WoodCentral's Messageboard FAQs
Welcome to WoodCentral's "Messageboard FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page. Here you'll find answers to many of the common questions about using our forums. Please take time to read them, particularly the forum rules, and send us an email if you have other questions about the messageboards.
...Ellis Walentine, Host
Q: What are all the different forums about?
A: We currently have eight forums here, each with a different focus. You can select a forum from the "Sightings" page (http://www.woodcentral.com/forums), which many of our users set as their browser home page, or you can select a forum from any of the red navigation menus on the left side of various site pages. Just put your mouse over the "MESSAGEBOARDS" box and select a forum name from the fly-out menu. Here's a brief description of the various forums:
Q: How do I use your messageboards?
A: You will find our forums quite simple and intuitive to use. Here are some basic instructions:
1. Read messages. Each forum has its own home page (or "index" page), with a list of currently active discussions on that forum. The default time frame of messages listed varies from board to board, and you can change the time frame quickly by choosing another date range from the drop-down box in the lower right corner of the gray navigation bar ("navbar") at the top of the message list. Click on any message title to view the contents of that message. "Telltales" ("PIC", "LINK", "NM") following the message title are there to let you know that those messages contain an image ("PIC"), a link ("LINK"), or that there is no text content ("NM") to the message. [NOTE: The "Previous" and "Next" links that you see on some of the gray navigation bars toggle the next and previous messages in the order they were posted, not necessarily within the thread you are reading. To continue reading a thread, click on the message title for the next message you want to read.]
2. Set your preferences. There are several options for how messages and message index pages are displayed in your browser. Click the "Set Preferences" link in the navigation bar to choose a display style that suits you best. The options are explained at the bottom of the "Set Preferences" page. For folks used to the appearance of other bulletin board software, try the "Compressed" List style. Our default is the "Mixed/Threaded/Single-message" style, which keeps posts and responses organized by thread, with the latest thread at the top of the list.
3. Register a profile. (optional, but recommended) WoodCentral is a little different from other woodworking forums in that we don't require you to register in order to be able to post messages, but there are a lot of advantages to having a valid WoodCentral profile:
Creating a profile is quick and easy, your e-mail address is secure, and we will never share or trade any personal information with anyone. It's the best way to enjoy all the features and benefits of the WoodCentral boards. CLICK HERE for detailed, illustrated instructions on creating a profile.
4. Post messages and replies. To post a new message, click the "Post New" link in the navbar at the top of the message index. To reply to another message, go to that message and click the "Reply" link. A "postform" page will open. Fill out the text areas with your name, e-mail address, subject line and message text. To attach an image that is accessible from the Internet, type the URL of the image (GIF, JPG or PNG only) into the Optional Image URL box. You may also choose to be notified when someone responds to your message. Registered users will have the option of advanced text formatting options, adding smilies to messages, uploading links, and uploading multiple files and images using the "Upload Embedded Image" box.
5. Edit or delete your message(s). Registered users may edit their posts within two hours of posting and delete their post anytime. Just open the message you wish to modify or delete, check "Edit" or "Delete" at the bottom of the message, and type your password.
6. Keyword search. Our forums have an advanced search utility that allows you to search all our boards and archives for messages that match certain keywords that you type into the "Keyword Search" text box in the navbar. We currently have over 800,000 messages in our search index, so if you get too many results, you can narrow your search by adding words to your keyword search box. The search utility will become available around January 20, 2010.
7. Report a problem. If you encounter anything unusual or problematic having to do with the forums or their functioning, please click the "Report Problem" link in the navbar and fill out the requested information on the Trouble Ticket form. An administrator will attempt to resolve your issue as soon as possible.
Q: What do I need to know about cookies?
A: Our server sends a cookie to your browser whenever you a) post or preview a message, b) set your preferences via the "Set Preferences" link, or c) create or modify your WoodCentral profile through the "My Profile" interface. These cookies are not intrusive and do not in any way compromise your security or privacy online. Here are some things you might want to know about cookies:
Q: What are the forum rules?
A: Historically, we have not had a lot of official rules at WoodCentral, yet our forum has always been very civil. We abide by the generally-accepted, largely-unspoken rules of respect, courtesy and common sense that guide all communities, real or virtual. When in doubt, treat others as you would have them treat you. We do ask, though, that you refrain from discussing religion or politics, and we never allow:
Q: Can you elaborate on the "commercial posting" rule?
A: WoodCentral relies on advertising revenue from the sale of banner ads and messageboard ads (posted by the Host, clearly marked as ads). Unsolicited commercial messages and links (those referring to or linking to commercial ventures or websites) are not permitted on our messageboards and will be removed at the moderator's sole discretion and earliest opportunity. You may post a link to your commercial website and/or mention your commercial product or service in a message only if it is an appropriate and relevant response to a question posted on the messageboard by someone else.
Also, please don't "sign" your messages by posting a link to your website in the message form's "Optional Link URL" box unless the linked page is relevant to the question you are responding to. Your Profile is the appropriate place to post a link to your commercial website. You may post a link to your non-commercial website anytime. Non-commercial sites are those that do not offer products or services (Exception: woodworking projects) for sale to other visitors.
Q: How do I upload photos with my messages?
A: Registered users (those with valid profiles) may upload one or more images and/or files directly from their computer. All users may link to the URL of an image that is accessible on the Internet. To upload an image from your computer, first be sure it is smaller than the file size limit for that type of permitted file type. (Click the little blue button next to the "Upload embedded file" box to see the permitted file types and the size limits for each.) Place your cursor in the message text box where you want the image to appear in your post, then click the "Browse" button next to the "Upload embedded image" box and browse to the image or file on your computer and click Open. In a few moments, a line of code will appear in the message text, surrounded by [uplimg][/uplimg] tags. You may uplpoad as many images as you like, wherever you like, in the message body, as long as no image or file exceeds the file size limit for that type.
If the image you want to upload is somewhere on the Internet (e.g., Photobucket, Shutterfly, Picasa), you may include it with your message by pasting the URL of the image (JPG, GIF or PNG extension only) into the "Optional Image URL" box under the message text box. Registered users may also insert images in their messages using HTML tags. Please be sure you know what you're doing when using HTML in our message forms.
Q: How do I reduce the size of pictures so that I can post them on WoodCentral?
A: First, a little background about digital images and JPEG compression:
WoodCentral's 100Kb filesize limit is actually much more than you need and here's a picture to illustrate it. This photo is 600 x 449 pixels and is only 38Kb in size -- just over one-third of the file size limit.
Here is a series of steps you can use to resize photos for uploading. You will need an image manipulation program (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, PixResizer, or other) to do this.
1. Crop the image: Using you image program, crop the original camera image to include just the part of the pictue you want to show. This gets rid of unnecessary picture areas and immediately reduces the number of pixels accordingly.
2. Physically resize the image: Use the resizing function of your image program to reduce the pixel dimensions to the smallest size large enough to show all the detail you want to convey. If you resize your image to between 500 and 700 pixels on the longer dimension, it will fit within WoodCentral's messageboard window yet retain plenty of detail and visibility. (See cardinal picture, right.)
3. Save the image with appropriate compression: When you save your resized image, you will have an option to choose a JPG compression ratio. In some image programs, this will be something simplistic like "fine," "medium," or "coarse"; in others, you will be able to specify the exact compression, and possibly be able to preview the chosen compression ratio to see if the quality is still there. You want to choose the finest compression ratio that is still under 100Kb.
Once you have resized, compressed, and saved your image, upload it to the appropriate place in your message as explained above.
For folks who don't have image resizing programs, you might like the online resizing utility at www.picresize.com. You simply browse your computer for the camera image you want to resize, then click the Quick Resize text link (not the big yellow Continue button, unless you want to crop or apply special effects). This drops down another dialog box where you can choose your output dimensions (use a custom size of 600w x 800h or 800w x 600h depending on whether your photo is vertical or horizontal format) and a filesize limit (use 100Kb or less), then click the yellow, Quick Resize button. It will upload your image, manipulate it, and then display the starting size and the finished size, and offer you the options of viewing it or downloading it. Download it to your hard drive, and then browse to it from the WoodCentral message form.
Q: I notice that some messages contain text formatting? How do I do that?
A: If you are a registered user, you will see text formatting buttons above the message text box of the post form. Hover your mouse over the buttons to see what they do. To apply a format to a section of text, highlight that section and click the appropriate button. Our message forms also accept standard HTML markup, again provided you are a registered user.
Q: What about posting links in messages?
A: You are welcome to post any links that you think will be of interest to other visitors. Please do not post links to your commercial site; it isn't fair to WoodCentral's advertisers. Links to relevant business pages that you do not have an interest in are fine. Simply paste the URL of the link site in the "Optional Link URL" box. You may title the link for visitors by typing a title in the "Optional Link Title" box.
Q: Why am I seeing cherries () in front of some of the message titles?
A: Those cherries are "new message" notifications. Messages, including your own messages, posted since the beginning, not the end, of your last visit, are flagged as new. The script considers a new visit to begin once you've been away from the board for at least thirty minutes, so if you return to the board before half an hour has elapsed, the cherries will not have updated. This may seem a bit confusing at first, but it's actually very handy, as it makes it easier to spot new messages and responses to your messages. You need to have your browser set to accept cookies for this feature to work. No messages will appear as "new" on your first visit to the board, or on your first visit after deleting your WoodCentral cookie files. If you've visited the board several times, and the notices still aren't appearing, or aren't appearing correctly, you probably need to delete your cookie file(s) and start over by posting or previewing a new message.