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Forum FAQ's

Frequently asked questions about the message "Forum"

There are 5 entries in the FAQ.
Pages: 1

Questions:

Is there email notification?
What is RSS?
I created a Forum but I don't see a 'create new topic' link?
I created a Category and a Forum but when I click 'forum' from the main menu, I get a blank page?
Is there a manual for the Forum?

Questions and Answers
Is there email notification?
Yes, while viewing a topic, click the link at the bottom of the page "email notification". You can manage all your forum notifications through "My Profile".
What is RSS?
RssReader is a program to read RSS and Atom news feeds.

RssReader collect news in the background at user configurable intervals and warn with a little popup in the system tray that there is a new message arrived. You can click the news headline to see a short description of the news and click or open the original news web page in an RssReader browser or default browser window.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a format for syndicating news.

Many news and web log sites support RSS by adding these pictograms as XML or RSS to their web pages.

RssReader support RSS versions 0.9x, 1.0 and 2.0 and Atom 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3.

Running under Windows 98/NT/Me/2000/XP/2003.

RssReader is FREEWARE, which means that you can freely copy the original installation package without any modifications and give it away to all of your friends. We don't take any responsibility for any damage to your computer caused by installing or inappropriate use of this program.

You can Download RSSReader here. http://www.rssreader.com/download.htm

I created a Forum but I don't see a 'create new topic' link?
You probably only created a Category. Categories are 'containers' for Forums and only in a Forum you can create a new Topic.

A Category can contain multiple Forums and a Forum can contain multiple Topics.

Take the HFHS-Forum as an example: It has a Category called 'General Discussion'. In this Category there are 8 Forums: 'Looking for Classmates', and 7 others...'. Each of these Forums has Topics inside.

A Category is created by selecting the 'Top Level Category' value as its Parent. A Forum is created by selecting a Category as its Parent.

I created a Category and a Forum but when I click 'forum' from the main menu, I get a blank page?
Make sure you publish both the Category and the Forum you created.
Is there a manual for the Forum?

PART 1 - Your Forum's Home Page

The forum home page is the first page you come to after clicking on the site's forum menu item, and it's also where you come to if you click the "home" link/icon in the forum's top menu. It gives you a quick overview of what's available - categories, forums etc - so you can decide where to go for information.

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • My Profile - Click on this to set up personal preferences for the forum - eg. give yourself an avatar (little picture) or set a signature that appears at the bottom of every post you make. More on this later.
  • Show latest posts - this area allows you to view the latest posts based on specific time variables.
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Category name

Think of a category as a "container" for a number of forums. In a way, it's a means to group and describe a number of similar forums within a single over-arching concept. For example, I usually have a forum category called "Housekeeping", and within that category I have forums called "Site Suggestions" and "Bug Reports" - the common theme is web site maintenance (housekeeping) - but they're very different forums in terms of content.

E - Forum name

This is a forum name - click on it and the forum with it's topic list will open up. There are 2 forums defined here.

F - Forum description

This is a brief description of the forum - it gives you an idea as to where to post something. If you can't make up your mind - most forum operators tend to have a fairly general forum :)

G - New post indicator

This column contains little exclamation marks - they're indicators as to whether there are any new posts in the corresponding forum. The site's administrator may use different indicators, or graphics - but their job is still the same. You'll only see these if you're a logged in, registered member of the site though - as this function relies on cookies.

H - Topics

This indicates the number of different topics in the forum.

I - Replies

This indicates the number of replies in the forum. If you consider the number of topics and replies as a ratio - you'll get an idea of how active/busy/inefficient a forum is.

J - Last post details

Indicates the date, time and name of the last post on the forum.

K - Newest post

Clicking on the little page graphic will take you to the latest (newest) post in that forum.

L - Mark read

Mark all forums read - clicking on this will change all of the exclamation marks in the column marked "G" to show that there are no new unread posts. This is particularly useful on busy forums if you've been offline for a bit and are unable to catch up on all of the reading.

M - Indicator key

This is an explanation of the colour/icon coding used to show whether there are new posts (see "G") in a forum since your last visit.

N - Version/copyright details

This is the software version number and copyright details. You must leave these intact - for various reasons - including the occasional need to quote a version number when seeking help, and legal requirements associated with copyright laws.

PART 2a - Your Forum's Flat View

When clicking on a forum name on the home page, you'll enter the actual forum. If it's set to "flat view" this is basically what the forum will look like:-

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

This menu is slightly different to that which appears on the forum's home page.

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • My Profile - Click on this to set up personal preferences for the forum - eg. give yourself an avatar (little picture) or set a signature that appears at the bottom of every post you make. More on this later.
  • Threaded view - click this to change from the current flat view to the alternative threaded view of the forum.
  • Pending/No pending messages - click this to review posts that must be approved prior to publishing. A common misconception is this link is related to myPMS - it's not though :)
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Post new topic link/button

Press this to post a new topic on the forum.

E - Page

This is where pagination is listed, enabling forum visitors to skip from one page to another.

F - Boardwalk

This indicates the path you follow while moving through the forum setup, and you can click on the various links to move back up the path you've traveled. You can also change the word "Boardwalk" via the forum's language file if you want.

G - New indicator column

This column contains little exclamation marks - they're indicators as to whether there are any new posts/replies to existing posts. The site's administrator may use different indicators, or graphics - but their job is still the same. You'll only see these if you're a logged in, registered member of the site though - as this function relies on cookies.

H - Sticky indicator column

Think of a "Sticky Topic" as a post-it note - it will stay at the top of the forum's list of topics. This is useful if you have something important you want everyone to see - rather than losing it down the list of new topic entries. You can see on this forum that the topic "Hello" has the "Sticky Topic" indicator next to it.

I - Topic icon column

This is where the little topic icons selected while making a post are shown. They may be used on a forum to indicate questions or other themes.

J - Topics column

This is the topic title. The topic title is hyperlinked, and clicking on it will open up the post for reading.

K - Replies column

The number of replies to the corresponding post.

L - Views column

The total number of view for the corresponding post.

M - Author column

The name of the initial post's author.

N - Last post column

Details of the latest reply for the post - includes the date, time and author.

0 - Most recent post indicator column

Click this icon to go to the most recent post for the corresponding topic.

P - Jump box

Use this to jump directly to other forums, rather than using the Boardwalk to move upwards and then across into other forums.

Q - Post new topic link/button

See item "D" above.

R - Mark this forum read

Mark all posts in the forum as read - clicking on this will change all of the exclamation marks in the column marked "G" to show that there are no new unread posts. This is particularly useful on busy forums if you've been offline for a bit and are unable to catch up on all of the reading.

S - Indicator key

This is an explanation of the colour/icon coding used to show whether there are new posts (see "G") in a forum since your last visit.

PART 2b - Your Forum's Threaded View

If, after leaving the forum's home page for a specific forum - and the forum is set to "threaded view" - you'll have a very different look to the forum as can be seen by the image below. Most of the information is essentially the same, however there are differences in how it is laid out and presented.

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

This menu is slightly different to that which appears on the forum's home page.

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • My Profile - Click on this to set up personal preferences for the forum - eg. give yourself an avatar (little picture) or set a signature that appears at the bottom of every post you make. More on this later.
  • Flat view - click this to change from the current threaded view to the alternative flat view of the forum.
  • Pending/No pending messages - click this to review posts that must be approved prior to publishing. A common misconception is this link is related to myPMS - it's not though :)
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Post new topic link/button

Press this to post a new topic on the forum.

E - Page

This is where pagination is listed, enabling forum visitors to skip from one page to another.

F - Boardwalk

This indicates the path you follow while moving through the forum setup, and you can click on the various links to move back up the path you've traveled. You can also change the word "Boardwalk" via the forum's language file if you want.

G - New indicator column

This column contains little exclamation marks - they're indicators as to whether there are any new posts/replies to existing posts. The site's administrator may use different indicators, or graphics - but their job is still the same. You'll only see these if you're a logged in, registered member of the site though - as this function relies on cookies.

H - Sticky indicator column

Think of a "Sticky Topic" as a post-it note - it will stay at the top of the forum's list of topics. This is useful if you have something important you want everyone to see - rather than losing it down the list of new topic entries. You can see on this forum that the topic "Hello" has the "Sticky Topic" indicator next to it.

I - Topic icon column

This is where the little topic icons selected while making a post are shown. They may be used on a forum to indicate questions or other themes.

J - Topics column

This column has a different layout compared to the flat view. When in threaded view, the topics column contains a hyperlinked topic title and indicates the relationship of replies to their parent post. It's somewhat like a tree - and this view enables you to follow the various twists and turns that sometimes arise in lengthy online post conversations. Unlike the flat view, the threaded view doesn't show the number of replies or views - or the most recent post indicator.

K - Author column

The name of the initial post's author.

L - Last post column

Details of the latest reply for the post - includes the date, time and author.

M - Jump box

Use this to jump directly to other forums, rather than using the Boardwalk to move upwards and then across into other forums.

N - Post new topic link/button

See item "D" above.

O - Mark this forum read

Mark all posts in the forum as read - clicking on this will change all of the exclamation marks in the column marked "G" to show that there are no new unread posts. This is particularly useful on busy forums if you've been offline for a bit and are unable to catch up on all of the reading.

P - Indicator key

This is an explanation of the colour/icon coding used to show whether there are new posts (see "G") in a forum since your last visit.

PART 3a - The Flat View of a Post

When you open up a post to read, if the forum is set to "flat view" the post and it's subsequent replies (known as the thread) will appear in a simple block-type format as shown below.

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • My Profile - Click on this to set up personal preferences for the forum - eg. give yourself an avatar (little picture) or set a signature that appears at the bottom of every post you make. More on this later.
  • Post reply - You can use this link/button to post a reply to the topic thread, in addition to the reply links/buttons associated with each post in the thread.
  • Threaded view - This link/button gives you the ability to change from flat to threaded view on the fly, rather than changing preferences via your profile page.
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Boardwalk

This indicates the path you follow while moving through the forum setup, and you can click on the various links to move back up the path you've traveled. You can also change the word "Boardwalk" via the forum's language file if you want.

E - Post new topic link/button

Press this to post a new topic on the forum.

F - Submission details

This line includes the post title and the date/time the post was made.

G - Post body

This area contains the body of the post made. It can contain normal/formatted text, images, file attachments, and code. After the body of the post you'll find a persons forum signature - if they've defined one that is.

H - IP address

A poster's address isn't visible to all forum posters - only admins/moderators. It's useful if you need to track down or take action against unruly posters who may need to be banned/blocked from access to site. Blocking/banning users is done via the Mambo side of your site - not the Simpleboard side of things.

I - Buttons associated with the first post of a thread

The first post of a thread always has a full set of buttons for admins/moderators. This allows for editing, moving, deleting and locking etc.

J - Poster details

Depending on what features have been enabled in the administration area, you'll see a variety of things here - including an avatar, rankname and posts indicator.

K - Buttons associated with subsequent posts of a thread

Subsequent posts have fewer buttons than the original post - a reply, quote, delete and edit link/button.

L - Subscribe

Click the link/icon to subscribe to the topic you're reading. This will result in emails being sent to your email account when replies are made to the post.

Additional features not shown

Depending on what additional components you've got integrated via the Simpleboard administration area, you'll also find Karma indicators (used to applaud/smite posters depending on the quality of their posts), personal messaging icon and links to a person's community builder profile page. Also, if you have the pro versions of various integrated components, you'll also be able to use additional messaging icons (ICQ, AIM etc).

PART 3b - The Threaded View of a Post

The post in threaded view has a different look to that in flat view. You'll notice only one post at a time is shown in detail, and the entire thread is shown below in its tree format. This allows you to move along the thread easily to follow the flow of the conversation.

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • My Profile - Click on this to set up personal preferences for the forum - eg. give yourself an avatar (little picture) or set a signature that appears at the bottom of every post you make. More on this later.
  • Post reply - You can use this link/button to post a reply to the topic thread, in addition to the reply links/buttons associated with each post in the thread.
  • Flat view - This link/button gives you the ability to change from threaded to flat view on the fly, rather than changing preferences via your profile page.
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Boardwalk

This indicates the path you follow while moving through the forum setup, and you can click on the various links to move back up the path you've traveled. You can also change the word "Boardwalk" via the forum's language file if you want.

E - Post new topic link/button

Press this to post a new topic on the forum.

F - Submission details

This line includes the post title and the date/time the post was made.

G - Post body

This area contains the body of the post made. It can contain normal/formatted text, images, file attachments, and code. After the body of the post you'll find a persons forum signature - if they've defined one that is.

H - IP address

A poster's address isn't visible to all forum posters - only admins/moderators. It's useful if you need to track down or take action against unruly posters who may need to be banned/blocked from access to site. Blocking/banning users is done via the Mambo side of your site - not the Simpleboard side of things.

I - Buttons associated with the first post of a thread

The first post of a thread always has a full set of buttons for admins/moderators. This allows for editing, moving, deleting and locking etc.

J - Columns associated with new post indicator, topic icons etc

The threaded view of a post shows up indicators not seen when viewing the post in flat view.

K - Thread relationship

In threaded view, you're able to see how all of the posts are related to each other. This enables you to follow the thread of a conversation, as there can be multiple themes - particularly within an active post.

L - Submission details

The 2 columns here contain the author names and time/date for each post within the thread - so you can see who is replying to whom and when.

M - Subscribe

Click the link/icon to subscribe to the topic you're reading. This will result in emails being sent to your email account when replies are made to the post.

Additional features not shown

Depending on what additional components you've got integrated via the Simpleboard administration area, you'll also find Karma indicators (used to applaud/smite posters depending on the quality of their posts), personal messaging icon and links to a person's community builder profile page. Also, if you have the pro versions of various integrated components, you'll also be able to use additional messaging icons (ICQ, AIM etc).

Part 4a - Making a new post

With time and lots of forum posts, it's easy to forget that making a post can be an intimidating process for people new to online communities. Bulletin board code, smilies and attachments can seem terribly complex - yet they're very easy to master.

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • My Profile - Click on this to set up personal preferences for the forum - eg. give yourself an avatar (little picture) or set a signature that appears at the bottom of every post you make. More on this later.
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Forum title

When making a new post, this heading simply indicates the name of the forum you're posting to.

E - Name of poster

This text box contains the name of the person making the post. If you have set your forum options to allow members to change their name, this text box will be editable - otherwise it will be set. Site admins will be able to change their name regardless of whether this setting allows changes or not.

F - Topic title

This is where you give your post a topic title. Make your topic line appropriate to the content of your problem. The topic line is essentially a brief summary of the problem, and this is used during the forum search procedure - so make it relevant, useful and full of keywords! A bad topic is "help me", good topic lines include:- "missing icon after upgrade", "hacker attempt warning when editing post", "forum link doesn't work after new installation".

G - Topic icon

You can give your topic a little icon to make it stand out in the crowd. None is selected by default. To select one, position the mouse pointer in the circle to the left of the icon and click. The little circle should now have a dark spot in it.

H - Board code

This area really needs an information section all to itself, and the good news is you don't have to use it to post a message. The buttons will insert "tags" to format text - eg. bold, underline, italics etc, some will do dot point, and some will enable an image or hyperlink to be inserted. These tags then have to be closed after the text affected.

I - Text effects

This extends upon board code, and enables you to change the size and colour of your forum signature.

J - Close all tags

While it's normal to open and close bb code before and after the text you're applying these effects to, sometimes things get missed. Clicking this link will close all tags that have been left open.

K - bbCode help

As you move your mouse over the bb code buttons, you'll see a help message flash up in this area to give you tips on applying bb code to your signature.

L - Message text box

This is where you type the content of your post. As you type this in, where necessary you'll use the board code and text effects mentioned in the previous points to add any desired formatting or special links. The width of this text box can break out of narrow, fixed-width templates - and you can set this width via the admin configuration area.

M - Smilies

These are the smilies - just click on one or more to insert them into your post. You won't actually see the smilie in the text box though - it will be represented by things like brackets, colons, semi-colons, numbers etc. This is "smilie code" - and it will be converted once you look in the preview window or at the published post. The smilies used with Simpleboard are transparent png files, which will not show up as transparent in MS explorer. While this isn't an issue with light template backgrounds, it can look unsightly on dark templates. Simply edit the smilies and give them dark backgrounds.

N - Image attachments

If you have a photo you want to make available for whatever reason on the forum, use this feature. Click the browse button to open up a new window showing your computor's file tree. Navigate your way to the image file, click on it to highlight it, click open, and you will notice the blank area preceding the browse button now has a local computor path in it - this is where the image file will come from. All that's left to do is to press the [img] button to the right of the browse button and your file will be uploaded to the server. Image attachments have certain parameters regarding who can upload, size and type, and these are set via the admin configuration area. You're also only able to attach one image, so if you need to display multiple images this can be done by uploading the image to a web server and then using the bb code to insert the image url's.

O - File attachments

This bit is the same as the photo/image bit - except it's to do with uploading a file - eg. text document. You follow the same procedure to attach a file as you did to attach an image. There are also parameters such as who can upload, allowable file types/extensions, as well as file size - and these can be set via the admin configuration area. You can only upload one file attachment, yet you can work you way around this by being a little creative. Use the "code" function of bb code to insert code into your post, or upload the file to a web server and insert a url to it. Alternatively, zip a number of documents into a single zip file and attach it.

P - Subscribe

If you're posting something important and want to get replies sent to you via email - this is where you can subscribe to the post at the time of writing - that way you don't miss a thing.

Q - Post action buttons

When you're done typing your post to the forum, click the submit button and it will be published. Click the preview button if you'd prefer to check over your post before submitting. The cancel button simply cancels all your hard work writing the post - it's deleted before it's even published to the forum.

Part 4b - Replying to an existing post

The page view when replying to an existing post is essentially the same as the one you'll see when posting a new topic. There are a couple of differences associated with the display of details from the initial post and subsequent replies.

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • My Profile - Click on this to set up personal preferences for the forum - eg. give yourself an avatar (little picture) or set a signature that appears at the bottom of every post you make. More on this later.
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Forum title

When making a new post, this heading simply indicates the name of the forum you're posting to.

E - Name of poster

This text box contains the name of the person making the post. If you have set your forum options to allow members to change their name, this text box will be editable - otherwise it will be set. Site admins will be able to change their name regardless of whether this setting allows changes or not.

F - Topic title

When replying to an existing post this area already contains the post's topic title.

G - Topic icon

You can give your topic a little icon to make it stand out in the crowd. None is selected by default. To select one, position the mouse pointer in the circle to the left of the icon and click. The little circle should now have a dark spot in it.

H - Board code

This area really needs an information section all to itself, and the good news is you don't have to use it to post a message. The buttons will insert "tags" to format text - eg. bold, underline, italics etc, some will do dot point, and some will enable an image or hyperlink to be inserted. These tags then have to be closed after the text affected.

I - Text effects

This extends upon board code, and enables you to change the size and colour of your forum signature.

J - Close all tags

While it's normal to open and close bb code before and after the text you're applying these effects to, sometimes things get missed. Clicking this link will close all tags that have been left open.

K - bbCode help

As you move your mouse over the bb code buttons, you'll see a help message flash up in this area to give you tips on applying bb code to your signature.

L - Message text box

This is where you type the content of your post. As you type this in, where necessary you'll use the board code and text effects mentioned in the previous points to add any desired formatting or special links. The width of this text box can break out of narrow, fixed-width templates - and you can set this width via the admin configuration area.

M - Smilies

These are the smilies - just click on one or more to insert them into your post. You won't actually see the smilie in the text box though - it will be represented by things like brackets, colons, semi-colons, numbers etc. This is "smilie code" - and it will be converted once you look in the preview window or at the published post. The smilies used with Simpleboard are transparent png files, which will not show up as transparent in MS explorer. While this isn't an issue with light template backgrounds, it can look unsightly on dark templates. Simply edit the smilies and give them dark backgrounds.

N - Image attachments

If you have a photo you want to make available for whatever reason on the forum, use this feature. Click the browse button to open up a new window showing your computor's file tree. Navigate your way to the image file, click on it to highlight it, click open, and you will notice the blank area preceding the browse button now has a local computor path in it - this is where the image file will come from. All that's left to do is to press the [img] button to the right of the browse button and your file will be uploaded to the server. Image attachments have certain parameters regarding who can upload, size and type, and these are set via the admin configuration area. You're also only able to attach one image, so if you need to display multiple images this can be done by uploading the image to a web server and then using the bb code to insert the image url's.

O - File attachments

This bit is the same as the photo/image bit - except it's to do with uploading a file - eg. text document. You follow the same procedure to attach a file as you did to attach an image. There are also parameters such as who can upload, allowable file types/extensions, as well as file size - and these can be set via the admin configuration area. You can only upload one file attachment, yet you can work you way around this by being a little creative. Use the "code" function of bb code to insert code into your post, or upload the file to a web server and insert a url to it. Alternatively, zip a number of documents into a single zip file and attach it.

P - Subscribe

If you're posting something important and want to get replies sent to you via email - this is where you can subscribe to the post at the time of writing - that way you don't miss a thing.

Q - Post action buttons

When you're done typing your post to the forum, click the submit button and it will be published. Click the preview button if you'd prefer to check over your post before submitting. The cancel button simply cancels all your hard work writing the post - it's deleted before it's even published to the forum.

R - Topic history title

If displaying the history of a post has been enabled via the admin configuration area, you'll see the title of the topic you're replying to here.

S - Content

If displaying the history of a post has been enabled via the admin configuration area, you'll see details of the author and content of their post/reply here. The extent of a post's history shown is also configurable via the admin area, so you can define how far back someone can read when replying to a post. Having this feature enabled is handy, as some replies can be complex and it's often necessary to refer back to the post and its history.

Part 5 - Your Forum Profile Page

Simpleboard's forum profile page allows you to set a number of preferences related to the forum's appearance and message arrangement, your avatar and signature, as well as managing your subscriptions. If your profile page does not look like the image below (apart from differences related to colour/styling), you probably have Community Builder integration enabled. If so, please refer to Community Builder documentation as a starting point.

A - Forum search

Use this to search through the forum for a specific word or short phrase. eg. click in the box, type a word or short phrase and press your keyboard's enter key - the search results will appear with successful results in bold text. Click on the bold text entry, and you'll be taken to that particular post. If you have no luck finding something on your first try - don't give up. Be less specific and more general, or try words with a similar meaning.

B - Board title

This is the title of your board, and should probably reflect your site - eg. what your site is about, theme, content etc. You set this title via the admin configuration area.

C - Main menu

This menu is slightly different to that which appears on other pages.

  • Home - Clicking on this link takes you to the forum's home page.
  • Help - Has some quick and useful information on using bulletin board code etc.
  • Rules - This is where people can read the rules of expected conduct on your forum. You can enable/disable this feature via the admin configuration area, and you insert your own rules by editing the rules.php file.

D - Profile title

This is the name of the member a profile page relates to.

E - Preferred view type

This sets your standard viewing format - whether you want to see the forum in a flat or threaded view each time you open it. You can still set viewing format on the fly via the forum menu bar as well.

F - Preferred message ordering

This sets the order of messages - whether it's newest first or oldest first.

G - Signature length

This is the allowable length a signature can be. The length is set via the admin configuration area.

H - Countdown box

When typing in the signature, you'll see a countdown to indicate how many characters are left in the allowable length.

I - Signature text box

One of the many ways to give yourself an "online personality" is the signature tag. Some people use well-known quotes, others make bold (or otherwise) statements, some a standard goodbye. This is where you enter the details of your signature, and the text can be formatted. Once you've created a signature you like, you must click the submit button marked "R" to ensure the signature is saved. For those with narrow templates, the width of this text box is set via the Simpleboard admin configuration area.

J - Bulletin board code tags

As HTML introduces security issues, forums get around this by using bb code. These buttons enable you to achieve HTML coding effects through the press of a button before and after the text to be affected. For more information on using board code - read the help page listed on the forum's top menu.

K - Text effects

This extends upon board code, and enables you to change the size and colour of your forum signature.

L - bbCode help

As you move your mouse over the bb code buttons, you'll see a help message flash up in this area to give you tips on applying bb code to your signature.

M - Close all tags hyperlink

While it's normal to open and close bb code before and after the text you're applying these effects to, sometimes things get missed. Clicking this link will close all tags that have been left open.

N - Check this box to delete your signature

Marking this check box and then pressing the submit button marked "R" will delete your current signature.

O - Your avatar

Another way to give yourself an "online personality" is the avatar - a pictorial representation of you - and this is where a member's current avatar would be displayed. Avatars tend to be subject to certain guidelines, and you can set height, width and KB size parameters via the Simpleboard configuration area. For more on avatars, see the section that deals with selecting an avatar.

P - Select new avatar

If you have not yet given yourself an avatar, this is the link you click to begin the selection and upload process.

Q - Unsubscribe check box

If you have subscribed to various posts and are receiving email notifications, you can unsubscribe from all of them at once by selecting this check box and pressing the submit button.

R - Submit button

Once you've made various changes to your forum profile (eg. removing an avatar, updating your signature), you need to press the submit button for these changes to take effect.

S - Subscription list

If you subscribe to certain forum posts to receive email notifications, this is where you'll find a list of subscriptions. As they become irrelevant with time, you can unsubscribe from a post by clicking its corresponding unsubscribe link.

T - Moderator notifications

If you have moderator status, this is where you'll see a list of forums you're responsible for. As a site super admin, you'll automatically have moderator status on all forums - so you won't actually see a list.

Part 6 - Selecting an avatar

1. Avatar selection - Ready-made or made to order

When you click on the select new avatar link in the Simpleboard forum profile area, you'll come to a page that looks a little like the one below. This is where you either select an avatar of your own to upload (if that function has been enabled), or you select an avatar from those available in the gallery.

  1. This is your first option in choosing an avatar - upload one of your own.
  2. If you choose to upload your own avatar, the path to your image file on your local computor will show here. You don't need to type anything in this area.
  3. This is the image upload button. Once you find an image on your local computer using the browse button (see next bit), you click this button to send it to the server.
  4. Click this button to browse through your local computor files for an image to upload.
  5. This is your second option in choosing an avatar - select one from what's already available.
  6. If you'd rather use one of the avatars already on the system, click in the little circle to the right of the image - a dark spot should appear.
  7. Once you're done choosing - click this button to confirm your choice.

2. Selecting the made to order file

To use your own avatar, you'd click the browse button shown in the image under avatar selection. Clicking the browse button will open up your local computor screen as shown in the small image here. It's then just a matter of browsing through your files until you find the image you want.

  1. This is my avatar's image file on my local computor. I've highlighted it by clicking on it once. The little information box that has appeared gives me the image file's dimensions, type and size - which allows me to determine if it's the right size and type.
  2. Once selected (highlighted), the file name will appear here.
  3. This area shows the allowed file types.
  4. Press the "open" button to take the next step in uploading your avatar to the web server, or press cancel to exit the process.

3. Uploading your avatar

  1. Once you press the "open" button described above, you can see part of the avatar's path on your local computor. This is where the your avatar's image file will be uploaded from.
  2. All you have to do now is press the "upload" button and wait for the computor to upload the image, and then tell you it's finished.
  3. Once the image upload has finished, this is the message you will get (see below).

Part 7 - Understanding Bulletin Board Code

As HTML represents a significant risk to the security of sites running forums, formatting the text of a post is accomplished using a system referred to as bulletin board code (bb code). While it can be confusing for people new to posting on forums, it's an easy system to work with.

Make it stand out with BOLD

Step 1 - Open the bold tag

OK, so you've typed something and you really want the next bit to stick out. In this example I've typed "this is" followed by a space, and then I clicked the "B" button - and you can now see [b] has appeared after the text and the "B" button now has an asterisk on it. You've successfully opened the "bold" tag.

Step 2 - Close the bold tag

Now you just have to type in the text you want to stand out with bold - in this case I've typed "just a test". Then I've clicked the "B" button again - the asterisk disappears, and after my text you can now see [/b]. This has closed the "bold" tag, and we're done.

Step 3 - Admire your text formatting

Looking at it in the preview window, you can now see the normal text I typed in at the beginning, and it is followed by the text I enclosed in "bold" tags.

Give it some emphasis with ITALICS

Step 1 - Open the italics tag

OK, so you've typed something and you'd like to give the next bit you say some emphasis. In this example I've typed "this is" followed by a space, and then I clicked the "i" button - and you can now see [i] has appeared after the text and the "i" button now has an asterisk on it. You've successfully opened the "italics" tag.

Step 2 - Close the italics tag

Now you just have to type in the text you want to give some emphasis to - in this case I've typed "just a test". Then I've clicked the "i" button again - the asterisk disappears, and after my text you can now see [/i]. This has closed the "italics" tag, and we're done.

Step 3 - Admire your text formatting

Looking at it in the preview window, you can now see the normal text I typed in at the beginning, and it is followed by the text I enclosed in the "italics" tags.

Bringing some order to LISTS

Step 1 - Open the list tag

OK, so you've typed something and now you've got a list you want to rattle off. How about the good old dot point format? In this example I've typed "how about lists with dots?", hit enter a couple of times, and then I clicked the "li" button - and you can now see [li] has appeared at the beginning of the line, and the "li" button now has an asterisk on it. You've successfully opened the "list" tag.

Step 2 - Close the list tag

Now you just have to type in the text you want to make a point out of - in this case I've typed "this is one". Then I've clicked the "li" button again - the asterisk disappears, and after my text you can now see [/li]. This has closed the "list" tag, and we're done with the first point in our list.

Step 3 - Repeat the process for each list item

Press the enter key to go to the next line, and repeat the process of opening and closing the "list" tag around the second and subsequent points you want to make and you're done.

Step 4 - Admire your text formatting

Looking at it in the preview window, you can now see the normal text I typed on the first line, and it is followed by the two points I made enclosed in "list" tags - they now have dots in front of them.

Send them on their way with HYPERLINKS

Step 1 - Open the URL tag

You've been discussing this and that in the forum, and you know of a really good web site relevant to the discussion. So, let's give your readers a working hyperlink to click on so they can go and see what you mean. In this example I've typed "what about putting in web links?" and pressed the enter key a few times. I clicked the "URL" button - and you can now see [url] has appeared at the beginning of the line, and the "URL" button now has an asterisk on it. You've successfully opened the "url" tag.

Step 2 - Close the URL tag

Now you just have to type in the web address - in this case I've typed my other website "http://www.pixelbunyip.com". Then I've clicked the "URL" button again - the asterisk disappears, and after my web address you can now see [/url]. This has closed the "url" tag, and we're done. This is the quick and easy way to insert a hyperlink, and it will just show up as a url. To insert a hyperlinked word or phrase requires a slightly different technique. Simply open up the "URL" tag, type in the text to be hyperlinked, then close the "URL" tag. Once you've done that, insert the url into the tag so that it looks something like this:- [url=http://www.yourdomain.com]YourLinkText[/url]

Step 3 - Admire your hyperlink

Looking at it in the preview window, you can now see the normal text I typed in at the beginning, and on the line below is the hyperlink. Move your cursor over it and you'll see it's active - so you can click on it and a new window to that address will open.

Conclusion

While not all aspects of board code and text formatting have been covered at this point, the information given should be enough to give you the confidence to experiment further and make full use of the formatting features available.


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