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Membership Information

Revised 2014-6-16


If you are a print issue subscriber or a Backwoods Home customer AND your email address is already in our database, OR you use the email address issued by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), an educational institution (.edu), a US/State government (.gov). or the US Military (.mil), you will generally be approved quickly.

Details are on the Registration pages.

If you have any questions or problems regarding the registration process, please contact Subject Line: Forum Registration and include all relevant details including the complete text of any error message you received.

Membership Groups

Guests are folks who are just browsing the Forum and reading the posts. That's all they can do.

Inactive members are those who have not logged in to the Forum for an extended period. They can still log in but must request their account be reactivated before they can post or use other features.

Registered members are those who have recently joined the Forum. Privileges are limited. They will automatically promote to Confirmed members with full privileges after a period of membership and participation.

Confirmed members are those with full and Enhanced access to all currently-offered features.

Moderators are knowledgeable, Confirmed members who have agreed to watch over particular boards and provide advice or suggestions to members who might need it.

Super Moderators are Confirmed members who watch over the entire Forum and all the boards. They are the Forum cops and have the power to remove both offensive posts and offensive members.

Administrator is the person who keeps it all running, appoints Super Moderators and moderators, and has a very low tolerance for troublemakers.

Q. How long does a Registered member have to wait before being promoted to Confirmed?

That would be telling. But it's not long. It depends primarily on the member's participation in the Forum.

Q. But I almost never post anything because I don't have anything worthwhile to share. How can I get promoted to Confirmed?

A. If you came here to learn, ask questions. We have members with a little or a lot of experience in just about everything to do with homesteading and self-reliance. And if nobody knows the answer, odds are somebody will know where you can find the answer.

That said, it's been our experience that everyone has different ideas and ways of doing things and that simple trick you have for doing something that you think is so obvious may not be obvious to others. If someone posts something that is particularly helpful to you, take a moment to thank them. We've found that the biggest obstacle to new members' posting is shyness or the fear of looking bad. Please do not let either worry you. Even the most knowledgeable and experienced members were exactly where you are when they started out. That's why they enjoy helping others avoid the problems they overcame by trial and error.

Q. What is the difference between membership levels?

Following is a partial listing of the differences between what guests and the member groups can do in the Forum.

Activity Guest Inactive Member Registered Member
(Blue Stars)
Confirmed Member
(Green Stars)
Auto-promotion to Confirmed Member   N/A Y N/A
Request reinstatement to active member   Yes. Contact Admin
via PM or email
Request promotion to Confirmed Member   N/A NO. Promotion is
automatic based on
time and participation
Can Use Chat Room     Y Y
Can View Forum Y Y Y Y
Can View Threads Y Y Y Y
Can Start New Threads     Y Y
Can Reply to Posts     Y Y
Can Edit Own Posts       Y
(First 48 hours)
Can Delete Own Posts       Y
Can Rate Threads     Y Y
Can See Picture Thumbnails Y Y Y Y
Can Search Forums Y Y Y Y
Can Use Advanced Search   Y Y Y
Can Upload Attachments       Y
Can Download Attachments     Y Y
Can Upload Pictures     Y Y
Can Start Polls       Y
Can Vote on Polls     Y Y
Can Have a Photo Album       Y
Can View Albums     Y Y
Can Comment on Pictures     Y Y
Maximum Stored Private Messages (PMs/IMs)   10 10 100
Can Use Message Tracking       Y
Can Deny Private Message Read Receipt Request       Y
Can View Calendar Y Y Y Y
Can Post Events       Y
Can Edit Own Events       Y
Can Delete Own Events       Y
Can View Who's Online     Y Y
Can View Member Profiles     Y Y
Can View Profile Pictures   Y Y Y
Can Edit Own Profile   Y Y Y
Can Customize Profile Page     Limited Y
Can Use Friends List     Y Y
Can Upload Profile Picture       Y
Can Upload Custom Avatars       Y
Can Use Signatures       Y
Can Upload Signature Graphic       Y
Can Use Animated GIF in Signature       Y
Can Use Smilies in Signature       Y
Has Extended Access       Y

Common Sense Forum Use
Because our Readers' Forum (and many others like it) attracts basically decent, honest people who only want to exchange ideas and information, it is easy to become complacent after a while and let down one's guard on the assumption that everyone who posts messages is just like us.

We believe it important to remind everyone that people are not always who or what they present themselves to be. Backwoods Home Magazine does not verify anyone's identity in the Readers' Forum.

Anyone can claim to:

  • be any age. A 12 year old can claim to be forty. Or a forty year old can claim to be 21.
  • be of either gender. Usernames are not a guarantee of gender. Anyone remember the boy named Sue?
  • be of any social, ethnic, physical, or economic status. Are they really a doctor, minority, disabled, or rich?
  • live anywhere. The internet is everywhere. People can claim they're from Small Town, USA but live in Romania, or behind bars.
  • have any job or expertise, or none at all. Take all advice with a grain of salt. Verify it before acting on it.
Essentially, anyone can claim anything under the cloak of anonymity. Nothing should be taken for granted or at face value

In addition, someone with two or more email addresses can register two or more Usernames and appear to be two or more people.

Because many members of our Forum form close bonds over time, almost feeling as if they are part of an extended family, it would be easy for an unscrupulous person to insinuate him/herself in the group, then begin to play on the emotions and good will of others. For that reason we caution that everyone exercise EXTREME CAUTION before revealing any personal information, responding to pleas for assistance, or otherwise making themselves vulnerable to personal, emotional, financial, or other loss or harm.

It is sad that we must always be on our guard, but it is a fact of life in these times that everyone is not always to be trusted. So be on your guard at all times, but especially when posted messages don't ring true or "feel" right.

Having said all that, we know you'll find some of the best people, best discussions, and best information on the Internet right here in the BHM Readers' Forum.

So welcome, if you are a new member or click on "Register" above to become one if you're not.

Forum Copyright & Disclaimer

Original Messages

Original messages posted anywhere on the BHM Readers' Forum (Forum) remain the sole and exclusive property of the authors and may not be used for any commercial purpose without the express written consent of the author. Readers may copy and archive messages for personal use only. They may also forward messages to others provided such forwarding is only for the personal use of the recipient.


All material re-posted on the Forum remains the sole and exclusive property of the original author. Forum members must obtain permission from the author before re-posting any article, story, message, or other written matter, however named, previously published elsewhere. Full attribution must be included with any re-posting.

Non-personal/Commercial Use

All copyrights are fully reserved. No part(s) of these publications may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form, by any means, without the written permission of the owner(s).


The BHM website and its owners/operators assume no responsibility or liability, however named, for the monitoring or enforcement of copyrights on any items posted in the Forum. It shall be conclusively presumed that original messages posted on any part of the Forum have been freely posted by the original author, and that members re-posting messages have obtained permission from the original author.

How to Deal With Annoying and Inflammatory Members
The BHM Readers' Forum is an open, but moderated place for thoughtful people to exchange ideas.

Although moderated, it will, on occasion, attract those who take pleasure in provoking other members. They do this by making unreasonable claims, by denigrating the opinions of other members, by posting strange, vexing diatribes, and by generally being as big a pain in the ass as they can without crossing any lines that will get them in trouble.

Most of these people are young folk with too much time on their hands. Some are sad and lonely individuals who have so little in their lives they turn to rabble-rousing to get the attention they crave. Some may be seriously deranged. Some may be genuine true believers. They may, in fact, be almost anything.

While some members enjoy reading and responding to the drivel posted by the intellectually or socially challenged. Most do not, or claim not to.

If you're one of the group that does not enjoy off-the-wall provocations and ranting,

  • Do not read their posts.
  • Do not acknowledge them or respond to them if they respond to your or someone else's post.

If you do read or respond to their posts, you simply encourage more of the same.

As a last resort, you can choose to put them on you Ignore list. To do that, click on "Member CP" in the menu bar, then on "Edit Ignore List" under "Settings and Options."

One of the costs of freedom is having to endure those people who have not yet fully embraced the concepts of common sense and restraint. Like the lunatics who stand upon their soapboxes on the street corner predicting the end of the world or decrying the latest Martian conspiracy to occupy human brains, all Registered and Confirmed members, subject to the Forum's basic rules of civility and good taste, have the right to say what they will.

And you have the right to ignore them.

Please, feel free to exercise your rights whenever you think it necessary.

That said, should any member post anything uncivil or vulgar or that personally attacks you or another member, if the particular board is moderated, please notify by PM that moderator. Otherwise, please notify one of the Super Moderators and it will be dealt with.


Internet Trolls & Their Tactics

Trolling is any deliberate and intentional attempt to disrupt the Forum and upset or bait other members. Trolling is a violation of theForum rules and of the implicit rules of Internet social spaces and is often done to inflame or invite conflict. A troll deliberately exploits tendencies of human nature or of an online community to upset people.

The basic mindset of a troll is that they are far more interested in how others react to their posts than in the usual concerns accuracy, veracity, comprehensiveness, and overall quality. If a troll gets no response to their posts, then they can hardly be considered a troll at all. In such rare cases where trolls are completely ignored, they usually move on to a different Forum where they can find people who will give them the attention they crave.

If you believe you've encountered a Troll in our Forum, please report him/her to one of the Super Moderators.

General Troll Tactics

Off topic messages: Those that are irrelevant to the focus of the forum. This can also be done in the middle of an existing thread to attempt to hijack the thread, or otherwise change the topic at hand. Off topic messages usually occur when a member has been completely disproved in a serious debate. These disruptions may result in the degeneration of a well informed thread into a heated juvenile exchange consisting of insults and childish accusations between multiple parties.

Page breaking: Filling up fields with large pictures or characters to make previous posts unreadable. A skilled troll will use an extremely wide and narrow picture that blends into the forum background to make it harder to catch.

Inflammatory messages, including racist, sexist, classist or otherwise needlessly hateful comments.

Opinionated statements: Posting messages expressing their own opinions as generally accepted facts without offering any proof or analysis.

Bumping an old discussion, or rehashing a highly controversial past topic, particularly in smaller online communities.

Deliberate and repeated misspelling of other people's Usernames in order to disturb or irritate them in a conversation.

Claiming to be someone they cannot possibly be.

No longer having affiliation to or current knowledge of the subject at hand, yet continually posting opinions and commentary as "experts".

Trying to look for vulnerable people and being annoying or offensive to them.

Intentional typos

Messages containing a self-referential appeal to status. Example: "Pepsi is for white trash. I prefer a real soft drink like Coke."

Intentionally posting an outrageous argument, deliberately constructed around a fundamental but obfuscated flaw or error. Often the poster will become defensive when the argument is refuted, and may continue the thread through the use of further flawed arguments. Responding to these posts is referred to as "feeding" the troll.

Posting politically sensitive images in inappropriate places.

Feigning innocence, after a flamewar ensues.

Major Breeds of Troll

The Vulgar Troll. These, the crudest of all trolls, make no attempt to hide their species. Often, they make racist comments, or they may post porn and other spam. Vulgars usually confine their comments merely to primitive, profane, off-topic observations. When you log into the Really Profound Serious Philosophical Discussions board and see the post, "I smell my farts," you've spotted the Vulgar Troll. Other species of troll sometimes revert to this form when cornered.

The Deceptive or "Classic" Troll. More sophisticated but often easily identified and exposed, the Classic Troll gratifies his ego by pretending to be someone or something he or she is not. Classics make up elaborate stories about themselves, sometimes weaving some amounts of truth into their lies. As a web of lies is difficult to build with consistency, however, Classics are often "outed" by other Forum members. When this happens, Classic Trolls have a bag of tricks to which they turn:

  • Classic Troll Tactic Number 1: If the heat gets too much for you, claim it was all "a joke." In this way you can excuse any and all deceit by claiming people just weren't smart enough to "get" the humor of it.
  • Classic Troll Tactic Number 2: Create another account, and log on pretending to be someone else, in order to show support for the Troll in Question (TiQ). These puppet accounts sometimes claim to be disinterested third parties. At other times they pretend to be "friends" of the TiQ.
  • Classic Troll Tactic Number 3: When your lies paint you into a corner, claim that your little brother, or some unnamed friend, has commandeered your account and made you look foolish. This technique can also be applied in claiming that the puppet account(s) you created may not, in fact, be disinterested third parties or friends, but that they are your relatives ("little brother" is most common) only trying to help support you.
  • Classic Troll Tactic Number 4: When nothing else works, claim that now, finally, you're telling the truth about all the lies you told before. Make up a fresh set of lies, and throw yourself on the mercy of the forumites.
  • Classic Troll Tactic Number 5: When all else fails, claim to be leaving forever. Trolls who claim they are leaving never do, of course; you can bet that anyone who proclaims, "I'm never coming back here," will most certainly at least check back for responses, and probably will not be able to resist posting again.
  • Classic Troll Tactic Number 6: Have a tantrum. When all their other tricks are exhausted, Classic Trolls will become angry and start shouting. Often they revert to Vulgar Trolls when this happens.
  • Classic Troll Tactic Number 7: The insincere apology. Similar to Tactic 4, this involves pretending to repent for one's trolling and is accompanied often by great melodrama. Insincere troll apologists hope that they'll be forgiven if only they act disgusted enough with their own behavior.

The Contrarian Troll. A sophisticated breed, Contrarian Trolls frequent boards whose predominant opinions are contrary to their own. A forum dominated by those who support firearms and knife rights, for example, will invariably be visited by Contrarian Trolls espousing their beliefs in the benefits of gun control. It is important to distinguish between dissenters and actual Contrarian Trolls, however; the Contrarian is not categorized as a troll because of his or her dissenting opinions, but due to the manner in which he or she behaves:

  • Contrarian Warning Sign Number One: The most important indicator of a poster's Contrarian Troll status is his constant use of subtle and not-so-subtle insults, a technique intended to make people angry. Contrarians will resist the urge to be insulting at first, but as their post count increases, they become more and more abusive of those with whom they disagree. Most often they initiate the insults in the course of what has been a civil, if heated, debate to that point.
  • Contrarian Warning Sign Number Two: Constant references to the forum membership as monolithic. "You guys are all just [descriptor]." "You're a lynch mob." "You all just want to ridicule anyone who disagrees with you."
  • Contrarian Warning Sign Number Three: Intellectual dishonesty. This is only a mild indicator that is not limited to trolls, but Contrarians display it to a high degree. They will lie about things they've said, pull posts out of context in a manner that changes their meanings significantly, and generally ignore any points for which they have no ready answers.
  • Contrarian Warning Sign Number Four: Accusing the accusers. When confronted with their trolling, trolls immediately respond that it is the accusers who are trolls (see Natural Predators below). Often the Contrarian will single out his most vocal opponent and claim that while he can respect his other opponents, this one in particular is beneath his notice.
  • Contrarian Warning Sign Number Five: Attempts to condescend. Pursued by Troll Bashers (see Natural Predators below), the Contrarian will seek refuge in condescending remarks that repeatedly scorn his or her critics as beneath notice all the while continuing to respond to them.
  • Contrarian Warning Sign Number Six: One distinctive mark of Contrarian Trolls is that every thread in which they dissent quickly devolves into a debate about who is trolling whom. In the course of such a debate the Contrarian will display many of the other Warning Signs mentioned above.

Contrarian warning sign behaviors may be shared by other breeds.

The YerATroll. YerATrolls are those whining forumites who devote a tremendous amount of time and energy complaining about the tremendous amount of time an energy expended by Troll Bashers and Angry Forumites on the practice of troll-hunting. A self-righteous and hypocritical breed, YerATrolls spend all their time pointing fingers at everyone but trolls, petulantly demanding that their opinions be granted the significance the YerATroll believes they deserve.

YerATrolls often start threads excoriating others for troll-hunting, all the while completely oblivious to the fact that they're engaging in trolling by picking fights with everyone else. One of the most ill-tempered of troll species, YerATrolls are characterized by a childish need for attention disguised as cynical nobility and pretensions of being "above it all."

The Agenda Troll. Agenda trolls are those participants who join a forum specifically to pursue an agenda of their own often a feud or grudge with another member, or perhaps a dispute with some party not participating in that forum. When a flame war erupts on another board, for example, Agenda Trolls will follow their opponents to other forums in order to continue the spat.

Some Agenda Trolls are subject-matter oriented. An Agenda Troll who thinks Self-Defense Instructor X is a fraud, or who feels he has been ripped off or otherwise dealt with unfairly by Instructor X, will visit forums devoted to self-defense and martial arts in order to spread his or her negative opinion of Instructor X.

The Spam Troll: Spam Trolls are a subspecie of Agenda Trolls. They are Trolls who join a board specifically to advertise some venture of their own. They are not often troublesome, though their shameless plugging is met with varying degrees of irritation.

Again, should you encounter one of the above Trolls in the BHM Forum, please report him/her to a Super Moderator.

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