Twin Cities Free-Net Help Center

Caucus for Beginners

Using Caucus the First Time

This section provides an example of a new user accessing Caucus for the first time. It goes through the new user's registration with Caucus and shows how to join a conference, how to access HELP, and how to use some basic commands to participate in the conference.

Words shown in boldface are typed by the user. Assume that the user pressed <return> at the end of each line. The text displayed by Caucus is shown indented. The text in parentheses provides additional information. Feel free to try this example yourself on your own computer.

The example assumes that the user has already logged onto a Caucus host computer by typing an account name or a userid and password. How to log on varies from computer to computer.


(On most computers, you type "caucus" to start the program. Details may vary from computer to computer.)

Caucus (TM) Version 2.3/SX. Copyright (C) 1988-1993 Camber-Roth.

Welcome to Caucus!

Since this is your first time using Caucus, you will be asked a few short questions. Please answer them as well as you can. (You can change the answers later if you need to.) Caucus will use your answers to register you as a new user.

If this is your first time on Caucus, type NEWUSER and press RETURN.

This will let you register a new userid for yourself.

Otherwise, type your userid now: newuser

Please enter your last name: Doe

Caucus will ask you for a password each time you login. Here Caucus asks you to pick your password. The word you type will not show up on the screen.

Next time you log in, I'll ask you for a secret password so

that I'll know it's really you.

What would you like that password to be? PASSWORD

Please enter it again, just to make sure: PASSWORD

(The first time you use Caucus, it asks you to register. The next time it will remember who you are.)

Please follow the instructions below to register as a Caucus user.

Type HELP or ? at ANY prompt if you need assistance.

Please enter your full name, in mixed case (capital and small letters):

>Joan Doe

When your name appears in an alphabetized list, under which word in your

name are you listed? (For example, 'John Doe' is listed under 'Doe'.)

(The use of parentheses around (doe) indicates that this is Caucus' default selection. If you press <RETURN> you are listed alphabetically as "doe.")

List me under: (doe) doe

Please enter your telephone number:


Please describe yourself briefly in a few lines. Your description could include why you are using Caucus, what your role is in your organization, or even a few words about your personal interests.

Please describe yourself briefly in a few lines. When you are

done, type a period (dot) at the beginning of the next line.

>Camber-Roth employee.

>I also enjoy science fiction and white-water rafting!


Please wait while Caucus completes your registration...

JOIN which conference? demonstration

(If you see a menu instead of this prompt, your Caucus system has been configured to use a menu interface. In that case, please see the Caucus Menu User's Guide .)

(Your computer may host many different conferences. Each conference has a different name. In this case, the user is joining the DEMONSTRATION conference, which is distributed free with Caucus.)

This is the Caucus DEMONSTRATION conference. It briefly describes the format and features of Caucus, and then lets you try them out on excerpts taken from a variety of licensee applications.

Please answer YES when Caucus asks...

Do you wish to join this conference? yes

Welcome to the Caucus DEMONSTRATION conference.

(Charles Roth, organizer.)

The <CANCEL> key is Control-C.

New items are: 1-2

No new responses

(Each time you join a conference, Caucus shows the name of the conference, identifies the organizer, indicates the system "cancel" key, and lists any unread items, responses, and mail messages.)

AND NOW? (? for help) help

("AND NOW?" is the basic Caucus prompt. This is where you tell Caucus what you want to do. In this case, the user asks for help.)

HELP is available on all aspects of CAUCUS operation. Any time Caucus is waiting for you to type something, you can type ? or HELP to find out what your choices are.

To learn how to use Caucus, try typing:

HELP NOVICE if you are using Caucus for the first time

HELP COMMANDS to see what a Caucus command looks like

HELP VERBS to see the list of Caucus command verbs

HELP OBJECTS to see the list of objects Caucus can act on

HELP INSTANCES to learn how to specify instances of objects

HELP MODIFIERS to see the list of command modifiers

HELP EXAMPLES to see examples of commonly used Caucus commands

HELP QUICK to see a quick list of Caucus verbs and objects

HELP SHORTCUTS to see some shortcuts for common tasks

HELP TOPICS to see what other help is available

AND NOW? (? for help) help quick



AND NOW? (? for help) show item 1

(A conference consists of multiple discussions called items. Each item has a number. The user is reading the first item.)

Item 1 22-SEP-89 2:41 Charles Roth (Roth)

Introduction to this demonstration conference.

Text entered as Item 1 shows here.

0 Discussion responses

ITEM 1...RESPOND, PASS, or ? for options: (pass) pass

(In this illustration, the choices are to pass, respond, or ask for help. PASS is the default option: to pass, just press <RETURN>. RESPOND allows you to enter text. HELP or ? will display on-line help with more information on your options at this point. In this example, the user passes.)

AND NOW? (? for help) stop

You are now leaving 'DEMONSTRATION'.

(Typing "stop" exits the user from both the demonstration conference and Caucus.)

Getting Help

The single most important part of Caucus is the on-line help. Use it! You can type HELP (or "?") at any Caucus prompt. When you type HELP, Caucus tells you:

_ What it thinks you are doing

_ What your choices are

_ How to get more detailed help (accessible from the "AND NOW?" prompt only)

Caucus then repeats the previous prompt. This means you can never go wrong by typing HELP, even if you are in the middle of entering text for an item or response.

The Caucus on-line help also contains a built-in reference manual for using Caucus. When you see the "AND NOW?" prompt, you can type HELP followed by another word. For example, typing HELP COMMAND tells you about the structure of Caucus commands. HELP SHOW tells you about the SHOW command, and so on.

Each piece of HELP text is less than two screenfuls (40 lines) long. When more detailed help is available, Caucus will tell you what to type for more information. For example, typing HELP COMMAND tells you that a Caucus command is made up of a verb, an object, and an instance, and that you can get more HELP on each of these words. Typing HELP VERB tells you about the Caucus command verbs: SHOW, LIST, ADD, DELETE, and so on. Typing HELP SHOW tells you about the SHOW command.

By using HELP in this manner, you can always find the information you need to use Caucus. Many people have learned how to use Caucus without ever opening the Caucus User Guide.

Remember, you can't use HELP too much!

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©1996, Screen Porch LLC
©1997, Twin Cities Free-Net
Last modified: March 1997