Backtalk Administration Guide:

Conference Deletion

Version 1.4.9

© 1996-2003 Jan Wolter, Steve Weiss

Backtalk conference deletion can be done either through the web interface, or from Unix. For systems using real unix user accounts, there is one stage of the conference deletion that currently must be done from Unix. Both procedures are described here.

Note that if you follow the procedures here you will destroy all items and responses in the conference, as well as all the conference configuration information and all records of which responses each user has seen. If you ever want any of this information back again, you should back up the conference before deleting it.

Conference Deletion From Backtalk:

To delete a Backtalk conference, follow the following steps. (The checkboxes below perform no function - they are just for your convenience.)

  1. Log into the administration account

    See the logging in instructions.

  2. Remove the conference from the conference menu

    First we should delete the conference from the list of conferences presented to users (unless you plan to start a new conference in the place of the old one, in which case you can skip to the next step.)

    There is a link labelled "Edit the Conference Menu" on the administration page. Click on it.

    The next page will show the conference menu. Click on the red "Delete" button next to the conference you are deleting.

    Note that this step only deletes the conference from the menu. The conference itself is still there on your disk, and though people can't join it by selecting it off the menu, they can still join it it by typing the name in the "goto conference" box.

    To actually delete the conference from your disk, you need to follow the rest of the steps in this procedure.

  3. Goto the conference deletion page

    Return to the conference adminstration page. There is a link there labelled "Delete a Conference". Click on this.

  4. Specify the conference to be deleted.

    You will be shown a form one box. Enter the name of the conference that you want to delete here and kill the button labeled "Kill It".

  5. Confirm that you really want to delete it.

    Since deleting conferences can destroy a lot of information in an irreversable fashion, Backtalk is rather reluctant to do so on the strength of one button click.

    So the next screen you will see will ask you if you really want to kill the conference. There are three selectable buttons displaying the letters A-A-A on this page. Change them one at a time until they spell out the word Y-E-S. Then click on the kill button.

    The conference will have been deleted.

  6. For Unix accounts, clean up participation files.

    If your backtalk installation is set up so that all users have Unix accounts on your server and log in with those accounts (this is rare), then there is one more step to perform. You have to delete the participation files for the conference from each user's home directory. There is currently no way to do this from the Backtalk web interface. You need to do it from Unix, as described below.

Conference Deletion From Unix:

The conference deletion procedure is identical to that used for Picospan or Yapp 2.3 conferences.

To delete a Backtalk conference, follow the following steps. (The checkboxes below perform no function - they are just for your convenience.)

  1. Log onto the Unix conference administration account.

    This is the account that owns all the conference files and the backtalk program itself.

  2. change directory to the ``bbs'' directory.

    This is the directory where the conflist file and all the conference directories normally reside.

  3. Edit the conflist file.

    The conflist file resides in the top level "bbs" directory. It is used to map typed names of conferences to the actual directory names where the conference is stored. You can use any standard Unix text editor to edit it, such as:

            vi conflist
    A typical conflist file might look like this:
    Or, if you are using the shortened format, The path names of the top level bbs directory (``/usr/local/backtalk/bbs/'' in the example will be replaced with percent signs, so that it looks more like this:
    Suppose we want to delete version one of the ``Martian'' conference, which is stored in the martian1 directory.

    We should start by deleting all the lines in the conflist which point to that directory, in this case, the last three lines of the file.

  4. Edit the public.txt file.

    The public.txt file is a human-readable list of conferences, used by the interfaces to generate lists of conferences. You should edit this file, removing any line describing the conference you are deleting.

  5. Remove the user participation files

    Backtalk maintains a participation file for each user who is a member of a conference. Since we are deleting the conference, we should delete this participation files too.

    The name of the participation file is in the conference's config file. In this case, our conference was in the /usr/local/backtalk/bbs/martian1 directory, so the configuration file is /usr/local/backtalk/bbs/martian1/config. If we look at this file, we will see something like this:

    The second line of this tells us the name of the participation file for the conference, in this case So we need to delete this file from each user's directory.

    The easiest way to do this is with a Unix find command. First you need to know where your user's home directories are. If your Backtalk is set up to use real user accounts this may be place like /home, but more likely you are using separate Backtalk accounts for your Backtalk users, so you user directory may be something like /usr/local/backtalk/user. Supposing the latter, you could remove all the files using a command like:

        find /usr/local/backtalk/user -name -exec rm "{}" \;
    This searchs under for all files named under the /usr/local/backtalk/user directory and deletes each one. Obviously some caution is required with commands like this.
  6. Remove the conference directory.

    Everything else related to the Martian conference is in the directory that the conflist file was pointing to (in this example, the directory /usr/local/backtalk/bbs/martian1). To finish the job of deleting the conference, we need only delete this directory. So, first make any backups of it that you might want, and then do

        rm -r /usr/local/backtalk/bbs/martian1
    to delete the directory and all of its contents.