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Explanations and instructions of all things Writing.Com.
#698879 added October 23, 2016 at 6:52pm
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Message Forum
Next to the Static Item, the Message Forum is one of the most used tools on Writing.Com. It's safe to say this forum is the most interactive item available. A Message Forum can be created and hosted by anyone with a Basic membership or above, although the Basic member is limited to two Message Forums. Upgraded members and above may create and host unlimited forums, and one does not need a Group to create a Message Forum, although many groups use such forums to enhance their activities. When the access restriction is set to Make PUBLIC, allow EVERYONE!, anyone, including guests, may view the forum posts, but only registered members may post a message.

You can create a Message Forum by clicking on the Create New Item link in the navigation located under the Writing.Com logo. Choose Message Forum from the variety of item types available. For a more detailed explanation about creating your own Message Forum, please see "Create/Edit a Message Forum.

What can a Message Forum be used for?
The reasons for creating a message forum are as endless as one's imagination. You may have an interest in a particular genre and wish to find like-minded folks willing to discuss that interest. Maybe you'd like to promote an activity, contest, or even a special friend. Or, you might just want to meet some new friends or have them over for "coffee and discussion", such as "Writing.Com General Discussion and "Noticing Newbies. Perhaps you're looking for a free exchange of ideas, storylines, or how-to information. Writing.Com maintains several message forums based on the exchange of information and inquiries, including "Technical Support Forum and "Non-Technical Support Forum.

Whatever your reasons, message forums are a perfect way to promote interaction among members of Writing.Com.

What kind of Message Forums are available?
While the following classifications are currently listed, selecting one forum type over another does not change the actual composition of the message forum nor the method in which the forum is advertised on Writing.Com. You should still select the appropriate genres in Section 3 of the creation/edit window to ensure your message forum is properly advertised or listed. Properly inserting one of the following types can, however, be used to narrow your search for a specific type of message forum when looking on our Message Forum   public listing page.
*Bullet* Activity
*Bullet* Contest
*Bullet* Debate
*Bullet* Discussion
*Bullet* Game
*Bullet* Promotion
*Bullet* Q & A
*Bullet* Review
*Bullet* Social

I've created a Message Forum. What are my responsibilities?
When you create a Message Forum, you become the forum moderator with total control over the written content that may be posted in your forum. You set the discussion parameters, the content rating, and the access restrictions for your forum--anyone desiring to post a message must adhere to your guidelines.

As a forum moderator you have several tools that allow you to manage your forum. Some tools are used to manage the overall forum itself. These are located under Manage Forum in the Item Tools menu at the top of your forum, which opens when you click the gear icon at the upper right.

Post Count Summary: Lists how many posts each participating member has made within a specified time range. The data can be copied and pasted to a spreadsheet.

Purge Forum: Clears all posts older than a certain time period, with set intervals ranging from an hour to a year. This function uses only the create date of the post. Editing a post does not protect it from the purge. Pinning a post does not protect it from the purge. This is permanent and cannot be undone, and requires a confirmation before it runs.

Other tools are available to help you manage the individual posts. In Unthreaded View, they are located at the top of the post and also below the reply form and look like this:

<< Previous · Message List · Next >>
Reply · Post New · Edit · Suspend · Pin · Delete · Lock

In Threaded View, the tools that apply to the whole thread are located at the top of the thread and also below the reply form under the thread:

<< Previous · Reply · Post New · Message List · Lock · Pin · Next >>

The tools that apply to the individual messages are located at the bottom right of the header of each individual message in the thread:

Like · Reply · Edit · Suspend · Delete

Moderating the Forum's Content and Content Rating: If you find that someone has posted outside of the content rating or topic range that you have set, you have the option to edit, suspend or delete the post from your message forum.

If you leave content that exceeds the content rating of the Forum, you must edit the Forum item to change the content rating of the forum to account for it. Note: It is not enough to mark the content rating of an individual message in its title.

Editing a Message: If you edit a message posted by someone else, a message including your username and the date-timestamp of the edit will be automatically added at the top of the message and used in the forum listing:

          (This message was edited by on MM-DD-YY @ HH:MM am/pm EST)

If a message is edited by the person who posted it, the date-timestamp of the edit will be automatically added at the top of the message and used in the forum listing:

          Edited: MM-DD-YY @ HH:MM am/pm EST

If you edit a Suspended message, completing the edit also UnSuspends the message.

Suspending a Message: If you (or someone who has edit rights) decide to suspend a forum post, a confirmation window will appear allowing you to add a reason before actually processing the suspend. You may select one of the reasons provided in a drop-down window or create one of your own or leave it blank. In any case, a confirmation window allows you to confirm or preview the suspend before completing it. Suspended messages are still shown in the forum listing. Any information from the suspend page will automatically be added to the top of the message, and the message header will be changed to show:

          ** Message Suspended **
          by Suspended By A Forum Leader

The information from the original post is preserved in the post, but is only visible to you and anyone who has edit rights. The date-time stamp of the suspend is automatically added at the top of the message. Anyone else will only see this information when they view the message:

          Edited: Month DD, YYYY at HH:MMam/pm
          ** Message suspended for further review. **

If a reason is selected from the drop menu, the system will automatically email the poster notifying them of the suspended forum message. The email will be sent from your Writing.Com email but will note that the message is automatically generated.

UnSuspending a Message: You (or someone who has edit rights) can click UnSuspend to restore the forum post to its original state, except that the Edited date-timestamp remains and is updated to the time-datestamp of the UnSuspend.

Deleting a Message: If you decide to delete a forum message, a confirmation window will appear allowing you to add a reason before actually processing the delete. You may select one of the reasons provided in a drop-down window or create one of your own or leave it blank. In any case, a confirmation window allows you to confirm or preview the delete before completing it. Deleted messages are still shown in the forum listing. The previous title, content, and original poster information will be deleted. The message now belongs to you, the forum owner. The message header will be changed to show:

          *** Deleted Message ***
          by Deleted by

The date-timestamp of the delete will be added to the top of the message, along with the message:

          Edited: Month DD, YYYY at HH:MMam/pm
          *** This message was deleted. ***

If a reason is selected from the drop menu, the system will automatically email the poster notifying them of the deleted forum message. The email will be sent from your Writing.Com email but will note that the message is automatically generated.

Note: If the account of an original poster is closed, their messages will no longer be shown in the forum listing, but will still be accessible when paging through from post to post and in the Thread tree under messages in Unthreaded View.

Locking a Thread: If there is a need to stop or prevent replies to a particular message or thread, the forum owner or anyone with edit access can lock the thread. The lock emoticon *Lock* is displayed at the left of each message poster in the thread, and no one can reply to any message in the thread. In Threaded View, the list of threads does not indicate whether the thread is locked; the information is shown in the view of the thread itself. A locked thread can be unlocked as needed.

Pinning a Message: A pinned message remains at the top of the forum listing and is marked with a *Tack* at the left of the message title. The forum owner or anyone with edit access can pin a message. Up to three messages/threads at a time can be pinned. Pinned messages/threads can be unpinned as needed.

A pinned message must be the first message in a thread. Replies cannot be pinned.

Pinning applies only to the default Newest First forum sorting. Re-sorting the the forum puts any pinned messages back in their normal places in the sorting results. Search results only include a pinned message if it matches the search term(s).

Pinning does not protect a message from a forum purge.


Why doesn't my Message Forum show up in the forum listings?
Your message forum must have at least one message posted to show up in the listings.

If your own content filter is set below the content rating of the Forum item, it will not show in your view of the listing, but will show to anyone whose content filter includes such content. The default content filter setting is 18+ with E-rated intros. The content filter setting can be changed with the drop menu shown at any point of use. There is only one content filter, which is used everywhere on the site; changing it one place changes it everywhere. Also, content not properly rated may have its content rating corrected, which could remove it from the default view of the public listings.

As with anything, how you set your access restrictions determines who can view and access the item. A list of alternatives is available for you to choose from in the pull down menu in the message forum creation/edit page. The restrictions may be edited at any time to reflect the changes in your mood or group status. If you use both of the access restriction drop menus, a viewer must meet the criteria for both restrictions to view the item. The paid membership drop menu is in the Advanced area of the create/edit page; this setting is not visible in the header of your item. For more information, please read: "Access Restrictions.1


Recommended Reading

Footnotes
1  Updated by Northernwrites ; written by Wannabe and Jace

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