Forums can be a little tricky to use, but with some guidance, anyone can become an active participant.
In this walkthrough, I’ll be taking you through the steps on how to register, sign in, and use the VeganOstomy Community Forums! Fun times are ahead!
UPDATED July 12, 2019
You’ll need to register for an account before using the forums.
The registration process is easy and should give you access in a matter of minutes.
You can register by clicking on the REGISTER button in the forum menu. You can also register by accessing the forum registration page HERE.
Note: Usernames should be simple letters and numbers up to 15 characters long. If you use special symbols like $%^* and so on, you’ll get a notice to try again.
Once you’ve filled in the required information and submitted it, you will be logged in automatically.
You can log in by clicking on the LOGIN button on the forum menu or by accessing the forum login page directly HERE. You can also find a login forum already at the top of the forums if you aren’t already logged in.
You can use either your username or email address to log in, and the password that you’ve assigned.
If you’ve forgotten your password, you can reset it from THIS page, or click the “Forgot your password?” link on the login page.
Navigating the forums
The forums have been set up to be easy to navigate and interact with.
Both mobile and desktop users will see a forum menu near the top of their screen.
You can use this menu to take to back to the main forum page, view registered members, access your profile and activity feed, or register/login/logout.
The main forums page will show all the available categories and forums that you can view or post in. You may also notice sub-forums under main forums, which you can post under for more specific topics.
When you click on a forum, you’ll be able to see all the topics within that forum.
“Sticky” topics will always be at the top of the forum. These topics have been marked as important by the admin, so please don’t ignore these.
Below each topic title will be a “First post and replies” button, which expands when clicked to give you a quick view of the topic. You can click on the topic title to view all replies and to post your own reply.
If you are on a desktop PC, you’ll see a sidebar that has a forum search, online members widget, a list of recent posts, and a list of recent topics. This can be a handy place to find out what’s new without digging into each forum.
Recent Posts Page (New Feature Dec 2017; Enhanced Sept 2018)
You can now gain access to a recent posts page using the button in the forum menu.
Your unread posts will be shown in bold and this will be an easy way to see what you’ve missed since your last login. If you use the same device, then it will remember which forums you’ve visited/read and will highlight these accordingly on the recent posts page.
Note: Previously, this feature relied on browser “cookies” to keep track of the posts you’ve read. This meant that every device you use would be treated as a different “user” so to speak. As of Sept 2018, read posts will be tracked across your account, regardless of the device you use, as long as you are logged in.
Posting a new topic
You can post a new topic by clicking on the “Add Topic” button within a forum.
After clicking on the “Add Topic” button a forum will open up and you’ll be able to title your new topic and write the content in the editing screen.
You have many formatting and styling options available, but you don’t have to use them if you prefer not to.
You’ll see an option to mark a post as a “private topic”. This means that only admin and moderators (and you) can see the topic. Please use your best judgment when marking a topic as private.
Below the editing window, you will also see an option to attach a file, but this feature may not be immediately available to brand new users in order to help cut down spam.
Once you are done writing your new topic, you can submit it to the forums by clicking the “Submit” button.
Replying to a topic
You can reply to a topic by clicking on the “Reply” button below the post window.
Once you click on that button, you’ll be given an editing window to create your reply. When you are ready to post your reply, simply click the “Submit” button.
If you’d like to quote a specific person, you can use the “Quote” button to quote what they said in your reply. This can come in handy if you want to reply to a specific thing that another member mentioned.
Alternativly, you can also highly text from another comment and click on the quote icon to add that text (as a quote) to your reply. This feature was added July 11, 2019)
User Mentions (New Feature introduced Dec 2017; enhanced July 2019)
The initial release of this feature allows you to mention another user in a post by using @username (whatever it might be). Their “@username” will be under the username beside their avatar – note that it may be different from their actual username depending on how they registered.
Note that you have to enter the full @username as it doesn’t auto-complete right now.
NOTE: Users who are tagged will be emailed by default. If I find that this feature is being abused/overused, I will disable email notifications for tagged users so they aren’t bombarded. Please be mindful when tagging someone.
In July 2019 an update was published for this feature and the @username will be added when you use the “reply” button under someone’s comment.
Subscribing to a forum/topic
Above the topic list, you will notice an RSS button. If you use an RSS reader then this can be a handy way to view new posts while you’re away from the forum.
If you are viewing a topic, you’ll notice that it also has an RSS button near the top (in a different location), but you’ll also get a “Subscribe for new replies” link.
When you click on this link, you’ll receive an email every time a new reply is made to that topic. Depending on the forum settings, you may need to confirm this subscription through an email link.
Unsubscribing to a forum/topic
If you’d like to stop receiving notifications for a specific topic, simply click the “Unsubscribe” button at the top of the topic.
You can also view a list of your subscribed topics and quickly unsubscribe to them by viewing the Subscriptions page in your profile.
Accessing your account settings
Your account settings allow you to change your display name, email address, password, avatar, and more.
You can access these settings by click on the “My Profile” button and then the “Account” button, or by selecting the “Account” button directly from the menu.
Once you are on your account profile page, you can edit things like your social media profiles, signature, and more!
Changing your avatar
Avatars (the photo used for your user account) is set in three different ways:
- Automatically using a randomly generated character face.
- Using an image from a specific URL.
- Uploading your own file.
The randomly generated avatars look like this:
I recommend uploading your own image as it makes things more personal, and it avoids any problems associated with “hotlinking” (using an image from a URL).
You can do this by going to your account options and heading to the Avatar section.
Please note the following when uploading your own images:
- Keep the file size as small as possible (use a JPG file with moderately high compression).
- Keep the image size under 150 x 150 pixels.
- Make sure it’s rotated before uploading.
- Keep it “PG” (no nudity or offensive images, please).
If the image uploaded is too large, rotated incorrectly, or isn’t compressed, I will generally try to adjust it myself, but this is time-consuming and it’s better if they are uploaded properly the first time.
Sending a private message
Members can send private messages to each other or to a group of members.
You can do this several ways:
- Through a member profile by clicking on “Send a Message”.
- Through the member list by clicking on the mail icon beside the member name.
- By clicking on the mail icon below the user’s Avatar/statistics.
- By accessing your message screen through the Private Messages menu.
- Through the messages screen which can be found on the tabbed menu while viewing your profile, account settings, activity, or subscription screen.
If you are starting a new conversation through the messages screen, you can type the name of a user and it will automatically display for you (handy if you don’t know the full username of the person you’d like to message).
Please keep in mind that private messages may be abused by some users. If you are receiving threatening messages, being harassed, receive commercial messages (i.e. “buy my product”), etc., you can report the user and/or block them by selecting the menu button next to their name.
Need more help?
If you’re still having trouble with the forums, either leave a comment below or contact me.