This article is really for those who have not really participated in a forum before.
First some terminology….
Whats a Topic ?
A topic (or thread) is a collection of posts that discuss a particular subject.
What is a Post
A post is a user-submitted message enclosed into a block which contains some written text or narrative. Users are usually able to add images and other media to the post. Other information such as a the user’s details and the date and time it was submitted are usually automated added next to the post to who and when submitted it. Members are usually allowed to edit or delete their own posts.
What is a Topic?
A topic (or thread) is a collection of posts that discuss a particular subject. Importantly, a topic usually discusses one particular subject or it has a theme.
Members are actively encouraged to stick the the subject of the topic during the conversation. Straying from the main subject matter is referred to as being “off-topic” and is frowned upon.
What is a Board
A board is a collection of topics under a broad heading.
For example, on this forum a board might cover “Servicing and Maintenance”, however the topics contained within would be on all sorts of issues that fall under that heading.
Sometimes the boards themselves are called forums (huh… confusing..). Yep, it’s an older term that we no longer use for that very reason.
Starting a New Topic
Go into the board where you wish to post and click on the New Topic button which is positioned by default at both the top right and the bottom right of the board.
This will take you to the Start New Topic screen. While this presents a number of options, the two most important are the Subject field and main text area for the message itself. Enter your subject and start typing (or paste) your message in the main text area. Once you are happy with your message, you can post it by clicking the Post button and/or preview it first by using the Preview button. You might need to scroll down to see these buttons as they are located to the bottom right of the screen.
Beneath the main text area are some additional options. The main ones are:
- Notify me of replies – Users should check this to subscribe to e-mail notification of replies to the topic. By default only the first reply will trigger an email notification. However these default settings can be adjust in your Profile area.
- Return to this topic – Users should check this to return to the topic (instead of the message index) after posting.
- Attachments – This feature allows users to attach files (such as images) to their posts in the same way as most e-mail clients.
Please see the article “How to insert images into your Post” for more information around posting images.
Replying to a Topic
When you reply to a Topic you are creating an additional Post to the ones that already make up that thread. You’ll probably be responding to a previous comment or adding your own view or opinion.
To post a message in an existing topic, click on the Reply button which is located both at the top and bottom of the topic.
When replying to a topic it is not necessary to enter anything in the subject field. Essentially the process is the same as composing a Topic.