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The buddy list is used to keep track of the friends you have made on this forum. By going to your "Open Buddy List" in "Quick Links" menu of the navbar, you'll be able to see which of your friends are currently online and send them a private message. Adding people to your buddy list also allows you to send private messages to multiple forum members at the same time. You may add any member of the forums to your buddy list by viewing their profile or by going to "Buddy / Ignore Lists" in your "User CP".

Ignore lists are used for those people whose messages you wish not to read. By adding someone to your ignore list, those messages posted by these individuals will be hidden when you read a thread.

The administrator may have enabled RSS syndication, this allows you to view newly created threads in guest viewable forums without visiting the board.

The feeds are currently provided in two formats, RSS and RSS v2. The differences are as follows:

  • RSS 0.91 - This feed is based on a standard written by netscape and provides a link and the title of the thread.
    http://siccness.net/vb/external.php?type=rss
  • RSS 2.0 - This feed contains title, author, date and the contents of the first post of the thread.
    http://siccness.net/vb/external.php?type=rss2

To add this to MyYahoo click here.

The forums to which this applies can also be limited to specific guest viewable forums by adding another parameter to the URL containing the forumids as follows:
http://siccness.net/vb/external.php?type=rss2&forumids=123

If you would like the content to be generated for multiple forums you can separate the forumids by commas.


Announcements

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.


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.


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 click the email user button Email User on 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.


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 Edit / Delete Message 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.


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 'new thread' button Post New Thread (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 'Post Reply' Reply to Thread button. If the 'Post Reply' 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 Quick Reply to this Message 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 'Forum Jump' 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.


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.


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.


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

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?

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Sky-blue
  • 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!


Quick Links

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:

  • Quick Links
    • 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)
  • Networking
    • Contacts and Friends (a page from where you can manage your contacts and friends)
    • Social Groups (where you can manage your social 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)
  • Miscellaneous
    • 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)

Rating Threads

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.


Registration

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.


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 'Post Reply' button Post Reply 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 Quick 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.


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.


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.


Smilies

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'.


Subscriptions

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.


Tags

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.


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.


Thread Tools

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.

The User Control Panel

The User Control Panel (also known as the User CP) is where you control your personal settings, options and preferences. To visit the User CP, you must have first registered on the forums. Once logged in, click on 'User CP' in the header bar near the top of the page.

The User CP 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
  • Private messages
  • Subscribed threads and forums
  • Contacts and friends
  • Social groups




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