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What do "nm" and "(nm)" mean and how do I use them?
Both notations stand for "no message" and are used when one wants to respond to a post using a subject heading only, without attaching a message. To do this, type in your desired subject heading, place the parenthetical "(nm)" at the end of the subject, place the intials "nm" in the body of the message, and then click the "Post Message" button. If you use the "Quick Reply" form, there is no message body, but it is still thoughtful to include "(nm)" in the subject to save readers that extra click.

What are "vibes"?
Originally a tongue-in-cheek idea at PhinisheD, "vibes" have become a kind of emotional currency that PhinisheD posters can use to send virtual strength, support, comfort, energy, and/or luck to one another.

How do I make those wavy "vibe lines" that PhinisheD posters sometimes use when sending someone vibes?
There are many ways to make vibe lines. The most common way is to alternate backslash (\) and forward slash (/) characters like this:


You can also use the tilde character (~), the caret character (^), or anything else you'd like to use to symbolize vibes using your keyboard.

What about those cool graphical vibes that I see some people using?
There are four graphical vibes available to PhinisheD users. On our old site they were complicated to use, but on this site they are only a pop-down menu click away!. To add graphical vibes to a message, simply pull down the "smiley" menu in the menubar of the advanced posting form and select the vibe graphic you'd like to use. Most effective vibes are made by stringing together multiple copies of the vibe graphics. For example, here are ten copies of each vibe graphic strung together:

Vibes 1:

Vibes 2:

Vibes 3:

Vibes 4:

Vibes 5:

What is the meaning of those Internet terms that PhinisheD posters sometimes use?
Unlike many other World Wide Web message boards, PhinisheD is very light on the use of Internet jargon. Occasionally, though, such terms do crop up. Those seen most often are:
  • LOL: "laughing out loud"
  • LMAO: "laughing my a** off"
  • ROTFL: "rolling on the floor laughing"
  • YMMV: "your mileage may vary" (i.e. things might be different for you)
  • BTW: "by the way"
  • BRB: "be right back" (used in the chat room.)
In addition, one might also see the following terms--common to Internet message boards and newsgroups--used at PhinisheD:
  • lurk (verb): to read posts on a message board regularly without responding to those posts or adding posts of one's own.
  • lurker (noun): someone who reads posts on a message board regularly without responding or adding posts of his/her own. (Not all lurkers are folks who have never posted; people who ordinarly post often lurk during periods when they are too busy to post.)
  • delurk (verb): to begin posting after a period of lurking.
  • newbie (noun): someone who has just begun lurking or posting to a message board. All newbies are welcome at PhinisheD!
  • post (noun): a message submitted to a bulletin board.
  • post (verb): to submit a message to a bulletin board.
  • thread (noun): a series of messages posted in response to a message. The first post in each thread on PhinisheD is listed in the board index, and when clicked, takes the user to a thread index in which the structure of the thread is signified by indentation.

What does the term "PP" mean?
The term "PP" usually refers to the Phony Police. The Phony Police are not real people, but rather feelings of doubt or insecurity in our own abilities. The PP enforce the "impostor syndrome" (as in "Ack - they are really going to find out what a fraud I am now!!!") that many graduate students experience.

What is a "ConPhab"?
A ConPhab is an event where PhinisheD members arrange to meet in person. Through polling and discussions on the board, the site and time are agreed on in advance to allow for travel planning. "Mini-ConPhabs" are often sparked by a PhinisheD member traveling for an interview or conference, and are typically last-minute informal arrangements to meet for coffee or a meal.

What is this "faffing" I keep hearing about?
Often mistaken for goofing off, the true conniosseur can appreciate the difference. From the master faffer himself, dr 3/e1:

"Oh, I think my messages serve better at exemplifying faffing... ...having now posted about five or six different definitions of faffing, each of which was much longer than strictly necessary, none of which were on archived boards, and all of which are now lost to history.... It might of course be appropriate to put un unfinished definition in the FAQs. We'll get around to finishing it someday..." [this space intentionally left blank]

If you too wish to journey down the road to faffdom, click here to faff.

1We can all take heart by the title Dr. 3/e earned in spite of his most earnest faffing attempts.

What does "SDC" mean?
So Damn Close (or So Dang Close). Used as encouragement for Phinishers when the end is (usually) in sight, but seems unreachable at the moment.

Okay, so what does DH mean? Or DS, DD, DSF...
The "D" stands for "Dear," and the rest stands for the relationship. Dear Husband, Dear Son, Dear Daughter, Dear Special Friend... the list is as long as the important people in our lives. Recently some Phinishers have even begun using "DA," or Dear Advisor!

What does the term "decluttering" mean? What about TOTH or BOTH?
Decluttering means to start a new thread. Its use is unique to the Daily board, where a thread may become very long and multi-layered -- thus, looking "cluttered".

You may declutter any time you think a Daily thread has become too long. There are no decluttering police. Lately, it seems like a good time to declutter has become the TOTH (top of the hour) or the BOTH (bottom of the hour).

What are "tonos" vibes?
Tonos vibes are extra special vibes used on the Daily board. They originated as mis-typed "tons of vibes" and the new term caught on. "Tonos" in Greek means "a lot". "Todos" in Spanish means "all". So they sound a bit like "lots of vibes" or "all vibes", perfectly suiting their status as multipurpose vibes.

IDWM? Qu'est-ce que c'est?
IDWM is the International Dissertation Writing Month, which is best described as a meta-pact. The first one encompassed the month of September, 2006. Perhaps we'll try this again in the coming months.

What does "SLAC" mean? What about "LLGU," or "HBCU"?
Phinishers, and particularly those engaged in the job search, routinely use different acronyms to describe different types of institutions and such. Some of the more commonly used acronyms are:
  • SLAC: Small liberal arts college
  • SSLAC: Small selective liberal arts college
  • LLGU: Large land-grant university
  • HBCU: Historically Black college or university
  • CC: Community college
  • TYC: Two year college
  • PSU: Prestigious state university
  • PPU: Prestigious private university
  • ESU: Enormous state university
  • R1: A top-tier research university, after the Carnegie rankings
  • TT: Tenure track
  • VAP: Visiting assistant professor
  • SCC: Search committee chair

What is a "snowflake" and why don't people seem to like them?
In real life, a snowflake is a delicate and beautiful thing, characterized by great fragility and uniqueness. In PhinisheDland, we use the term snowflake to describe a demanding and grade-grubbing student whose inflated sense of self-esteem and overarching sense of entitlement belies a mediocre intellect, low motivation, poor academic abilities, and refusal to accept personal responsibility for his or her actions. Snowflakes are one of the primary reasons that teaching is sometimes a chore rather than a joy.

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