The Fora: A Higher Education Community

General Category => Suggestions, Comments, Questions => Topic started by: polly_mer on May 18, 2019, 07:19:48 AM

Title: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 18, 2019, 07:19:48 AM
Eventually, this list should be a moderator post somewhere, but I think a discussion is worth having on technical aspects that will help new members troubleshoot some of their own problems.

Q: I registered, but I can't see how to post.

A: Does the upper left hand corner say, "Hello <moniker>"? If the word "guest" appears, then a log in is required, even if forever had been chosen at some point.

Q: I submitted a registration request and didn't get an emailed answer in 24 hours.  What should I do?

A: Try logging in.  Sometimes the confirmation email goes astray.  If you can't log in, then please <what action should people take?>
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 18, 2019, 07:24:26 AM
I think guests should be able to send a message to me or one of the mods.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 18, 2019, 07:32:02 AM
I didn't see a way for guests to send messages to moderators.  Is that a feature you'll have to enable?
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 18, 2019, 07:35:49 AM
I’ll check after my flight this evening and see. I need to be at a computer to dig into the settings.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on May 18, 2019, 07:54:05 AM
Eigen, are you reading thefora.org on your phone? One of my big criticisms of the old forum is that it does not format for mobile devices. I just loaded the front page (not logged in) on my phone and the text is tiny. Do we want to try themes that work well on phones or...? I hate mobile, well, anything, but I'll bet we'd get more involvement if people could post and read comfortably from their phones/tablets.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 18, 2019, 07:58:38 AM
I suppose the question is for what we're optimizing.  Some of the very newest mobile-friendly websites are terrible to try to navigate on my desktop computer, which is a problem since I really need the big screen for my worsening vision.

I sympathize with wanting decent size font on a device, but I'd hate to end up with the suboptimal experience on my desktop because the assumption is "most" people are on tiny screens.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 18, 2019, 08:23:38 AM
I am, and a small one at that (iPhone SE). But I’m young and have good eyesight.

This forum is better than the old one, but not optimized. I’ll play around with themes- we can enable several and let individual users decide what they want to use on a personal basis, but as we saw with the previous core theme, some of them may have bugs.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 18, 2019, 08:34:36 AM
Ok, so a quick look through while sitting at the gate:

1) No option for allowing guests to send PMs.

2) We could make a single “Help” forum, and enable guests posting there, with some heavy restrictions in terms of number of posts.

3) We could make new members dump into a “Probationary” user group, with access to only the one “Help” forum, and moderators could add them to the full membership group.

4) We could disable moderator approval, and have a more severe restriction on the first 10 posts a new user makes (specific forums, time limits between posts, require verification).

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 18, 2019, 08:54:54 AM
Goal: Have a way for pending members to contact moderators/administrators to ask for help with the registration process.

Options I like (most to least):

* Can we do a form to get help that requires some minimal hoops to limit help to humans who need it instead of spambots?
* The single "Help" forum to which guests can post, but that has heavy restrictions on number of posts.
* Public email like help-thefora@<provider> that will get spam, but will also provide a way to contact a human.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 18, 2019, 09:01:52 AM
Generating such a form would require custom coding a second database in addition to the current forum, so no. Or at least, I think that’s a long shot to make and maintain.

Especially given the very small rate of issues, all of which have been solved by your first point (make sure you’re logged in).

We want to make sure there’s some system in place, but I think we want to be careful not to over-engineer something that’s going to add a lot of work to maintain for fringe cases.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 18, 2019, 09:06:06 AM
Ok, as a trial I made a “Help” forum and enabled guest posting. We can check the limits of what that allows for a few days and see how it works out.

I’ll be out for most of the next few says, but I’ll check in as I can. Several of you also have my email if something critical pops up.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on May 18, 2019, 09:11:25 AM
As long as it doesn't become too onerous, I think we should stick with the moderator approving new members, again, to add a bit of friction to the system to avoid spam. It also kind of discourages stuff like 50 people from one IP block registering (for spamular purposes).

I am hoping this place becomes more popular over time, but unless it really takes off I think we won't be seeing more than 10 or 20 legitimate folks registering per day, which is pretty manageable with a handful of moderators.

I am fine with guests not having the ability to PM. So long as a guest can read the help section (for commonly found problems that we'll keep an eye on) I don't see the need to escalate guest privileges... they're guests after all and I'd be concerned about possible abuse.

Just my thoughts; so far things are going better than I envisioned with the current setup.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 18, 2019, 10:52:09 AM
Ok, as a trial I made a “Help” forum and enabled guest posting. We can check the limits of what that allows for a few days and see how it works out.

When I posted as a guest on the board, I didn't get a message about who could see my email.  I can believe people might be reluctant to use the board if they think their email will be visible to the world.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 18, 2019, 04:02:23 PM
Ok, as a trial I made a “Help” forum and enabled guest posting. We can check the limits of what that allows for a few days and see how it works out.

When I posted as a guest on the board, I didn't get a message about who could see my email.  I can believe people might be reluctant to use the board if they think their email will be visible to the world.

I’m unsure what you mean by this?
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: Hibush on May 18, 2019, 05:43:28 PM
Ok, as a trial I made a “Help” forum and enabled guest posting. We can check the limits of what that allows for a few days and see how it works out.

When I posted as a guest on the board, I didn't get a message about who could see my email.  I can believe people might be reluctant to use the board if they think their email will be visible to the world.

How would the system know a guests email?
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 18, 2019, 07:29:08 PM
Ok, as a trial I made a “Help” forum and enabled guest posting. We can check the limits of what that allows for a few days and see how it works out.

When I posted as a guest on the board, I didn't get a message about who could see my email.  I can believe people might be reluctant to use the board if they think their email will be visible to the world.

How would the system know a guests email?

When I posted as guest, I was asked for a name and an email.  I don't see the email as available publicly, but that wasn't clear from the fields I filled out.  I expected a notice like the one indicating the moderators can see my email when I report something.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 19, 2019, 06:36:57 AM
Back to the list:

Q: I registered, but I can't see how to post.

A: Does the upper left hand corner say, "Hello <moniker>"? If the word "guest" appears, then a log in is required, even if stay logged in forever had been chosen at some point.


Q: I submitted a registration request and didn't get an emailed answer in 24 hours.  What should I do?


A: Try logging in.  Sometimes the confirmation email goes astray.  If you can't log in, then please post to the Help & Questions (http://thefora.org/index.php?board=10.0) board with a succinct description.  Please put an email you can check into the field marked "email"; this email will not be visible in your post, but the moderators can use it to contact you offline.  Remember that you can create a new email linked to the moniker you desire at many fine, free services.


Q: How do I get a cool tagline and custom title?

A:
   
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 19, 2019, 06:41:15 AM
Great additions.

Might also be worth mentioning the "CHE Posts" box that will display your past-life post count.

Also, I may have turned off signatures... I'll turn them back on if so.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 19, 2019, 06:45:10 AM
Ok, signatures are turned back on, but the formatting is set to very base level, since they're something that will appear over and over again. If we want to add back in broader formatting options, we can do that at a later date.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 19, 2019, 06:55:16 AM
Good point, Eigen.

Q: I registered, but I can't see how to post.

A: Does the upper left hand corner say, "Hello <moniker>"? If the word "guest" appears, then a log in is required, even if stay logged in forever had been chosen at some point.


Q: I submitted a registration request and didn't get an emailed answer in 24 hours.  What should I do?


A: Try logging in.  Sometimes the confirmation email goes astray.  If you can't log in, then please post to the Help & Questions (http://thefora.org/index.php?board=10.0) board with a succinct description.  Please put an email you can check into the field marked "email"; this email will not be visible in your post, but the moderators can use it to contact you offline.  Remember that you can create a new email linked to the moniker you desire at many fine, free services.


Q: How do I get a cool tagline and custom title?

A:
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: wanna_writemore on May 20, 2019, 11:01:07 AM
FYI to those with tech knowledge/skills: My registration was approved and I tried to log in and selected 1 hour and got an error message. When I left it on the default forever option, the login worked.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 20, 2019, 05:35:01 PM
Thanks, wanna_writemore!  I've put a copy of your post on the Things to Test thread to see if we can gather more data.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on May 20, 2019, 07:41:07 PM
FYI to those with tech knowledge/skills: My registration was approved and I tried to log in and selected 1 hour and got an error message. When I left it on the default forever option, the login worked.

Did you try logging in at 1 hour more than once? I checked the error logs, and it says it was a redirect error, which isn’t particularly helpful. I’ve gotten that occasionally logging in, but not consistently with any login type- it’s always been on spotty wireless, though.

::edit:: Just went through and checked, and it lets me log in with no errors with all the time selections. If someone else wants to go though and see if they get errors, that might help.

The only other thing I can think of is that it has something to do with your cookie settings.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 23, 2019, 06:24:26 AM
Q: How do I post and end up in thread view so I can see my new post?

A:
Quick version (on the user end):
1. Click "Profile" in the menu bar.
2. Choose "Forum Profile" from the drop-down menu.
3. Click the "Modify Profile" button.
4. Choose "Look and Layout" from the drop-down menu.
5. Check the box next to "Return to topics after posting by default."
6. Click the "Change profile" button at the bottom of the page.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on May 28, 2019, 05:16:02 AM
Is there a way to set your personal time zone? I looked around on the profile settings but didn't see it.

Click Profile.
Hover over Modify Profile and select Look and Layout.
On the line marked Time Offset, try Auto Detect.  If you'd rather be a bit more sneaky, then choose a different Time Offset.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: namazu on May 28, 2019, 06:01:15 AM
Q: How do I get my CHE post count (number of posts made on the old Chronicle of Higher Education forums/fora) to appear?


1. Click "Profile" in the menu bar.
2. Choose "Forum Profile" from the drop-down menu.
3. Manually enter your number of CHE forum posts in the box provided.
4. Click "Change profile" at the bottom of the page.
Voilà!
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on June 14, 2019, 06:29:13 PM
Q: What are my options for display AKA how can I make The Fora display better on my device?

A: The keyword is "theme".  Under Profile > Modify Profile > Look and Layout, the top line will state "Current Theme".  Everyone starts on the default.  However, some people on some devices might prefer Dani or one of the other choices.  Click the (change) link to see your options. 

At the bottom of each section are two links: one is [Use this theme] and the other is [Preview theme].   Clicking Preview theme will change the page with the theme choices to display the theme you're previewing.  Clicking away from the page without selecting [Use this theme] means you will still be using the current theme.

If you find previewing the theme insufficient, then try Use this theme and click around The Fora.  You can change back or try another theme after you've explored.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on June 14, 2019, 07:23:36 PM
Q: I really just want text.  Is there a way to just see text like back in the good old days of Usenet?

A:  Try scrolling all the way down to the bottom of a page to where the lines

SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2017, Simple Machines
XHTML RSS WAP2
appear.  Click WAP2 and you get a text-based experience. 

You won't be able to see anyone's nifty titles or sig lines. 
The URLs embedded in posts are not clickable. 
Text formatting is eliminated (you see one font in one size with no bold, italic, or underline).

However, you can read and respond.  Every post is readily identifiable as who is writing* with quotes clearly marked**.

You can navigate the board hierarchies by clicking the item in the list.  For boards with new posts, the color of the number in front of the item is red instead of black.

You can click back to the full version of these fora using the "Go to full version" link at the bottom of every navigation list.

It's not Usenet, but it's a text-based option for those who like/need/desire text.

* Well, at least as identifiable as we get around here.
** Barring user error in applying the quote function.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on June 28, 2019, 06:15:02 AM
Q: How do I partially quote from someone else's post?

A: To partial quote, click the quote link on the post.  Text will show up in the editing box and you can edit that text as you would any other text. 
Code: [Select]
[quote author=person...]
This is text.  You can do anything you like to it.

You can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

[/quote]

The key thing is to leave the header/footer lines with the quote mark-up intact.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: namazu on July 13, 2019, 05:31:20 PM
Q: How do I use the "ignore" feature to avoid posts by certain members?  (Asked in the "Thanks and more thanks" (http://thefora.org/index.php?topic=222) thread.)

A: To use the ignore feature:
1. Click "Profile" in the menu bar near the top of the page.
2. Click "Modify profile" and then select "Buddies/Ignore List" from the drop-down menu.
3. Click "Edit Ignore List".
4. Enter the moniker(s) of the member(s) you wish to ignore and click "Add".
Voilà!
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on July 14, 2019, 06:28:21 AM
Q: Is there a way to have private discussions on these fora?

A: You may send a personal message to select individuals using the My Messages feature.  Those personal messages (PMs) are private between the sender and recipient(s).  However, this is a public forum that doesn't require log ins to see posts.  Thus, no mechanism exists to block other users from seeing your posts.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on July 14, 2019, 06:32:33 AM
Q: I inadvertently posted too much private information or signed my name or did something else to out myself and the editing window has passed.  Help!!!!

A: You can report your own post(s) to the moderator using the "Report to Moderator" link at the bottom of the post.  In the message box, explain what you'd like to have done.  For example, "please delete the name of institution and my signing my real name" or "please delete this whole thread I just started because I realized it was too revealing".

The "Report to Moderator" link is best because it goes to the whole moderation team so it's more likely your post will be edited/deleted as quickly as possible.  PMing just one individual moderator is less likely to get a quick response.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on July 14, 2019, 06:33:47 AM
As an FYI to readers, I do intend to make this a more standard FAQ with the questions and answers in a nice list with no commentary but that's not happening this month.

Add your questions here as necessary and it's nice if you also bring an answer if you've figured out various features.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: polly_mer on July 16, 2019, 04:53:15 AM
Q: How do I see the outbox for my PMs?

A: Use the "My Messages" tab at the top of the page.  Select the "messages" link on the left-hand side near the middle of the page (under the breadcrumbs) and you will have three choices.  "Sent Items" (the last of the three choices) is your outbox.  Click on it to see the outbox.  Click on "messages" again and select "Inbox" when you wish to return to your inbox.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on July 16, 2019, 10:03:16 AM
Q: How do I see the outbox for my PMs?

A: Use the "My Messages" tab at the top of the page.  Select the "messages" link on the left-hand side near the middle of the page (under the breadcrumbs) and you will have three choices.  "Sent Items" (the last of the three choices) is your outbox.  Click on it to see the outbox.  Click on "messages" again and select "Inbox" when you wish to return to your inbox.

As a note, you may not see all sent items here: When sending a PM, you have the option to either save it to your sent items or not. If you don't choose to save it, it will not show up for you here.

To change your default settings with respect to sent items, go to "Profile" at the top of the page, then "Account Settings", then go to the "Personal Messaging" section on the left under "Modify Profile". Here you will find the options to set for default PM handling, including whether you want sent items to be saved by default or manually.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: eigen on July 16, 2019, 10:05:57 AM
Q: Why is the forum on US West Coast Time, and how can I change that?

A: You can adjust your time zone under your profile settings- though do note that it will be visible to other users, as it was on the old forum.

Go to "Profile", then "Account Settings", then "Look & Layout". The first option lets you change the forum display theme, the second option lets you adjust either the time format, or provide an offset to adjust the times to your local time.
Title: Re: Assembling the Technical FAQ Related to Using These Fora
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on August 08, 2019, 02:38:49 PM
Q: How do I enter a URL as an active link without just pasting the url?

Code: [Select]

[url=https://thefora.org] This is active text that will fire up a new tab to the fora! [/url]


And this is what it would look like (hover over it to display the URL in most browsers, or just click away).

 This is active text that will fire up a new tab to the fora!  (https://thefora.org)