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Author Topic: Detailed help with setting an avatar and other forum questions  (Read 2280 times)

Jenett

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Detailed help with setting an avatar and other forum questions
« on: September 19, 2016, 06:14:08 pm »
This is a thread to help out Born Again Pagan, who asked some questions in one of the introduction threads: rather than take up space in that thread I moved the detailed explanations here.

I'm quoting some of the context, so I can explain useful bits of the answers (links before the quotes go back to the appropriate posts in the other thread.)

This is long, but I want to be thorough and explain things, given the context of the questions.

I had said:
Quote
Hi there! Intro threads aren't required, but if you'd like to make one, we have a post with some helpful information pinned at the top of the Introductions folder.

(Pinned posts in other folders have similar kinds of useful information people may need beyond the rules, so you may want to keep an eye out for them.)

You can add an avatar (the picture for your account) under 'edit my avatar' if you go to the settings page. Note that we have size limits for the file (both in terms of pixel size, and in terms of size of the file.) You can also pick from a selection of avatars already loaded on the board.

If you have further questions about the board, including if you need more help with your avatar, the Board Questions folder is good for that. There's also a Test Forum if you want to test something out.


It looks like something glitched when I pasted the link for the intro thread help into that post, so if clicking the link didn't work, it should now take you right to the post with helpful info about introductions.

Born Again Pagan said:
Quote
I'm an old man. I can still build you a house, although I cannot understand terms such as "pinned at the top of the introductions folder" and where would one go to be under 'edit my avatar?'

Ok, here comes the detailed help, with some more helpful context.

Forum terms:
Forums, like many other spaces, use various terms for describing what's going on. One common way to describe things is folders (that there are many different discussions in each folder, and the folders can be organised into larger groups, and so on. Some places call each individual discussion/conversation 'threads', some call them 'topics', some call them 'conversations', some call them other things.) Our software calls them threads, so I'll use that for the following.

Forum is the term for the larger space (everything at http://ecauldron.net/forum) but it can also be used as a term for individual folders sometimes. Yes, this is confusing, but it's usually easy enough to sort out from context.

Discussions shift location over time
As people post new threads in a folder, older threads will migrate down the page (since most forums have the threads with the newest posts at the top.) Eventually, if there are enough new threads, a given thread will move onto another page in the folder and not be immediately visible. How long this takes depends on how many new threads get posted in the forum, and some other settings in the forum.

So sometimes it's helpful to keep a particular thread somewhere people can find it easily where it won't slip down the page, or onto pages of older threads.

Sticky threads
Sticking a thread so it's always visible on the first page of the folder's discussions is called 'pinning' or making a thread 'sticky', and the terms come from moving paper around. You can pin a thread like you'd pin something on a bulletin board, or you can write something on a sticky note, so you can find it again quickly or remind yourself.

On this forum's software, threads like this say 'sticky' in front of the thread title, and they're in a section of discussion threads that says "Sticky threads" at the top, with other threads in "Normal Threads" right underneath."

(People will also say 'pinned thread' because 'stickied thread' sounds a little awkward in some uses. Also, because different spaces use different terms, people may type the one they've used most, rather than the one used by this forum's software.)

Sticky threads usually have particularly helpful information: on this forum, these are sometimes special rules for that particular folder (like in our beginner forums), sometimes they are helpful information for posts in that folder (like the help for introductions), sometimes they are resource lists (as is true in some of the folders about specific cultures or religions.) If you're curious about a topic or folder or are looking for help about it, checking out the sticky threads is a good place to start.

Settings
I'm assuming that you're accessing the forum via the website version. If you haven't changed any viewing settings (yet), it should be in shades of blue across the top.

(The forum also allows access through Tapatalk, an app some people use on mobile devices and tablets. It works a little differently, specifically around things like how to get to settings and what you can see on a single screen, so if you are using Tapatalk, the instructions I'm about to give won't work.)

Most things related to settings happen from the header. If you look at the top of the forum (scroll all the way up): you will see a darker blue bar with The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum and an image of a cauldron (in blueish white). There is a bar across right below that that says "Forum" "Wiki" "Groups" and other items. Below that, there is a bar that says (in smaller text) "New posts", "Private messages", "FAQ", and other items.

At the top right of the header (where you log in, if you're not logged in), there are a set of links that say "Welcome" and your name, "Notifications", "My Profile" and "Settings" as well as a "Log out" link. These are the ones you want for settings.

If you click on the link there that says "Settings" it will load a new page. You'll see sections that say things like "My Messages" "My subscriptions" and "My settings" down the left side. (in what is called a sidebar: most portions of the forum have one on the left and one on the right, with the main content in the center). Go down the left side to where it says "My Settings"

To change your avatar (the image by your name when you post), do the following steps:
  • Go to "My Settings" on your settings page.
  • Go to "My Profile" (first section under "My settings")
  • Click on "Edit Avatar" (third option under "My Profile")
  • You will see your current Avatar in the center, under a section "Your Current Avatar"

Here, you have some choices.

You can upload your own avatar (like mine, which is an image I created), using the options under "Custom Avatar".

However, we have size limits on avatars on the forum (to help with how the pages load), and if you're not familiar with editing images for size in two different ways, it is probably better to ask for help. We have a sticky thread just for that in the Board Questions folder. (Again, link will take you right there.)

If you do this, you will need to either upload the image somewhere on the web and then use a link to let the forum get it and save it (the first option) or upload the image from your computer (the second option.)

If this seems like more work than you want, we have another option!

Selecting an image from the pre-defined sets:
You can also select an image from different sets of pre-defined options. There are 23 different sets of images right now.

  • Still on that same "Edit Avatar" page.
  • Probably it says "Pre-Defined 3D Art" as the next section on this "Edit avatar" page, but if you click on the drop-down menu that says "3-D Art" you will see the other options.
  • Once you let go, it will show some of the images in that set, but most sets have a lot of images, so you may want to look at other pages: these are the small numbers just below the images, that say "Page 1 of X" and then show you some page numbers and arrow links.
  • To select an avatar, click the radio button (round button) next to the image you want, and then click "save changes" (button at the lower right, below the images).

Other useful things
Obviously, there are a number of other settings you may want to change at some point. Most of them are on the left sidebar of the same Settings page (top right of forum header, "Settings"). You may want to edit your profile (what information people can see about you), your signature (information that shows up at the bottom of every post), your account email or password, general settings (how things display to you, time zone, etc.) There are lots of other settings, but that should get you started.

The forum also has the ability to send and receive private messages. This is a little like email, but it lives on the forum (people may get it forwarded in email, too, depending on their settings.) You can get to that page by going to "Private messages" in the header (third row down, in the smaller text, second item from the left.)

Some people also find it easiest to read the forum by looking at New Posts (the first item on that row.) You may find it useful sometimes to mark all forum posts read (if you've read everything you're interested in, but there are posts you don't want to read.) "Mark Forum Read" will do that for you (furthest right item in that row)

Finally, in the top right of hte header, by "Settings" if you click on the link that says "My profile", it will show your profile as other people see it. This is also useful when checking out someone's posts (you can do this by holding / hovering your mouse pointer over someone's avatar and selecting the option you want, while reading a post from them.) When looking at your own profile, you will also see little pencil icons by items: you can click on the pencil to edit that item.

Join date shows when the person joined (after this forum software started: I've been a member at the Cauldron since sometime in 2000, but the forum software only dates back to 2011.) The rest is probably self-explanatory, or ask if you have questions.

Finally, for some terms and concepts that may not be familiar, but are not about how the forum works, or about Paganism specifically, you may find the Inclusivity FAQ helpful. (It is a sticky post in the Cauldron Announcements folder, if you want to find it later.)

Questions about how the Board works can obviously go in the Board Questions folder, and beginner questions about Pagan religions or magic can go in the beginner folders for those topics. If you're ever not sure what folder a thread should be started in, you can pick what you think works best, and staff can move it if there's somewhere better.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 06:44:49 pm by Jenett »
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Jenett

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Re: Detailed help with setting an avatar and other forum questions
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2016, 06:54:34 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;196452

And one additional note - to actually post a new thread, here's what you do:

  • Navigate through the forum to the folder you would like to post in
  • Up near the top left (between the threads in that folder and the forum header) is a button that says "+Post new thread". Click on that.
  • Select a prefix (these vary depending on the folder: they do not exist in all folders, are optional in some, but you may get an error when you try to post without them some places.)
  • Enter a title for your thread (brief but specific is good.)
  • Twitter hash tags are optional.
  • Compose your post in the main space. You can use the buttons above the writing space to help with formatting.
  • The biggest one is probably making a link, which is the globe with a little chain link in front of it. If you highlight the text you want to make a link, and click that, it will ask you for what page you want to link to. Copy the address there, and click okay.
  • Feel free to ask about other formatting!
  • You can choose additional options if you like.
  • When done, click the "Preview post" if you'd like to see how your post reads without submitting it. Click "Submit New Thread" when you are satisfied.

Two more things about posts: We allow only a short editing time, since a number of people may read your thread in the first few minutes it's up. Quick changes to fix formatting or a typo are fine during this time, but if you have more substantial edits, it's better to add a reply with the additional details.

Hitting return (putting a blank line) between every 4-6 lines of text helps a lot with readability. It doesn't need to be a formal paragraph structure.

The most useful thread titles identify the main question of hte thread in a few words. If you're asking about a specific deity, culture, path, etc. putting that in the thread will help. If you have a more general question, giving an idea of the topic helps a lot. For example "Question about Demeter" or "Interested in Kemetic practice" or "What does BTW mean about Wicca?" are good titles for topic threads.

For more general questions, some good titles might include "Considering joining a coven" or "Want to attend a public ritual" or "How do  I find other reconstructionists?" or "What's your favourite Pagan podcast?"

Not so helpful subject lines are things like "Question" or "Please help" or "New to all of this" (those things may be true, but they don't give people much idea what your questions are!") Since many people glance at the forum when they have only a little time, questions they can immediately identify as things they're interested in often get read (and responded to) first, and they may or may not remember to come back to other questions.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 07:00:46 pm by Jenett »
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

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