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This article contains "help" instructions on how to use the site's forum. When you finish reading the article, you will be able to reply to existing posts as well as make new posts. You will know how to format your text, add links and much more. We're not going to teach you how to use every little button or forum feature, but rather provide you with sufficient working knowledge to feel comfortable enough to get involved in the forum. After that, you can do some looking around to learn what the rest of the features do...

Set up your profile

When you find a community and forum that you like, and plan on staying with for a while, it is a good idea to set up and complete your profile. You access your profile by clicking 'My Profile' located at the top of the forum. This area is not much different than any other form you have filled out online or in real life except that much of the information in here is optional.

Manage your personal info

  • Summary - All your settings from other tabs summarized.
  • Edit Your Details - Edit your login name, email address and password. (Note: your password is private - even site administrators cannot see your password - although they can reset it for you if required.)
  • My Avatar - Select an avatar from those available or upload your own image. If you upload your own image, you can upload an image up to 250 x 250 pixels and 50 kilobytes. The forum will automatically scale the image for use in various locations.

Mange forum settings

  • Look and Layout - Tweak a few forum appearance settings.
  • My Profile Info - Fill in personal information that you don't mind sharing publicly. This is also where you fill out your forum signature.
  • My Posts - List of your posts ordered by most recent. Handy for finding a post that you don't recall which board you posted it in.
  • My Favorites - List of topics that you have ticked as a favourite of yours so they are more easily identifiable in the forum list.
  • Remember to press the 'Save' button any time you make changes in your profile.

Reply to an existing post 

So, you have been looking around the forum for awhile, reading every post and getting to know everyone. You have just read someone's post, and you have finally decided you are going to reply and contribute some information of your own. Great! This is done by pressing one of the 'reply' buttons.

  • Quick Reply - this brings up a small text area (without reloading the webpage) where you can quickly type a short reply. Press 'Submit' when you are done typing your response. If you have a change of heart you can press cancel and nothing gets posted regardless if you typed anything or not.
  • Reply - This is the standard method in which you should reply when you want to reply primarily to the most recent post. The reason for this is because the subject line of your reply will autofill with the subject of the post from which you are replying. In case you were wondering, yes, you can change the subject. OK, now you are looking at what is called a text editor. Think of it as a slimmed down version of a word processor (such as Microsoft Word) in which you can format your text, add links, images, smilies, etc. More on how to format your post later. For now, type your response and press the 'Preview' button at the bottom of the page if you wish to view your post prior to submitting it. When you are done editing and are satisfied your post is ready to contribute to the forum then press the 'Submit' button.
  • Quote - If you wish to quote someone's post whether in whole or in part you simply press the 'Quote' button located beside the 'Reply' button underneath each post. This is very useful if you wish to make light of or expand upon a prior post. Once you press the Quote button you are brought into the same editing environment that you use to edit or create any other post. At this point, you type your response directly to that quote. When you are done replying, press the 'Submit' button.
  • Reply Topic - This button functions the same as the 'Reply' button with the exception that your subject line will autofill with the subject of the original post (OP). This may come in handy if you are replying to a long post whose subjects may have changed over time but you want to reply to the OP. When you are done replying, press the 'Submit' button.

Format your post

Remember, we said earlier that the text editor is very similar to a word processor? Well, as in any word processor you can format and arrange your text for emphasis here in the forum. The easiest way to 'mark up' your text is usually to type it out first, then select it, and press the appropriate button at the top of the editor. For example, if you wanted to make 'some text' bold you would type it out 'some text', then select 'some text' with your mouse, and then press the 'B' icon in the toolbar located just above the Message area (where you are composing your message). You will now see: [b]some text[/b]. When you preview or submit your message it will be displayed as 'some text' . Alternatively, if you know them, you can type the tags manually right along with the rest of your text, or you can use the buttons at the top of the editor to insert the tags to fill in your text. (The BBcode Wiki covers the basic mark up tags, if you would like to learn more).

Edit your own post

There will be times when you make a post and you don't catch a misspelled word, you need to fix a broken link or do something that will require you to edit your post. It happens to us all - so the edit button is easily accessible. When you are looking at one of your own posts that you need to edit, you will find the 'Edit' button at the bottom of your post. Simply press the edit button and you use the same editor you used to create your post populated with the actual post. Edit your post as you see fit, and, when you are satisfied, press the 'Submit' button at the bottom of the page. All done!

Get visibility of your favorite posts

Now that you have settled into your new community and everyone has met you, you want to be able to keep up with your favorite posts without checking in every five minutes to see if something new has posted. One way of gaining visibility of threads that wish to keep an eye on, is set them as your 'Favorite'. This will place an obvious indicator, such as a star, beside the topic name of the thread so that it will stand out in the forum list of topics. You will notice the button now reads 'Unfavorite' indicating that the post is already one of your favourites and pressing the button again will remove it from your favourites. This is a great way to get visibility on multiple topics that you wish to watch without getting spammed by email subscriptions. Remember that you can also manage your favourites in your profile.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to create your own posts, edit them, select favourites, etc, you are ready to explore the rest of the forum. Don't be afraid. Go click things and see what they do. If something 'breaks' or you don't understand how to use something make a post in the forum and ask for help.