How to use the new forum

How to use the new forum

Postby Allan » 07 Dec 2014, 16:10

This is the first of what I hope will be a short series of "How To" posts explaining some of the features of the new forum.

I started writing a post about how to adjust your settings in the "User Control Panel" but it got way too long so I've decided to chop it into bits and post them here in this thread with descriptive names. It could take a while - please bear with me.

The "User Control Panel" is accessed by clicking the link at the top left of the main page, under where it says "Board index".

The User Control Panel is arranged as a row of four tabs, each with a number of menu items below it.

The first tab is called "Overview" and has four menu items:

"Front page" is just a summary of your activity. When you joined, how many posts you've made etc.
"Manage subscriptions, bookmarks, drafts and attachments" can all be ignored for now.

The other tabs will be explained in later posts.
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How to change your profile, avatar and password

Postby Allan » 07 Dec 2014, 16:29

The "Profile" Tab in the User Control Panel is where you set your forum identity. The tab has four menu items:

"Edit profile" is where you can add, delete or change information about yourself. It's all optional, if you don't want to fill in any of this information just leave it blank. The only thing that isn't obvious is that you can, if you want, just enter the day and month of your birthdy. If you do that then the home page will mention that it's your birthday on the appropriate date but won't show your age. If you do set the year then your age will be shown on your profile.

If you change anything on this (or any other) page remember to click the "Submit" button at the bottom.


"Edit signature" allows you to enter a short piece of text (up to 120 characters) that will display at the bottom of every message you post on the forum. You can format the text as you do with normal posts using italics, bold text etc.

"Edit avatar"
is where you set your "avatar" (the small picture that appears next to each of your posts). We have set the avatars for many of you already to be the same a you had on the old forum. If you don't yet have an avatar and would like one or if you want to change the one you have this is how you do it:

Click the "Display gallery" button and when a page of butterflies appear click the small downward-pointing arrow beside the word "Butterflies" to select a category. Currently you can choose from: "Butterflies", "Cat breeds", "Dogs", "Flags", "Garden", "Musical" and "Old_Avatars". The last category, as you might expect, consists of most of the avatars used on the old forum. Pick a category from the list and then click the "Go" button. There are a lot of avatars in these categories so they may take a while to display. Dig around as much as you want until you find something you like. Click the little circle under the picture you like and then click the "Submit" button right down at the bottom of the page.

If none of the hundreds of avatars takes your fancy or if you want something more personal there is the option to install one of your very own. First you will need a suitable image stored on your computer no bigger than 80X80 pixels. Then on the main "Edit avatar" page click the "Browse" button. Find the picture you want to use and click "Open" and then back on the "Edit avatar" page click "Submit". If you have any problems just email us at admin@symiforum.com and we'll sort it out for you.

"Edit account settings" allows you to change your password to something more memorable that the random one you were issued with. It also lets you change your email address and we encourage you to keep this up to date. Note that your email address isn't visible to other users and we will never send you spam or pass on your email address to anyone else,
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How to set your timezone and posting defaults

Postby Allan » 07 Dec 2014, 16:42

The "Board preferences" Tab has three menu items and is mostly used to switch various options on and off. The default settings are correct for most people but feel free to fiddle!

"Edit global settings" is fairly self-explanatory and most settings can be left as they are. If the "Notify me on new private message" option is set to "Yes" you will get an email if someone sends you a private message (you'll still have to log in to read it). This might be useful if you rarely log in to the forum, but equally it might get annoying if you get a lot of private messages - it's up to you. The "My timezone" setting makes all the times shown in posts etc. display in your own time zone. A nice feature for those of you outside the UK.

"Edit posting defaults" are also self-explanatory. Each setting can be changed when you write a post if you wish. BBCodes are the little codes added to posts to display italic or bold text etc. Leave it set to "Yes". The "Notify me upon replies by default" option, if set to "Yes", will make the forum send you an email if someone replies to a post you have made.

"Edit display options" changes how forums look to you and in what order posts and topics are displayed. The defaults are "normal behaviour" but feel free to change the settings if you want.
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All about private messages

Postby Allan » 07 Dec 2014, 17:17

The "Private messages" Tab in the User Control Panel is where you set up the Private Message function and where you can send or receive messages.

"Compose message" is pretty obvious! You can type in a username or click the "Find a member" text to get the full member list which you can sort and search to find the person you want and then click "Select" immediately under their username to fill in the To: field automatically.
Type a subject for your message, enter your text and finally click the "Submit" button. Very simple, very similar to the old form and almost the same putting a post on the forum. As you would expect, you can format your message with bold and italic text. You can also add attachments from your own computer. Click "Browse", select a file and click "Add the file".

The other menu items are the same as you would expect in an email program, allowing access to your inbox, outbox and sent messages areas.

The "Rules, folders & settings" menu will let you set up folders to store your messages in. Again, much like a standard email program but probably more than you will need on the forum.

If when you log in you have any unread Private Messages waiting for you it will say something like "(1 new message)" at the top left of the main page. If you click that text it will take you straight to your inbox where you can read the message.

Rather like on the old forum you can click a member's name or avatar to see their profile and from there click the "Send private message" text to get to your "Compose message" screen with the member's username already entered.

I know this sounds complicated but it really isn't. Just jump in, have a play and let us know how you get on. :)
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