This page represents official TMB policy or guidelines. Yarr!
- 1 Site information
- 2 User information
- 2.1 I registered an account but did not receive the confirmation e-mail!
- 2.2 I've lost my user name or password! Can you send it to me?
- 2.3 Can you rename my account?
- 2.4 Can you delete my (confirmed) account?
- 2.5 So, what's MY ratio?
- 2.6 Why is my IP displayed on my details page?
- 2.7 Help! I cannot login!? (a.k.a. Login of Death)
- 2.8 Why is my port number reported as "---"? (And why should I care?)
- 2.9 What are the different user classes?
- 2.10 Hey! I've seen a Resident with less than 100GB uploaded!
- 2.11 How do I add an avatar to my profile?
- 2.12 Can I become an admin?
- 3 Uploading
- 3.1 Why can't I upload torrents?
- 3.2 What criteria must I meet before I can join the Uploader team?
- 3.3 General Uploaders Etiquette (Uploading Guidelines)
- 3.4 How should I title my torrent? (Torrent Naming Guidelines)
- 3.5 Why have I been demoted back to a user from uploader status?
- 3.6 What will happen if I ignore any of the uploading guidelines?
- 3.7 Can I upload the new blahblahblah music video?
- 3.8 Can I upload a stream rip?
- 3.9 Can I upload your torrents to other trackers and/or share them with my friends?
- 3.10 How do I create a torrent?
- 4 Stats
- 4.1 Most common reason for stats not updating
- 4.2 Best practices
- 4.3 May I use any bittorrent client?
- 4.4 Why is a torrent I'm leeching/seeding listed several times in my profile?
- 4.5 I've finished or cancelled a torrent. Why is it still listed in my profile?
- 4.6 Multiple IPs (Can I login from different computers?)
- 4.7 How does NAT/ICS change the picture?
- 4.8 How do I improve my ratio?
- 5 Downloading
- 5.1 Why did an active torrent suddenly disappear?
- 5.2 How do I resume a broken download or reseed something?
- 5.3 What are these "a piece has failed an hash check" messages?
- 5.4 The torrent is supposed to be 100MB. How come I downloaded 120MB?
- 5.5 What ports can I use with my Bit Torrent client
- 5.6 What's this "IOError - [Errno13] Permission denied" error?
- 5.7 Why do I get an "Error (You need a better ratio to download megatorrents!) message?
- 5.8 How do I set up Azureus to auto download torrents?
- 6 How can I improve my download speed?
- 7 My ISP uses a transparent proxy. What should I do?
- 7.1 What is a proxy?
- 7.2 How do I find out if I'm behind a (transparent/anonymous) proxy?
- 7.3 Can I bypass my ISP's proxy?
- 7.4 How do I make my bittorrent client use a proxy?
- 7.5 Why can't I signup from behind a proxy?
- 7.6 Does this apply to other torrent sites?
- 7.7 Why is my port listed as "---" even though I'm not NAT/Firewalled?
- 8 Why can't I connect? Is the site blocking me?
- 9 What if I can't find the answer to my problem here?
We intend to be the 1st stop for torrents for: The Essential Mix, The Breezeblock, Kiss FM, XFM, Worldwide, BTTB, One World, Blue Room, The Milk Run, Solid Steel, Annie On One and much more... Before you do anything here we suggest you have a look at the rules.
What is this BitTorrent all about anyway? How do I get the files?
The idea behind Bittorrent is the SHARING of files. As you download a file you will also upload the parts you already have to help others. Bittorrent only works because other users like you are also sharing the files so please be considerate and leave the files open in your bittorrent client for as long as you can. The site will keep track of your sharing ratio, the more you share the more music you have access to.
If you are new to BitTorrent then you will be advised to have a look at the very good guide to BitTorrent which explains how BitTorrent works and how to get started.
Where does the donated money go?
All donated money goes towards hosting the site.
How does the auto ban/warning system work?
Every day we automatically issue warnings to any account who has downloaded 1.5gb and has a ratio of 0.3 or less. The account then has a warning flag issued recording the date and account statistics when the warning was issued. The following PM is send to the account by the system:
WARNING FROM ADMINS - READ OR BE BANNED... wrote:
You are receiving this autowarning because you have a VERY poor ratio. This site is a community that requires all members to SHARE. Using bittorrent while you download you also upload. The easiest way to maintain your ratio is to stay seeding the file after you have downloaded it until you have at least a ratio of 1. You now have 30 days to make a significant improvement on your ratio or you will be banned from the site. If your ratio gets worse you will be banned a lot sooner. Because you have to increase your ratio you should read idea's for how to do this here. If you have any questions AFTER READING THE FAQ and EXISTING help threads we have a support forum you can ask for help in here. Good luck, we hope you are still with us in 30 days.
Every day we automatically ban any account which has been warned for over 30 days and whose ratio is still 0.3 or worse.
We also monitor the accounts currently flagged with a warning and will ban any one who is trying to download lots before the auto ban or whose ratio has gotten worse since the warning.
Other non-ratio related warnings can be issued by the admin team for abusive behaviour, persistent commercial uploads etc.
How does your RSS feed work?
Updated FAQ entry for RSS feeds
- Human-readable forum feed
- Direct torrent download feed
Authentication To access the feeds, you need to authenticate with your TMB user credentials. There are two ways to do this
- if your client supports it, it will prompt you for your credentials
- directly provide your credentials in the URL like this:
Without any restrictions in the URL, the feed will contain all new torrents. You will need use your client downloader settings to filter. But you can also restrict your feed to a particular tag, artist, dates etc of torrents by adding filters to the above URL.
- to get a feed of torrents tagged as jungle for your torrent client use this url:
- or to perform a free text search
- more examples:
https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@themixingbowl.org/rssddl.xml?search=tag:readers mixes https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@themixingbowl.org/rssddl.xml?search=tag:annie on one https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@themixingbowl.org/rssddl.xml?search=title:nocturnal https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@themixingbowl.org/rssddl.xml?search=leechers:1
- multiple filter examples:
https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@themixingbowl.org/rssddl.xml?search=tag:essential mix, year:2010, codec:mp3 https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@themixingbowl.org/rssddl.xml?search=bookmarked:yes, snatched:no, seeders:1 https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@themixingbowl.org/rssddl.xml?search=tag:Breezeblock/MAH OR breakcore
If you have trouble with spaces (I didn't have any trouble with utorrent), replace spaces with %20 or a + (plus sign)
Filter your feed using any of the search terms explained in the help on the normal torrent search on the TMB website: https://themixingbowl.org/torrent/search/
o title: Only searches title o description: Only searches description o uploader: streetjack o year: 2007, -2006 (not 2006) o size: 88mb (88MB+), -1g (-1GB) o tag: techno, "live dj mix" o artist: 4hero, "DJ Shadow" o codec: mp3, aac, -ogg o bitrate: 192 (at least), -256 (less than) o length: 60min (at least), -1h (less than) o start: 2007-01-02 o end: 2007-05-06 o seeders: 2 (at least 2), -3 (less than 3) o leechers: 2 (at least 2), -3 (less than 3) o files: 2 (at least 2), -3 (less than 3) o bookmarked: yes/no o snatched: yes/no o snatches: 100 (100+), -50 (-50) o topten: username o free: yes/no
This syntax of searching also works by typing into the search box tag:live
Tags will match case insensitive text, eg: tag:house will match House, Progressive house, Deep House and Tech House .. etc
How can I contact an admin?
Use this link to send a question to the admin team, this will be answered by any available admin.
If you message an admin you see online directly you may not get a response especially if your question is already covered in the FAQ.
I registered an account but did not receive the confirmation e-mail!
You can use this form to delete the account so you can re-register. Note though that if you didn't receive the email the first time it will probably not succeed the second time either so you should really try another email address.
I've lost my user name or password! Can you send it to me?
Please use this form to have the login details mailed back to you.
Can you rename my account?
Possibly. Send a message to the admin team explaining why using this link.
Can you delete my (confirmed) account?
You can do it yourself by using this form.
So, what's MY ratio?
You can view your ratio on your profile page
It's important to distinguish between your overall ratio and the individual ratio on each torrent you may be seeding or leeching. The overall ratio takes into account the total uploaded and downloaded from your account since you joined the site. The individual ratio just indicates the values for each torrent.
You may see two symbols instead of a number: "Inf.", which is just an abbreviation for Infinity, and means that you have downloaded 0 bytes while uploading a non-zero amount (ul/dl becomes infinity); "---", which should be read as "non-available", and shows up when you have both downloaded and uploaded 0 bytes (ul/dl = 0/0 which is an indeterminate amount).
Why is my IP displayed on my details page?
Only you and the site moderators can view your IP address and email. Regular users do not see that information.
Help! I cannot login!? (a.k.a. Login of Death)
This problem sometimes occurs with MSIE. Close all Internet Explorer windows and open Internet Options in the control panel. Click the Delete Cookies button. You should now be able to login.
Why is my port number reported as "---"? (And why should I care?)
The tracker has determined that you are firewalled or NATed and cannot accept incoming connections. This means that other peers in the swarm will be unable to connect to you, only you to them. Even worse, if two peers are both in this state they will not be able to connect at all. This will slow down your torrents so it's in your best interests to fix it.
What are the different user classes?
Hey! I've seen a Resident with less than 100GB uploaded!
Members who make an outstanding contribution to The Mixing Bowl may be promoted to Resident before they meet all the normal criteria.
How do I add an avatar to my profile?
You can set your avatar from your Preferences page.
Select the image you wish to use as you avatar and the click "Submit changes" at the bottom of the page. The site accepts JPEG, PNG and GIF image types and they are resized automatically to the appropriate size for the forum. You can upload files up to 2MB in size, if the original is larger than this you will need to manually reduce it's size before uploading. GIFs are not resized and there is a 100KB file size limit for these.
Can I become an admin?
No. I'm afraid getting to be an admin by asking is not possible on themixingbowl.
Why can't I upload torrents?
Only specially authorised users (Uploaders) have permission to upload torrents.
What criteria must I meet before I can join the Uploader team?
Any member can become an uploader. In order to join the uploader group read the instructions and fill out the form on the Uploader Request page to signify that you've read the rules about what kind of torrents are allowed (no commercial releases!).
Once you've done this an admin will add you to the uploaders group. This is a manual process so please allow a few days for this to happen. You will be sent a PM to confirm when your account has been upgraded.
General Uploaders Etiquette (Uploading Guidelines)
Maintain excellence at all times. For a more in-depth discussion of what this involves, see the Uploading Guidelines page.
How should I title my torrent? (Torrent Naming Guidelines)
This is covered in the Uploading Guidelines.
Why have I been demoted back to a user from uploader status?
There are a number of reasons you might have been demoted to user from uploader or resident. These include (but are not limited to):
- Uploading commercial releases
- Uploading stream rips
- Persistently uploading poorly classified torrents
- Uploads not following the naming guidelines
What will happen if I ignore any of the uploading guidelines?
The upload will be deleted, and if you do it persistently you will be demoted. If you persistently upload commercial releases or argue with an admin you will probably be banned as well.
Can I upload the new blahblahblah music video?
No, music video's are treated the same as single songs and are not allowed. vj mixes, mashups etc are normally ok, if you are in any doubt at all ask before uploading.
Can I upload a stream rip?
See the Internet Radios page for rules about uploading internet radio streams.
No. Each torrent you download from here contains a unique ID linking it to your account. If other people try to download using the same torrent they will mess up your stats, which could result in you getting banned.
However, the files you download from us are yours to do as you please. You can always create another torrent, pointing to some other tracker, and upload it to the site of your choice. We only ask that you include themixingbowl.org .nfo file to spread the word.
How do I create a torrent?
See the Bittorrent client guide page for guides on how to create torrents.
Most common reason for stats not updating
- The user is cheating. (a.k.a. "Summary Ban")
- The server is overloaded and unresponsive. Just try to keep the session open until the server responds again. (Flooding the server with consecutive manual updates is not recommended.)
- You are using a faulty client. If you want to use an experimental or CVS version you do it at your own risk.
- If a torrent you are currently leeching/seeding is not listed on your profile, just wait or force a manual update.
- Make sure you exit your client properly, so that the tracker receives "event=completed".
- If the tracker is down, do not stop seeding. As long as the tracker is back up before you exit the client the stats should update properly.
May I use any bittorrent client?
NO. Some clients have been banned (for various reasons). If you attempt to use a banned client you will receive an error response from the tracker. The following clients are recommended:
Because some reasons may involve security of the site or ratio cheating we will not discuss them so please do not post asking us to change our minds about banned clients or asking why individual clients have been banned. We also highly encourage you to avoid any clients in alpha or beta version, any ratio errors they create will NOT be rectified.
Why is a torrent I'm leeching/seeding listed several times in my profile?
If for some reason (e.g. pc crash, or frozen client) your client exits improperly and you restart it, it will have a new peer_id, so it will show as a new torrent. The old one will never receive a "event=completed" or "event=stopped" and will be listed until some tracker timeout. Just ignore it, it will eventually go away.
Another reason could be that you have given torrents you have downloaded from this site to other people. Each .torrent file you download contains a unique ID that links it to your account. For this reason sharing .torrent files you have downloaded from The Mixing Bowl is forbidden.
I've finished or cancelled a torrent. Why is it still listed in my profile?
Some clients, notably TorrentStorm and Nova Torrent, do not report properly to the tracker when cancelling or finishing a torrent. In that case the tracker will keep waiting for some message - and thus listing the torrent as seeding or leeching - until some timeout occurs. Just ignore it, it will eventually go away.
Multiple IPs (Can I login from different computers?)
Yes, the tracker is now capable of following sessions from different IPs for the same user. A torrent is associated with the user when it starts, and only at that moment is the IP relevant. So if you want to seed/leech from computer A and computer B with the same account you should access the site from computer A, start the torrent there, and then repeat both steps from computer B (not limited to two computers or to a single torrent on each, this is just the simplest example). You do not need to login again when closing the torrent.
How does NAT/ICS change the picture?
All torrents are tracker on a per-client basis. Any number of user accounts and/or Bit Torrent clients can report from the same IP address and account stats will be updated correctly.
How do I improve my ratio?
Read the One Stop Ratio Shop.
Why did an active torrent suddenly disappear?
The most likely reasons are that the uploader deleted it because there was a problem with the release, or an admin/moderator deleted it because it broke the site rules.
How do I resume a broken download or reseed something?
Download the original .torrent file from server after that open it in you Bit Torrent client and browse the folder of the torrent you are downloading/reseeding.
What are these "a piece has failed an hash check" messages?
Bittorrent clients check the data they receive for integrity. When a piece fails this check it is automatically re-downloaded. Occasional hash fails are a common occurrence, and you shouldn't worry.
Some clients have an (advanced) option/preference to "kick/ban" clients that send you bad data or similar. It should be turned on, since it makes sure that if a peer repeatedly sends you pieces that fail the hash check it will be ignored in the future.
The torrent is supposed to be 100MB. How come I downloaded 120MB?
See the hash fails topic. If your client receives bad data it will have to redownload it, therefore the total downloaded may be larger than the torrent size. Make sure the "kick/ban" option is turned on to minimize the extra downloads.
What ports can I use with my Bit Torrent client
Due to the widespread use of Deep Packet Inspection by ISPs the choice of a non standard port to use for Bit Torrent connections no longer improves transfer speeds. The Mixing Bowl does not restrict the usage of any ports for clients however it does recommend the use of protocol encryption. Please consult the manual for you client for details on enabling protocol encryption.
What's this "IOError - [Errno13] Permission denied" error?
If you just want to fix it reboot your computer, it should solve the problem. Otherwise read on.
IOError means Input-Output Error, and that is a file system error, not a tracker one. It shows up when your client is for some reason unable to open the partially downloaded torrent files. The most common cause is two instances of the client to be running simultaneously: the last time the client was closed it somehow didn't really close but kept running in the background, and is therefore still locking the files, making it impossible for the new instance to open them.
A more uncommon occurrence is a corrupted FAT. A crash may result in corruption that makes the partially downloaded files unreadable, and the error ensues. Running scandisk should solve the problem. (Note that this may happen only if you're running Windows 9x - which only support FAT - or NT/2000/XP with FAT formatted hard drives. NTFS is much more robust and should never permit this problem.)
Why do I get an "Error (You need a better ratio to download megatorrents!) message?
In order to prevent new members from digging a big hole in their ratio they can't get out of, they are prevented from downloading any torrent over 1GB.
This restriction is lifted once you have downloaded over 1.5GB and have a ratio better than 0.8.
How do I set up Azureus to auto download torrents?
See the Azureus page for information on how to do this.
How can I improve my download speed?
Do not immediately jump on new torrents
The download speed mostly depends on the seeder-to-leecher ratio (SLR). Poor download speed is mainly a problem with new and very popular torrents where the SLR is low.
(Proselytising sidenote: make sure you remember that you did not enjoy the low speed. Seed so that others will not endure the same.)
The best speeds will be found around the half-life of a torrent, when the SLR will be at its highest. (The downside is that you will not be able to seed so much. It's up to you to balance the pros and cons of this.)
Limit your upload speed
The upload speed affects the download speed in essentially two ways:
- Bittorrent peers tend to favour those other peers that upload to them. This means that if A and B are leeching the same torrent and A is sending data to B at high speed then B will try to reciprocate. So due to this effect high upload speeds lead to high download speeds.
- Due to the way TCP works, when A is downloading something from B it has to keep telling B that it received the data sent to him. (These are called acknowledgements - ACKs -, a sort of "got it!" messages). If A fails to do this then B will stop sending data and wait. If A is uploading at full speed there may be no bandwidth left for the ACKs and they will be delayed. So due to this effect excessively high upload speeds lead to low download speeds.
The full effect is a combination of the two. The upload should be kept as high as possible while allowing the ACKs to get through without delay. A good thumb rule is keeping the upload at about 80% of the theoretical upload speed. You will have to fine tune yours to find out what works best for you. (Remember that keeping the upload high has the additional benefit of helping with your ratio.)
If you are running more than one instance of a client it is the overall upload speed that you must take into account. Some clients (e.g. Azureus) limit global upload speed, others (e.g. Shad0w's) do it on a per torrent basis. Know your client. The same applies if you are using your connection for anything else (e.g. browsing or ftp), always think of the overall upload speed.
Limit the number of simultaneous connections
Some operating systems (like Windows 9x) do not deal well with a large number of connections, and may even crash. Also some home routers (particularly when running NAT and/or firewall with stateful inspection services) tend to become slow or crash when having to deal with too many connections. There are no fixed values for this, you may try 60 or 100 and experiment with the value. Note that these numbers are additive, if you have two instances of a client running the numbers add up.
Limit the number of simultaneous uploads
Isn't this the same as above? No. Connections limit the number of peers your client is talking to and/or downloading from. Uploads limit the number of peers your client is actually uploading to. The ideal number is typically much lower than the number of connections, and highly dependent on your (physical) connection.
Just give it some time
As explained above peers favour other peers that upload to them. When you start leeching a new torrent you have nothing to offer to other peers and they will tend to ignore you. This makes the starts slow, in particular if, by change, the peers you are connected to include few or no seeders. The download speed should increase as soon as you have some pieces to share.
Why is my browsing so slow while leeching?
Your download speed is always finite. If you are a peer in a fast torrent it will almost certainly saturate your download bandwidth, and your browsing will suffer. There are very few clients that allow you to limit the download speed (Azureus and uTorrent can), only the upload. So if your Client does not allow this then you will have to use a third-party solution, such as NetLimiter.
Browsing was used just as an example, the same would apply to gaming, IMing, etc...
My ISP uses a transparent proxy. What should I do?
What is a proxy?
Basically a middleman. When you are browsing a site through a proxy your requests are sent to the proxy and the proxy forwards them to the site instead of you connecting directly to the site. There are several classifications (the terminology is far from standard):
|Transparent||A transparent proxy is one that needs no configuration on the clients. It works by automatically redirecting all port 80 traffic to the proxy. (Sometimes used as synonymous for non-anonymous.)|
|Explicit/Voluntary||Clients must configure their browsers to use them.|
|Anonymous||The proxy sends no client identification to the server. (HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR header is not sent; the server does not see your IP.)|
|Highly Anonymous||The proxy sends no client nor proxy identification to the server. (HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR, HTTP_VIA and HTTP_PROXY_CONNECTION headers are not sent; the server doesn't see your IP and doesn't even know you're using a proxy.)|
A transparent proxy may or may not be anonymous, and there are several levels of anonymity.
How do I find out if I'm behind a (transparent/anonymous) proxy?
Try ProxyJudge. It lists the HTTP headers that the server where it is running received from you. The relevant ones are HTTP_CLIENT_IP, HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR and REMOTE_ADDR.
Can I bypass my ISP's proxy?
If your ISP only allows HTTP traffic through port 80 or blocks the usual proxy ports then you would need to use something like socks and that is outside the scope of this FAQ.
Otherwise you may try the following:
- Choose any public non-anonymous proxy that does not use port 80 (e.g. from this, this or this list).
- Configure your computer to use that proxy. For Windows XP, do Start, Control Panel, Internet Options, Connections, LAN Settings, Use a Proxy server, Advanced and type in the IP and port of your chosen proxy. Or from Internet Explorer use Tools, Internet Options, ...
- (Facultative) Visit ProxyJudge. If you see an HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR in the list followed by your IP then everything should be ok, otherwise choose another proxy and try again.
- Visit TorrentBits. Hopefully the tracker will now pickup your real IP (check your profile to make sure).
Notice that now you will be doing all your browsing through a public proxy, which are typically quite slow. Communications between peers do not use port 80 so their speed will not be affected by this, and should be better than when you were "unconnectable".
How do I make my bittorrent client use a proxy?
Just configure Windows XP as above. When you configure a proxy for Internet Explorer you're actually configuring a proxy for all HTTP traffic (thank Microsoft and their "IE as part of the OS policy" ). On the other hand if you use another browser (Opera/Mozilla/Firefox) and configure a proxy there you'll be configuring a proxy just for that browser. We don't know of any BT client that allows a proxy to be specified explicitly.
Why can't I signup from behind a proxy?
It is our policy not to allow new accounts to be opened from behind a proxy.
Does this apply to other torrent sites?
This section was written for The Mixing Bowl, a closed, port 80-81 tracker. Other trackers may be open or closed, and many listen on e.g. ports 6868 or 6969. The above does not necessarily apply to other trackers.
Why is my port listed as "---" even though I'm not NAT/Firewalled?
The TorrentBits tracker is quite smart at finding your real IP, but it does need the proxy to send the HTTP header HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR. If your ISP's proxy does not then what happens is that the tracker will interpret the proxy's IP address as the client's IP address. So when you login and the tracker tries to connect to your client to see if you are NAT/firewalled it will actually try to connect to the proxy on the port your client reports to be using for incoming connections. Naturally the proxy will not be listening on that port, the connection will fail and the tracker will think you are NAT/firewalled.
Why can't I connect? Is the site blocking me?
Maybe my address is blacklisted?
The site blocks addresses listed in the (former) PeerGuardian database, as well as addresses of banned users. This works at Apache/PHP level, it's just a script that blocks logins from those addresses. It should not stop you from reaching the site. In particular it does not block lower level protocols, you should be able to ping/traceroute the server even if your address is blacklisted. If you cannot then the reason for the problem lies elsewhere.
If somehow your address is indeed blocked in the PG database do not contact us about it, it is not our policy to open ad hoc exceptions. You should clear your IP with the database maintainers instead.
Your ISP blocks the site's address
(In first place, it's unlikely your ISP is doing so. DNS name resolution and/or network problems are the usual culprits.)
There's nothing we can do. You should contact your ISP (or get a new one). Note that you can still visit the site via a proxy, follow the instructions in the relevant section. In this case it doesn't matter if the proxy is anonymous or not, or which port it listens to.
Notice that you will always be listed as an "unconnectable" client because the tracker will be unable to check that you're capable of accepting incoming connections.
What if I can't find the answer to my problem here?
You can try these:
Post in the forums, by all means. You'll find they are usually a friendly and helpful place, provided you follow a few basic guidelines:
- Make sure your problem is not really in this FAQ. There's no point in posting just to be sent back here.
- Before posting read the sticky topics (the ones at the top). Many times new information that still hasn't been incorporated in the FAQ can be found there.
- Help us in helping you. Do not just say "it doesn't work!". Provide details so that we don't have to guess or waste time asking. What client do you use? What's your OS? What's your network setup? What's the exact error message you get, if any? What are the torrents you are having problems with? The more you tell the easiest it will be for us, and the more probable your post will get a reply.
- And needless to say: be polite. Demanding help rarely works, asking for it usually does the trick.