Explanations and instructions of all things Writing.Com.
Writing.Com Message Forums are a great way to meet like-minded individuals who share your particular interest. A message forum can be for any topic you want. It can be a meeting place for writers who love poetry or members who enjoy movies. Forums can be used for fun events like auctions and raffles, or to celebrate a fellow member's accomplishment, or to mourn the loss of another. There is simply no limit to what kind of discussions or activities they can be used for, as evidenced by over 1,000 message forums created by members just like you. And each time you post in a forum, you place yourself in front of other authors, readers and fans. This may bring more awareness of your presence and, hopefully, more traffic to your own portfolio!
Where Do I Start?
Perhaps you have just signed on to the site and you are not quite sure of where to go first. One of the first message forums recommended to newbies is the "Noticing Newbies" forum. You're likely to meet other authors introducing themselves and long-time members welcoming you and offering their assistance to make your stay a productive and rewarding one. It is a great kick off forum to begin your Writing.Com experience.
Maybe you signed up for help with your writing and have particular questions about certain topics. Where do you go for help with that? You might be looking for "Writing.Com General Discussion" . This message forum is for general writing questions or topics. By posting there, you are likely to have other members help out as best they can.
Viewing a Message Forum
Below the item header, the main Message Forum page has a header which introduces the Forum and explains the rules and directions for posting in the Forum. These rules and directions are set by the Forum owner.
Below the Forum header are the buttons labeled Post a new Message • Switch to Threaded View and a search/sort and paging bar. The message listing is below that. Another search/sort and paging bar appears at the bottom, along with another set of buttons.
Threaded View and Un-Threaded View
When you view an existing message in a thread:
In Un-Threaded view, the main Forum page shows a list of individual messages in reverse time-posted order. The page of each individual message includes a MESSAGE THREAD listing under the message, which shows where that message is attached in the thread. This listing contains links which can be used to page from the message currently shown to any other message in the thread. Any embedded images are shown as images up to the limit in the viewer's Account Settings; excess image tags show a limit message.
In Threaded view, the main Forum page shows a table-style list of the threads in reverse last-posted-to order. The table cell for each thread includes links to the thread and to the last reply. Each thread page displays a table-style list of all the messages of the thread in time-posted order. The information about how messages are attached to the thread is limited to the date/time stamp and how many Re: precede the message title. No embedded images are shown; any image tags are displayed as a link to the Image item.
The default setting is Un-Threaded view. Clicking on Switch to Threaded View allows you to see the posts in the forum in 'thread' form, which is a quick way to see the responses without loading that many individual pages.
If you click on Switch to Threaded View for one forum, the setting applies to all subsequent page loads of any forum. To undo this, click on Switch to Un-Threaded View in any forum, and the setting reverts to Un-Threaded view for subsequent page loads of any forum. Note that if you change the setting when you have forum pages open in multiple tabs or windows, you might need to reload a forum page to show the current/correct setting on the switch.
How to Post in a Forum
Posting in a forum is easy and one of the first things you should learn on Writing.Com. Not only does it give you the opportunity to communicate with other members by introducing yourself, but you might also need to post in "Technical Support Forum" or "Non-Technical Support Forum" for help on something in particular. Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to communicating with everyone else on the forums:
Read the directions and/or rules written at the top of the forum.
Each forum requires you to follow certain guidelines, such as not going off-topic or keeping the discussion within a certain content rating limit. Reading and following the rules is especially recommended if the forum is for a writing contest or challenge. Some forums may delete your post if you do not follow the owner's guidelines, so be sure you read these before posting.
Note that Premium members and above have the option to limit posting in their Forums; if that option is used, those who are not allowed to post will see a message box at the bottom of the header.
To Post a New Message
When you are ready to post, scroll down to the Post a new Message • Switch to Threaded View buttons. Click on Post a new Message to open a page where, by following the directions, you can write whatever you want and post it.
To Post a Reply to an Existing Message
When you are ready to post:
In Un-Threaded View: Open the message you want to reply to, scroll down below the message and the MESSAGE THREAD listing, and click in the text box labeled Post a Reply... to open the form.
In Threaded View: Open the thread page that contains the message you want to reply to, scroll down to the message, and click Reply at the right side of that message header to open a page which shows that individual message above a text box labeled Post a Reply.... Click in the text box to open the form.
If you want to reply to the last message displayed in the thread, you can use the text box labeled Post a Reply... shown below the thread. Click in the text box to open the form.
The Post a Reply... form is like the Add a new message form without a Subject: text box.
Features in both forms:
To make your messages more creative or interesting, you can use the WritingML formatting button bar across the top of the Message: text box. The button bar contains buttons that insert tags around highlighted text or at the cursor position to format your text, and buttons to open pop-up windows for WritingML: Docs & Help and WritingML: Emoticons, which contain additional options. Please see "Enhance Your Item With WritingML" for details.
Emoticon Flags in Message Subject Lines
If you start the Subject line of a new message with an emoticon, that emoticon will be included on all messages in that thread.
Below the message box is a form to send GPs ("Gift Points" ) with your message. This is optional. Note that what happens depends on whether you are creating a new message or replying to an existing message, and whether you are using Threaded or Unthreaded view.
If you are creating a new message in either Threaded or Unthreaded view, whatever amount you type in the box is deducted from your GP balance and automatically sent either to the owner of the forum or to a Group item they have designated. The form indicates where the GPs will go. Your post will contain a message indicating how many GPs were sent and where they were sent. The transaction will also be added to your GP Log and the GP log of the recipient member or Group item.
If you are replying to an existing message, whatever amount you type in the box is deducted from your GP balance and automatically sent to the member who posted the message you are replying to.
In Unthreaded view, the message you are replying to is the only existing message shown on the page.
In Threaded view, you need to click on the Reply button in the header of the particular message you want to reply to, to open the correct reply form for that existing message, or you can use the reply form at the bottom of the thread to reply to the most recent message displayed in the thread.
In all cases the form indicates where the GPs will go. Your post will contain a message indicating how many GPs were sent and where they were sent. The transaction will also be added to your GP Log and the GP log of the recipient member or Group item. Note that including GPs is a great way to thank them for their help, if they responded to a query to your satisfaction.
Below the GPs form is a checkbox for receiving an email notification if anyone else replies to your message. This setting can be checked or unchecked for any particular message. You can also use the adjacent button to store the current checkbox setting as the default for this option. If you do not check this option and someone replies to your message, you will be notified in your Notifications instead.
Either type of notification is limited to direct replies. Replies to a reply to your message will trigger a notification to the person who posted that reply, but it will not trigger a notification to you. In Un-Threaded view, the MESSAGE THREAD listing under your message shows replies to your message under it, indented once. In Threaded view, information about how the messages are attached in the thread is limited.
Note that to monitor overall activity in a Forum, you can Favorite or Fan the Forum and watch for it to appear in the Favorites listing in the right hand column.
Next to the Submit Post button at the bottom of the form are buttons for Preview Post and Spell Check. The spell-checked post is displayed below the form. You may make changes within the form and spell check it again. The previewed post is displayed by itself; if you need to make changes, click on the Edit Post button to return to the form. You can preview the post again. When you are satisfied, click Submit Post.
You can edit a message you have previously submitted. In Un-Threaded view, open the individual message and click on the Edit button in the buttons above the post to open the form. In Threaded view, open the thread page and click the Edit button at the right side of the message header to open the form. Click Complete Edit to store the changes.
Linking to a Message
You can link to a message with the post tag; please see WritingML Help for post. The message ID number is displayed at the right side of the message header in both Un-Threaded and Threaded views. In Threaded view, a link to a message opens the thread it belongs to.
Exporting Your Forum Posts
You can export your forum posts by clicking on My Account/My Activity/Forum Posts in the main navigation on the left, and at the top of that page, clicking on the link labeled Post Export Tool.
How to Find a Forum
To find a list of all the forums to which you have regular access, click on Browse By Type/Forums in the main navigation on the left. This opens a listing of those forums, which you can scroll through to see which catches your attention or fits what you're looking for. Note that this listing does not include forums for which you have Group-only access or Passkey access. The gear icon at the top right allows you to choose the format of the listing. To narrow your search, the listing has a sort and search bar, a drop-down menu for limiting by Forum Subtypes, and a drop-down menu for your content rating filter. Note that using your Favorites/Fans list is the best way to access forums for which you have Group-only access or Passkey access and forums you use frequently.
How to Create a Forum
While any member can post in a message forum that is accessible to him or her and that doesn't limit posting, only Basic Members and above may create their own message forums. Before setting up your forum, be sure to have a definite plan for what it's going to be used for and how it's going to be used. If you hope to get a lot of attention from members interested in what you have to say, please see "Gaining Exposure For Your Items" for allowed methods of promoting your item. For complete information on how to set up your own forum, please see: "Create/Edit a Message Forum" .1