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How to get an avatar and signature
Once you've made 50 posts the options to upload or choose an avatar and to create a signature will appear in your "User Control Panel" - which is accessed by clicking on "UserCP". Note: Once you've reached 50 posts it may take up to an hour before the options become available.

How to get smilies

Pull down the ‘User CP’ menu and choose Edit Options. Scroll all the way down to Miscellaneous Options and change the pulldown menu to say ‘Standard Editor’. This will give you smilies in both the regular and quick reply options. And we have many new fabulous smilies.

To display a page with of the smilies currently used by this forum, click here, to see the smilies listed by category click here.

How to apply bold, italic and other special effects to your posts

For the most part, your posts will contain plain text, but on occasions, you may want to emphasize certain words or phrases by making them (for example) bold or italic.

To do this you use "vB Code" a special set of tags which you can use to produce the most popular text-effects.

You may also use smilies, which allow you to use small icons to convey emotion, and the [img] code, which allows you to add pictures to your message.

For more information about vB code: click here.

How to edit a thread title
After posting a thread you can edit the title of the thread for up to 10 minutes. There are two ways of editing the title of a thread - you can double-click on the thread title in the list of threads in the Forum section and directly edit the thread title or you can view your first post, select "Edit" and then "Advanced Options" and edit the thread title.

How to change your “notification” options
Pull down the ‘User CP’ menu and choose Edit Options. From the Edit Options menu, you can also change the notification setting (Do Not Subscribe, No email notification, Instant email notification, Daily notification or Weekly Notification).

How to See (and Change) Subscribed Threads
Pull down the User CP menu and choose Subscribed Threads. From there, you can see all your subscribed threads. If you wish to unsubscribe, merely click the box next to the thread’s title. Then pull down the menu entitled “Selected threads” and choose “Delete Subscription”. You can also change your notification options from this menu.

How to view your warnings
Click the yellow card icon at the bottom right of a warned post to see what you’ve been slapped on the wrist for.

How to find out what other members are up to
Click on “Who’s Online” from the Quick Links menu. There you can see what other members are doing.

How to keep others from seeing what you’re up to
In the Edit Options menu, click the box that says “Use Invisible Mode”. Now those nosey parkers won’t be able to see that you are logged in or what you are doing on “Who’s Online”. (The Mod Team can still see you.)

How to use the Calendar
Click the link “Calendar”. There, you can see other members’ birthdays and interesting facts. For example October 4, 2005 is National Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden and Finland, Sputnik was launched in 1957 and it’s also Official Complain about Hawk_One Leftover Day.

Adding a text or image link (URL)
(You need to be using the standard or enhanced editors to use these instructions.)

Highlight the text (including image tags which mean you can make an image also act as a link) you want to become a link and then click on the link button, enter your url and when you click OK your highlighted text is wrapped in the correct code.


As an example of this.

Highlight "example"

As an example of this.

Then click on

Type in your url e.g., click OK and your text will look like this:

As an [url=""]example[/url] of this.

Which when posted will look this:

Originally Posted by Darat :
As an example of this.

Note: This does not work if you use the Safari Browser of OS/X

How to cite Wikipedia, SkepticWiki, and
Lesson 12 - Citing Wikipedia, SkepticWiki, and

You can create superscript links to several reference sites to provide supplemental information in your posts. The Wikipedia and SkepticWiki links must use the exact name of the article you want to link to, otherwise the link will go to a "page not found" message. The and Encarta links work via those sites' search functions, so you do not need to know the exact name of the entry. Some Encarta entries are for subscibers only.

SkepticWiki: [swiki]Entry name[/swiki]
Example: [swiki]Hasty Generalization[/swiki]

Displays as: Hasty GeneralizationSW
Wikipedia: [wiki]Entry name[/wiki]
Example: [wiki]Raymond Smullyan[/wiki]

Displays as: Raymond SmullyanWP[word]word[/word]
Example: [word]flapjack[/word]

Displays as: flapjackdict
Encarta: [encarta]Entry name[/encarta]
Example: [encarta]Carl Sagan[/encarta]

Displays as: Carl SaganEN

Thanks to Mahatma Kane Jeeves for supplying this "How to..."

How to format text with highlighting, ranting, devil's advocate, hellfire, and LaTEX tags
Automatically format text with special tags

There are several tags you can use to automatically format text with a predefined template.

Hilite: Create a highlighter pen effect using [hilite]value[/hilite]
Example: [hilite]These words are highlighted[/hilite], and these are not.

Displays as: These words are highlighted, and these are not.

Rant: Feel like ranting? Wrap your true feelings in [rant]value[/rant] tags to produce a preformatted text box.
Example: [rant]I hate banks![/rant]

Displays as:
RANT! I hate banks!

Devil's Advocate: When playing devil's advocate, set apart that argument from your own by using [da]value[/da] tags.
Example: [da]This is what the devil might say.[/da]

Displays as: Devil's Advocate: "This is what the devil might say."

Hellfire: Large red text. [hellfire]value[/hellfire]
Example: [hellfire]Feelin' hot, hot, hot[/hellfire]

Displays as: Feelin' hot, hot, hot

LaTeX: If you are familiar with LaTeX, you can use it by wrapping your text in [latex]string[/latex] tags.
Example: [latex]$$ \frac{\frac{1}{x}+\frac{1}{y}}{y-z} $$[/latex]

Displays as:
For more information, see this thread.

Thanks to Mahatma Kane Jeeves for supplying this "How to..."

How to create a speech bubble for an emoticon
Create a speech bubble for an emoticon

Ceptimus has kindly provided the means to create a speech bubble to hold any text you choose. The bubble can be used with any emoticon. Wrap your text in [bub]value[/bub] tags, then put your emoticon on the next line down.
Example 1:
[bub]Live long, and prosper[/bub]

Displays as:

Example 2:
[bub]I've got blisters on my fingers![/bub]

Displays as:

Thanks to Mahatma Kane Jeeves for supplying this "How to..."

How to hide text
If you wish to hide some text in a post, for example an answer to a puzzle or a revealing comment about the plot of a movie you can use the [spoiler] tag.


[spoiler]This text is hidden until a Member clicks on the button[/spoiler]

Displays as:

This text is hidden until a Member clicks on the button

How to add an avatar or signature
(Avatars and Signatures are available once you have made 50 posts. )

Avatars can be any graphic image up to 100 x 100 pixels, filesize no more then 48k and in jpeg, gif or png format. Avatars can be uploaded from your computer or linked from an external source. When choosing an avatar please respect copyright restrictions and ensure its suitability for an educational forum.

Avatars and Signatures are accessible through the User Control Panel (the User CP link in the NavBar).

In your User Control Panel, choose Edit Avatar or Edit Signature from the Settings & Options links on the left-hand side of the screen.

How to use "tags"

A “tag” is is a keyword or group of keywords that you can “tag” onto a thread when you create it or at any other time, the power of tags is that they can help other Members find relevant and related threads quickly and they also let you browse the Forum by topics that are of interest to you.

Each "tag" can be up to three words long, separated by a space and each word in a tag can be 20 characters (you can use letters and numbers) and each thread can have up to to 25 tags (if you've started a thread you can only add 10 tags).

Searching with Tags

There are several ways you can search for Tags.

  1. From the Navbar click on "TAGS", this will open a new page in your browser. On the page is a large box which lists the most common tags on the Forum. You can quickly search for all threads using one of these tags just by clicking on the tag. You can also search for a tag containing a word or part of a word on this page by entering your search into the box next to the "Search Tags" button and then clicking on the button.
  2. From the Navbar click on "SEARCH", a menu will appear that has three sections, the middle section is labeled "Search Tags", you can enter a word to search for into the box and then click on "Go".
  3. Advanced Searching with Tags. You can access this from any page by clicking on "Search" on the NavBar and then choosing "Advanced Search - Tags".

Example 1: You want to know about that person people are discussing but the only thing you can remember is that her name sounds something like 'owne'.

Type owne into the "Search Tags" box and click on the button. You will be taken to a page showing a list Tags that matches your search, the list will look something like:

Notice that "browne" is bigger than the other tags. This is because there are many threads that have been tagged with the word "browne". Another thing to note is that many of the tags do not start with owne, this is because the software will try to match your search with any tag that contains the words and/or letters you entered as your search.

You can now click on any of the tags that were found and you will be taken to a page with a list of all the threads that were tagged with that tag.

Adding tags when you start a new thread

When you create a new thread, just add some tags in the Tags box just below the title box, for example:

adding a tag

If you want to add more then one tag separate the tags with a comma.

Adding and deleting tags to an existing thread

If you are the thread starter you can add or delete tags to any of your threads.
There are a number of reasons for doing this:-

  • Tags are a quite recent feature and when the feature was installed all existing threads had tags created for them by the software. However this used a simple method consisting of extracting each word from the title of a thread and making it a tag. This may mean the tags do not accurately reflect the topics of discussion in the older threads.
  • Threads can be derailed or simply drift into other areas of discussion then originally intended, so tags that may have originally been relevant are no longer so!
  • You may decide that the tags you create are not quite right or notice a spelling mistake or some other error.

Adding or deleting a tags is very simple. Open up the thread and at the bottom of the page, you will see a box with the tags the thread currently has, for example:

Adding and deleting tags

Deleting a tag: Simply click on the "[X]" next to the tag, this will instantly delete the tag (note: there is no confirmation).

Adding a tag: Just type your new tag into the box and click add. (Each "tag" can be up to three words long, separated by a space and each word in a tag can be 20 characters (you can use letters and numbers) and each thread can have up to to 15 tags.)

Note: You can only delete and add tags to threads you started however the Moderating Team and the Tag Team can add and delete tags on all threads. Tags are visible to Members and non-Members and are subject to more stringent restrictions than posts even in the Member only sections.

Thanks to rjh01 for supplying this "How to..."

How to mark content "NSFW" (Not Suitable For Work)
If you wish to make some content in a post "NSFW" (Not Suitable For Work), for example a link to a site that plays a loud audio file you can use the [nsfw=Content Descriptor] tag.


[NSFW=Explanation Text]This text is maked as NSFW and hidden until a Member clicks on the button[/NSFW]

Displays as:

This text is marked as NSFW and hidden until a Member clicks on the button

How to use the Multi-quote function

This is the Multi-quote button: Multi-quote It is located next to the Quote button under each post.

If you want to reply to more than one post at a time, click the Multi-quote button under each of the posts you wish to reply to. Next, click the Quote button of one of those posts, and all those posts will be quoted in chronological order in the Reply box.

Multi-quote can also be used to quote posts from one thread in another thread. Click the multi-quote button under the posts you wish to quote then click 'Reply' (or quote a post) in the thread you wish to reply to, and underneath the reply box click "Quote these posts as well". All the posts you have selected will appear, and you can now add your comments before posting.

How to delete a vistor message

At the top right of each message next to the date and time of the message is a check box, click in that to select the message you want to delete. (You can select more than one message at a time.)

At the bottom of the list of visitor messages is a drop-down box labelled "Moderation", choose "Delete Message" from the drop down menu and then click "Go" or "OK".

This will let you "soft delete" the messages which means they will be deleted as far as other Members are concerned but still accessible to the Moderating Team.

Note: Remember visitor messages are subject to the Membership Agreement so if someone posts a message that you think breaches the Membership Agreement we would rather you report it to the Moderating Team rather than delete it.

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