Posting

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When a user registers and logs into a forum, they may want to make some posts. Posting is a fairly easy process. It can depend on what permissions that certain boards have, what membergroups the users are in, or how many posts a user has.

Starting a New Topic

Browse to the board where you wish to post and select the New Topic button (positioned by default at both the top and the bottom of the board), which should take them to the Start new Topic screen. While this presents a number of options, the two most important are the Subject field and main Message field (not labeled as such, but obvious by its size). So enter your subject and start to type (or paste) your message in the main text area. If you're happy with your plain text message, you can post it by selecting the Post button and/or preview it first by selecting the Preview button. Some forums may be configured to offer an additional Spell Check button alongside the Post and Preview options.

Replying to a Topic or Poll

Replying to a topic or poll is nearly the same as starting a new topic, but it is not necessary to enter anything in the Subject field unless you wish to change what's already there. To vote in a poll, you simply have to select their your chosen option(s) and select Submit Vote. You may also be able to do other things with the post, such as attaching a file to a post.

If 'Quick Reply' has been enabled, a simple Reply field will also appear after the posts on a page, but you will have to type your Bulletin Board Code and Smileys manually if you choose to use it.

Standard Posting Options

  • Message icon - This drop-down menu allows users to change the default icon for the subject line to something matching the mood or purpose of their posts.
  • Bulletin Board code - Bulletin Board Code (or BBC) is the essential tool for formatting and changing the appearance of posts. While it affects the plain text in much the same way as the formatting tools in any word processor, the main message field does not behave in a WYSIWYG manner, so users should preview their messages if they need to see what it will look like when posted.

Additional Options

The following options may appear by default in some forums but be contained within an expanding/collapsing panel in others.

  • Notify me of replies - Users should check this to subscribe to e-mail notification if there are replies to the topic.
  • Return to this topic - Users should check this to return to the topic (instead of the message index) after posting.
  • Don't use smileys - Users should check this to prevent certain character combinations in their posts from being parsed and rendered as smileys.

The following options are only available to Administrators and members with special permissions:

  • Lock this topic - This prevents members who don't have moderation privileges from replying to the topic.
  • Sticky this topic - This forces the topic to always be displayed at the top of the message index.
  • Move this topic - This moves the topic to a different board.
  • Attachments - If enabled, this feature allows users to attach files to their posts in the same way as most e-mail clients. Users simply have to browse to the relevant files on their computer before selecting Post. Multiple attachments, up to the limit set by the administrator, can be added to a single post by selecting the Additional Attachments link. Users can delete their attachments or add more, by modifying their posts. The permitted file types and sizes are set by the forum administrator. Some forums may display image attachments in line with the post or show them as thumbnails below the post.

Starting a new poll

A poll is basically a topic with an added question and voting options, started by selecting New Poll instead of New Topic as described above. To post a poll, it is necessary to fill out the Question field and at least two of the Options fields, in addition to the Subject and Message fields required by a standard topic. Further options to configure how many choices the user may vote for, how long the poll should run, should be self-explanatory.

To offer more than five choices in a poll, users should simply select Add Option as many times as desired.

Depending on set permissions for certain membergroups, some users may be able to add a poll to an existing topic.

Poll Options

When adding or modifying polls, users have a lot of options available to suit their needs.

  • Maximum votes per user - Under the Options field, the users will notice the Poll Option field, with the Maximum votes per user line. If the user would like voters to be able to vote more than once in a poll, they need to add the desired number of maximum votes per user.
  • Run the poll for X days - If the user would like the poll to end or expire in a certain amount of days, they need to enter an integer in the Run the poll for X days field. If they leave this field blank, there will be no limit to how long the poll will run.
  • Allow users to change vote - If the user would like to give the voters the option to change their votes, check the Allow users to change vote checkbox. If this option is left unchecked, voters will not be allowed to change their votes.
  • Show the polls results to anyone - A user should select this option if they want anyone (members/guests) to be able to view the poll results.
  • Only show the results after someone has voted - Users should select this option to show the poll's results only after a member has voted. Only registered members may vote in polls.
  • Only show the results after the poll has expired - Users should select this option if they want to show the poll's results, only after the poll has expired. For this option to be available, they must have changed the Run the poll for X days field to a number above zero.
  • Reset Vote Count - Users should check this if they want to reset all vote counts to zero.
  • Save and Preview - Just like when a user wishes to post, they have the option of previewing their poll's changes before saving them.

All board moderators can edit the polls and do the above actions as well as view the results of the poll at any time while the poll is running.

Posting an Event to the Calendar

If the calendar is enabled on a forum and users are given the permission to post calendar events, users will be able to Post an Event to the calendar, by selecting Calendar from the main menu, followed by Post Event from the calendar screen. If the option is enabled, users may also be able to simply select the day of the month to post a new event on that day. In addition to this, if a user has the proper permissions, they may see a Link to Calendar link at the bottom of each topic. Selecting this link allows users to post a new Event in the calendar, linked to the topic they were viewing when they selected the Link to Calendar link.

Quoting a Post

To reply to a post by quoting it, you can either select the Quote button for the relevant post or select the Reply button followed by Insert Quote from the relevant post in the Topic Summary below, but note that:

  • Both of these options add a link to the original post showing the name of the poster and the date and time of the post, whereas the Bulletin Board Code quote tag simply quotes the relevant post without this additional information.
  • You can retain or add the 'author' attribute independently of the full quote function.

Modifying or Deleting a Post

To modify a post, select the Modify link or "paper and pencil" icon and make your changes. Most forums are likely to be configured to show the date and time of the last edit, but the administrator(s) may also allow a short period of time to elapse before this happens.

To delete a post, select the Remove button followed by OK from the Remove this message? box that will appear. Some forums may also allow you to remove topics or polls that you start, but the buttons for these are usually at the bottom of the page.

It is up to your forum's administrator to set the permissions that determine who will be allowed to Modify and Delete posts, and for how long after making the original post.

Viewing Unread Posts and Replies

SMF has several options for users to view unread posts. Unread posts are topics and replies that have not been viewed by the user. The most common way to view unread posts is through the links in the userbox near the top of the forum.

  • View unread since last visit – Selecting this option displays a list of the topics which have had new posts in them since the user's last visit. The user has the ability to select to try all unread topics which will display any topic with unread posts, regardless of their last visit.
  • View unread replies to your posts – Selecting this option displays a list of topics the user has participated in that have unread replies.

Users may also choose to view unread posts outside of the userbox.

  • View Unread Posts by board - Selecting this option will display a list of topics with unread posts found inside the selected board.
  • Recent posts on the board index - If enabled by the administrator, this will display a list of recent posts on the bottom of the board index. This is displayed by post, not by topic, so hot topics may dominate this section. Selecting the icon to the left of the recent posts will enable each post to be read from another screen.
  • View Unread Posts by category - Selecting this option will display a list of unread posts from the boards inside the selected category.