Tutorial for newbies 1 - Registering on the Forum

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Tutorial for newbies 1 - Registering on the Forum

Post by Grahame »

If you've never used an online forum before, this tutorial will take you through the process of registering and making a post. We recommend that you open another window or tab in your browser and navigate that to the main forum index so that you can refer back to this post as you work. Hold down your CTRL (or CMD) key and click here to do that, or right-click on the link and select 'open link in new...'

You must be registered with the forum and logged on in order to post!

Most posts in the forum can be read by anyone on the internet (although there are a couple of closed sections only visible to certain groups of users).
However, in order to create a post or reply to one you must register with the forum. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting yourself registered with the forum - it's really not as difficult as you might think.

1. If you've got the main forum page in your other tab or window, look at the blue text towards the top right of the window. Click on 'Register':

2. You will now see a page showing terms of agreement, which you should read through before clicking on the 'I agree to these terms' option at the bottom.

3. Now you will be taken to the registration form. You need to fill out all the boxes in the top section of this form. You can choose your 'username', which is how you will be known on the forum - this can be your real name or a nickname, anything you like really, provided it hasn't been used by someone else already. The email address must be a valid one - you need to receive emails telling you when your account is activated.
Your password can be anything you like; make it something that is easy to remember.

In the bottom section, you will EITHER see a coloured box with some numbers and letters in it, OR you will be asked a simple question. In the first instance, the 'confirmation code' has to be entered exactly as you see it into the box below. Note that it is not case sensitive, and zero is not used. This is intentionally made difficult to read to prevent automated spam-bots from registering. You may have to try a couple of times to get this to work for you (this is probably the hardest part of the entire procedure). The question version is somewhat easier.

4. Nearly done! Once your registration has been approved you will be sent an email. When you get that, you can return to the forum and click the 'log in' text at the top of the window. Here you enter your user name and password, check the 'log me in automatically' box, and click 'submit'. When you are successfully logged in, the text will change to read '[your name]' with a little down arrow next to it.
*** Note that you do not need to log out when you leave the forum unless you are using a public computer ***. The forum stores a cookie on your machine, and will 'remember' you on your return and take you straight in without having to go through the log-in screen.


If you haven't visited in a while and can't remember your log-in password, please don't just try to create a new account, otherwise you will end up with multiple personalities on the forum and it gets very confusing for everyone. At the log-in screen, there is a 'Forgot your password?' link that you can click; the forum will send you an automated email with an option to create a new password.

A few words of advice if you are unfamiliar with this style of forum -

Making a post is very easy - to respond to an existing message, click on the 'post reply' button.
To start a new thread, click on the 'new topic' button.
When you have written your post, click the 'preview' button down below to see how your post will appear, and then if you're happy with everythinbg, click the 'submit' button to actually post it.

When you check back into the forum, you can click on the 'Quick Links' menu at the top left, then select 'new posts' and it will show only the newest posts. Here you will also find other options, such as 'active topics' and 'search'.

To be notified when someone replies to your post, click the drop-down arrow next to the little spanner icon at the bottom left of the screen and check the 'subscribe topic' option. You will be sent an email when someone responds. Other useful notification options can be found by clicking on 'notifications' at the top right of the screen next to your name, then selecting 'settings'.
There are many other options to experiment with; don't be afraid to try clicking on various things to see what happens - you can always return to the main index page by clicking on the line 'Board Index'.

To receive a regular digest of posts (this sends you a summary of forum activity if you don't want to check in regularly), click your name at the top right and select 'User Control Panel'. Along the top you will see a row of tabs, select the one at the right that says 'Digests' and select how often you wish to receive the digest ('weekly' and 'styled' are recommended). There are other tabs on the left where you can fine-tune your settings, but you don't really need to worry about those.

One other thing that is probably worth mentioning - you can send private messages to people by using the 'contact' button to the right of their posts (the little speech bubble just under the 'location' details) and selecting the first icon (it looks like a rectangular speech bubble). These messages are like internal emails and only the person concerned can view them. When someone sends you a PM you will be informed by email and/or when you next log into the forum.

Registered forum members can also send an email to other forum members by clicking on the envelope icon just to the right of the PM button. This is the safest way to send an email to another forum member as the software handles the process without anyone's email address being revealed. Please do not put your email address directly into your posts! unless you are prepared to be the recipient of much junk mail and spam; to do so makes your post a guaranteed target for spambots, who trawl forums looking for just such tasty titbits to harvest.

If you are having any trouble, try looking at the FAQ page (which can be quite helpful), or send an email to info 'at' britishdowsing (dot) net.

In my next tutorial, I'll show you how to post new topics and use some of the more advanced features of the forum.

If you're really having trouble, send me an email to info 'at' britishdowsing 'dot' net and I'll try and sort it out for you.
Last edited by Grahame on Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:58 pm, edited 11 times in total.
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it - Terry Pratchett.