Since you are reading this page then it is safe to say to that you already know basic website navigation such as typing web addresses, clicking through links and maybe even watching or listening to multimedia. That's great! What we'll do here is try to familiarize you with how to use our forum and its many options.
When you get done reading this you will be able to reply to existing posts as well as make new posts. You will know how to format your text, make links, add images and videos and much more. We're not going to teach you how to use every little button, gizmo or forum feature but rather provide you sufficient working knowledge to feel comfortable enough to get involved here in the forum. After that, you can do a sleuthing around to learn what the rest of the goodies do.
When you find a community and forum that you like and plan on staying with for a while it is a good idea to set up and complete your profile. You access your profile by clicking 'My Profile' located at the top of the forum. This area is not much different than any other form you have filled out online or in real life except that much of the information in here is optional.
So, you have been lurking around the forum for a while reading every post and getting to know everyone. You have just read someone's post and you have finally decided you are going to reply and contribute some information of your own. Great! This is done by pressing one of the 'reply' buttons.
Now that you have responded to a few other posts, and feel like an accepted member of the community, you want to tell us a little bit about yourself. To do this, you should start your very own topic so we can properly respond and greet you. Navigate to our General board and click on it so that you can see the list of all of the existing posts. At the top of the list is a button labelled 'New Thread'. Click that button to start your very own topic. You are placed at the same text editor that you used earlier when replying to posts. Simply type your message telling us all about yourself and press 'Submit'. Now you have your own post topic in the list.
Remember we said earlier that the text editor is very similar to a word processor? Well, as in any word processor you can format and arrange your text for emphasis here in the forum.
The first, basic thing you should know is that the forum uses what's called BBcode or Bulletin Board Code. BBcode uses 'tags' to 'mark up' your text. Each 'tag' has an opening and closing 'tag' denoted within brackets. An opening tag will look like [ ] and a closing tag looks like [/ ]. Notice the slash in the closing bracket is the only thing that is different. If you forget the slash, the forum will interpret your closing bracket as an opening bracket.
The easiest way to 'mark up' your text is usually to type it out first, then select it, and press the appropriate button at the top of the editor. For example, if you wanted to make 'some text' bold you would type it out 'some text', then select 'some text' with your mouse, and then press the 'B' icon in the toolbar located just above the Message area (where you are composing your message). You will now see: [b]some text[/b]. When you preview or submit your message it will be displayed as 'some text'. Alternatively, if you know them, you can type the tags manually right along with the rest of your text or you can use the buttons at the top of the editor to insert the tags the fill in your text.
The BBcode Wiki covers the basic mark up tags so let's move on to what the Wiki doesn't cover.
There are two types of lists: ordered and unordered. An ordered list is a numerical list like you might use to list the finishing order of a race. An unordered list is a list you might use to list groceries. There are two different tags needed to create a list.
First, you use a tag that creates the kind of list you want.
[ul] [/ul] = unordered list [ol] [/ol] = ordered list
Second, you use a list tag for each item in the list
[li] [/li] = each list item.
So, the code for an ordered list would look like this:
[ol] [li] 1st place[/li] [li] 2nd place[/li] [li] 3rd place[/li] [/ol]
Embedding a video in your post is a more recent addition to the forum and makes use of many video sharing websites on the web. This gives us the ability to show the video in our forum without having to host it ourselves or making you follow a link over some other website to see the video. Once you have a video that you want to post you need to find the unique identifier in the URL to that video.
It's difficult to provide detailed instructions or examples here, so we'll only cover the basics. Understand that each video sharing website uses a unique identifier for each video. For example, this video from YouTube whose URL is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqJE5TH5jhc. You need to know the video's unique identifier (which differs depending on what site you visit); in our example, the unique identifier is bqJE5TH5jhc. Once you know what that unique identifier is you can embed that video in our forum by selecting the video hosting website from the 'video' drop down list at the top of the WYSIWIG editor pr typing the following:
[video type=] [/video]
If you were embedding a video from YouTube, for example, the bbcode would end up looking like this: