So I’ve had a lot of serious posts lately and I figured I would lighten up a bit.  These are a few personal and/or internal definitions we use when issues/errors come up that I thought people might enjoy.  I’m pretty sure I’ve heard them somewhere on the web, but don’t remember where – i.e. they are not original.

Note that these are meant to be playful – sometimes we take ourselves too serious here.  So take it all with a grain of salt and in good fun.

ID-ten-T (ID10T) error – when you’re doing something wrong.
recursive maintenance – when you try and repair something by repeatedly cursing at it.
percussive maintenance – usually follows recursive, this is where you keep banging on something until it works.  The more delicate the hardware, better.
rtfm – read the (I’m sure you can figure it out) manual.
hardware problem – when we (development) blame operations.
software problem – when they blame us.
known issue – you’re the 10,000th person who’s told us.  We know, it’s broken, we’re working on it >.<.
works as designed – we don’t feel like fixing it or it’s not interesting.
FAIL – oops.
EPIC FAIL – big oops.

Many times I catch myself using terminology on the boards that – while second nature to myself and other Helium employees – may be confusing or simply meaningless to the community.  The purpose of this is to list some commons terms we use and what their meanings are – with examples where appropriate – to clear up some of the confusion.


Channels cause a lot of issues, so I’ll cover them first.

Channel – hierarchical element of Helium setup in tree format: base -> branch -> leaf.

Parent – a channel which has children under it.  I.e. smaller channels.  Example: “Computers & Technology” is a parent of “Hardware” which is itself a parent of “Computer Buying Tips.”

Child – a channel that has a parent above it.  Example: “Hardware” is a child of “Computers & Technology.”

Base channel – a channel which has no parent.  Examples: channels on the home page like “Hobbies & Games” and “Computers & Technology.”

Branch channel – a channel which has a parent and children.  Examples: under Computers & Technology we have “Internet” and “Hardware.”

Leaf channel – a channel which has a parent but no children. Example: Computer Buying Tips.

Think of it like a tree – the further you get down the limbs, the less it encompasses.  If you start at the base, you have the whole tree.  If you move down a branch, you only have that branch and it’s leaves.  If you move to a leaf, you only have the leaf.  It’s a basic tree structure – going from broader to narrower the further down the tree you travel.


I tend to use several article/title related terms.

Title – basic unit of Helium which contains 0-n articles.  Synonymous with article list page. Example: How to tell if your warranty is still good

Article – synonymous with item.  Child of a title.  Example: How to tell if your warranty is still good


Author – synonymous with user, writer.

Bio page – user page detailing their biography.  Example: Kevin W Byrom

Article page – synonymous with articles page.  Example: Kevin W Byrom

I’ll likely add more to this over time.  All the links were chosen randomly from what showed up on the pages I visited today.