This little tour will hopefully make it easier for folks, either new to these forums or those just unsure about them, to find their way around. My aim here is not to explain the reasonably obvious but more to show what is not immediately so. I will also explain how to achieve some common things that some people had trouble finding before. Starting at the top right of the screen -
From left to right the magnifying glass are these forums search facility, the three stacked horizontal lines are what is known as a “Hamburger Menu” (underlined in red) and lastly your avatar. The above picture also shows part of what is revealed when you click on your avatar that you may not have noticed as you logged out. The three things revealed are, from left to right again, bookmarks, messages and settings. I’ll deal with these later. Clicking on the hamburger menu icon reveals -
When you click on the reply button for a post/message it reveals the editor -
This may seem a bit minimal at first glance and not quite what you are used to. Just like the BeamDog forums you can enter markdown code, bbcode or elements of html to further format the text that you are entering. In this picture I have underlined two things in red. The thing at the top right of this picture allows you to re-size the edit window as a whole. Just click and hold this then move your mouse forwards or backwards to do so. For now that just leaves another menu. What you do get from the menu above the the text entry area is as follows (L - R) - Quote the whole of a post (often wasteful of space), Bold, Italic, link, Anonymous Block Quote, Pre-formatted text, upload (for images etc.), bullet list, Numbered list, (lots of) Emojis and a little menu. Opening this menu looks like -
Now that you know where to look makes it easier to explain about things. I’ll start with your avatar. When you have an account created for these forums you are assigned the first letter of your user-name for an avatar. To change this you need to go into settings using the cog/gear icon underneath your current avatar at the top of the screen. The initial page that opens when you click that icon is where you change your avatar. If this is your first time looking here it is a good idea to have a good look around because there is a lot of information there.
Inserting images into a post. There are 2 ways to do this other than clicking on the icon in the editor menu. If the image is on your computer, just position you text cursor where you want the image to appear, then drag and drop the image into the editing window. If, on the other hand, the image is somewhere on the web you will need to right-click on the image and copy the image address to your clipboard. Next position your cursor where you want the image to appear in your post and paste the address there. In both cases you should see the image appear in the preview window to the right of the edit window.
You can also add a small version of a YouTube video to a post. For this you need to copy the page address (copy from the address bar at the top of your browser) of the YouTube page containing the video. Position your text cursor in the editing window at the place you want the video to appear. Paste the address there and Discourse will do the rest. Example -
Having introduced them, there are a few things to know about links on here. Aside from the usual method (highlight text in message, click link icon and enter url) you can if you want, just enter/paste an address on its own into your message. Doing so will produce one of two effects. Discourse will first test the address. If it finds some information at the address that you entered, it will create a box with fuzzy edges. This box will contain a small amount of information about the web page your are linking to as well as the link (an example).
If Discourse cannot find this information, it just turns the address into the link itself. One other thing. Occasionally you may want to reference a long dead website without Discourse turning it into a link. The way to do this is not immediately obvious but it can be done and is rather simple when you know how. First enter the address and then highlight it. Now click the pre-formatted text button on the editor menu. That’s it. The result looks like this -
Quoting. Apart from the methods already mentioned there is another way to quote text from somebody else’s post(s). Now this can get quite “interesting” depending on your browser. Highlight the text that you want to quote, using your mouse to do so. When you release your mouses button a little box should appear with the word “quote” in it. Click this box. If you haven’t started a post yet, one will be created for you. In the post that you are creating the text you are quoting along with additional information and some formatting code will appear. If you look in the preview window you will see that not only is the text quoted but the user-name of the person who’s text you are quoting also appears. Remember I mentioned that your browser could make this “interesting”? I use Opera and it has a normally useful feature. It also pops up a little box when you highlight text on a web page, this one offering to search/copy. Needless to say when these boxes overlap…
PMs (Personal/Private Messages). The easiest way is to click on the user name of the person you want to message. Doing so will bring up a box that has (amongst a few other things) a button marked “Message” in it. Click that button to start writing your message. If you can’t see their user-name anywhere don’t despair. Open the hamburger menu I mentioned near the start of this post. You will see an item marked “Users”. Click on that. This will bring up a list of ALL registered users of these forums. That could take a bit of time. Alternatively, if you can remember their user name you could use the search facility mentioned at the start of this post.
Posting code. Enter your code into the edit box and ignore the way it will mangle your layout. Highlight your code and press the pre-formatted text button. This (should) not only restore your layout when you actually post your message it may also place your code into a box with scroll bars if Discourse deems your code too big to properly show in a post. These boxes are no different to the ones the used to be found on the old ign vault and the old
nwn.bioware.com sites. Well I say no different. Discourse’s box is actually bigger than what you used to get on either of those sites.
Now you may well have noticed that this post is pinned. Now on discourse pinning works differently to how you are probably used to. Once you have read the whole of a thread it will become unpinned for you but not others until they have also read that thread to the end. If you want to keep this thread handy after that, you will need to press the [bookmark] button below. Doing that will mean that you can always come back here.
Hopefully this helps. Obviously, Any questions about these threads, post them here. Also, as I not really “the fount of all knowledge” I may have left something out that you think is important. If so post in this thread. I may even have made an error (I’ve tried not to obviously). Post a correction in here, please.