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Prince fan community site
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prince.org Site FAQ
General information about this site

General Prince FAQ
General questions and answers about the man and his music

Minneapolis FAQ
Info about what to do and see when visiting MPLS

Record Stores FAQ
"Wrecka stows" around the world, and shopping tips

alt.music.prince FAQ
Helpful hints for the usenet discussion group

PPML FAQ
Etiquette etc. for the prince.org-run mailing list

prince.org Site FAQ

1. The organization

1.1What is prince.org?

prince.org is an organization made up of dedicated Prince enthusiasts, each of which contribute to the prince.org website, prince.org. Our nickname among fans is "the org". The primary goal of the site is to be the premiere online Prince fan community, by offering a variety of ways for fans to stay in touch, share ideas, discuss the music, and in general, connect. While we'd also like to be a reference to all things Prince, the main idea is to foster the community of fans, not be a Prince encyclopedia.

1.2Are you an 'official' site?

In the way that you probably mean, no! We are a completely unauthorized, unofficial, independent fansite.
We are in no way affiliated, approved, or associated with Paisley Park Enterprises, NPG Records, Warner Brothers Records, the NPG Music Club, etc. We're just a bunch of regular folks.

1.3I want to contact Prince. Can you help?

No. We don't work for Prince, and we don't know him. We don't know how to call him, e-mail him, etc. If you have a legitimate business reason to approach him, use industry contacts (hint: many tour management companies know someone working for him.) If you're a fan wanting an autograph, or to send him a demo, or anything else... well, your best bet is through his official site, www.npgmusicclub.com. You can write him at his studio, Paisley Park, in Minnesota, but the chances of it getting read are quite slim. We've heard even the utility bills don't always get opened... but if you still want to try, the address is in the General Prince FAQ.

1.4How much does it cost to become a member of prince.org?

Nothing. Joining and being a member of prince.org is absolutely FREE. All you need is a working e-mail account we can verify!

1.5Who is involved in prince.org?

The main person behind the scenes is Ben Margolin. We've had a long series of generous people contribute their efforts as well over the years, though, and Ben only performs a small amount of the day-to-day heavy lifting. Here's a quick list of contributors.
Kevin Smith -- editor of the PPML mailling list (1997-2000)
Matt Conrad -- events, FAQs, forum moderator (2000-present)
Ian Kiigan -- moderator (2002-2003)
LavisHh -- moderator (2003)
Joozt Mattheij -- original dataset for the 'Performances' events
We hope to have a good-sized team of forum moderators on-board as well. Rather that list everyone here, there will be a separate page to recognize their work.

1.6What's the history of prince.org?

Long ago (early 1990s), there was an e-mail list called the PML, (the Prince Mailing List), which changed ownership to became the PPML (the Paisley Park Mailing List). Eventually, a website was set up by a couple of volunteers to "archive" the past PPML mailings. In May, 1998, the archive site had a major harddisk crash, and went down. While recovering the data, the entire site was re-architected, and prince.org "v1.0" was publicly born on January 1st, 1999, offering much more than just archives of past PPMLs. "Version 2.0" was launched in February 2002, and added message boards and much more. "Version 3.0" came online in February 2004, with numerous enhancements and better web standards compliance.

2. Problems using the site

2.1I can't log in!

If you don't get any kind of error, it's likely you have either JavaScript or cookies, turned off in your browser. You need to have both turned on to log into prince.org. Sorry, that's just the way it is!

2.2I can log in, but I can't post! I just signed up, and now I think your site sucks!

If you recently joined the site, this is normal. For the first few days (typically, 5 days) after joining, you're not allowed to send orgNotes or post in the forums. Just sit back, observe a bit, and soon enough you'll be able to weigh in with your opinion! Yes, we know lots of other sites don't do it this way. We do.

2.3I forgot my password and can't log in.

Right underneath the login area, is a link that says "Forgot your password?" Click that, and follow the directions.

2.4I forgot my password and can't access the e-mail account I had when I signed up.

Well, you're not totally out of luck... try using the 'contact us' form, explaining the situation including your username, what email address you used, and what you think your password was. We'll try to confirm, or ask you for more information, and see if we can help.

2.5I can't see any pictures (in the Gallery section, etc.)!

You have some sort of 'privacy' software installed on your PC which is blocking 'referrers'. Our image server expects to receive these from your browser. Find the software, and configure it to not block referrers from being sent back to the prince.org domain.

3. Special site features

3.1How do I get a picture next to my posts in the discussion forum?

Those small pictures are called 'avatars', and you upload them by going to 'MY ORG' / 'Forum Settings', and then uploading a picture. It must be less than 15K on disk, and any animation will be removed after upload, so don't bother with animated gif's. Once it's uploaded, you'll be able to see it on the 'Forum Settings' page, but it WON'T be visible to the public yet--it needs to be approved. Approval typically takes 24 hours, and you'll receive an orgNote when it's complete. Also, your avatar will show up on all your previous posts, so don't worry--it's retroactive!
If you're having technical problems (can't get your image small enough, Ian sez:
1. Save the picture to your hard drive (right click, save as... etc)
2. Use an image editing tool such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. Resize the image down to around 64 x 64 pixels. Your text will be totally unreadable in that size, so crop out the text and just keep the character.
3. Reduce the number of colours as much as you can, and use a web compression wizard (for example, Paint Shop Pro has an Optimizer wizard that helps you save out .PNG files really small). You should then have a nice small avatar image ready to upload to the Org.

3.2What is my 'profile'?

Your 'profile' is sort of like your personal mini-homepage on prince.org, that you can use to tell others about yourself. It's accessed by adding your prince.org username to the end of http://www.prince.org/profile/, and feel free to bookmark it, put it in your e-mail signature, whatever. You can edit the contents at any time by visiting 'Extras' menu, 'Your account', 'Public profile'. By default, your profile is empty, so your privacy is ensured. But, lots of people choose to share some details with the other visitors, such as where they live, their favorite songs, etc.

3.3How do I get a picture on my profile page?

On the profile editing page, specify a complete URL (i.e., including the "http://" part at the beginning), to a picture you have uploaded somewhere, for example in your AOL webspace if you're an AOL user. We don't 'host' the profile pictures for you--you need to find a webserver somewhere on the net that will do that for you. Sorry!
Just a note of warning: you may not want to upload a picture of yourself, unless you are prepared to absorb any snarky comments less-considerate members of the community might decide to make! Most people are kind, but there's always a few that will be jealous/unkind/etc, unfortunately.

3.4What's an "orgNote"?

It's a message sent between prince.org users, like a simple e-mail. You can send them to other prince.org users, and when you've got one waiting for you, you'll see an animated alert icon near the top of each prince.org page, until you read it.

3.5What's my "Buddy list", and what's it for?

You can add other prince.org members to your "buddy list", with a comment for each person. This is sort of like your "address book" for sending orgNotes, and there will be more cool things you can do with your buddy list in the future. You can edit your buddy list by going to "Extras" -> "Your account" -> "Buddy list".

3.6What's the "blocked members" thing for?

If someone is really annoying you, you can block them from sending you orgNotes, or e-mails (forwarded through the org), by placing their username on your 'block list'. Edit it in the same place you edit your buddy list (see previous question and answer.)

3.7Is there a list of rules for the discussion forums?

You bet, and you should read them before posting. Check 'em out at http://www.prince.org/msg/rules.html.

4. The Marketplace

4.1In general, what can and cannot be posted?

You may use the Marketplace forum to post items for sale or trade (or that are "wanted"). However, to protect the rights of copyright & trademark holders, (and so that prince.org is not liable) the following rules will be vigorously enforced:

- No "bootleg" material, including but not limited to: audio or video recordings of concerts, unofficial recordings of unreleased material, etc. are to be posted.
- No CD-Rs / tape copies / other reproductions of official items are to be offered.
- UPDATE No member-only NPGMC merchandise or content is to be made available.
- No links with "affiliate IDs" or "kickbacks" are allowed.

So what CAN you post? Examples:
- Official items (music/collectibles/etc.) for sale
- Links to eBay auctions (as long as the auction items aren't of the type disallowed above, and they are DIRECT links to the items, with a description of EACH item.) No links to your "all items for sale by seller X" page, sorry.
- Posts of items WANTED, for example "Wanted: Jill Jones CD", etc.
- UPDATE Videotapes of publicly broadcast, but not available for sale performances can be traded, for example when Prince has appeared on TV shows. Note trades only. These items should not be offered for sale. UPDATE2 At this time, please refrain from posting these items. We're re-evaluating our long-term policy on this, but for now, please don't make these type of posts. Thanks! -Ben 1/9/2008.
- Concert tickets for sale AT COST (plus "reasonable" shipping if applicable). NO SCALPING. ["At cost" means face value plus any service charges from the official ticketing agent.]
- Services, such as impersonators or bands-for-hire.

Note that all posts will be reviewed before made publicly available to try and ensure compliance with these rules, but prince.org is not responsible for content. If you see anthing violating these rules, please report it to the moderators immediately.

4.2Can I sell or request to buy bootlegs?

NO! Only "official" items can be offered for sale. Some items are in a "gray area", such as promos, cutouts, etc.; these are generally OK. We always reserve the right to edit your list of items for sale if we feel a specific item will cause legal difficulties for you as the seller, or prince.org as the venue.

4.3Can I sell or request to buy videotapes of performances?

It depends. You MAY offer to trade videotapes of performances that were PUBLICLY BROADCAST AND NOT AVAILABLE FOR SALE. So for example, a copy off the Pay-Per-View broadcast of the "Rave Un2..." performance is NOT allowed for sale, because it is/has been available for sale on DVD and video (also, it was not "publicly broadcast" since it was only available on Pay-Per-View in the US). (You may, of course, re-sell a store-bought copy of the "Rave Un2..." DVD or VHS.) Videos of broadcast performances from The Tonight Show, or American Bandstand, etc., are generally OK for trade, however. Unofficial videotapes of concerts are not allowed to be offered for sale at this time.

4.4Can I advertise concert tickets for sale?

Yes, but the price must be the SAME or LESS than FACE VALUE (plus any ticket fees charged by the original ticket distributor--not an agent.) So for example, if you buy a concert ticket for $125 with a $4.50 service fee, you can ask up to $129.50 for it. You may ask for shipping on top of this amount if applicable, but you must only pass along the shipping cost, without any markup.
If you purchased from an "agent" etc. that charged you more than the face price+original ticket distributor fee, you may NOT as for this amount. For example, the same ticket above that actually "cost" $129.50, if you paid $400 for it from a ticket "agent", you may still only ask for $129.50 for the ticket on prince.org.

4.5Can I sell NPGMC items, such as the "One Nite Alone" CD?

UPDATE Sorry, no. According to Section I, "Club Content" of the NPMGC Membership Agreement: "Use of Club Content. All Content is owned by the Club and/or its Content providers and may only be used for your private, personal, noncommercial use. You are not allowed to make or transfer a copy of Club Content to someone else or use any part of the Content for any public or commercial use." Offering items received as part of your membership (including members-only retail items) are therefore not allowed in the prince.org Marketplace.

4.6Can I post links to items elsewhere (i.e., eBay)?

In general, YES, but they must be direct links to the item pages, and each link must have a description of the item being linked to. I know this is a little bit of hassle if you're selling a lot of items at eBay, but it's almost certainly worth it for the exposure you're getting on the 'org. The reasons for this are that 1. we want people to have some idea what they're clicking over to, 2. it discourages people from trying to get around the rules by linking to items we'd prefer you not sell (or selling them ALSO, and linking to your "all items by this seller" page at eBay, and 3. eBay items disappear; our message center will be indexed for a lot longer than their items will--if someone 6 months from now wants to find an item, they can search here, find who sold it (or tried to sell it), maybe even find who bought it, and try to acquire it.

4.7The marketplace rules seem unfair!

First, that's technically not a question. Secondly, we're sorry if you feel that way... the rules are designed to allow fans to buy/sell/trade items of interest to other fans, without infringing on the rights of copyright holders, or creating liability issues for prince.org. If you don't like the rules, don't post items. There's always eBay and your local swap meet, where you can still do stuff wrong, but at least we won't be helping you do it :-)

5. Technical questions

5.1The site doesn't seem to work... what's up?

prince.org uses the latest web standards. Standards are a very good thing, as it means all "modern" browsers show pages the same way (because, they're standardized!) Currently, the best "standard" browsers are Firefox 2 (many platforms), IE 7 (on Windows), and Safari (on the Mac). I encourage you to upgrade to one of these browsers if at all possible, as older browsers may not work properly.
Also, WebTV users may have difficulty, although it seems OK for some people.
I wish I could tell you we tweaked the site to work with every browser imaginable, etc., but honestly that would take a lot more effort than we can afford, just to dedicate to making the site look good! Standards-compliant browsers are truly the future, anyhow, so might as well upgrade. For more information on web standards, please visit here, which is a really good explanation.
The latest version of the site, "3.0", has been tested with IE 6.0/WinXP, IE5.5 (SP2)/Win98, Camino/Mac OSX, and Firebird 0.7/WinXP. More recent changes are typically tested with Firefox 2.x and Safari only.

5.2Why do I get logged-off automatically?

Your "session" at prince.org "times out" after a period of inactivity. Usually, the timeout is about 3 hours, so if you do not visit another page within that time, you will be logged out automatically. You can check the "keep me logged in" box when you log in, to avoid this.

5.3Can I be automatically logged in when I visit prince.org, without having to enter my password?

Sure. Go to 'MY ORG' / 'Auto-login' to set this up. Or, check the "keep me logged in" box when logging in.

5.4Can I change my username/login name?

Generally, no. However, we will try to accomodate requests of this type if possible. You can use the 'contact us' form, when logged in under your current account, to request this. Tell us what you want it changed to, and we'll notify you by email when it's completed, if possible. After that, you'll need to use the new name to log in.

5.5I want to run a site like yours. What software do you use?

Well, it's actually completely custom software, and I don't give it out (more because it isn't really easily managed by nontechnical people, than because I don't want to share!) However, there are several excellent pieces of software that you can get for free, to run a site with similar features as the org. Try googling for 'web portal software', 'web community free software' etc. Some popular packages include postNuke, phpBB2, etc. I personally prefer to write web code in PHP (the org is), and deploy on Linux servers. I'm an advocate of Open Source software, and there are many projects that are mature, high-quality packages, to be had for free. You of course have to work hard, still, with configuring, learning about structuring them, getting content, and probably hardest of all, letting people know your site exists and getting them to visit ("marketing" if you will), but it can be rewarding. But it IS a lot of work, and building any site you expect to get a lot of traffic, requires lots of dedication and effort. But it can be done now, a lot easier than anytime in the past, for sure... so get ready to learn new things and work hard, and go for it!

5.6OK, you use PHP etc. More technical info please!

Well, we run the site on a P4-2.0GHz machine with 1G of RAM, with Apache as the webserver and MySQL as the database. I use several PHP modules that you might be interested in, such as PHPMailer for sending mail, Cpdf for creating dynamic PDFs, FeedCreator for exporting to RSS 'newsfeeds', and I based my original BBCode handling routines on the ones from phpBB. Version 3.0 of the site was written mostly in the Komodo editor, and I use CVS with TortoiseCVS for revision control. I couldn't live (with Windows as my desktop) without the Cygwin tools. Personally I use Mozilla Firebird as my browser for development, with several useful extensions, including 'Live HTTP headers', 'Web Developer', 'Venkman JavaScript debugger', 'EditCSS', and 'View in IE'. If you're a web developer and you're not using Firebird with extensions, I think you're probably working way too hard.
Since v3.0 was released, I've become a complete Mac convert, and so more recent changes to the site have been written mostly in the TextMate editor and client-side debugged with the rather awesome Firebug browser extension.

6. Miscellaneous

6.1How does prince.org report the time and date of events in its database?

Times are those at the location of the event. We list late-night events that start after midnight on their "true" date; e.g., a "Friday night" gig at Paisley Park that didn't begin until 1 am will have Saturday's date.

6.2What policies does prince.org have on posting links to online stores that result in commissions or "kickbacks"?

Links that result in a commission/kickback to the submitter or a third party are prohibited, unless they are our own internal affiliate codes which we use from time to time.