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» Able Muse / Eratosphere Forum Guidelines & Etiquette - Page 5
Guide To Eratosphere - Page 5


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Eratosphere is a sophisticated bulletin board with many features and capabilities. This FAQ is not comprehensive—it addresses only those features most often used by Eratosphere Members.

The Eratosphere Bulletin Board

What is a bulletin board?

A bulletin board is an online discussion site. It's sometimes also loosely called a 'board' or 'forum'. It may contain several lower-level “boards” or “forums”.

How is all this structured?

The bulletin board as a whole contains various categories (broad subject areas), which themselves contain Forums (more specific subject areas).

Forums contain threads (conversations on a topic). Threads are made up of individual posts (where a user writes something).

The Forums page has a list of categories and Forums, with basic statistics for each - including the number of threads and posts, and which Member posted the most recent message.

How do I find my way around?

When you click on a Forum's name, you are taken to the list of threads it contains. A thread is a conversation between Members or guests. Each thread starts out as a single post and grows as more individual posts are added by different users.

How do I find out more about Members?

To view information about a particular Member, click on the user name. This will take you to their public Profile page.

What is the Navigation Bar?

The navigation bar at the top of every page has links to help you move around. A 'breadcrumb' area at the top left shows where you are now. A form on the right allows you to quickly login. With one click you can reach areas such as: the User Control Panel, FAQ, the Calendar, Search options , and Quick Links to other useful features.

What is the 'What's Going On?' box on the Forums page?

On the Forums page you'll see a section at the bottom that tells you what's going on at the moment. It tells you things like the number of registered users online, the number of guests, and even things like birthdays, and forthcoming events.

Can I change the way the board looks?

You can change the styling of the board by using the style changer in the bottom left of the page. This lets you choose different skins which change the color scheme and appearance of the board.

The Forums

Is there a fast way to get to the Forums?

If you know which Forum you want to go to, you can use the 'Forum Jump' control, which appears at the bottom of many pages within the board.

What are Forum announcements?

Forum announcement threads are displayed at the top of Forum above regular and sticky threads. They are one-way communications posted by the Administrator or Moderators and you can't reply. If you wish to discuss announcements, you will have to create a thread in the Forum.


How do I register?

You register by clicking on the 'Register' link near the top of the page. You will be asked to choose a user name and password, and to enter a valid email address and some other information. You can choose to hide your email address from other Board users.

What happens when I’m registered?

On registration, you can post to the Forums and you receive a Member Profile. You can edit this and, among many other options, add a personal photograph, and select an avatar image and signature to accompany your posts. The "Show topics from last x days" pull-down menu allows you to select which topics get displayed. You can set this choice permanently by editing your Profile.


How do I start a new thread?

To start a new thread simply click on the 'new thread' button Post New Thread.

What are sticky threads?

'Sticky' threads are created by Moderators or Administrators, and remain 'stuck' to the top of the listing, even if they haven't had any posts recently. Their purpose is to keep important information visible and accessible at all times.

How do I read a thread?

To read a thread, click on its title. Each post in a thread is created by a Member or a guest. You'll see some brief information about the Member who created the thread above the main post message. (“Stars” are an indicator of how many posts the Member has made.)

To post a reply to an existing thread, click on the 'Post Reply' Reply to Threadbutton. This will give you some options you can explore for drafting your reply. The “Advanced” option gives you lots of formatting control and the “Quote” option includes a copy of the post to which you are replying. If you use it, you should delete any quoted material that does not form part of your reply.

Will I always see the whole thread?

No. Longer threads may run to more than one page so don’t assume that the end of the page on your screen is the end of the thread. Where there is more than one page, all the available pages will be listed near the bottom of the screen (just above the "Display Options" group of functions and to the right of the bottom "New Thread" button). On some skins, the available pages are also listed at the top of the page (to the right of the “New Thread” button).

Can I sort threads in different ways?

Yes, you can. The default is to have the thread with the most recent activity at the top. But you can easily change this ordering, for example to have the thread with the most posts at the top, or the highest rating. Simply click on the appropriate column heading at the top of the list of threads (Thread, Thread Starter, Rating, Last Post, Replies or Views). You can also reverse the sorting order by clicking the arrow next to the name of the active option. (Note that 'sticky' threads will always be at the top no matter how you change the viewing options).

Can I change the default thread display?

Yes, when you're in a thread, look at the top bar. On the right hand side you'll see 'Display Mode'. Click on this and it lets you change how posts are ordered.

You have three choices:

Linear Mode—Posts are displayed chronologically, usually from oldest to newest. Posts are shown in a flat mode so that many posts can be viewed simultaneously.

Threaded Mode—A tree is shown along with every post. This shows you the relationship each post has to the others. It's easy to see who responded to whom. Only one post is shown at a time. By clicking on a single post in the post tree, the page will show that post and all posts made in response to it.

Hybrid Mode—This is a mixture of the linear and threaded modes. The post tree is displayed as in the threaded mode, but many posts are shown at the same time as in the linear modes.

How can I see the latest posts?

There are two ways to quickly view recently created or updated threads.

If you are not logged in, the 'today's posts' link will show a list of all threads that have been created or updated in the last 24 hours.

If you are logged in, the 'Today's Posts' link will change to 'New Posts', which gives you a listing of all threads that have been created or updated since your last visit.

Can I choose to receive an email notification when someone posts to a thread I’ve created?

Yes. You can check that option at time of posting and you can’t change it once the thread has gone live.

What are ratings?

The Forums allow you to rate threads between 1 star (terrible) and 5 stars (excellent). Once enough votes are cast for a thread, stars will appear next to its name in the listings. These show the average vote, and can be an easy way to see which threads are worth reading if you are on a busy Forum.

On the Forum viewing page you can also arrange threads by rating, with either the highest or lowest at the top.

It therefore makes sense to rate threads because it helps all users. To do this, click on the 'rate thread' link at the top of the thread viewing page. Choose the number of stars you feel best represents the quality of the thread.

What are thread tools?

At the top of each thread, there is a link called 'Thread Tools'. By clicking on this link, a menu will appear with a number of options:

  • Show Printable Version—This will show you a page with the thread post content in a reduced graphics format that is more 'printer friendly'.
  • Email this Page—If you think the thread may be interesting to someone else, you can forward a link to it to their email address.
  • Subscribe (or Unsubscribe) from this Thread—By subscribing to a thread, you will receive periodic email updates on recent activity within it.
  • Adding a Poll—If you started the thread, you can add a poll to it with this option.

Are my threads visible to Google and other search-engine indexing?

While we do our best to make sure Members have the level of search-engine privacy they desire, technology changes and we cannot guarantee results. The following describes what we believe to be the search-engine privacy levels offered by Eratosphere.

Threads in our workshop Forums—Metrical, The Deep End, Non-Metrical, and Translation—are not detectable by search engines.

You can protect a specific thread in a non-workshop Forum by inserting the following code at the very start of the first post: [noindex][/noindex] . Tests have shown that this protects only the first page of the thread. If you need to protect more than one page of a long non-workshop thread, contact a Moderator.


How do I indent text?

The code [l][/l] will insert a block of 5 hard blank characters anywhere it's deployed. You can use it, or a series of them, to create left indents. (Note that this uses the letter “L”, not the number “1”.) [e][/e] inserts one hard blank character for fine-tuning.

How do I post an image?

First, the image must be on the internet somewhere. If it is already on a website, you can use that URL. If not, you will need to upload it from your computer to Erato's server.

You can use the attachment function to upload an image to the Eratosphere server.

The attachment function places a link to the image at the bottom left of your post, labeled “Attached Thumbnails” where you will find a thumbnail for the uploaded image, and the original file name. Readers may click on the icon to go directly to the full-size image.

However, the image itself will not appear in the body of the post unless you take the following steps:

If the image is on another website, just type the following code (in which "address of the image" is the URL, no spaces) in your post:

[img] address of the image [/img]

If you've uploaded the image to Erato's server, you'll need to find its exact URL there. First submit your post as instructed here. Next, open your post and click the thumbnail to open the image. Then copy the URL of the image from the address bar so you can paste it into your code. Next, edit your post and insert the image code where you want the image to appear in your message, bracketing the image's URL with [img][/img] codes.

How do I post another type of file attachment?

To attach a file to your post, you need to be using the main 'New Post' or 'New Thread' page and not 'Quick Reply'. To use the main 'New Post' page, click the 'Post Reply' button in the relevant thread.

On this page, below the message box, you will find a button labelled 'Manage Attachments'. Clicking this button will open a new window for uploading attachments. You can upload an attachment either from your computer or from another URL by using the appropriate box on this page. Alternatively you can click the Attachment Icon to open this page. In the attachment window you will find a list of the allowed file types and their maximum sizes. Files that are larger than these sizes will be rejected. There is also a limit on the number of attachments you can post.

To upload a file from your computer, click the 'Browse' button and locate the file. To upload a file from another URL, enter the full URL for the file in the second box on this page. Once you have completed one of the boxes, click 'Upload'.

Once the upload is completed the file name will appear below the input boxes in this window. You can then close the window to return to the New Post screen.

Searching Forums And Threads

How do I search for something?

To quickly find a thread or post of interest anywhere on the bulletin board, click on the 'Search' link in the navigation bar at the top of the Forum pages. Then, type in the keyword or phrase you wish to search for, and select either 'Show Threads' or 'Show Posts' to view the results. By selecting posts, you will be shown only the actual post in which the search word appears.

For more control over the search, select 'Advanced Search' from the drop-down box. The advanced search page allows you to restrict your search to individual Forums or find posts or threads by Member. There are other options, e.g. to find posts from a certain date, or threads with a certain number of replies.

How do I search a specific Forum or thread?

If you are browsing a Forum, you can quickly search for a thread or post within it by clicking on the “Search this Forum” link near the top of the page. (It's above the list of threads.) You can also search for individual posts within a thread by clicking on the “Search this Thread” link at the top of any thread view page.

How do I use tags?

Tags are a useful way to search for threads with similar subject matter and content. They complement the normal search system, which searches only for certain words or phrases and/or posts by specific Members.

To use tags, you add words or phrases to threads to help describe the content. For instance, if the subject matter is 'photography' then you can add the tag 'photography' to the tag list. But you could also add tags like 'digital image', and 'camera' (depending, of course, on the nature of the thread).

This will categorize this thread with all other threads that have matching tags, whether or not they have the word 'photography' in them.

The Member who started the thread initially can add tags and other users may also be able to add and remove tags if they have the required update permission.

Tags are displayed in a box near the bottom of a thread page. Clicking on a tag will allow you to view other threads that have the same tag and which may be related. Clicking on the word 'Tags' in the top of the box will take you to an overview page with a 'tag cloud.'

This cloud allows you to see which tags are the most popular - the larger the word, the more times it has been used on threads within the board. There is also another tag cloud on the advanced search page that shows you the tags that have been searched for (or clicked on) the most.

The Members List

What is the Members List?

The Members list shows the registered Members of the board. You can view the Member list ordered alphabetically by username, by the date they joined, or by the number of posts they have made.

To view the Members list, click on 'Member List' on main navigation bar at the top of the page.

To quickly find a particular Member, click on the “Search Members” link and type a username (or partial username) into the box. For further search options— including searching based on join date, post count or home page— click on 'Advanced Search' on the search menu.

Are all Members listed?

Some Members may not be on the list. The Administrator controls who is shown on the list.


What is “Automatic Login”?

When you register (and also when you login using the form at the top of the screen), you will be given the option to 'ReMember Me'. This will store your identity securely in a cookie on your computer. If you are using a shared computer, such as in a library, school or internet cafe, or if you have reason to not trust any other users that might use this computer, we recommend you do not enable this.

How do I clear cookies?

You can clear all your cookies set by the forum by clicking the 'logout' link at the top of the page. In some cases, if you return to the main index page via the link provided and you are still logged in, you may have to remove your cookies manually using the appropriate tool on your browser software.

Lost Passwords

I forgot my password. What can I do?

If you forget your password, you can click on the “Forgotten Your Password” link. This will appear on any page that requires you to fill in your password.

This link brings up a page where you should enter your registered email address. An email will be sent to that address shortly, with instructions for resetting your password.

Since passwords are encrypted, there is no way to resend your original password. This option provides you with the ability to reset your password.

You must be able to receive emails to your registered email address for this to work. You may need to check your spam filters and folder if you do not see this email in a few minutes.


What does the calendar do?

You will see a 'Calendar' link near the top of the Forums. Members can add upcoming events that might interest the community. You can also sign up to get email alerts about upcoming events.

How do I add an event to the Calendar?

If you have the appropriate permissions, there will be a box on the Calendar labeled 'Add New Event'. Besides the public events viewable by all, the calendar may also be used (based on administrator configuration) by members for their own private events, viewable only to them and other members they so authorize. The Administrator may have enabled registered Members to post public events, but usually this is not the case. It's more likely that you can only post your own private events that can only be seen by you.

There are three types of event that can be added to a calendar:

  • Single, All Day Event - an event that takes place for the whole of a day.
  • Ranged Event - events that have a defined start time and end time, not necessarily both on the same day.
  • Recurring Event - repeat over a set period of time based on certain criteria. Examples would be an event that occurs on the first Monday of every month and an event that occurs every Monday and Wednesday.

Just choose the appropriate option for the event you are adding, fill in the required information, then save the event. It will now appear on the Calendar.

Where do birthdays show?

Birthdays may be shown on the calendar if the Administrator has enabled this feature. Your birthday will automatically be shown on the calendar if you have entered the date of your birthday in your profile. Note: if you do not enter the year of your birth when you edit your profile, your age will not be shown on the calendar.

If you enter your birthday, your name will also appear on the main Forum page when it is your birthday.

Your Notifications

What are Your Notifications?

When you have logged in, a link to 'Your Notifications' is displayed in the 'Welcome' box near the top of the forum. 'Your Notifications' will show if you have any one of the following:

  • Unread Private Messages
  • Unread Profile Visitor Messages
  • Profile Visitor Messages Awaiting Approval
  • Incoming Friend Requests
  • Requests to Join Your Social Groups
  • Invitations to Join Social Groups
  • Unread Picture Comments
  • Picture Comments Awaiting Approval

By clicking on the 'Your Notifications' link, you will be able to quickly see how many of each type you have received. Clicking on any of the links in the menu will take you to the relevant page within the User Control Panel or elsewhere in the system.

If there are no notifications, then this link will be replaced by a link to 'Private Messages'.

Quick Links

What is the Quick Links menu?

The navigation bar at the top of each page has several helpful links. One of them is a dropdown menu called Quick Links. (It appears only to registered Members who are logged in). Clicking it once with the mouse will make it drop down and show the following options:

  • Quick Links
    • Today's Posts (shows posts created in the past 24 hours)
    • Mark Forums Read (marks all the threads and posts as read for your session - this is a shortcut alternative to actually reading the threads and posts)
    • Open Contacts Popup (opens a new window with a list of all your contacts)
  • Networking
    • Contacts and Friends (a page from where you can manage your contacts and friends)
    • Social Groups (where you can manage your social groups)
    • Pictures and Albums (where you can manage your pictures and albums)
  • User Control Panel (clicking this takes you to your personal user control panel)
    • Edit Signature (edit your personal signature that appears below posts)
    • Edit Your Details (edit your personal profile details)
    • Edit Options (manage your community settings)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Private Messages (manage your private messages, read your inbox, create new messages, etc)
    • Subscribed Threads (get an overview of your free subscriptions and options to manage them)
    • Your Profile (loads your social profile)
    • Who's Online (see which users who are currently online on the board and what they are doing)

Moderators And Administrators

What is a Moderator?

Moderators oversee specific Forums. They generally have the ability to edit and delete posts, move threads, and perform other actions. Becoming a Moderator for a specific Forum is usually rewarded to users who are particularly helpful and knowledgeable in the subject of the Forum they are moderating.

What is an Administrator?

Administrators are the people who have overall control of everything that happens on the board. They oversee how the board is styled, what Forums to create and how to organize them, what information to require from Members and who to appoint as Moderators.

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