Forums Jargon

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Jargon Guides

Organizations and specialized activities develop their own sets of specialized terminology, or jargon, and DP is no exception to that. Accordingly, we have developed some FAQ-like Jargon Guides you can access in order to learn some of our lingo.

The LONG DP Jargon Guide, and the Jargon Guides related to The Guidelines, User Roles, and Workflow contain acronyms and terms you will likely encounter as a new volunteer at DP.

Other Jargon Guides contain terms that are a bit more specialized. The Group Activities Jargon Guide will become especially relevant to you if you start using Jabber. The remaining Jargon Guides shown in the Jargon Navigator box relate to the specific activities mentioned in their titles.

If you come across an acronym or term that isn't mentioned in one of these Jargon Guides, please ask about it in one of the DP forums.

Detailed suggestions on how best to add and edit Jargon-related information can be found at Help:Jargon.


An avatar is a small graphic image, chosen by an individual Distributed Proofreaders (DP) volunteer, to display on their DP User Details page and on their posts to the DP forum.


BBCode is the specialized coding syntax that can be used in the DP Forums to format, and otherwise customize, posts. These tags can be used to added formatting and links to text, and also to add images to forum postings.

See the BBCode Guide for a quick primer on BBCode markup.


The term bump (as in "bump up") is often used to refer to a (usually short) forum post made in a thread, the primary purpose of which is to move the thread back up to the top (after the Announcements and sticky threads) of the thread list in a given DP forum.

DP Forum

The DP Forum is a forum created specifically for Distributed Proofreaders volunteers. Go to the main DP Forum page by clicking here.


DPWiki was formerly an experimental, shared public identity on the DP Forums. Information that was formerly in forum posts labeled as written by "DPwiki" was migrated to the DP Wiki in May of 2006.


Thread drift (also drift) is the phenomenon of the conversation in a particular thread of the DP forum straying somewhat from the original topic through a series of comments made in follow-up posts. In some ways, drift in a thread is similar to a person's "stream of consciousness" thought process.

Thread drift is a mild form of a thread hijack. Where to draw the line between "drift" and "hijack" is very much open for debate, but two rules of thumb that can be useful are if a moderator pulls out his or her "scissors" to split the thread, it was likely a "hijack," and if the thread's conversation eventually returns to the original topic through its own meanderings, it was likely a "drift."

For an example of an almost "textbook case" of thread drift, see this Ellipsis and footnote markers thread.


An emoticon (also smiley) is either a sequence of ordinary printable characters (such as :-) ) or a small image (such as Biggrin.gif), used to represent a human facial expression and convey an emotion in a posting to the DP Forum.


A forum is an online discussion site and message board. Wikipedia's article about forums has a more detailed definition.

forum moderator

See moderator.

forum post

A post is an individual message made (posted) to the DP forum. Posting is the act of making a posting (or post).

To post a new question or make a new comment in the Project Thread, you must click on the Post Reply button (not New Topic). This is because each Project Discussion is a dedicated thread in the Projects Waiting, Projects Being Proofed or Formatted, Projects Being Post-Processed or Verified, or Archive of Posted Projects forum, as appropriate, and not a separate forum of its own.

In Project Discussions, individual page images in a project are usually referred to by the PNG number. It is often helpful to include a link to the page image.


A thread hijack, often referred to simply as a hijack, is the phenomenon of the conversation in a particular thread in the DP forum moving off its original topic, and a new topic taking over the bulk of that thread's discussion.

At DP, thread hijacks are not usually intentionally executed, but are normally a result of someone making a tangential comment as part of a post which sparks enough interest to lead the discussion into that divergent direction. It's that "catching of others' interest" that can turn a thread "drift" into a full-fledged "hijack."

At some varying point, the thread will likely draw the attention of a moderator, who will often pull out her or his "scissors" and split the hijacked thread into two (or more) pieces, giving each major topic of conversation a thread of its own in an appropriate forum.


A moderator (also forum moderator) is a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer who oversees the day-to-day operation of the DP Forum.

PM: Private Message

A Private Message (also PM, Personal Message) is an e-mail sent from one Distributed Proofreaders volunteer to another, using the same software as is used for the DP forum.

Check your DP Inbox here.

poll thread

A poll thread is a thread in the DP Forum used to collect information or opinions.


See forum post.

project discussion

See project thread.

project forum

See project thread.

project thread

A project thread (also project discussion, project forum) is a thread in the DP forum dedicated to a specific Distributed Proofreaders project.

Real Life/RL

Real Life, which is often abbreviated as RL, is a phrase you will sometimes see used in forum postings to refer to one's activities outside of DP, or to one's activities outside the Internet in general.


See emoticon.


See sticky thread.

sticky thread

A sticky thread (also sticky) is a thread that is, because of its importance, always displayed immediately after any announcement threads in the DP Forum's listing of threads.


A thread (also topic) is a collection of postings to the DP forum about the subject stated in the thread's first posting.