Setting and Profile Features
Reading and Posting Messages
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 or guests. 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 the appropriate column heading at the top of the list of threads (Thread, Thread Starter, Rating, Last Post, Replies or Views). You can also reverse the sorting order by clicking the arrow next to the name of the active option. (Note that 'sticky' threads will always be at the top no matter how you change the viewing options).
- Multi-page views
- 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 or a guest. You'll see some brief information about the member who created the thread above the main post message. In some cases it will be to the side of the post.
To post a reply to an existing thread, click on the + Reply to Thread button. If this button does not appear, it could mean that you are not logged in as a member, or that you do not have permission to reply, or that the thread has been closed to new replies.
If enabled, there will also be a 'Quick Reply' box where you can quickly enter a reply without having to go to the 'Post Reply' page. You may need to click the quick reply button Reply to this Message Reply in a post to activate the quick reply box before you can type into it.
On long threads you may want to change how the posts are ordered. For more on different ways to view and navigate threads, click (?).
- 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 bottom 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 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 'What's Going On?' box on the board home page?
- On the board home page you'll see a section at the bottom 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.
- Can I change the way the board looks?
- You may be able to change the styling of the board by using the style changer in the bottom left of the page. This lets you choose different skins which change the color scheme and appearance of the board. If this option does not appear, the board cannot be restyled.
- 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
Sending private messages to other members
Creating albums of pictures and comment on others' pictures
Adding events to the forum calendar
Setting up a 'contact 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 'Show Threads' or 'Show Posts' to view the results. By selecting posts, you will be shown only the actual post in which the search word appears.
For more control over the search, select 'Advanced Search' from the drop-down box. The advanced search page allows you to restrict your search to individual forums, find posts or threads by user, or return results based on tags (?). 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 this forum' link near the top of the page (it's above the list of threads). You can also search for individual posts within a thread by clicking on the 'Search this Thread' link at the top of any thread view page.
- 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.
Thread Display Options
- Can I change the order of posts?
You have a choice over how you view threads. When you're in a thread, look at the top bar. On the right hand side you'll see 'Display Mode'. Click on this and it lets you change how posts are ordered.
You have three choices:
Linear Mode - posts are displayed chronologically, usually from oldest to newest. Posts are shown in a flat mode so that many posts can be viewed simultaneously. It is possible to change the ordering by changing your preferences in the User CP
Threaded Mode - a tree is shown along with every post. This shows you the relationship each post has to the others. It's easy to see who responded to whom. Only one post is shown at a time. By clicking on a single post in the post tree, the page will show that post and all posts made in response to it.
Hybrid Mode - This is a mixture of the linear and threaded modes. The post tree is displayed as in the threaded mode, but many posts are shown at the same time as in the linear modes.
Viewing New Posts or Today's 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 'Today's 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 are ratings?
The forums allow you to rate threads between 1 star (terrible) and 5 stars (excellent). Once enough votes are cast for a thread, stars will appear next to its name in the listings. These show the average vote, and can be an easy way to see which threads are worth reading if you are on a busy forum.
On the forum viewing page you can also arrange threads by rating, with either the highest or lowest at the top.
It therefore makes sense to rate threads because it helps all users. To do this, click on the 'rate thread' link at the top of the thread viewing page. Choose the number of stars you feel best represents the quality of the thread. You may or may not be able to change your choice of rating at a later date.
- What are thread tools?
At the top of each thread, there is a link called 'Thread Tools'. By clicking on this link, a menu will appear with a number of options:
Show Printable Version - this will show you a page with the thread post content in a reduced graphics format that is more 'printer friendly'.
Email this Page - if you think the thread may be interesting to someone else, you can forward a link to it to their email address.
Subscribe (or Unsubscribe) from this Thread - by subscribing to a thread, you will receive periodic email updates on recent activity within it. Click here for more information on subscriptions.
Adding a Poll - if you started the thread, you can add a poll to it with this option. Click here for more information on polls.
- What are tags?
Tags are a useful way to search for threads with similar subject matter and content. This complements the normal search system, which searches only for certain words or phrases and/or posts by specific users.
To use tags, you add words or phrases to threads to help describe the content. For instance, if the subject matter is 'photography' then you can add the tag 'photography' to the tag list. But you could also add tags like 'digital image', and 'camera' (depending, of course, on the nature of the thread).
This will categorize this thread with all other threads that have matching tags, whether or not they have the word 'photography' in them.
- Who adds the tags?
Tags are initially added to threads by the user who started the thread. Other users may also be able to add and remove tags.
- How do I use tags?
Tags are displayed in a box near the bottom of a thread page. Clicking on a tag will allow you to view other threads that have the same tag - and which may be related. Clicking on the word 'Tags' in the top of the box will take you to an overview page with a 'tag cloud.'
This cloud allows you to see which tags are the most popular - the larger the word, the more times it has been used on threads within the board. There is also another tag cloud on the advanced search page that shows you the tags that have been searched for (or clicked on) the most.
- 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 'Remember Me'. 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 clicking the 'logout' link at the top of the page. 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: 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 'Forgotten 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.
You will see a 'Calendar' link near the top of the forums (if this option is enabled by the administrator). By default, the forums will have one Calendar that can be viewed and used by all members.
Members can add upcoming events that might interest the community. You can also sign up to get email alerts about upcoming events.
In addition, the administrator could create additional private calendars for individual members or for specific user groups.
- How do I add an event to the Calendar?
If you have the appropriate permissions, there will be a box on the Calendar labelled 'Add New Event'. The administrator may have enabled registered members to post public events, but usually this is not the case. It's more likely that you can only post your own private events that can only be seen by you.
There are three types of event that can be added to a calendar:
Single, All Day Event - an event that takes place for the whole of a day.
Ranged Event - events that have a defined start time and end time, not necessarily both on the same day.
Recurring Event - repeat over a set period of time based on certain criteria. Examples would be an event that occurs on the first Monday of every month and an event that occurs every Monday and Wednesday.
Just choose the appropriate option for the event you are adding, fill in the required information, then save the event. It will now appear on the Calendar.
- Where do birthdays show?
Birthdays may be shown on the calendar if the administrator has enabled this feature. Your birthday will automatically be shown on the calendar if you have entered the date of your birthday in your profile. Note: if you do not enter the year of your birth when you edit your profile, your age will not be shown on the calendar.
If you enter your birthday, your name will also appear on the main forum page when it is your birthday.
- 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:
Unread Private Messages (?)
Unread Profile Visitor Messages (?)
Profile Visitor Messages Awaiting Approval
Incoming Friend Requests (?)
Requests to Join Your Groups (?)
Invitations to Join Groups
Unread Picture Comments (?)
Picture Comments Awaiting Approval
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.
If there are no notifications, then this link will be replaced by a link to 'Private Messages' (?).
- What is the Quick Links menu?
The navigation bar at the top of each page has several helpful links. One of them is a dropdown menu called Quick Links. (It appears only to registered members who are logged in). Clicking it once with the mouse will make it drop down and show the following options:
Today's Posts (shows posts created in the past 24 hours)
Mark Forums Read (marks all the threads and posts as read for your session - this is a shortcut alternative to actually reading the threads and posts)
Open Contacts Popup (opens a new window with a list of all your contacts)
Friends and Contacts (a page from where you can manage your network)
Groups (where you can manage your Groups)
Pictures and Albums (where you can manage your pictures and albums)
User Control Panel (clicking this takes you to your personal user control panel)
Edit Signature (edit your personal signature that appears below posts)
Edit Your Details (edit your personal profile details)
Edit Options (manage your community settings)
Private Messages (manage your private messages, read your inbox, create new messages, etc)
Subscribed Threads (get an overview of your free subscriptions and options to manage them)
Your Profile (loads your social profile)
Who's Online (see which users who are currently online on the board and what they are doing)
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 EmailSend 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.
RSS and Podcasting
- Can I use RSS to keep up with new posts?
If the administrator has enabled RSS syndication, this lets you view newly created threads in guest-viewable forums without visiting the board.
The feeds are currently provided in two formats, RSS and RSS v2.
Most modern browsers have facilities for reading RSS feeds and will automatically detect the availability of feeds on bulletin board pages.
- How do I listen to podcasts?
A podcast is a means of distributing audio files (such as .mp3s) over the internet. They can be played on a wide range of media players and computers. If the board administrator has enabled this function, then you may sometimes see links to podcasts within threads.
Podcasts contained within threads are only accessible using RSS feeds.
My Public Profile
- What is the Public Profile Page?
Every member has a publicly viewable profile page. This page includes information provided by the member, either during the registration process or later on via the User Control Panel.
There are a number of ways to view a member's profile. Whenever you see a member's name, clicking on it will usually take you to view their profile page.
The members list allows you to browse all registered members, and quickly click through to public profiles.
When logged in, you can also view your own public profile by logging into the forums and clicking on your username shown in the header at the top of the page.
You can also go straight to a profile if you know the username of the member by typing in the following into your web browser: http://www.example.com/member.php?username=
- What's on the Public Profile Page?
The public profile lists information about the member under the 'About Me' tab. It also includes statistical information, such as the number of posts they have made and their registration date. This information is shown under the 'Statistics' tab.
Other information includes a list of Friends (?), their profile picture (if set by the member), and a list of members who have recently visited the profile page.
A list of the members' albums (?) and Group (?) memberships are also shown.
- What are Visitor Messages?
Visitor messages are publicly viewable messages posted on member profile pages. To post a message, click on the 'Visitor messages' tab, and use the form at the top of the section. You will only be able to use certain formatting in these messages, as described underneath the edit box. This message will be viewable by all visitors to this profile, including guest users and search engine robots if the administrator has allowed this. To communicate privately with a member, send a Private Message instead.
Visitor messages can be edited or deleted by site moderators or the member who owns the profile. If you see a visitor message that is not appropriate, you can alert the moderators by clicking on the 'Report' link. The 'View Conversation' link allows you to view all visitor messages between the member and the owner of the profile.
The Settings Control Panel
The Settings Control Panel is where you control your personal settings, options and preferences. To visit the Settings Control Panel, you must have first registered on the forums. Once logged in, click on 'Settings' in the header bar in the top-right corner of the page.
The Settings main page will list any new notifications, including new private messages and pending friend requests. Additional pages and forms allow you to control:
Your email address and password
Custom public profile settings
Subscribed threads and forums
Friends and Contacts
Changing User Details
- How do I change my user details?
You can change your account information using the User Control Panel. For basic profile details (including your email address and password), click on the 'Edit Your Details' option from within the User CP. This page allows you to set a number of required and optional details, some of which will be displayed on your public profile. With the exception of your email address, do not enter information that you do not wish to be publicly viewable.
Signatures, Avatars and Profile Pictures
- What are signatures?
'Signatures' contain information that you want to include at the bottom of all your posts. This might include pictures, links to your site(s), quotes, etc.
- What are avatars?
Avatars are small images that people use to identify or distinguish themselves to other forum members. In some cases the administrator will not allow avatars or only allow them for specific members. The administrator can also provide some stock avatars people can use, or they can allow members to upload their own custom avatars from their own computers. These avatars will be displayed as part of the user info in posts, as well as in the public profile.
- What are profile pictures?
Profile Pictures are photos members can upload that will display in their public member profile. This option may or may not be enabled by the administrator.
- How do I set signatures, avatars and profile pictures?
You can set and change your signature, avatar and profile picture in the User Control Panel (providing the administrator has made these options available).
For signatures, click on 'Edit Signature' under the 'Settings and Options' area of the navigation bar within the User CP.
To select an existing or upload a new avatar, click on 'Edit Avatar'.
To upload a profile picture, click on 'Edit Profile Picture' in the 'Your Profile' section.
Other Settings and Options
- What do the other settings do?
In your User CP, there is a section under Settings & Options named 'Edit Options'.
Login & Privacy: set your
'Invisible Mode' - sets whether or not other members can see if you are online and what page you are viewing
'Show Reputation Level' - shows your reputation level on posts if this option is enabled by the administrator
'Allow vCard Download' - sets whether or not to allow other members to download a vCard containing your email address and username.
Messaging & Notification - options include:
'Receive Email' - whether or not you want to receive emails from other Members and administrators
'Default Thread Subscription Mode' - how you want to be notified about new posts in threads to which you have subscribed
'Private Messaging' - control how you want Private Messaging to work for your account
'Visitor Messaging' - control how you want Visitor Messaging to work for your account
Thread Display Options - these include:
'Visible Post Elements' - whether or not you want to be able to see Signatures, Avatars and Images in posts
'Thread Display Mode' - how you want to view threads by default (more info available here)
'Number of Posts to Show Per Page'
'Default Thread Age Cut Off' - the time period for threads to be displayed - threads older than this age will be hidden
Date & Time Options - these include:
'Time Zone' - your local geographical time zone offset from GMT/UTC
'Start of the Week' - for the Calendar.
Miscellaneous Options include:
'Message Editor Interface' - This option allows you choose what kind of editor you will use when posting messages. Your choices include a basic text-only editor, a standard editor with clickable formatting controls, or a full WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that will show your formatting as you type.
'Forum Style' - only available if there is more than one style (or 'skin') available and the administrator has enabled this selection
'Forum Language' - only available if there is more than one Language enabled. This will change the language in which all controls and board messages will be shown. It will not translate members' posts
Profile Page Customization
- How do I customize my profile page?
You may be able to edit the design and styling of your public profile page (if this is enabled by the board administrator) via the 'Customize Profile' section within the User CP. You can adjust the color scheme, fonts, borders and layout of elements on the page.
You can also use images as background for various sections of you profile. First you will need to upload the background images to an album you have created (?). Background images can be sourced only from albums defined as public, or 'profile' type. Images in private albums cannot be used.
- What is a Group?
A Group is a group of people usually with a particular interest or something else in common. It provides a way of communicating between members as well as sharing photos or other images.
You can get to the list through 'Group Memberships' section on your public profile (?).
The Groups list page displays all groups that have been created. You can list the groups by the number of members, messages or pictures, the group name, when the group was created or by the date of the most recent message posted. You can use the controls provided to search for a group.
- How do I join a group?
To join a group, click the group title then click 'Join Group'. When you have joined a group, its name will be shown in your public profile. You must be a logged-in, registered member to join groups.
- Can I create my own Group?
As a registered member, you can create your own Group (providing the administrator allows this). Go to the groups page and click 'Create A New Group'. Complete the title and description for your group then select the type. There are three types of groups:
Public - open to everyone. There is no restriction on who can join or who can post messages to it
Invite Only - require an invitation to be sent to join them. Invitations can only be sent by the group creator or forum moderators and administrators. Invitations are sent by clicking 'Pending & Invited Members' at the bottom of the page for that individual group
Moderated - open to everyone to join but messages need to be moderated before they will appear. They are moderated by the group creator and the site moderators and administrators
Friends and Contacts
- What is the difference between a friend and a contact?
A friendship is a mutual, two-way relationship between two users. It is initiated by one user and accepted by the other.
A contact is a one-way friendship. This could be where the other person does not accept the friendship, a friendship request is pending, or you do not wish to be friends at this time but want to show them as a contact only.
- Where is list of friends and contacts displayed?
Your friends and contacts are displayed on the 'Contacts and Friends' page in your User CP. Your friends are also displayed in your profile page.
- How can I request a friend, accept a friend or break a friendship?
There are two ways to request a friendship with someone.
The easiest way is to view the profile page of the person you want to become friends with and click the 'Befriend' link.
The other way is to add the person to your contacts first. Then from your 'Contacts and Friends' page ask to be their friend by checking the box next to their name labelled 'Friend'. Next, save the page.
If you know the username of the person you want to be friends with you can send a friend request using the box provided and clicking 'Add Friend'.
To accept a friend, go to your 'Contacts and Friends' page. At the bottom of the page you will see a list of pending requests. Check the box for the requests you wish to accept then check the 'Accept' button and save the changes. If you do not wish to be friends then select 'Reject' instead.
Breaking a friendship can be done in three ways.
From your 'Contacts and Friends' page, uncheck the box for friend for the particular person and save the changes. If you no longer wish them to be a contact either, uncheck both boxes for that person.
In your 'Profile Page', click 'Friends' and then click 'Break Friendship' next to the user's name.
In the other person's profile, click 'Friends' then find your username and click 'Break Friendship'.
Albums and Pictures
- How do I use albums?
As a member, you can create Albums of images that are linked to your public profile. Albums can be created by visiting the User Control Panel, and clicking on the 'Pictures & Albums' link, and then clicking on 'Add Album'.
Each album can have a title ('Joe's Holiday to Nepal'), a description ('A bunch of photos from my recent adventure') and can be of three different types: Public, Private or Profile.
Public albums can be viewed by anyone
Private albums can only be viewed by site staff (moderators, administrators) and your Friends and Contacts (info)
Profile albums are viewable only by you. However, you can use the images to customize your public profile (info)
How do I upload pictures?
Once you've created an album you can upload images to it. Simply view the album and click on 'Upload Pictures'.
You'll have the option to give each picture a caption, and to set one image as the Album cover, which will be displayed on the public profile. To delete an album or edit the title, description or album type, click on 'Edit Album'. To delete an image, or to edit a caption or change the album cover, click on 'Edit Pictures'.
All members who have access to your album images can comment on them, in a similar way to Visitor Messages (more info). You can delete any image comments from your albums, and report inappropriate messages to moderators.
When you have uploaded a picture, you can place it in your posts by using the BB code text that is displayed below the image when you view it at full size.
If the administrator has enabled the Private Messaging system, registered members may send each other private messages.
- How do I send Private Messages?
Private messages work a little like email, but are limited to registered members of this forum. You may be able to include BB code, smilies and images in private messages that you send.
You may send a private message to a member of this forum by clicking the 'Send A Private Message' link in the private messaging section of your user control panel (more info), or by clicking the 'Send a Private Message' link in the drop down menu that appears in a member's posts when you click on their username.
When you send a message, you have the option to save a copy of it in your 'Sent Items' folder.
- How do I work with Private Message Folders?
By default, you will have two folders in your private message area. These are the 'Inbox' and the 'Sent' Items folders.
The 'Inbox' folder contains any new messages you receive. It allows you to view all the messages you have received, along with the name of the person who sent it, and the date and time it was sent.
The 'Sent Items' folder contains a copy of any messages that you have sent, where you have specified that you wish to keep a copy for future reference.
You can create additional folders for your messages by clicking the 'Edit Folders' link.
Each folder has a set of message controls which allow you to select messages, then either move them to one of your custom folders, or delete them. Once you have selected your messages, you can choose the following options in the 'Selected Messages' box at the bottom of the list:
Move to Folder
Mark as Read
Mark as Unread
Download as XML
Download as CSV
Download as TEXT
You will need to periodically delete old messages, as the administrator has probably set a limit to the number of private messages you can have in your folders. If you exceed this number, you will not be able to send or receive new messages until you delete some old ones.
If you would like to keep a record of your messages before you delete them, you can use any of the 'Download as..' options listed above to take a copy and store them on your own computer.
Whenever you read a message, you will have the option to reply or forward it to another member of the forum. You may also have the ability to forward that message to multiple members of your contact list.
- How do I track messages?
When you send a new private message, you may have the option to request a read-receipt. This lets you check whether or not a message has been read by its recipient. To do this, go to the 'Message Tracking' page.
This page is divided into two sections: unread and read messages.
The unread messages section shows all messages that you have sent with a read-receipt request, that have not yet been read by their recipient.
The read messages section shows all messages you have sent with a receipt request that have been read and acknowledged by their recipient. The time that the message was read is also shown.
You may choose to end the tracking on any message you choose by selecting it and clicking the 'End Tracking' button.
When you receive a message with a read-receipt request, you may have the option to read the message while denying the read-receipt request. To do this, simply click the 'Deny Receipt' link rather than the title of the message, if it appears.
- What are subscriptions?
Subscriptions are a way of keeping track of different threads or forums. You can choose how you are notified about updates - for example by having them listed in your User CP and receiving email updates for each one.
- How do I subscribe to a thread or forum?
To subscribe to a forum, click the 'Forum Tools' link above the list of threads then select 'Subscribe to Forum'. You will then have the option to choose the subscription mode for this forum. If the forum that you are subscribing to has any child forums (forums within a forum) then your subscription will be extended to these automatically.
To subscribe to a thread, click the 'Thread Tools' link at the top of the list of posts then click 'Subscribe to Thread'. You can then choose the subscription mode that you wish to use for that thread.
- What subscription modes are available?
There are a number of different forum subscription modes available.
No Email Notification - lists the subscription in your User CP only. You do not receive any notifications about new posts or threads in the forum.
Daily Email Notification - sends one email a day with the new and updated threads in the forum and any sub-forums. If there are no new or updated threads in the forum or its sub-forums then you will not receive an email.
Weekly Email Notification - sends one email per week in the same way as the Daily Email Notification.
Thread Subscriptions have the same options as forum subscriptions with the following additional option:
Instant Email Notification - sends an email as soon as a new post is added to the thread. This is not sent for every reply and will only be sent once until you revisit the forums.
- How do I manage Subscriptions and Folders?
Thread subscriptions can be sorted into folders for easy management. You can create as many folders as you wish by going to 'Edit Folders' in the 'Subscribed Threads' section of your User CP. To add a new folder, enter the folder name into one of the blank boxes and save the page. To delete a folder, delete the folder name. Editing a folder is done by simply editing the folder name in the list.
You can also manage your individual subscriptions by clicking 'List Subscriptions' under 'Subscribed Threads' in your User CP. Here you can select which subscriptions you wish to manage and delete them, move them to another folder, or change their subscription type.
Forum subscriptions are not managed through the List Subscriptions page and are shown on the User CP page where they contain the option to unsubscribe from the forum.
- What is reputation?
Reputation is a way of rating users depending on the quality of their posts. If the administrators have enabled reputation, then the reputation icon will be visible in posts.
Reputation may be positive Positive Reputation Icon , negative Negative Reputation Icon or neutral Neutral Reputation Icon. Negative reputation may only be given if the administrator has enabled this. Neutral reputation is only given when the person giving reputation does not meet the criteria set by the administrator to affect someone else's reputation.
- How do I give reputation?
To give reputation, click on the reputation icon in the relevant post. This will reveal a form to complete with the reputation type and the reason for giving the reputation. If negative reputation is disabled then it will not be displayed in this form. You may not give reputation for the same post twice.
- How do I know what reputation I have received?
You can view the reputation that you have received in your User CP (User Control Panel) where it is displayed at the bottom of the User CP page. Here you will see the latest reputation that you have received and whether this is positive, negative or neutral. Your total reputation will be shown as series of reputation indicators in your posts and profile. The more positive your reputation, the more positive icons will be shown. The more negative your reputation the more negative icons will be shown.
- How much reputation is given? What is reputation power?
If the administrator has enabled this, the amount of reputation that each user will give (or take away if negative) is shown in the user's posts as 'Reputation Power'. The value of the reputation power is determined by the administrator and may increase over time depending on the settings they have applied.
- What if I don't want anyone to see my reputation?
You can disable the display of your reputation by going to your User CP and selecting Edit Options. On this page you will find a check box labelled 'Show Your Reputation Level'. Un-checking this box will remove the display of your reputation and replace it with the Reputation Disabled icon. You can still give and receive reputation while your reputation display is disabled.
Posting New Messages
- How do I format my posts and messages?
When posting messages you may wish to include some formatting such as bold text, italic text and underlined text.
Adding formatting to your post can be done in two ways:
Using clickable controls similar to those found in most word processors
Typing formatting commands in BB code
Clickable controls are available in the Standard and Enhanced WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors. The difference between these is that the standard editor will show the BB code in your message and be processed when it is displayed. The enhanced WYSIWYG editor will show your message as it will be displayed while you are typing.
To use these, simply click the button, for example the B (bold) button and then type to get bold text. Click the button again to stop using that formatting. You can also highlight text that you have already typed then click the formatting button to format existing text.
BB code is a special set of codes similar to HTML that can be used in posts to the board. To see the full list of BB code tags that can be used on this site and examples of their use, click here.
Replying to a Post
On some boards you might be able to post and reply as a guest user. But most communities require registration.
As a registered user you can go to a forum on a board where you have permission to view threads and leave replies. To reply you have a few options. You can click on the + Reply to Thread button and add a new post to the end of the thread. Alternatively, you can leave a quick reply in a quick editor box listed below the posts in the thread.
When using 'Quick Reply' you can choose to quote a particular post if you are replying to something someone wrote. You may need to click the quick reply button Reply to this Message Reply in a post to activate the quick reply box before you can type into it.
If you want to post replies to multiple posts you can select them by clicking the multi quote button Multi quote. This button will change to indicate that you've selected it. Clicking post reply will then bring you to the full editor with all the posts quoted.
Editing and Deleting your Posts
- Can I edit or delete my posts?
If you have registered and are logged in, you may be able to edit and delete your posts (although the administrator may have turned off this option). Your ability to edit your posts may be time-limited, depending on how the administrator has set up the forum.
To edit or delete your posts, click the Edit Post button by the particular post. If your post was the first in the thread, then deleting it may remove the entire thread.
Once you've made your modifications, a note may appear to inform other users that you have edited your post.
If the edit time and date appear as a link you can click on this to see the differences between the original and edited versions, or between edits if there have been multiple edits.
- Can others edit my posts?
Administrators and moderators may also edit your messages. If they do, there may not be a note telling other users that the post was modified.
Creating and Participating in Polls
You may notice that some threads on this forum also include a section where you can vote on an issue or question. These threads are called 'polls'.
- How do I create a new poll?
When you post a new thread, you may also have the option to create a poll.
This allows you to ask a question and specify a number of possible responses. Other members will then be able to vote for the response they wish, and the results of the voting will be displayed in the thread.
An example poll might be:
What is your favorite color?
Pink with yellow spots
To create a poll when you post a new thread, simply click the 'Yes, post a poll with this thread' checkbox at the bottom of the page, and set the number of possible responses you want to include.
When you click the submit button, you will be taken to the poll creation page, where you can specify the question and the list of responses you want to include.
You may also want to specify a time limit for the poll, so that (for example) it stays open for voting for only a week.
- How do I vote in a poll and view the results?
To vote in a poll, simply select which option you want to vote for, and click the 'Vote!' button. Sometime you can choose more than one option. You can see the current results for a poll before you vote by clicking the 'View Results' link. Voting in a poll is entirely optional. You may vote for any of the available options, or cast no vote at all.
Note whether or not a poll is a public poll. If it is, any votes you cast will be attributable to you.
Generally, once you have voted in a poll, you will not be able to change your vote later, so place your vote carefully!
Attachments and Images
- How do I attach a file to a post?
To attach a file to your post, you need to be using the main 'New Post' or 'New Thread' page and not 'Quick Reply'. To use the main 'New Post' page, click the 'Post Reply' button in the relevant thread.
On this page, below the message box, you will find a button labelled 'Manage Attachments'. Clicking this button will open a new window for uploading attachments. You can upload an attachment either from your computer or from another URL by using the appropriate box on this page. Alternatively you can click the Attachment Icon to open this page.
To upload a file from your computer, click the 'Browse' button and locate the file. To upload a file from another URL, enter the full URL for the file in the second box on this page. Once you have completed one of the boxes, click 'Upload'.
Once the upload is completed the file name will appear below the input boxes in this window. You can then close the window to return to the new post screen.
- What files types can I use? How large can attachments be?
In the attachment window you will find a list of the allowed file types and their maximum sizes. Files that are larger than these sizes will be rejected. There may also be an overall quota limit to the number of attachments you can post to the board.
- How do I add an image to a post?
If you have uploaded an image as an attachment, you can click the arrow next to the 'Attachment Icon' and select it from the list. This will be inserted into your post and can be located where you want it displayed.
To include an image that is not uploaded as an attachment and is located on another website, you can do so by copying the full URL to the image, (not the page on which the image is located), and either pressing the 'Insert Image' icon or by typing [img] before the URL and [/img] after it, ensuring that you do not have any spaces before or after the URL of the image. You can insert pictures from your albums (?) in this way too.
- What are smilies?
Smilies are icons that can be used in your posts to express emotions or feelings. You might wish to use these to show that you are happy, sad, joking, or embarrassed. For example, if you are telling a joke or being sarcastic you may wish to add a wink instead of writing 'this is a joke'.
The basic smilies are the same as what you would find on any instant messenger system. They are made up of a combination of characters which often show the basis of the resulting image. For example, :) is converted to a smiley face and :( to a sad face or frown . Tilt your head to the left to see this in action as these consist of two eyes and a mouth either smiling or frowning.
- How do I add smilies?
Some smilies can be accessed from the 'New Post' or 'New Thread' pages if your administrator has enabled this function. Clicking them will automatically insert them into your message. You can also type the character combinations for the smilies directly. A full list of the smilies and their character combinations used on this forum can be found here.
On occasions, you may want to prevent the text in your message being converted into smilies. You will see a checkbox which you can select when you make a new post, which will allow you to 'Disable Smilies'.
Message Icons and Thread Prefixes
- What are message icons?
Message Icons, also known as Post Icons, are small icons that appear in the title of your post. If your post is the first in a thread, then they also display in the thread listings. If the board administrator has enabled these, they can be found below the message box on the 'New Post' and 'New Thread' pages. Simply select the icon that you wish to use and this will be displayed before your thread title.
- What are thread prefixes?
Thread Prefixes can be used to further identify your thread as containing a particular content in the forum. If your administrator has enabled these, you will see a box before the title box which contains a menu with the available prefixes for you to choose from.
Moderators and Administrators
- What are moderators and administrators?
Moderators oversee specific forums. They generally have the ability to edit and delete posts, move threads, and perform other actions. Becoming a moderator for a specific forum is usually rewarded to users who are particularly helpful and knowledgeable in the subject of the forum they are moderating.
Administrators are the people who have overall control of everything that happens on the board. They oversee how the board is styled, what forums to create and how to organize them, what information to require from members and who to appoint as moderators.