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So, what’s Palimpsest?
Why, it's the Home of Informed Debate on the Web of course! Palimpsest is a discussion forum - all the action happens on the message board.

Why is Palimpsest?
Simple really. Two friends, known in Palimpular circles and amner and Wavid, were fed up not having an easy to use, feature packed website to talk about books and stuff. There were sites of a sort, which kind of served a purpose, but they often were frustrating to use (see the BBC Big Read site for a classic example) or packed with an awful lot of pretty inane grunting. So they started their own, using the phpBB forum system, which as well as being free is also dead easy to use, and offers all the features that a self respecting arts discussion forum would need.

What can people talk about on Palimpsest?
Anything. No, really. The main focus is on books, films, music and politics. But in the General Chat forum anything goes, really, as long as it's interesting and expressed in a sane and intelligible way.

What makes Palimpsest different?
There are plenty of discussion forums out there. But Palimpsest is unique in its high minded attitude, the irreverent humour which underlies almost everything and the sheer range of issues and subjects debated.

One other thing that marks Palimpsest apart from a number of other websites with broadly similar subject bases is that we don't delete anything. No matter how old, threads will remain on our database, viewable and searchable.

Do I really need to join?
YES! For a start, you won't be able to post any messages unless you join, and you won't be able to contact other members of the site with the email and private messaging system. Plus, you'll be able to choose a unique name by which you will become known, and you can choose an avatar - an image to represent you on the site. It will also mean you receive occasional email updates from the site keeping you informed with what is going on.

Oh, right. Who can join?
Anyone. But it would help you were passionate about politics, books, music, film or maybe a combination of all four. Otherwise you might get bored. Of course, if you join for underhand reasons, like to promote work of your own - don't bother. We haven't taken too kindly to it in the past.

How does it all work?
Right, well. There’s the forums for community members to talk to each other. Then there’s the Palimpsest forums, where Announcements (like this one) and Features are posted.

I see. What are these main forums?
Well, first of all there’s the GENERAL CHAT forum. That’s where community members can just log in and chat about whatever takes their fancy. Threads rapidly go off topic though, so when a conversation starts out on D H Lawrence, there no saying that it won’t end up discussing the merits of ITV’s programming schedule.
The REVIEWS section is where community members can do a quick write up of the last film they saw, or the last album they bought. Current reading is constantly being discussed. There are different sections for each type of review. Your reviews do not have to be 4 page epics - they can be simple discussions about a book or an author, say. If you have a couple of quick comments to make it might be worth hunting for a previous topic on the subject and posting them there. Do not, however, be afraid to post!
TOP TENS is an easy way for community members to get to know each other’s tastes. It also gives those reading the list the opportunity to abuse the choices made, though obviously with some restraint. If you are a new member, post your Top Ten and we will all soon get to know you better!
PALIMPTON CRESCENT is the appallingly named venue for word and literary games, such as those featured in I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue, as well as countless Mornington Crescent type websites.

Is Palimpsest a book group, then?
Funny you should ask that. There is a book group, where a monthly book is chosen and then discussed in the group. Have a look around, then PM Wavid or amner if you want to join.

That seems cool. What’s the features section about?
That’s where short stories, poems, longer reviews, in fact anything, can be posted. However, not everyone can post to this area, and you’ll need to get the attention of Wavid or amner to get it up in this section.

Who is Graham Parsnip?
Graham Parsnip is an author of speculative fiction, who has his diaries published online by Palimpsest. We are very lucky to have him.

And Pleasing My Self?
That's an occasional column, exclusive to Palimpsest, written by one of our most active members, John Self. It's usually about books. He welcomes all glowing praise.

Are any famous people members of Palimpsest?
God knows.

I have written a children's fantasy tale, and have paid to have it published myself. Can I post a false review of it on Palimpsest?
Of course you can, but expect to get pummelled. Palimpsesters are by nature a placid bunch, but can be easily riled by someone obviously pulling their collective plonker.

All very reasonable. How long has Palimpsest been running?
Well, we went live on 10 April, 2003. We want to grow as quickly as possible, and therefore need more members. So let every like minded person you know visit the site, so that we can make the community grow further!

Who is in charge?
There are four Administrators - Wavid, amner, John Self and Colyngbourne, who do all the moderating and generally manage Palimpsest. There aren't any 'moderators' other than these four, as the size of the site and the politeness that the members display means that they aren't really needed.

Who pays for Palimpsest?
Essentially, Wavid does. Why does he do this? Who knows, perhaps it just makes him feel important. However, he does try to recoup some of his expense through a couple of schemes - one of which is by getting a tiny cut of the profit when someone buys something from Amazon via a link from Palimpsest. So whenever possible, please use this method - it doesn't cost you any more.

The other way is an annual donation plea, which usually happens in the spring. As John Reid MP once said, "[Palimpsest] - free at the point of use", and so it will remain. No one will ever be charged for using the site. However, if your enjoyment of it is such that you would like to make a contribution to its running costs, then donation of about a fiver a year is most welcome.

The best way to support Palimpsest, though, is to spread the word to anyone you think might be interested. Put the link in your email or other message board signature. You can add a link in your own website or blog - for example by using this graphic: - it all helps!

How do I make a link to Amazon that credits Palimpsest?
First, search the item on Amazon. In the address bar, you should see the letters ASIN followed by a slash and then a 10 digit code which can include numbers and letters. Copy this code, then paste it into your message. Select the number in your message and hit the Amazon button. This surrounds it with the tags, and when you submit your post, a link will be presented to that item on Amazon, with some of the profits on any purchases going to Palimpsest.

How do I donate to Palimpsest?
If you think Palimpsest is great and would like to donate a small sum to help with the running costs, then please use our PayPal link, which appears at the bottom of every page.

The standard amount is five pounds sterling, which is roughly equal to nine yankee dollars and seven and a half euros.

All donations are gratefully received, however please do not feel under any pressure to do so.

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