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Members: Using the Forums

This document describes how to use the forums available on this site.

How to Use the Forums

The forums offer the ability to conduct threaded conversations, take surveys/vote, and make announcements. To use the Discussion Forums, you need to register for an account on the site. If you already have an account, keep reading for information on using Forums.

Reply The most common thing you will do in a Discussion Forum is reply to an existing topic. When you want to reply to a post, click on the white "reply" tab. This tab can be found in the center of the page and is one of two options in the fourth horizontal navigation level.

Delete The other option available is "delete". Delete will eliminate the entire thread. This function should only be used to clean out unused threads, when a thread was accidentally created, or by a moderator in the unlikely event an inappropriate thread was started.

Post New Item To add a new threaded conversation, navigate to the Discussion forum you want to join (if there are multiple forums). Notice the white navigation bar with five options. "Post New Item" is the third horizontal navigation level on the page. Much of the functionality is rarely needed except the option to "post new item". The "post new item" tab will give you three options: Topic, Poll, Announcement.

  • topic (ie a thread of discussion): A topic is a threaded conversation. You will have many topics inside the same forum. Think of it as an outline. All topics around a certain issue are stored within one forum. By doing this, instead of creating a new forum every time, we keep the site more organized and navigable. By creating a new topic you are creating a new threaded conversation. When you create your topic, it is recommended that you give it a name to make it easy to know what the thread is about.  If you forget to name it you can do so by using the "edit" function found on the green (second level) horizontal navigation. If you realize that you have created an unnecessary topic and your post would have more appropriately been placed in an existing thread, use the delete function (fourth level horizontal navigation).
  • announcement: An announcement is just that, it is a post-it. Changing your preferences for the forum that you do not need anyone to respond to and is unrelated to other conversations. Using the announcement function will add clutter to the Web site and it is recommended that you try to find an existing topic to post your comments to.
  • polls: The polls can be used to vote on items such as statements, strategies, times, or locations. When there are several leaders to manage the groups, we will train them on how to use the polls.

Changing your preferences for the forum

You can modify your preferences for the forum in order to better suit your desired interface.

Changing how you view the forum

You can change the visual presentation of the forums while you are using them (continue reading) or set your preferences so that they display a certain way (see below). When you are at the forum's main page, you can click on the "view mode" button (near the top of the page, next to "post new item"). This will allow you to change between options:
  • a "flat" view (where you see the thread title and the first line of text, and also the title and first line of text for the last response), and the option for
  • a "threaded" view (you will see the title and first line of the thread and then a list of the responses, with their dates).
You can also change the view mode for a particular topic (thread). While viewing the content of a particular topic, you can click on the "view mode" button and choose:
  • "flat" (the messages are displayed in full down the page)
  • "nested" (the messages are displayed in full down the page, but indented under the message they are a response to)
  • "thread" (on the main page, messages are all displayed and responses to each are listed below it; if you click on one message you will see one message at a time, with a list of messages that are a response to this one)
  • "full thread" (all views are threaded, you will see one message at a time with a list of responses)

Setting your preferences for the forums

Your preferences control how your identification information (including signatures) is presented in the forums and can also control the visual interface for you. To get to your preferences, click the "my preferences" button (in the blue horizontal bar under the main navigation), and then click on the "Forum preferences" link.

The first area on this page allows you to control the information about you shown on the posts you leave (for example, whether or not to show your full name) and how you see the forums (visual organization - see the notes above and date organization).

In the following areas, you can set your contact informations, location details, and signatures, if you wish to use these.

Created by cjohnson
Last modified July 29, 2005 06:44 PM

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