Forums, Threads and Posts
Searching Forums and Threads
Viewing New Posts or Recent Posts
Contacting other Members
Dealing with Troublesome Users
Forums, Threads and Posts
What is a bulletin board?
A bulletin board is an online discussion site. It's sometimes also called a 'board' or 'forums'. It may contain several categories, consisting of forums, threads and individual posts.
How is all this structured?
The bulletin board as a whole contains various categories (broad subject areas), which themselves contain forums (more specific subject areas) which contain threads (conversations on a topic) which are made up of individual posts (where a user writes something).
The board home page has a list of categories and forums, with basic statistics for each - including the number of threads and posts, and which member posted the most recent message.
How do I find my way around?
When you click on a forum's name, you are taken to the list of threads it contains. A thread is a conversation between members. Each thread starts out as a single post and grows as more individual posts are added by different users. Threads can be rated (?) to show how useful or popular they are and may contain polls (?).
To start a new thread simply click on the Post New Thread button (you may need the right permissions to do this).
Threads can be ordered in many different ways. The default is to have the thread with the most recent activity at the top. But you can easily change this ordering, for example to have the thread with the most posts at the top, or the highest rating. Simply click on Thread Display Options at the bottom of the forum you are displaying and select Sort threads by: (Last Post, Thread Starter, Rating, Replies, Views or Likes). You can also reverse the sorting order by clicking Order threads in: (Descending or Ascending). (Note that 'sticky' threads will always be at the top no matter how you change the viewing options).
When there are more threads to display than will fit on a single page, you may see the 'Page' box, which contains page numbers. This indicates that the list of threads has been split over two or more pages.
This method of splitting lists of items over many pages is used throughout the board.
What are sticky threads?
'Sticky' threads are created by moderators or administrators (?), and remain 'stuck' to the top of the listing, even if they haven't had any posts recently. Their purpose is to keep important information visible and accessible at all times.
How do I read a thread?
To read a thread, click on its title. Each post in a thread is created by a member. You'll see some brief information about the member who created the thread to the left of the main post message.
To post a reply to an existing thread, simply scroll to the bottom of the thread and there will be a 'Quick Reply' box where you can quickly enter a reply without having to go to the 'Post Reply' page.
To goto the ‘Reply to Thread’ page simply click on the More Options button below the ‘Quick Reply’ box and you will be presented with a full page dedicated to posting a reply to that thread. You will also be able to preview the message before you post it by clicking on the ‘Preview’ button.
There is also an option to ‘Watch this thread’ and receive email notifications anytime a new post is made to the thread.
Is there a faster way to get to forums?
If you know which forum you want to go to, you can use the 'Quick Navigation' control, which appears at the top-right of many pages within the board.
How do I find out more about members?
To view information about a particular member, click on the user name. This will bring up their ‘Member Card’ where some information resides about that member. To find out a little more about that member, when their member card appears you can click on the link that says Profile Page and this will take you to their public profile page (?).
What is the Navigation Bar?
The navigation bar at the top of every page has links to help you move around. A 'breadcrumb' area at the top left shows where you are now. A form on the right allows you to quickly login. With one click you can reach areas such as: the User Control Panel(?), FAQ (which you are reading now), the Calendar(?), Search options (?) and Quick Links (?) to other useful features.
What is the ‘Side Bar' box on the board home page?
On the board home page you'll see a section on the left that tells you what's going on at the moment. It tells you things like the number of registered users online, the number of guests, and even things like birthdays, and forthcoming events.
What is the Breadcrumb?
The breadcrumb is a navigation aid which shows you the location of the forum page you are currently viewing in relation to other forum pages. The term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale.
The image below shows the anatomy of a typical thread.
The administrator will probably require you to register in order to use all the features of the forum. Being registered gives you an identity on the board, a fixed username on all messages you post and an online public profile.
Registration is free (unless otherwise specified), and offers an extended range of features, including:
- Posting new threads
- Replying to other peoples' threads
- Editing your posts
- Receiving email notification of replies to posts and threads you specify
- Starting private conversations with other members
- Creating albums of photos and comment on others' photos
- Setting up a 'People You Follow list' to quickly see which of your friends are online.
How do I register?
You register by clicking on the 'Register' link near the top of the page. You will be asked to choose a user name, password and enter a valid email address. In addition there will be some other fields to which you will be invited to respond. Some will be mandatory while others are optional. Once this is complete you will either be fully registered, or in some cases you may have to click on a link in an 'activation email' sent to your email address. Once you have done this you will be registered.
Note that entering your email address will not leave you open to 'spam', as you can choose to hide it from other board users. You'll probably be able to allow other registered users to contact you via email, but the system won't display your email address to them unless you give permission.
If you are under the age of 13, the administrator may require that a parent or guardian provide consent before allowing you to complete the registration process. More information about this is available during the registration process.
Searching Forums and Threads
How do I search for something?
To quickly find a thread or post of interest anywhere on the bulletin board, click on the 'Search' link in the navigation bar at the top of most forum pages. Then, type in the keyword or phrase you wish to search for, and select either ‘Search titles only' or leave unchecked to view the results. By selecting ‘Search titles only’ you will be shown only the threads in which that keyword appears in the title of the thread. By not selecting ‘Search titles only, you will be shown all threads in which the search word appears.
For more control over the search, select 'More' from the drop-down box. The advanced search page allows you to restrict your search to individual forums, find posts or threads by user. There are also options to find posts from a certain date, or threads with a certain number of replies.
How do I search a specific forum or thread?
If you are browsing a forum, you can quickly search for a thread or post within it by clicking on the ‘Search button at the top right of the forum. When the search box appears, select the 'Search this forum only' and enter your keyword and click on the search button. You can also search for individual posts within a thread by clicking on the 'Search this Thread only' link within the search box.
How do I find my threads?
If you want to search for your threads in specific forums, then click the search box and then the More... button to activate the search page. Then follow the instructions below.
What are announcements?
Announcements are special messages posted by the administrator or moderators. They are a simple one-way communication with the users and you can't reply. If you wish to discuss announcements, you will have to create a new thread in the forum.
Announcement threads are displayed at the top of forum listing pages, above regular and sticky threads.
Viewing New Posts or Recent Posts
How can I see the latest posts?
There are two ways to quickly view recently created or updated threads.
If you are not logged in, the 'today's posts' link will show a list of all threads that have been created or updated in the last 24 hours.
If you are logged in, the 'Recent Posts' link will change to 'New Posts', which gives you a listing of all threads that have been created or updated since your last visit.
The administrator can also set up the forums so that each thread you read is marked in the database. If this option is set, then new threads (or threads with new posts) will not be marked as read until you have actually read them.
There is a built-in time limit to this, however, that will automatically mark all threads as 'read' after a set number of day, whether you really have read them or not. The default setting is 10 days, but the administrator could make this higher or lower.
What is 'Automatic Login’?
When you register (and also when you login using the form at the top of the screen), you will be given the option to ‘Stay logged in'. This will store your identity securely in a cookie on your computer. If you are using a shared computer, such as in a library, school or internet cafe, or if you have reason to not trust any other users that might use this computer, we recommend you do not enable this.
How do I clear cookies?
You can clear all your cookies set by the forum by hovering your mouse over your forum name at the top of the page and then by clicking the ‘Log Out' link. In some cases, if you return to the main index page via the link provided and you are still logged in, you may have to remove your cookies manually.
- In Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP: Click the 'Tools' menu. Select 'Internet Options' from the menu that appears. Click 'Delete Cookies' on the dialog box that appears. It will be in the center area of the 'General' tab.
- In Internet Explorer 7 or above: Click the 'Tools' menu. Select 'Internet Options' from the menu that appears. Click 'Delete...', beneath 'Browsing History' on the dialog box that appears. It will be in the center area of the 'General' tab. Click 'Delete cookies...' on the next dialog box that appears.
- In Firefox: Click the 'Tools' menu. Select 'Options' from the menu that appears. From the dialog box, select 'Privacy' on the left. Find 'Cookies' on the main pane, and click the 'Clear' button adjacent to it.
- In Safari: Go to Preferences, Security, then show Cookies and either select 'Remove all' or select individual cookies and then the 'Delete' button.
- In Opera: Go to Tools, Preferences, Advanced, Cookies, Manage cookies then select the name of this site and click the 'Delete' button.
Your cookies should now be removed. You may want to restart the computer and revisit the forums to be sure.
Other browsers may have a different method of clearing cookies. Refer to the documentation for your own browser if you are unsure.
I forgot my password. What can I do?
If you forget your password, you can click on the 'Forgot Your Password?’ link. This will appear on any page that requires you to fill in your password.
This link brings up a page where you should enter your registered email address. An email will be sent to that address shortly, with instructions for resetting your password.
Since passwords are encrypted, there is no way to resend your original password. This option provides you with the ability to reset your password.
You must be able to receive emails to your registered email address for this to work. You may need to check your spam filters and folder if you do not see this email in a few minutes.
What is the Members List?
The members list shows the registered members of the board. Providing the administrator allows this, you can view the member list ordered alphabetically by username, by the date they joined, by the number of posts they have made or by reputation (?).
To view the members list, click on 'Member List' on main navigation bar at the top of the page.
To quickly find a particular member, click on the 'Search Members'link and type a username (or partial username) into the box. For further search options - including searching based on join date, post count or home page - click on 'Advanced Search' on the search menu.
Are all members listed?
Some members may not be on the list. The administrator has options over who is shown on the list. They may, for example, omit members who have not made many posts or who belong to certain user groups.
What are Your Notifications?
When you have logged into the board, a link to 'Your Notifications' may be displayed in the 'Welcome' box near the top of the forum. 'Your Notifications' will show if you have any one of the following:
By clicking on the 'Your Notifications' link, you will be able to quickly see how many of each type you have received. Clicking on any of the links in the menu will take you to the relevant page within the User Control Panel or elsewhere in the system.
- Unread Private Messages (?)
- Unread Profile Visitor Messages (?)
- Profile Visitor Messages Awaiting Approval
- Incoming Friend Requests (?)
- Unread Photo Comments (?)
- Photo Comments Awaiting Approval
If there are no notifications, then this link will be replaced by a link to 'Private Messages' (?).
Contacting other Members
Can I email other members?
Yes. To send an email to another member, you can either find them on the member list, or choose the Send Email option from the username menu in any post they have written.
This will usually open a page that contains a form where you can enter your message. When you have finished typing your message, press the 'send email' button and your message will be sent instantly.
Can I see email addresses?
For privacy reasons, the recipient's email address is not revealed to you during this process.
Why can't I send an email to someone?
If you cannot find an email button or link for a member, it means either that the administrator has disabled email functions for this forum, or that the member has said that they do not wish to receive email from other members.
Can I email a link to a friend?
Another useful email function is the ability to send a friend a link to a thread you think they may find interesting. Whenever you view a thread, you will find a link somewhere on the page which will allow you to send a brief message to anyone you like. Your referrer ID is added to the link you send, so if your friend registers on this forum as a result of viewing the link you sent to them, your referrals total will automatically be credited.
What is private messaging?
Registered members may also be able to send messages to other members of this forum using the private messaging system. For more information about private messaging, click here.
What are visitor messages?
Registered members may leave messages for other members on their profile page. These messages can generally be viewed by all visitors, including members, guests and search engine spiders. For more information on visitor messages, click here.
Dealing with Troublesome Users
Can I block posts, emails and messages from specific users?
If there are particular members that bother you and you do not want to see their posts or receive Private Messages and Emails from them, then you can add these members to your 'Ignore List'. There are several ways to do this:
Through your User Control Panel: User CP, Settings & Options, Edit Ignore List. Then, type their name into the empty text box and click 'Okay'.
What if I see something offensive?
You will find 'Report' links in many places throughout the board. These links allow you to alert the board staff to anything which you find to be offensive, objectionable or illegal.
For Extensive help with the forum in case you need further help please visit THIS thread.