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ThisIsMS Forums FAQ

Postby NHE » Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:28 pm

I've decided to start a FAQ thread for common questions related to using the forums here at ThisIsMS. If you have a question or suggestion, then please PM me. I would be happy to hear from any of the members of the ThisIsMS community.

NHE
Last edited by NHE on Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Formatting a post

Postby NHE » Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:32 pm

Q: How do I format my post to do xy and z?

A: Posts are formatted using BBCode which is a modified subset of html-like commands. A complete list of all of the formatting options can be found at the ThisIsMS BBCode FAQ.


For further information: Formatting a post, part 2
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Linking to a specific post

Postby NHE » Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:46 pm

Q: How do I create a link to a specific post on the forum rather than to the page that contains the thread?

A: There is a small, rectangular icon at the beginning of every post which looks like a page with the top right corner folded down. The icon can be found in the top line of each post to the right of the subject. This icon changes color from a shade of gold when the post is a new one which you haven't seen before to gray which indicates a post that you may have already read (note that this function is only available after you have logged into the ThisIsMS site). This icon also has another function. It is assigned a URL for that specific post. Thus, the simplest way to link to a specific post is to right click on the icon for the post of interest and then select "Copy Link Location" or whatever option your browser provides. This URL can then be pasted into your current composition.

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Searching the forum

Postby NHE » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:49 am

Q: What are the options available for searching the forum?

A: There are several choices available.

The forum has its own built-in search function. The best way to find a specific post using this search utility is to make sure that you select "Display results as: Posts" instead of as "Topics". By doing so, you will find specific posts rather than whole threads, some of which can be several pages long making it difficult to find the specific information you're looking for.

Another option is to use Google's advanced search function. By entering "thisisms.com" into the "Search within a site or domain:" field, you can search the entire ThisIsMS site and also have ready access to all of Google's advanced search functions. Alternatively, you can add the following syntax to a regular Google search, site:thisisms.com, to limit it to the ThisIsMS forums.
Last edited by NHE on Sun May 09, 2010 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PM in Outbox

Postby NHE » Sun Apr 06, 2008 2:40 pm

Q: Why do private messages seem to get stuck in the outbox for so long?

A: Private messages will stay in the sender's outbox until the recipient reads the message. To be notified of when you have a new private message go into your profile configuration and select "yes" for the option "Notify on new Private Message:" and you will receive an email alert when there is a new private message for you.
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Forum Posting Guidelines

Postby NHE » Sun Apr 06, 2008 2:57 pm

Q: Is it appropriate to post " ______ "?

A: To view the forum's posting guidelines please read the "Rules of the Board" thread.
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Broken URL

Postby NHE » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:59 pm

Q: Why doesn't the URL I put into my message work?

A: There could be several reasons for a URL link to not work correctly.

One possible reason is that there is some text, such as a comma or period, immediately following the URL text without any spaces. In this case, the forum software will include the extra text with the URL which will cause it to fail. The solution for this problem is to enclose the URL with BBCode link code such that it looks like the following...
Code: Select all
[url]http://www.thisisms.com[/url], [url]http://www.thisisms.com[/url].

Which produces the following text...


Note that both the comma as well as the period are outside of the URL brackets and will not be interpreted as being included with the URL.

Another reason for a link to not work correctly is that the URL is simply too long. One way around this problem is to use BBCode to create a formatted hyperlink such that the text of the post forms the actual link. The color of the text can be changed to make it stand out so that readers will know that a clickable link is present.

Here's an example...
Code: Select all
[url=http://www.thisisms.com][color=blue]message text[/color][/url]

Which produces the following text...


Another option is to shorten a long URL using a service such as http://tinyurl.com or http://snipurl.com and then copy and paste the shortened url into your message.

Note that sometimes a URL contains some peculiar characters, such as an exclamation point, parenthesis, or an apostrophe, which breaks the URL and causes the forum's software to truncate it rendering it inoperative. In this instance, embedding the URL with BBCode into the message text will not help but using the tinyurl or snipurl option usually will fix it.

For an alternative to using tinyurl or snipurl to fix a broken URL, please see this FAQ which discusses how to fix broken URLs without going to an another website.

Note that for some browsers, in particular Mozilla based browsers such as Firefox or Mozilla, a long URL will not wrap and it will cause the entire page to spread out horizontally necessitating use of the horizontal scroll bar making it difficult to read the page. Using either the BBCode or the tinyurl option above will usually fix the horizontal scrolling problem.


Update: As of our Sept 2011 forum update, long URLs are now automatically shortened. Thus, URL length should no longer be an issue. However, characters that break the URL can still occur.



For further information:
Broken URL, Part 2
Broken URL, Part 3
Last edited by NHE on Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:20 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Random smilies, emoticons, in a message

Postby NHE » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:36 pm

Q: Why do smiley faces sometimes show up in my post when I did not insert any?

A: Sometimes message text will contain characters which get incorrectly interpreted as being for smilies when a smiley was not intended.

Here are some examples... (n=8) or (P=0.038)

In this case the 8) characters will get interpreted as a smiley face with sunglasses.

For example... (n=Image or (P=0.03Image

In order to prevent this from happening, select the option just beneath the message composition field to "Disable Smilies in this post."

Another option is to use the preferences in your profile to stop all smilies. For this to work, go into your profile configuration and select "No" for the "Always enable Smilies:" option. However, this may prevent you from using a smiley when you would really like to use one. If you use this option and would really like to use a smiley, you will need to deselect the option to "Disable Smilies in this post" as it will be automatically selected.
Last edited by NHE on Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Posting Pictures

Postby NHE » Wed May 21, 2008 3:26 am

Q: How do I post a picture to the forum?

A: This question is best answered by reading Arron's prior post on this topic.
http://www.thisisms.com/ftopict-3242.html

Essentially, the image must be hosted on another internet accessible server and then the URL for the image is included in the message surrounded by image tags.

Example:
Code: Select all
[img]http://www.thisisms.com/forum/styles/subsilver2/imageset/site_logo_graycrnr%20%281%29.gif[/img]


which produces the following...

Image

Note that Arron discusses using a photo sharing site such as Photobucket. While this works for many users, another option is to use the webspace that is often a part of many ISP's contracts. You will need to check with your specific ISP to see if they offer webspace with your particular account.

NHE


For further information: Posting Pictures, Part 2
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Inappropriate Message

Postby NHE » Wed May 21, 2008 3:56 am

Q: What do I do if I see an inappropriate message posted to the forum, e.g., advertising or other spam?

- or -

"I was wondering if one could flag a particular post to be evaluated by the moderators?"

A: If you come across a post to one of the forum boards that is not in compliance with the Rules of the Board then I would appreciate it if you could bring it to the attention of the moderators by sending one of us a private message. Please include a URL to the specific post in question.

As an alternative to sending a PM, you can also click the red exclamation point icon that's displayed in the lower portion of every post. This will report the post and the moderators will then see the report and deal with it appropriately.

Monitoring all of the boards is much too big of a task for just a small handful of people and any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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Custom Avatars

Postby NHE » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:10 pm

Q: Can I use a custom image for an avatar photo?

A: Sure! The image must be hosted on an internet accessible server. You can either use a service such as Photobucket or you can upload the image to your personal webspace if your Internet Service Provider includes that feature with your account.

The This Is MS guidelines state that the Avatar image...
Displays a small graphic image below your details in posts. Only one image can be displayed at a time, its width can be no greater than 125 pixels, the height no greater than 125 pixels, and the file size no more than 6 KB.

These size restrictions on the image are to prevent the proportions of the column formatting in the forum from being disturbed.

If you need to resize a particular image, then you can use an image editing program such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. As an alternative, a free image editing program can be downloaded from gimp.org. This is the GNU Image Manipulation Program, also known as GIMP. It has many of the same features as those which are found in programs like Photoshop.

NHE
Last edited by NHE on Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Moving a post

Postby NHE » Wed May 13, 2009 1:19 am

Q: I posted my message to the wrong forum. Can it be moved to another forum which is more appropriate?

A: Yes. If you find that you have posted a message to a forum and later discover that it would be more fitting to have posted it to a different forum where the subject is more appropriate, then it can be moved.

The best way to accomplish this is to send a moderator a private message with a link to your specific post and a brief description of the forum you would like it moved to.

We will use the moderator's tools to move the message in it's entirety. Note that whole threads can also be moved. Using the moderator's tools, as opposed to simply deleting the message text and reposting, maintains the discussion thread's organization and is the best way to move an individual post or thread.

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Other smilies?

Postby NHE » Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:28 am

Q: Is it possible to use other smilies in addition to the ones presented in the message editor?

A: Yes, there are a couple of ways to do this. There are additional smilies, or emoticons, available from the journal entry editor page. It's possible to use any one of these smilies by using image tags and the correct path to the file. The best way to use these smilies is to right click on the desired smiley and select "Copy Image Location" or whatever option your browser provides. Next, you will need to enclose the smiley url inside image tags as per the example below. Note that it may be helpful to open up the page with the smilies in a tab separate from the message composition page.

For example, the following code will enable the "unsure" smiley. Note, be careful to use the exact spelling and capitalization for the smiley file name.

Code: Select all
[img]http://www.thisisms.com/modules/Journal/images/moods/unsure.gif[/img]

This produces: Image

Another way to use additional smilies is to upload any smiley you want to use to an internet accessible server. You could use an image hosting site such as Photobucket.

Note that it's also possible to use any of the images from the avatar selection page accessible when editing your profile. Just follow the journal smiley example above but use the correct path name for the desired file. Note that many of the avatar images are larger than the other smilies and won't fit into the text of your message as neatly as the smaller smilies.

NHE


Edit: Following the Sept 2011 upgrade of the forum software, the journal portion of the site is no longer available.
Last edited by NHE on Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Private Messages

Postby NHE » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:12 pm

Q: How do I know when someone has sent me a private message?

A: There is an alert icon in the page header at the top left that will indicate the presence of a new private message. In addition, there are also two options in the profile configuration page for your account that will alert you to the presence of new Private Messages. These are Notify on new Private Message: and Pop up window on new Private Message:. The first option will send you an email alert to inform you that you have received a new Private Message while the second option will display a pop-up alert if you receive a new Private Message while you are logged into the site. Note that the second option may not work if you are using some form of pop-up blocking software either in your web browser or some other additional utility. If you are using pop-up blocking software, then make sure that it is configured to allow pop-ups from the thisisms.com domain.

NHE
Last edited by NHE on Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Invalid Session Error

Postby NHE » Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:53 am

Q: Sometimes I get an "Invalid Session" error when attempting to post a reply to the forums.

A: The "Invalid Session" error below can occur for a couple of reasons.

    Image


The error is reporting that something about your internet connection has changed since you started the message composition. This could be due to a cookie issue or it could be due to an IP address change. The most common reason for this error message to occur is if you are on a dial-up internet connection, hang up the modem while writing your message, and then reconnect to send the message. This will cause a change in your IP address which is seen by the forum software as a change in your 'session'. Simply click on the submit button a second time after the page reloads and the message should be posted without any problems.

Another possible problem is due to a corrupt cookie from the thisisms.com domain. For this problem, try logging off of the thisisms.com site, delete any cookies from the thisisms.com domain, restart your browser, and then log back onto the site which should reset all of your cookies. The method used to access the cookies will depend on which browser you are using. For Internet Explorer on Windows, this can be done through the Internet Options tool in Control Panel. For Firefox, and other Mozilla based browsers, the cookies are usually accessed from the browser's own menu options.

I should also note that one member had difficulty with this error message continually occurring and the problem was solved by switching from the AOL browser over to Firefox. The reason for the appearance of the error message with the AOL browser was never discovered.

NHE
Last edited by NHE on Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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