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IceMan
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Registration date : 2008-06-02

PostSubject: Forum Features   Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:51 pm

Just in case users would go unaware of certain forum features, I'm going to take a minute to mention some things that may otherwise have went unnoticed.

1) Calendar

At the top of the page, with the links to Home, FAQ, Profile, and so on, there is "Calendar". On the calendar, not only can our members find other members' birthdays, but special events can also be added, and they will appear in the "Events" forum as well. Users can add events from the calendar screen, or they can create a thread in the Events board and include an event date with it. This could be weddings, parties, get-togethers, or whatever, as long as it's worth noting to other folks that might care.

2) Profile

Anyone clicking on "Profile" will find that they are able to update their information to share with others. What they may not notice is that there are several other tabs to other options under the profile screen. There is a tab for "Preferences", from where you can customize forum preferences, like turning on or off the option to be notified about replies to your posts or to change language or time zone. There are tabs for your signature and avatar, friends and foes, watched topics, and favorites.

3) Friends and Foes

You can add or remove users from your lists of friends and foes. There you can keep tabs on people you get along with really well or really like, or people you can't stand. You can view a user's profile and add them to your friend list or your foe list from there, or you can add them from the friends and foes tab on your profile page.

4) Watched Topics

When viewing a topic, down toward the bottom of the page near the quick reply box is an option to "Watch this topic for replies". Watched topics can be found listed in the "Watched topics" tab on your profile page, from where they can also be removed from the watched list. If a watched topic gets a reply, you will be notified.

5) Actions!

When browsing a forum, there are a few useful options listed at the top-right, just above the list of topics. These include
  • View posts since last visit
  • View your posts
  • View unanswered posts


However, when viewing a particular topic, instead you will see "Actions!". Click on that to bring up a slightly larger list of options besides the three previously listed. These include:
  • Add to your favourites
  • Send to a friend
  • Copy BBCode URL
  • Print this page


6) Who is Online?

Down near the bottom of the forum Home page there is a section showing users that are online and who have been online and the newest member. Just above that are the words "Who is Online?" Click on that and not only will you be shown who is presently online but where those people are from. They will be indicated by a pin on an interactive world map.

I'm not sure how it determines where users are, however. I have experimented and it definitely is not based on what information you plugged into your profile. It may be based on your IP address, marking instead the location of your network server or something like that. It should at least give people a ballpark location, however.

7) Chatbox

At the bottom of the forum Home is Chatbox. Members wanting to participate can log in or out of the Chatbox, and when logged in they can post comments for all to see. If other users are logged into the Chatbox, they can communicate like a regular chat room. There is a checkbox for auto-refresh, and there is also "Refresh" which you can click to manually refresh the Chatbox window. When logged into Chatbox, you can plug in messages from the bottom of the Chatbox window. It also has options to change your font when posting in Chatbox and for smilies. Also at the top-right of Chatbox is an option for "Archives", and clicking it will toggle on or off the Chatbox archives. The archives show previous Chatbox comments from before you logged in.

Users are responsible for whatever they post in the Chatbox just as they are in their forum posts, and forum administration can and will monitor Chatbox activity, so just be mindful of that and everything will be cool.

8) Portal

I've created a link to the Portal up in the navigation menu along the top of the page. It's normally there automatically if the Portal is activated for a forum, but I have it deactivated because having the Portal activated makes it appeal as the default starting page when users visit the forum. The Portal is a different way of displaying the forum, with different features arranged all over the screen. I want people to be able to go to it voluntarily rather than by default because it isn't a standard type of forum appearance and I don't want users getting confused. If anyone wants to use the Portal, I've manually created a link up there. Check it out and see whether you prefer it or not and if so then by all means go ahead and use it.

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