PTT Bulletin Board System
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PTT Bulletin Board System (PTT, simplified Chinese: 批踢踢实业坊; traditional Chinese: 批踢踢實業坊; pinyin: Pītītī Shíyè Fāng, telnet://ptt.cc) is a terminal-based bulletin board system based in Taiwan. It was founded by students from the Department of Information Engineering of National Taiwan University, and is currently administrated by the Electronic BBS Research Society.
PTT is arguably the largest BBS in the world with more than 1.5 million registered users. During peak hours, there are over 150,000 users online. It has over 20,000 boards with a multitude of topics, and more than 20000 articles and 500000 comments are posted every day.
Using the TELNET protocol, PTT provides a quick, instantaneous, free of charge, and open online forum community. Currently, PTT has two branch sites, PTT2 (批踢踢兔) and PTT3 (批踢踢參). Of the three sites, the main site PTT is largest in scale and capacity, currently handling up to 150,215 visitors online at a time (September 9, 2008), making it the largest Chinese language-based BBS in the world.
The main site was founded on September 9, 1995 by Yi-Chin Tu (杜奕瑾 Dù Yìjǐn), then a sophomore in the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering at National Taiwan University. PTT2 was founded in 2000, with the aim of providing a similar system centered around groups and individuals. PTT3, powered by MediaWiki, was founded in 2004 in Washington, D.C., USA for Taiwanese students studying abroad. PTT also provides wiki and blog services for registered users. The PTTwiki service was activated on February 5, 2004 and powered by Tavi wiki system. It is the main wiki service for individuals in Taiwan.
Since 2000, PTT has become the largest online forum in Taiwan due to its increasing number of users. Topics of various issues are enthusiastically discussed on PTT, even to a profound extent generating social impacts in reality. The newspaper and television media started to report on PTT, with journalists assigned to monitor PTT for the latest updates.
PTT is registered as a student organization at the National Taiwan University. The BBS Technology Research Club (臺大 BBS 研究社) was founded in 1999 by several BBS sites at NTU, with Yi-Chin Tu as its leader. In 1999 and 2000, the club held public events on campus for BBS users.
Although PTT is a club and the most famous BBS site in Taiwan, it is not the official BBS site for NTU. The machines and other hardware used to set up PTT was obtained by the administrators without the help of the university, and hence it operates with a high level of freedom. However, it still operates on the NTU network, and hence must abide to its rules and regulations.
The code for PTT was original forked from MapleBBS 2.36 that operated the Sun of Beach BBS. Many programmers and system administrators contributed to the PTT project, with the goals of making PTT efficient in terms for memory usage and disk access and allowing as many users on the system at a single time as possible. The code is licensed under GPL 2.0.
Open PTT is a BBS implementation known for its ease of installation, which is why many BBSes directly run Open PTT as their system. It can be set up with little manual configuration, and it is well documented.
Another fork of the PTT code is known as Current PTT, which is documented at the PttCurrent board. This is the version of the code that runs PTT and PTT2, with many additional features. It currently supports the FreeBSD and Linux platforms.
Commenting: commendation and criticism
PTT implements an article commendation (推文) and criticism (噓文) scheme as its article rating and commenting system, in place since 25 May 2002. PTT was the first Chinese-language BBS to implement such a system. Under this system, users can evaluate an article by giving it a tuei (推), adding a point, or a hsü (噓), subtracting a point. Individual boards can turn off this feature or set a minimum amount of waiting time between comments.
Sticky posts reside at the bottom of the forum, right after the most recent posts.
The Guardian Angels is a group of experienced PTT users who act as mentors and help answer questions that new users might have. The guardian angels remain anonymous. This system has been in place since May 2004. The 29th of every month is Guardian Angel Day, during which users express their gratitude towards their guardian angels.
PTT culture and lingo
- 五樓 (fifth floor) — the fifth comment of a post, which is often regarded as words of wisdom; also 五樓請給分 (fifth floor, please rate this post)
- 鄉民 (villager) — Refers to PTT users. Comes from the line 「我是跟鄉民進來看熱鬧的」 in the Stephen Chow movie Hail the Judge. This term can also be pejorative, suggesting that users blindly follow other users.
- 新警察 (rookie police officer) — refers to new users (like the term "newbie").
- 科科 (kk) — A chuckle, normally ㄎㄎ, but changed to 科科 when the use of bopomofo is prohibited.
- 中肯 (to hit home) and 台肯 — A pun on 中肯, meaning "to hit home", referring to efforts of the Chen Shui-bian government to replace the character 中 (China) with 台 (Taiwan).
- Pictures — PTT users often ask for pictures. 靠邀，圖咧？ (wtf, where's the picture?), 沒圖沒真相 (pics or it didn't happen)
- 原po是正妹 (the original poster is a pretty girl)
- 孩子的學習不能等 (our children's education cannot wait)
- 丁丁是個人才 (Tinky Winky is talented)
- 腦殘 (brain-damaged)
- 閃開 讓專業的來 (Step aside, let the pro do the job)
Some of the popular lingo used by PTT users are vulgar, which has caused public concern, while others believe that as long as this behavior is contained online and does not affect the users real-life behavior that this is nothing to be concerned about.
Aligned comments and comment art
Aligned comments (推齊) is a cultural phenomenon in which users align their comments for special effect. Comment art (推圖) is a phenomenon inspired by the 2chAA community, in which lines of comments collectively form a picture. Since comment art is sometimes perceived as waste of system resources, some of the forums prohibit its use.
PTT blood drive
In 2004, PTT activities coordinator Huan-Yu Chen (陳奐宇) teamed up with an on-campus organization NTU Blood-Donating Bus (台大號捐血車) to hold a blood drive to solicit blood donations in exchange for PTT money, which led to the creation of the Donate-Blood forum.
The forums are subdivided into boards (看板) and named by a string of alphanumeric characters. These boards can be searched as well as ordered by popularity. They can also be added to a user's list of favorite boards.