to post fictional writing. Boy Write is a site maintained for archiving non-pornographic stories and poems. Your materials will be very welcome there. This restriction is not because BoyChat is pro-censorship, even the subject of child pornography elicits a range of opinion here. It is because our support role is too valuable to be compromised by the kind of attention that pornography would bring. The only pictures allowed inside posts are our <a href="#sigpix">Safe Sig Pix</a>. The only justifiable reason for posting a link to a picture is if it is genuinely to the content of your post.


  16. _________________________________________________________________________

    What are the URL and link boxes for?

    Posters who have boy love-related home pages frequently include the link to their page by putting its short description and URL in the boxes provided which show up as an active link next to a solitary bullet at the bottom of their posts. This facility is equally useful if your post refers to something you have found on the Web or if you want to link to a post which has been consigned to Old Posts. You must use the full form of the URL, starting with "http://" for it to be recognised as valid.


  17. _________________________________________________________________________

    Can I try out some HTML here?

    This is not intended to be a place to learn HTML. However as long as posters who know HTML use it appropriately to enhance the appearance of their posts, and close their tags and quotes, it will probably remain enabled. A link to another BoyChat post can be provided in the body of your message by using <a href="99999.htm">...</a> with the actual post number substituted for the "99999" part. Other appropriate uses of HTML include citing quoted text and creating distinctive personal signatures. You can check how your HTML will look by using the preview option before posting ... which you really should so any time you make extensive use of HTML. One of our regulars has prepared a Guide to HTML and IRC/ICQ which can be a big help.


  18. _________________________________________________________________________

    Can I link to here from my home page?

    Boy lovers usually first find BoyChat through pointers from friendly pages, so the short answer is yes. However, for your own protection, you probably should never mix your implicit admissions about boy love with anything which reveals other aspects of your life. So, if you want to point to Boy Chat, you should do it from a page which cannot be readily traced back to your real life identity. You should also be aware that a tiny group of vociferous vigilantes have been disproportionately successful in getting some Web hosting services to delete boy love pages.


  19. _________________________________________________________________________

    I didn't post that!

    If another post appears under your nick it most likely means that you are the victim of an impostor whom we suffer from time to time. The first time it happens, the best thing you can do is to post a simple "not me" message. The worst thing you can do is react in such a way that marks you a target for the impostor's amusement. Regular posters usually become so distinctive that others will immediately notice and note an impostor. <a href="#sigpix">Safe Sig Pix</a> have a secondary benefit of effectively guaranteeing the identity of the poster.


  20. _________________________________________________________________________

    Have people from here gone to jail?

    Quite a few posters have at some stage of their lives been incarcerated or at least subject to legal action over alleged breaches of age of consent laws and some related matters. Some have gone to jail since starting to post here which is a real downer for everybody. At least one appears to have had the charges against him fabricated after he repeatedly advertised his real name and address here.


  21. _________________________________________________________________________

    Where can I get more information?

    Definitional questions about the nature of boy love and of the hostility directed against it are an ongoing feature of the discussions on BoyChat and the subject of extensive writings on boy lovers' Web pages. The boy loving community has a strong presence on the Internet and our associated Boy Links page maintains a comprehensive list of links to those resources.

Appendices

For Teen Posters

Several of our regular and respected BoyChat posters are teenagers who identify as lovers of younger boys. However other teens who started posting have encountered a range of obstacles, although these have tended to diminish with time as a "benefit of the doubt" philosophy has become more accepted.

The first obstacle was disbelief that the poster was as young as they claimed, often because the poster was more literate than some could accept for the age indicated, and this mistrust was fuelled from time to time by isolated cases of posters claiming to be young and later revealing themselves to be much older.

The second obstacle has been the concern of some that BoyChat should be just for men who love boys and that there should be no younger partners posting. This has been bridged considerably by the number of teens and sometimes much older posters who have identified as both boy lovers and being the grown boys of boy lovers, while the boys' perspective has become more actively sought by others.

The third question has been that some teen posters have been testing the waters as they have tried to work out their own sexuality, in some cases eventually finding the various Internet forums for gay teens to be more appropriate for them.

The fourth potential problem has been the potential risks to boys who come openly to such a forum seeking contacts with men. While wonderful support has been given to some who have needed to talk to an older male, there is always the risk that some who lurk or even post here may be so desperate that they will seize any opportunity to pursue the possibility of such contact. This problem has the corollary that some will see a sting operation behind any boy who even hints to be looking for a man.

The fifth issue is that boy lovers in their teens may be even more vulnerable than older boy lovers to attacks by the enemies of boy love, both because they may not have learnt as many lessons about self-protection and because they are likely to still be in a position of dependence on potentially hostile parents.

The sixth caution is tha young posters should be especially careful not to include personal information in their messages that might reveal clues to their real-life identity or location. BoyLove opponents have been known to use these clues to locate and contact young posters in order to harass them. Links to homepages and inclusion of traceable e-mail addresses are especially dangerous in this regard.


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The Seven Rules

For an Explaination of the Rules, click | HERE

1. Don't post erotica or overly-detailed sexual discussions.
2. Don't request, offer, or post links to illegal material, including pictures.
3. Don't harass, insult, threaten or impersonate other posters.
4. Don't reveal identifying details about yourself or other posters.
5. Don't post one-line "Me too!" or "Kewl, dewd!" replies.
6. Don't post admissions of potentially illegal activities.
7. Don't request meetings with posters who are under age 18.
Flagrant repeat offenders may forfeit their right to post.

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Internet Anonymity

One critical factor in determining the level of anonymity you can achieve on the Internet is whether you have a static or a dynamic I.P. Number. If you use a fixed permanent connection to the Internet, most likely through your work, then you will have a "static IP" which can be traced straight back to your machine. But if you have a dial up account you will have a "dynamic IP" which can only be traced to your service provider and, the larger they are, the more difficult it becomes to identify you. You should be aware that your IP is identified in HotMail message headers and when you are on IRC or ICQ.

There are various ways around this potential problem, and several alternate providers of relatively anonymous e-mail. Spike's highly regarded advice on anonymity is on his FPC site.

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Registered Nicks and Sigpics

Even semi-regular posters are encouraged to register their nickname and optionally to submit a signature picture, to help guarantee the poster's identity.

To register your nick you need to send an e-mail to <a href="mailto:sigpix@freespirits.org">the sigpic guy</a> being sure to include your nick and a password you'll use for posting. There is now just the single e-mail address for registered nicks and/or sigpics.

To add your own sigpic, you'll need to provide either a picture file of your (normally) much younger self, or any graphics file. Nothing too revealing nor in breach of copyright, nor a picture of a boy not yourself. We have a 10K size limit and do our best if we need to reduce the size of the image you provide. If you want any other text/HTML to automatically appear with, alongside or below your pic, just include the details in your request.

After you e-mail the necessary information, you will be notified as soon as it set up ready for use, which may take a few days.

Once it is set up, you can begin to use it. When making a post, use the nickname you associated with the sigpic and enter the password you chose in the box called "Password". At the bottom of the posting form there's a checkbox called "Automatically append sigpic?". If this is selected (it is by default) your sigpic will automatically appear at the end of the post. Unchecking this box will disable the sigpic, but you'll still need to enter the correct password to post.

You can also force your sigpic to appear anywhere in the post by typing "$sig$" (minus the quotes) in the post body. If you want to check what it looks like before you sign a post with it, just use the Preview button.

Please note that you must use the exact name given to you with the password. If you registered the name "Joe Blow" you can't use "JB" or "Joe". Nicks are not case sensitive, but passwords are.

Frequent posters may be allowed to also use an alternate sigpic. To do this, ask the <a href="mailto:sigpix@freespirits.org">the sigpic guy</a>. Alternate sigpics are accessed by putting one or more spaces after your nick and typically use the same password as your original nick.