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New Forum FAQ

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New Forum FAQ

Postby Darren » Sat Oct 17, 2009 08:18 pm

Now we've had it for a week, time for a brief overview of the things that have changed, things that are new and how to work some of them.


But as ever, for questions about how to operate the new phpBB3 forum, first have a look in the FAQ link at the top-right of the page, near the Smartfeed/Members/Logout links.

If anyone has items that they think should be included here (for stuff that is new or different from the old board functionality), please PM me and let me know.
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Where do I start?

Postby Darren » Sat Oct 17, 2009 08:41 pm

Q: Where do I start?

A: The main new item that the board update has introduced is the User Control Panel (UCP). This can be found near the top of the page (just under the banner cartoon image of Bernard), and is where all of the user settings for the forum are made. It replaces the old "profile" link in the old board.

This contains 6 tabs, under which a number of options can be selected or changed.

  • Overview - Gives a summary of various items, as selected from the list on the left hand side (activity, subscriptions, bookmarks, drafts and attachments).
  • Profile - Setting up your profile, as on the old board. Contact details, profile information, signature, avatars, and account settings are all configured here.
  • Board preferences - Settings on how the posts are displayed on the board, plus defaults on post items like signatures and smilies.
  • Private messages - Where you can write and manage PMs. Also automatic sorting and folders can be set up here (like most email clients). More details about PMs are below.
  • User groups - The user groups you are a member of, plus application to join or leave them. Generally not much of interest here.
  • Friends and foes - Here you can set friends (for quick access) and foes (whose posts are ignored). More details are below.
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What do the new thread icons mean?

Postby Darren » Sat Oct 17, 2009 08:42 pm

Q: What do the new thread icons mean?

A: These give information about the thread. Specifically:

Colour - A red icon means that the thread contains unread posts, black means that you have read all posts in the thread.
Shape - Announcements have a circle containing a letter "i", stickies look like old-style lightbulbs containing a "!" and regular threads a circle with a paragraph of greeked text (lines) in it.
Scrolling text - Regular threads with scrolling text indicate the thread is "popular" and has received a large number of posts (3 or more pages).
Star - A little red star in the icon means it is a thread in which you have made one or more posts.
Arrow - A small blue arrow in the icon means it is a thread that has been moved, but a shortcut link to the new location has been left. The icon you are looking at is that shortcut.
Padlock - The thread is locked, and cannot be posted into.
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What has changed in private messaging?

Postby Darren » Sat Oct 17, 2009 09:03 pm

Q: What has changed in private messaging?

A: Basically PMs are as they were in the previous version of the board, but there are a few differences.

  • PMs are accessed via the user control panel, although they can also be reached via the message-count shortcut just beside it.
  • When opened you go into your inbox as before, listing your PMs (read in black, unread in red as with threads).
  • New PMs can be written via the "NEWPM*" button at the top, or via the "compose message" selection at the top of the list on the left hand side of the page.
  • PMs can be manipulated by selecting them via the tick-boxes on the right hand side, and then using the drop-down box at the bottom. Via this box you can either mark/unmark the selected messages as important (to be kept) or to delete them. You can also use this to save the marked messages (as in the old board).
  • Also via the list on the left hand side of the page, you can access rules, folders and settings for your PMs:
    • Rules - these act like filtering rules common in many email clients - to move PMs into specific folders etc based on their sender or subject.
    • Add folders - add new folders to your PM storage (alongside inbox, drafts etc).
    • Actions if your inbox becomes full - delete oldest PMs, move PMs to folder or keep messages in a queue until there is space to receive them.
  • PMs can now be sent to multiple recipients, either directly or unseen (BCC). This is done via the "add" and "add (BCC)" buttons at the top, and works like email.
  • PMs can be saved as drafts before sending (using the save button at the bottom). These drafts can then be accessed via the "manage PM drafts" button in the list on the left hand side (again much like email).
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What are bookmarks and subscriptions?

Postby Darren » Sun Oct 18, 2009 08:51 am

Q: What are bookmarks and subscriptions?

A: These two quite similar functions are an expansion on the old board's "watch this thread" function.

To subscribe to or bookmark a thread, you need to use the "Subscribe topic" or "Bookmark topic" link at the very bottom of the page (with a little tick-box or red star box beside them respectively). You can also subscribe to whole fora in the same way, using the "Subscribe forum" link at the bottom of the forum overview page (the one that lists all the threads in the forum).

Your subscribed and bookmarked topics/forums are controlled via the "manage subscriptions" and "manage bookmarks" entries in the overview tab of your user control panel (UCP). From there you can quickly go to your marked or subscribed threads/forums, and also cancel your watching of them (you can also do this by the "Unsubscribe topic" and "Unbookmark topic" links which replace the subscribe/bookmark ones at the bottom of the individual pages).

The functionality of each is:

  • Subscribe - this works in the same way as the old "watch this thread" function. Every time someone makes a post into a subscribed thread, you will receive a notification email telling you about it.
  • Bookmark - this is just for fast access to the marked thread through the UCP (it works like a web browser bookmark). No notification email is sent when posts are made into a bookmarked thread (unless you also subscribe to it).
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What's this about friends and foes?

Postby Darren » Sun Oct 18, 2009 09:01 am

Q: What's this about friends and foes?

A: Under the user control panel (UCP) you can find a tab labelled "Friends & Foes", and under that sections for "Manage friends" and "Manage foes".

  • Friends - enables quick access to people that you communicate with frequently.
  • Foes - enables you to ignore the posts made by certain people (as listed in your foes list). Note that admins and moderators cannot be added to this list :twisted: .

Posts made by foes will appear as "This post was made by <foes name> who is currently on your ignore list. Display this post.", with the last part being a link to show the post.
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What has changed in posting messages?

Postby Darren » Sun Oct 18, 2009 09:10 am

Q: What has changed in posting messages?

A: The message posting screen is basically the same as the old one, but some parts have been improved or added:

  • The buttons across the top now should put their tags in at the cursor position, rather than the end of the post.
  • Font sizes are now a percentage of the current view size, rather than a point size. This view size is set by the "A" button with the up and down arrows beside it near the top-right corner of the screen (just above the log-in/out button).
  • The font colour button now offers a wider variety of colours. Alternatively the color tags (note spelling) can be used directly as before, using either named colours or the hex (#) codes).
  • Two new tags have been added for spoiler (hidden) text, rather than using the background colour trick. These are detailed below.

Spoiler text can now be done with the two new spoiler tags:

In-line spoiler text: This is in-line spoiler text.

Quote-style spoiler text (with optional title):

[Reveal] Spoiler: This is an optional title
Quote-style spoiler text with optional title.


These are achieved by:

Code: Select all
In-line spoiler text: [spoiler]This is in-line spoiler text.[/spoiler]

Quote-style spoiler text (with optional title):

[spoiler=This is an optional title]Quote-style spoiler text with optional title.[/spoiler]


Text can be revealed by clicking on it, or using the reveal link on the quoted version. In-line text cannot be obscured again without closing and re-opening the thread, but quote-style can using the obscure link.
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Can we get updates via RSS or Atom?

Postby Darren » Sun Oct 18, 2009 09:26 am

Q: Can we get updates via RSS or Atom?

A: The answer to this question now is yes, using the new Smartfeed link up at the top-right of the page (beside the FAQ/members/logout links). On that screen you can set which forum(s) are monitored, and details of posts to be included in the feed.

Once you've got it configured how you want it, then use the button at the bottom to generate the feed URL, which you can then enter into your chosen news reader or web browser (at which point you're on your own in getting it to work at that end).
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Can I change how I view topics and threads?

Postby Darren » Sun Oct 18, 2009 09:55 am

Q: Can I change how I view topics and threads?

A: In short, yes.

In slightly more detail, at the bottom of each forum you can now select from three drop-down boxes. Here you can filter on which posts you see (either all of them or from a fixed amount of time back from today), and also how they are grouped together (sorted by author, posting time, subject or number of views or replies).

Similarly for threads you can filter posts by age, and how they are sorted and grouped for display (by post time, author or subject in this case).

The default values of these settings can also be changed via the "Edit display options" link on the Board preferences tab in the User Control Panel (UCP).
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How can I read the forum more quickly?

Postby Darren » Wed Oct 21, 2009 05:45 am

Q: How can I read the forum more quickly?

A: Another new feature has just been installed, for those with Javascript enabled on their browser.

In such cases if you hover your cursor over a thread's title, you get a little box previewing the first post in the thread. Alternatively if you do the same on the latest post icon (on the right hand side of the screen, near the name of the last poster in the thread) you preview that post instead.

So you can now skim-read the top and tail of a thread without having to even open it!
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I've just joined, why can't people see my posts?

Postby Darren » Sun Oct 25, 2009 09:11 am

Q: I've just joined, why can't people see my posts?

A: As part of the anti-spam measures put in place with the update, new users (with less than 3 posts) must have their first posts approved by a moderator or admin before they appear to everyone. When entered they will join a queue, and will be reviewed.

If they are appropriate they will be approved and you can post as normal, if not then actions will be taken. For the most part this will only affect spammers and spam-bots, whose posts will only be seen by we lucky few :roll:
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