NLA topics are the result of the process by which a channel member's statement is adapted using an efficient means of letter removal to facilitate rewording without the step of introducing any new characters. This allows such statements to be twisted and contorted to such a degree that their meaning completely changes, very often to something filthy, disgusting, embarrassing and almost always untrue, but that makes for a jolly good laugh.
However, the rules governing the creation and posting of NLA topics are somewhat complex in order to maintain a suitable level of quality. This document attempts to explain these rules.
- NLA compliant - used to describe a topic that fulfils and satisfies all the rules and criteria of NLA topics, whether Partial NLA, Full NLA, or NLA/NLR (see below).
- NLA/NLR compliant - on rare occasions, a statement will not have to be modified at all in order to quality as an outrageously funny NLA topic. On such occasions, a channel member may have simply made an innocent word ordering mistake, or made an unfortunate choice of words that changed the meaning of their statement from what they intended it to be. In such cases, the topic is NLA/NLR (No Letters Added, No Letters Removed) compliant.
- NLA failure - declared by other channel members when it has been deemed that the posted topic does not meet one or more rules and criteria of NLA topics. This is normally declared by changing the topic to "The previous topic was not NLA compliant". The poster of the NLA topic then has the opportunity to alter the topic so that it is NLA compliant, or accept failure.
- NLA protocol error - declared by other channel members when the topic contains a protocol or syntax error (see below)
- Full NLA - an NLA topic is "Full NLA" when letters have been removed, but the order of the letters has not otherwise been modified. This sort of NLA topic are of the highest quality as they require several further degrees of effort and general cleverness to create.
- Partial NLA - an NLA topic is "Partial NLA" when letters have been removed and the order of the letters have also been modified in some way. While a Partial NLA topic is not of the same quality of a Full NLA topic, it does not mean that it's any less valid, and Partial NLA topics are completely acceptable, indeed they are the most common sort of NLA topic that is posted due to their easier anagrammatical modification.
- Weak/W34k - declared by other channel members if the posted topic, whether NLA compliant or not, is deemed unfunny by a large majority. In such cases, the other channel members have the right to remove the topic and replace it with something else.
Observe this banner ad, which perfectly demonstrates how to construct an NLA topic from even the simplest and most innocent of statements:
General rules and criteria
NLA topics are created by taking existing statements made in channel, removing particular letters (Full NLA), and optionally changing the order of the remaining letters (Partial NLA). Each character of the original statement may be used in the final NLA topic, but it may only be used once. For example, if the original statement contained 6 occurrences of the character "e", then the final topic may also contain up to 6 occurrences of that character, but no more. If there are no occurrences of the character "z" in the original statement, then that charater may not appear in the final topic at all.
The term "character" means all ASCii characters, and is not limited to numbers and letters. It includes all punctuation symbols, the space character, and any special control characters such as bold or underline.
Protocol and syntax
Each NLA topic must be prefixed with a valid nickname identifier. The nickname must match the nick of the channel member who originally made the statement, no spelling modifications or dropping of wings (^) etc is acceptable. The nickname must be delimited in one of two ways:
- <nickname> - for normal statements
- * nickname - for statements made using the /me command
Whether this is the way your IRC client displays nicks or not is irrelevant.
Grammar and spelling
NLA topics must be grammatically correct, correctly punctuated and be free of spelling errors. This rule applies whether the original statement had such errors or not; the source material is irrelevant.
For example, if the original statement contained the incorrect word "theres", this may not be used in the NLA topic unless there's also an apostrophe somewhere else in the same statement that can be inserted to produce the correct "there's". Remember that each character can only be used once, so if that apostrophe is taken from another word, then that word cannot then be included in the NLA topic.
This rule has several exceptions:
- It is not necessary to ensure that letters are capitalised correctly (therefore it's acceptable to use the lowercase form of "I" in first-person statements, for example)
- Full stops and commas are excluded from the punctuation rule.
NLA topics can be chained together to form a sequence of fictional events or "storylines", restricted only by the maximum topic length. However, the order in which these chained topics must match the order in which the original statements from which they made appeared on channel. You may not change the order of the NLA topics to suit the "storyline".
Any channel member has the right to have a statement prevented from being used to create an NLA topic. However, in order to exclude a statement in this way, the statement must be prefixed with the hash symbol, "#". Such exclusions cannot be retrofitted to statements already submitted to the channel.
This is designed to allow channel members to make statements that might quite obviously have NLA potential without risking the usual embarrassment and humiliation, and is designed to negate any claims of "topic baiting", which were previously used to subtract credibility from any genuinely funny NLA topics when channel members were caught out by such topics.
- NLA topics do not have to be smutty or rude, but we've found that such topics tend to be the funniest and most successful.
- These rules are subject to review without notice.
NLA checker tool
This online NLA topic checker will help you check that your proposed NLA topic is NLA compliant. However, it does not check your spelling and grammar, and thus its results cannot be presented as evidence in a dispute over the validity over an NLA topic if it has been deemed that the topic is not NLA compliant due to a spelling or grammatical error.
Late channel member Parpicus (David Spedding) is the all time king of NLA topics. Often emulated, never bettered.