Step 1: Make sure you are registered on the forum system and logged in. If you are not already registered, click on the “Register” button and follow the instructions for Study Society Members or Visitors. (Visitor registration is very quick, but it may take a day or so for members to upgrade to full member registration as your Study Society membership details have to be checked by the Administrator.) Once you are registered you will need to login, so click on the “Login” button.
If you are logged in you will see your username on the right hand side of the screen a little way down from the top, next to the word “Logout”. It looks like this:
If you are not logged in you will see the word “Login” in that position and no username.
Step 2: Check that there is no existing thread covering the subject you want to discuss. (If there is, you should post your message as a reply to that topic rather than starting a new one.) Choose the forum where you want to post your topic. Make sure you choose the right one. If you go to the forum index page you can see a brief description of each forum and the sort of topics that should be in it. If you are not a member of the Study Society, you will be able to post messages only in the Visitors’ forums. Go to the forum you have chosen. You will see a New Topic button. Click on this.
Step 3: You should now see a screen like this one:
Enter a subject in the Subject field. Choose this carefully. You want to make it clear what your post is about and also attract the attention of other forum users so that you get plenty of replies.
Step 4: Now write your message in the message input area. Try to avoid using jargon, texting language or abbreviations, and remember that unless your topic is in a members only area it can be read by anyone who uses the internet. You will see there are formatting icons just above the input box. The most useful of these are bold and italic. (The others are for advanced users only.) To use either of these, select the word or words that you want to make bold or italic and then press the relevant button. You will see that some codes have been inserted on either side of the text you selected. These tell the system how to display the text.
Step 5: When you have finished writing your message, press the Preview button. You will see your message with all the correct formatting near the top of the screen. Check that it looks OK. If you need to make any changes – correcting spelling mistakes or changing the wording – go back to the message input area and make them there. (You can’t change anything in the preview area.) This is a good time to check for possible ambiguity or misinterpretation. It is easy to offend people inadvertently just through careless or ambiguous wording.
Step 6: Once you are sure you are happy with the message, press the Submit button.
Some More Tips
1. You can choose to be notified by email when anyone replies to your message. To do this, click on the “Notify me when a reply is posted” check box just below the message input area before you submit the message.
2.The forum does not have a spell-checker. If your spelling is a bit flaky you can prepare the text of your message in Microsoft Word (or another word processor that has spell-checking) and spell-check it there.
Then select the text, press Ctrl C, go to the Forum and follow instructions 1 to 4 above. Click in the box for your message and then press Ctrl V.
3. If you find haven’t got time to finish your message you can press Save. This will send your message to your drafts area. You can retrieve it from there and finish it later.
To retrieve it, click on User Control Panel on the left of the screen near the top. Then click on “Manage Drafts” on the left hand side.
You should now see your draft message. Click on “Load Draft” in the box to the right of your message title.
This will take you back to the Message input screen where you can finish the message (Steps 4 to 6 above)
4. If you find you have made a mistake in your message after it has been submitted, you can edit it. Go to the appropriate forum and find your message. Press the Edit button. Your message will be displayed in a message input screen (see 4 above). You can then make the changes, preview and submit a revised version.
Do you have any suggestions for improving this Beginners' Guide? If so, please post them as a reply to this topic.
All visitors, and members new to the forum, please read these instructions. If you want to ask about the Society, or have any problems using the forum, you can ask a question here.
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