Tech Support

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Tech Support

Unread postby forum_admin » Sun May 04, 2008 8:22 pm

If you have a tip for helping make the experience of the Thunderbolts Forums more enjoyable or easier to use, please use this thread to share your knowledge or know-how with others. If you are experiencing technical difficulties with some aspect of the forum software or would like help with a particular feature, you may also post to this thread in the hope that someone may be able to help. There are no guarantees associated with this topic, the team members here are all volunteers and our members, of course, are under no obligation to help; however, most of us are more than willing to help with varying degrees of expertise.

Here are a couple of tips to start with. Any screen shots or instructions will be using the default "prosilver" board style. For any users that have used their user Control Panel to change from the default style to the "subsilver2" style, the instructions will be pretty much the same except the locations for controls, buttons, and so forth may be in a different location than the default side (on the opposite side of the screen, for example). You will have to be a registered user and logged in to see and be able to use most of the software's discussed features.

1) For any of us who may have tired, aging eyes or for anyone who just wishes to have a little control over their screen font size phpBB3 software (the software that the Thunderbolts Forums uses) provides a quick control for you at the top upper-right of the screen (see screen shot below). Just click on the upper or lower arrow and your font size will be adjusted larger or smaller with each click up or down. IE7 and Firefox users can also scale their entire window size (fonts and other screen elements) up and down by holding down the <Ctrl> (for MS Windows users) key on their keyboard and simultaneously (while holding down the <Ctrl> key) scroll their mouse wheel forward or backward. Sorry, I haven't used a Mac in some while so have forgotten what that combo is, <Cmd> key? Probably quicker than using the <View> menu or (in IE7) the zoom pull-down menu at the lower right of the browser window.

font_size.jpg
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2) Hopefully, most of us won't have much, if any, opportunity to use this software feature but phpBB3 does offer a "Friends & Foes" list. I think perhaps the term "foe" is a little strong, but as many of us have experienced from other Internet forums, probably not in those contexts. "Ignore" is probably more apropos for our purposes here.

Friends and Foes

What are my Friends and Foes lists?
You can use these lists to organise other members of the board. Members added to your friends list will be listed within your User Control Panel for quick access to see their online status and to send them private messages. Subject to template support, posts from these users may also be highlighted. If you add a user to your foes list, any posts they make will be hidden by default.

How can I add / remove users to my Friends or Foes list?
You can add users to your list in two ways. Within each user’s profile, there is a link to add them to either your Friend or Foe list. Alternatively, from your User Control Panel, you can directly add users by entering their member name. You may also remove users from your list using the same page.


For prosilver users, your Control Panel is accessible at the top-left of the screen (see screen shot below).

control_panel.jpg
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3) General help with the forum software is also available at the upper-right of the screen by clicking on the FAQ (see screen shot below).

faq.jpg
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faq2.jpg
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Re: Tech Support

Unread postby forum_admin » Sun May 04, 2008 8:52 pm

The phpBB3 message editor offers a built-in spell checker. As you are composing your message or reply any misspelled word that the spell checker detects will be underlined with a faint-red, squiggly line. Simply right-mouse-click on the word and the spell checker will pop up with a list of suggested corrections; if the correct spelling is listed then just left-mouse-click to choose the correct spelling and it will correct it for you. You have the option of adding any word that may actually be spelled correctly but is not in the current dictionary's database. A very useful feature!

spell_check.jpg
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Re: Tech Support

Unread postby forum_admin » Thu May 08, 2008 5:47 pm

Cross-posted from another topic within this thread, here are a few good tips on post editing from Solar.

Solar wrote:Unless I'm firing off a quick reply I normally compose post/replies offline in notepad with quotes & links etc. That way I can take my time with a subject while researching it as well. Then it's just a matter of copying and pasting and letting the spell checker do it's thing, hitting the 'Preview' button and re-reading to make sure it flows the way you want etc.

If an error occurs, if I'm incorrect about something for example, I'm sure someone will point that out and so be it. But as threads grow, you'll still have to make an extra post just to say you've changed a post some 12 pages back. Considering the length some threads and individual post can get; I'm not sure every interested party will go back and re-read a lengthly post, in a lengthly thread to check out that clarification.

Unless one is using the forum to 'store' their growth in relation to a particular concept, which isn't necessarily it's function, I'm not sure why unlimited editing would be of any value. I can especially remember a couple of threads wherein I made some errors and with the help of members over the duration of a thread you could 'see' the working out off the kinks in my faulty logic and/or failed premise. That was great stuff. Taught me to be a bit more careful, cautious and to research as much as I could beforehand.

Also. You guys do realize that there is a 'Save' button when composing a reply or post. It 'Saves' the post into a 'Draft' folder. You can edit it until comet Holmes stops discharging (whenever that will be :D ) without actually posting it at all. So if you want to use post to 'store' ideas etc that's one place to 'store' and 'Edit' to one's content.
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Re: Tech Support - Any access problems?

Unread postby davesmith_au » Thu May 08, 2008 6:09 pm

Giday all, I've had complaints from a member who is having difficulty accessing the forum, and the Thunderbolts site.

I'm still having big problems with continual crashing. Such as only about a third to a half of the time can I reach the forum, or the Thunderbolts site. About half the time I am reading the forum it just crashes on me, and it's a raffle writing a posting as I hit 'submit' and it just crashes.


What I'd like to know is if anyone else is having similar problems. Not if there's an occasional problem, as there are many reasons for those, but if there's anyone else having persistent problems I'd like to know about it.

Send me an email or a PM in response so as not to snot up this thread.

Cheers, Dave Smith.
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Search tool is less than ideal!

Unread postby Lloyd » Mon May 12, 2008 8:18 pm

I never saw such a useless Search tool on a forum before. "Charge" and "vortex" are too common words for the lazy thing to bother with. APM is too short to bother with. Can't that junkheap be fixed?
(FMV 5-13-08: Removed swearing.)
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Re: Tech Support

Unread postby Forum Moderator » Tue May 13, 2008 1:25 pm

Don't know that there's any way to change the functionality of the default search tool that's built in to the forum. Agreed, it's imperfect.
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Re: Tech Support

Unread postby forum_admin » Tue May 13, 2008 4:39 pm

The built-in search engine needed a little tweaking, which has been done. More may be needed to avoid extremes one way or the other (too little vs too many results), but you may want to give it another try and see if you find it's giving better results.

Realize, too, that one-word searches such as "vortex" and "charge," (particularly on this board using terms such as those) are bound to give way too many returns to be useful (unless you're looking for a relatively recent or old posting using the term since returns can be date-sorted) so it's likely going to be more productive to use multiple terms or as restrictive terms as you can come up with to limit returns to a reasonable threshold. Again, we may have to do additional tweaking of the threshold for "common terms."
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Thanks re Search Tool

Unread postby Lloyd » Fri May 16, 2008 5:05 am

- Search tool seems much better now. Too many returns is a lot better than no returns.
- There seems to be no way to search for whole words, like CHARGE only, instead of CHARGED, DISCHARGE etc.
- I used to be able to do a Google search on the forum and get good results, but not since the former forum crashed. Is there a secret way to still get such results?
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Re: Thanks re Search Tool

Unread postby MGmirkin » Fri May 16, 2008 2:04 pm

Lloyd wrote:- Search tool seems much better now. Too many returns is a lot better than no returns.
- There seems to be no way to search for whole words, like CHARGE only, instead of CHARGED, DISCHARGE etc.
- I used to be able to do a Google search on the forum and get good results, but not since the former forum crashed. Is there a secret way to still get such results?


I assume that Google has not yet crawled the new forum to any large extent. As it becomes more stabilized and long-lived (the old forum was around for almost a year) hopefully they'll start indexing it all again. Google can be a bit finnicky on indexing. Especially on things like forums... And new sites, or sites without many incoming links from exiting established "reliable" / "notable" sites.

But, yeah, I'd like it if they would start re-indexing the new forum too.

Cheers,
~Michael Gmirkin
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Re: Thanks re Search Tool

Unread postby bboyer » Fri May 16, 2008 5:23 pm

Lloyd wrote:- There seems to be no way to search for whole words, like CHARGE only, instead of CHARGED, DISCHARGE etc.


What?
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Re: Thanks re Search Tool

Unread postby forum_admin » Fri May 16, 2008 6:11 pm

Lloyd wrote:- I used to be able to do a Google search on the forum and get good results, but not since the former forum crashed. Is there a secret way to still get such results?


This has been adjusted (tweaked), as well. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until the next visit by the Google crawler (as well as all the other search engine crawlers) to see whether we have been successful. Hopefully, you will see results showing up in the next few hours or days using the extended search arguments (such as "charge site:http://thunderbolts.info/forum" etc - you'll have to experiment around with the directory; it might be "vortex site:http://thunderbolts.info/forum/phpbb3" with the new forums; won't know for sure until the engine re-crawls the site so we can check).
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Re: Private Messages

Unread postby forum_admin » Tue May 20, 2008 6:39 pm

The private message pop up notification is not enabled by default on user registration meaning unless users are aware they need to turn it on they will not receive a pop up notification on newly received pm's. To enable the feature so you don't miss any new pm's go to your User Control Panel (UCP), click on the <Board Preferences> tab, and select "Yes" for both "Notify me on new private messages:" and "Pop up window on new private message:" options. If the notify on new pm's is checked for yes and the pop-up windows is checked for no you will be notified of new pm's by email, but no pop-up notice when you visit or are logged into the forums.
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Re: Tech Support

Unread postby StefanR » Fri May 23, 2008 1:11 am

Goodday,

Just an idea, that maybe has been dealt with before, but would it be possible to make an sticky post/thread in the
Planetary Forum that ranks the different subject posts, somewhat like it is done with the subject index of the Thunderbolts Picture of the day? It would maybe give a better overview what kind of postings are made of the different subjects or give a faster acces to a particular subject.
Of course the sticky post is best maintained by a moderator.


Greetings,


Stefan
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Re: Tech Support

Unread postby forum_admin » Fri May 23, 2008 6:44 pm

StefanR wrote:Goodday,

Just an idea, that maybe has been dealt with before, but would it be possible to make an sticky post/thread in the
Planetary Forum that ranks the different subject posts, somewhat like it is done with the subject index of the Thunderbolts Picture of the day? It would maybe give a better overview what kind of postings are made of the different subjects or give a faster acces to a particular subject.
Of course the sticky post is best maintained by a moderator.


Greetings,


Stefan


Thanks, Stefan. We've considered something along these lines, but we do not see it as a priority at this time for our relatively limited resources in terms of time and attention-to-detail it would require, particularly as the forum(s) grow. We might possibly revisit the issue in the future.
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