Tips and tricks for new users

Welcome! Below you will find some guidance to get you started.

  1. Browsing the Forum
  2. Navigation Tools
  3. Taking Part in Conversations
  4. Actions and Reactions
  5. Notifications
  6. Other Useful Topics

1. Browsing the Forum

See who is participating

There are several ways to see who is involved in topics.

users

On the main page you will see a selection of avatars (profile pictures) of:

  • the user who started the topic (always the first photo)
  • a selection of the most active participants
  • and, who created the most recent post (usually the last photo)
  • in some cases, the first photo has a blue border or blue halo to indicate that the original poster is also the most recent poster
    users_blue_halo

At the bottom of the first post of a topic there’s a box that tells you; who created the post and when, gives a count of the replies and views in this topic to date, and a display of the avatars of the most frequent participants.

Topic list

  • Topics above the light red line on a list are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, the title will be light grey instead of black.

  • New topics are (by default) those created in the last 2 days that you have not opened yet to keep the list fresh and relevant. New topics show a small blue dot next to the topic title.

  • Unread topics are (by default) those that you have previously opened and read for at least 4 minutes, and that have new posts (replies) submitted to them. Unread topics show a number in a blue circle indicating how many new posts are in the topic.

  • Selecting a topic title will take you to your last read post in the topic. To enter at the top ↑ or bottom ↓ instead, click the reply count or last reply date.

Sometimes conversations are clearer if topics are split, where posts are moved to a more appropriate topic, or two related topics are merged. If a post is moved, a link will appear that will allow readers to jump to that comment wherever it has been moved to, and the person who posted it will also be notified.

At the end of the first post of a topic you will also see lists of related topics that link to the one you are reading

2. Navigation Tools

For Search, the Menu, or your User page, use the icon buttons at the upper right .

top-right-menus

3. Taking Part in Conversations

Replying

Press any arrow Reply button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser. You can continue reading (and even search or navigate to different topics) while you compose your reply.

The forum shows all posts in the order they are published. It does not make you chase down multiple threaded paths. However, it still gives you lots of ways to follow the context of conversations.

To reply to a specific post in a topic, clicking the grey Reply button at the end of each post and your reply is linked to that post.

  • If your reply is the next one published after the post you are replying to, this will appear next in chronological order
  • If yours is NOT next, then two things happen after your post is published:
    • Your post will include a new link in its header with an image to show what this is ‘in reply to’ - clicking this link displays that previous post for context next to your reply
    • The original post includes a count of replies at the bottom - clicking this link displays the content of the replies

Drafts

Drafts will automatically be saved as you write. If you minimise the editor or navigate to a different topic, the editor might disappear. To open a draft, return to the topic you were replying to or click the highlighted bar at the bottom of your browser, and the editor will reappear with your draft.

Quoting

To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. There is no need to quote the a whole message, it helps to be specific. Repeat this for multiple quotes even from different posts and different users. The quoted text will point to their original source.

quoting

Mentioning

To notify someone about your reply, mention their name. Type @ to begin selecting a username. This search will also search the name fields in case you don’t know a particular username.

mention-username

Emoji

To use Emojis, just type : to match by name, or traditional smileys ;)

emoji-completion

Alternatively, click on more to see a complete list of emoji to select from.

Oneboxes (Link Previews)

To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself. To start a topic with a link, paste the link into the title field.

You can also have a link on a line by itself without generating a summary by starting the line with a space.

Formatting

Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or Markdown:

This is <b>bold</b>.
This is [b]bold[/b].
This is **bold**.

For more formatting tips, try this 10 minute tutorial.

4. Actions and Reactions

There are action buttons at the bottom of each post:

actions

  • To let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post, use the like button. Share the love!

  • Grab a copy-pasteable (permalink) link to any reply or topic via the link button.

  • Use the button to reveal more actions. Flag to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem. Bookmark to find this post later on your profile page.

5. Notifications

When someone is talking directly to you — by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your @username , or even linking to your post, a blue number will immediately appear over your profile picture at the top right.

When you have been sent a Personal Message you will receive this in your Inbox and a green number will appear over your profile picture to the left.

Click your profile image to scroll through all your notifications .

notifications

You can optionally receive all these notifications as push notifications to your desktop browser or Android device. Simply allow the site to send you notifications through your browser when it asks permission.

Don’t worry about missing a reply – you’ll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away.

If you want, you can get notified about other things happening on the site as well, either at the category or topic level.

Topic notifications

You can change your notification level for any individual topic via the notification control at the bottom, and right hand side, of each topic.

Category notifications

Notification level can also be set per category. To change any of these defaults, see your user preferences, or visit the category page, and use the notification control above the topic list, on the right side.

6. Other Useful Topics