FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (and our best answers)

To all forum members new and old: here is a new 'how-to' FAQs page that may answer some questions about navigating the forum that we really are asked quite frequently.

We hope it'll be helpful to all. Please note that the content may well be updated from time to time as needs arise. Do please send a Private Message to the moderators if you have any suggestions about the content of this long list.

Our regards to everyone reading this, and our sincere thanks for your presence and all your contributions.

~ Bill Ryan and the Avalon Staff Team
   30 August 2015

 



Click on the question you'd like an answer to. The page will automatically redirect to the answer. If you have another question, then just press the back button on your browser to return to the question list.

* Click here to save this file as a PDF for your own later reference.

 

POSTING

Where (and how) should I start a new thread?

How do I reply to a thread that’s been started?

What does the little 'A/A' icon mean?

How do I quote what another member has written?

How do I embed an image in a post?

How do I embed a video in a post?

How do I embed an audio in a post?

How do I embed a PDF in a post?

How do I add a link to some text that I’ve written in a post?

How do I find the link to a particular post number?

I’ve copied a pasted a link from somewhere else, that looks like this:
http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...helping-people
...but the link doesn’t work. What did I do wrong?

How do I edit a post I’ve made?

I made a second post on the same post soon after my first, and it added what I’d written to my original post. Why is that?

Can I delete a post I’ve made?

How do I make long quotes shorter?

Can I change the title of a thread I started?

How do I preview what I’ve written before posting it?

Can I move a thread I’ve started into another area/category of the forum?

Can I start a thread in a place where only members will be able to see it?

How can I make sure that a post I’m in the middle of drafting doesn’t get lost forever if I’m suddenly kicked offline, or have a computer problem at my end?

 

SEARCHING / FINDING

How do I search the forum?

How do I ‘subscribe’ to a thread (i.e. be sent a notification if there have been any new posts)?

What’s the best way to keep in touch with new posts or new threads?

I’ve heard that there are one or two private areas of the forum that I can’t see, even though I’m a member. How come?

 

PERSONAL PROFILE AND SETTINGS QUESTIONS

How do I change my avatar?

How do I change my country flag?

How do I change my password?

How do I change the e-mail you have on record for me?

What happens if I lose or forget my password?

How can I stay logged into the forum all the time?

Can I change my username?

How do I change the appearance (or ‘background’) of the forum?

Can I be ‘invisible’ to other members?

I don’t seem to be getting the Avalon Newsletter. How do I add my address to the Newsletter list?

What do you do with the personal information in membership applications?

How do I ask to close my forum membership?

How do I ask to go on a ‘sabbatical’ (i.e. take a temporary break from the forum)?

How do I make a donation to Project Avalon?

 

PRIVATE MESSAGES ('PM's)

Where will I find my PMs?

How will I know if I have any PMs waiting for me?

How do I send a private message (a ‘PM’) to a member?

How do I delete a PM?

Can I download my PMs to my own computer?

How do I search in my PMs?

Are PMs totally private?

 

OTHER MEMBERS

How do I search for other members?

What is a 'Group'?

What does ‘+’ mean that I see against some people’s usernames?

What do the different colors of usernames mean?

How can I see a list of a particular member’s posts?

What does ‘Thanks’ mean?

What do the terms ‘Retired’, ‘Unsubscribed’ and ‘Deactivated’ mean by the name of someone who’s left the forum?

Sometimes I read about a member who is ‘on vacation’. What does that mean?

I’d like to recommend a friend to be a forum member. How should I do that?

How do I ‘ignore’ another member, if I want to?

How do I report a post or a Private Message (PM) that I see a problem with, or want to bring to the moderators’ attention for any reason?

Where can I see the forum activity... who’s online, the number of posts and threads and visitors, etc?

What do the moderators do?

 


 

POSTING

Where (and how) should I start a new thread?

First, choose a section for your thread to be posted in. That can be almost anywhere here, in the long list of options under the FORUM tab.

When you’ve chosen the best section for what you want to contribute or share, click on that to open it, and then you’ll see a list of the threads that are already there.

Now simply click on ‘+ POST NEW THREAD’ at the top left of the list.

How do I reply to a thread that’s been started?

There are two ways:

  1. you can enter text in the QUICK REPLY box, click ‘+ REPLY TO THREAD’, or click ‘REPLY’ under any post (these three options do exactly the same thing) — or
  2. click REPLY WITH QUOTE under a post you want to reply to specifically.

REPLY WITH QUOTE means that that post’s content will be quoted above your own reply.

Note that the quoted text can be edited, trimmed down, or divided into sections as you wish... just edit it like normal text, but make sure you have (or copy) the [ quote] and [ /quote] tags in the right places. (To be sure, do PREVIEW (see this FAQ) the post first to check it all looks right.)

or

then (if you want to Preview what you've replied before posting)

What does the little 'A/A' icon mean?

This is like a WYSIWYG (‘what you see is what you get’) on-off ‘toggle switch’. It’s useful if you want to see the code behind any post, for instance the choice of fonts, sizes, colors, and the structure of quoted text (which can sometimes get quite complicated).

Note that the two little up/down arrows there allow you to expand or contract the size of the text box you’re replying in, which can be useful when drafting a long post.

How do I quote what another member has written?

Click 'REPLY WITH QUOTE' below an earlier post you’d like to reply to (or quote) specifically.

How do I embed an image in a post?

There are two ways of doing this.

  1. Upload the image from your computer, or
  2. Link to an image that's already on the internet (i.e. it's already on a server somewhere).

To upload an image from your computer, click the ‘Insert Image’ icon in the toolbar.

If you see this...

...then you need an extra step. Click 'Cancel', then click on the little A/A icon (see this FAQ above)

...and if you click in the ‘Insert Image’ icon in the toolbar again, this time you will see

Click 'Browse', select your image, and click 'Upload File(s)'. That's it. The image will remain there as one of your 'Attachments'.

Note: You can later manage your attachments (for instance, to use that uploaded image again at some other time), by clicking GO ADVANCED...

... and then clicking on the little 'Attachments' icon in the toolbar. (Note: this is only visible in 'Go Advancd' mode.)

To link to an image that's already on the internet (i.e. it's already on a server somewhere), either access this window again...

...or access THIS window again, but this time click the 'From URL' tab:

Leave the box on the bottom left UNchecked, eter the URL of the image, and click 'Insert Image'. That's it.

How do I embed a video in a post?

Click the ‘Insert Video’ icon in the toolbar, and enter the URL (link) of the video.

If it’s a YouTube video, you can also do this by clicking the ‘Wrap [YOUTUBE] tags around selected text’ icon.

Either way works fine, and will look just the same in your post.

How do I embed an audio in a post?

Click the ‘Wrap [MP3] tags around selected text’ icon in the toolbar, and enter the URL (link) of the audio.

Important Note: if that’s all you do, there will be no way for the viewer to DOWNLOAD the audio... so do please add the raw URL (link) of the MP3 as well, just as text.

How do I embed a PDF in a post?

Click the ‘Wrap [PDF] tags around selected text’ icon in the toolbar, and enter the URL (link) of the PDF.

How do I add a link to some text that I’ve written in a post?

Highlight your piece of text (one word or several), and then click on the little ‘Insert Link’ icon in the toolbar.

In the box that follows, enter the URL (link) of what you want your text to be linked to.

Note that if the text is an e-mail address, you can also make that a link by highlighting the address and clicking the 'Insert Email Link' icon.

How do I find the link to a particular post number?

Go the post you want to reference, and there you’ll on the top right) a link that says “Link to Post # [xx]”. Right-click on that, and then choose “Copy Link Location”.

Alternatively, if you just click on “Link to Post # [xx]”, the full link to that specific post will appear in your browser bar.

I’ve copied a pasted a link from somewhere else, that looks like this:
http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...helping-people
...but the link doesn’t work. What did I do wrong?

That’s because it’s a shortened/curtailed URL. The middle part (where it goes “...” is missing.

To copy a link from another post, point your mouse at the link, right-click, and select 'Copy Link Location'. Then you’ll have copied the FULL link, which may be quite long, and is necessary for the pasted link to work.

When you Copy the Link Location, you'll see that the entire link (and all of it is necessary) is http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?78151-people-being-people-helping-people.

How do I edit a post I’ve made?

Just click on EDIT POST. You can do that at any time, with a post of your own, even years later.

I made a second post on the same post soon after my first, and it added what I’d written to my original post. Why is that?

The software will always do that if the second post is within 3 minutes of the original, by the same person. If you want what you’ve written to be a separate post, then just wait a little bit longer.

Can I delete a post I’ve made?

No. But the moderators will be pleased to do that for you, and it only takes a second. Either REPORT the post in question (see this FAQ), or send a PM to all or any of the mods asking for the post to be deleted.

How do I make long quotes shorter?

Edit the quote in your text box by deleting whatever you don’t want to be in there. That’s very useful (for everyone!) if you’re replying or commenting on just a small specific part of what someone else has written in a long post.

Important note: always make sure that the QUOTE tags are there at the beginning and end, and that you haven't deleted one of those by accident: easy to do.

Can I change the title of a thread I started?

No. But the moderators will be pleased to do that for you, and it only takes a second. Just send a PM to all or any of the mods asking for the thread title to be changed, and we’ll do it straight away.

Note: if the moderators spot a typo in a thread title, they’ll often correct that themselves. It’s important for the spelling of names and key words in thread titles to be accurate, or else they may not be found in any later search.

How do I preview what I’ve written before posting it?

Click on GO ADVANCED, and then PREVIEW POST.

Can I move a thread I’ve started into another area/category of the forum?

No. But the moderators will be pleased to do that for you, and it only takes a second. Just send a PM to all or any of the mods asking for the thread to be moved to a different category, and we’ll do it straight away.

Note: if the moderators feel a thread is in the wrong, or not the best, category, we’ll often move it ourselves, with an automatic redirect to its new location.

Can I start a thread in a place where only members will be able to see it?

Yes, there’s a 'Members Only' section of the forum, where anyone who’s not a member (or any member who’s not logged in) cannot see the threads or posts that are there. (And whatever’s there isn’t searchable in Google or any other search engine, either.) That's located at the bottom of the list of forum sections, visible when you click the FORUM tab.

How can I make sure that a post I’m in the middle of drafting doesn’t get lost forever if I’m suddenly kicked offline, or have a computer problem at my end?

If you PREVIEW a post, you may well find that text still intact when you return to the page after a crash or a freeze.

But the safest thing to do is to draft a long, detailed post on a separate text document (e.g. MS Word, or any notepad you may use), and then copy it to the Reply box when you’re ready.

Having said that, some members are giving good reports of the Lazarus add-on, for the Firefox and Chrome browsers. This enables partially completed online forms to be recovered if there's a crash. Free download for Windows here, for Mac here. (Or, download and enable Lazarus from within your browser preferences.)

 

SEARCHING / FINDING

How do I search the forum?

There are two ways that work pretty well:

  1. you can search in Google if you enter ‘site:projectavalon.net’ and then add the search term, which can be a phrase if you enter it in quotes, “like this”. Or
  2. click the ‘Advanced Search’ button, which is near the top right of every page.

For the Advanced Search, click on the WORDS 'Advanced Search', which then takes you to a new window. The simple search box, which you can see as a white rectangle, does NOT work so well.

The Advanced Search also allows you to look for phrases, and allows you also to specify the member username you may be looking for, and allows you to choose your results to be presented as individual posts, or as a list of threads in which those posts occur. There are a number of permutations of options available.

You can also search for terms in the titles of threads, which is very useful when doing research into existing threads on (e.g.) topics of interest.

Note that the Forum Advanced Search will not return results on short or very common terms... but Google will.

Note also that if you’re searching for a specific YouTube video, just enter the YouTube code for that video. E.g. if the video you want to find has the URL http://youtube.com/watch? v=XFP5hOux4UY, just search for ‘XFP5hOux4UY’.)

How do I ‘subscribe’ to a thread (i.e. be sent a notification if there have been any new posts)?

Click on ‘Thread Tools’ (to the top right of any thread), and then, from the little menu that appears, choose ‘Subscribe to this Thread’. You’ll be sent notifications of any new posts on that thread.

What’s the best way to keep in touch with new posts or new threads?

There are various ways; the easiest might be to click on the NEW POSTS list or the NEW THREADS list, to the top right of any page.

I’ve heard that there are one or two private areas of the forum that I can’t see, even though I’m a member. How come?

Yes, there are one or two small, ‘private’ areas of the forum. That’s because some topics are deeply and personally sensitive, and those members participating wouldn’t wish for their posts to be visible even to other members.

An example might be where a certain kind of abuse has been experienced as a child, where a member might not feel at all comfortable sharing what happened to them on the public forum (even for members only).

If you’d like to start a private area like that for your own good reasons, and suggest that one or two others might be invited also, then please PM the moderators to let us know.

 

PERSONAL PROFILE AND SETTINGS QUESTIONS

Note: for answers to most of these questions, first go to your SETTINGS page. Details then follow in the specific answers below.

How do I change my avatar?

Go to ‘Edit Avatar’

...in your Settings page.

Note that while there’s a list of ‘standard’ avatars to choose from, you’re most welcome (and encouraged!) to find and upload your own unique avatar, which can be any digital image as long as it’s not an animated GIF. (We’ve disabled animated avatars, as one or two of them have been really distracting or irritating to members.)

How do I change my country flag?

Go to ‘Edit Profile’

...in your Settings page, and then, in the page that follows, scroll to the bottom where you can specify your Country Flag.

How do I change my password?

Go to ‘Edit Email and Password’ in your Settings page.

How do I change the e-mail you have on record for me?

Go to ‘Edit Email and Password’ in your Settings page.

What happens if I lose or forget my password?

Just click on this link: http://projectavalon.net/forum4/login.php?do=lostpw. A new password will be auto-generated by the software and sent to the e-mail we have on record for you.

Note: The moderators do not have any kind of access to any members’ passwords, old or new.

If you’re really stuck, just send us an e-mail to staff@projectavalon.net (or use the contact form), and we’ll be delighted to come to your rescue.

How can I stay logged into the forum all the time?

Check the little REMEMBER ME box next time you log in.

Can I change my username?

No. But the moderators will be pleased to do that for you, and it only takes a second. Just send a PM to all or any of the mods asking for your username to be changed.

How do I change the appearance (or ‘background’) of the forum?

There’s a little menu at the bottom left of every page. The standard (‘default’) background (or ‘style’) is called ‘Avalon Breeze’. That has a white background, and will probably work best for most people. But you can always choose a different appearance, just for yourself, if you like.

Note: the important thing to remember is that different members may use different styles. Black text automatically shows as white on a style with a dark background, but other colors may be hard for others to read. Purple or dark blue on white is easy to read, but against a dark background may be almost impossible. Same (the other way around) with pink or yellow.

The only colors that really work well on all color backgrounds are blue, red and black.

Can I be ‘invisible’ to other members?

Click on the ‘General Settings’ link...

...in your Settings page. That then leads you to another page, at the top of which you can set your ‘invisibility’ (if you wish).

If you’re ‘invisible’, that means that other members won’t be able to see if you’re online, or are viewing any particular thread or member’s profile, for example. (Note: the moderators can see all members.)

I don’t seem to be getting the Avalon Newsletter. How do I add my address to the Newsletter list?

Just send a PM to Bill Ryan (or e-mail him at bill@projectavalon.net), and your address will be added straight away. (You’re also welcome to ask for addresses of friends to be added, of course.)

Alternatively, there's a place to sign up on the TOP RIGHT of the page you get when clicking on the FORUM tab.

If your name is already there but you don’t seem to be getting the newsletter, then it may be ending up in your spam folder each time. Sometimes, an e-mail provider will block it before it even gets to your personal spam folder, and there’s nothing we can do about that! But links to the newsletters are all regularly posted on any of the New Newsletter threads.

What do you do with the personal information in membership applications?

All applications are kept in our secure archives, and are accessible to the moderators. Otherwise, all information is kept 100% totally confidential.

We add new members’ e-mail addresses to the newsletter mailing list, and we have a database which contains your username, your e-mail address, your avatar, your birthday, the number of posts you’ve made, and so on. That database does not record your personal name or location (though we can look those up in the applications archive).

Do note that we do not check, and have no means of checking, whether any information that’s been submitted in your application is accurate. There are a lot of people with birthdays on 1 January! But the only reason we ask for your birthday is so that the software can send you a Happy Birthday message to you each year. (It’s also broadly very interesting for us to know someone’s rough age... we have some members as young as 15, and a few others who are over 90 years old.)

How do I ask to close my forum membership?

Send an e-mail to staff@projectavalon.net (or use the contact form, or send a PM).

In most cases, we’d very much discourage anyone from leaving permanently — although someone in good standing with the forum who does leave can always ask to have their membership re-activated any time later. If you do feel you need to take a break (for any one of a number of good personal reasons), just ask to take a sabbatical.

How do I ask to go on a ‘sabbatical’ (i.e. take a temporary break from the forum)?

Click on the ‘Request a Sabbatical’ link in your Settings page.

How do I make a donation to Project Avalon?

Click on any of the DONATE buttons (in several places on the forum). They all lead to this page: http://projectavalon.net/donate.

Thank you for asking this question! The forum costs $4,220 per year to run, and everything is free. If you can help out, even just a little, everything counts, and it’s VERY much appreciated.

 

PRIVATE MESSAGES ('PM's)

Where will I find my PMs?

Click on your NOTIFICATIONS tab, and a drop down button for your Private Messages will appear.

How will I know if I have any PMs waiting for me?

There are three ways: (1) You can click on your NOTIFICATIONS tab, (2) you can specify that you'll get a pop-up notifying you if any new PMs come in (which is the default setting for everyone), or (3) (if you like) you can ask for new PMs to be notified to you by e-mail. To do that, click on GENERAL SETTINGS in your SETTINGS page...

...and then you'll see this. Just toggle all the settings whatever way you wish.

How do I send a private message (a ‘PM’) to a member?

Click on their name by any post, and the option to send a Private Message is part of the little drop-down menu that appears.

Alternatively, visit their Profile page, and the option to send a Private Message is there, too.

How do I delete a PM?

Check the box to the right of the PM in your inbox that you want to delete ...

...and then go to the bottom right of the page, where you’ll see a button which says SELECTED MESSAGES (1). (The ‘1’ is there because you’ve just selected one message. Otherwise it says ‘0’.) Click that, and a little menu appears. Choose ‘Delete’, and then click PROCEED. (Note: this procedure can’t be reversed. So be careful!)

Can I download my PMs to my own computer?

Yes. Scroll down to the bottom of your inbox page, and you’ll see three options for downloading. All your PMs will be downloaded in one, large, continuous, file.

How do I search in my PMs?

By far the easiest thing to do is to download them all as one large continuous text document, and then use Microsoft Word (or whichever text application you prefer) to search the content.

Are PMs totally private?

Yes, they are. In theory, everything that any member has ever written is there in the database somewhere, which as a matter of principle, are kept secret and never viewed or discussed by the forum moderation team, except of course for PM's sent or reported to the moderators. For regular (non-technical) access to PMs, a special plugin (a software add-on) would be needed, which we do NOT have installed — and we never will. What all that means is that you can rest assured that your Private Messages really are 100% private, to anyone except (probably) the NSA.

 

OTHER MEMBERS

How do I search for other members?

Click on the MEMBERS tab in the menu.

To search for a specific member’s name (even if you only know part of it), enter the name in the Member’s Search box to the right of that page.

What is a 'Group'?

A GROUP is a discussion area on a particular subject. If you click here on the menu bar, you can see a list of active Groups.

Click 'VIEW ALL' if the list doesn't look like this:

To create a new group, or to subscribe to (i.e. be notified of activity in) a group, click on one of these two buttons, which are at the bottom right of the Groups page.

What does ‘+’ mean that I see against some people’s usernames?

That means that they’re on your list of ‘Friends’.

Note: accepting a Friend request is a very nice way to be friendly and shake someone's hand (as it were), but in practical reality there's little (if any!) additional functionality to being 'Friends' with a member.

What do the different colors of usernames mean?

How can I see a list of a particular member’s posts?

There are several ways: you can click on the little ‘Posts:’ button under their name and avatar by any post of theirs, you can visit their Profile page and click to see their posts and started threads, or you can go into Advanced Search and find all their posts that way.

What does ‘Thanks’ mean?

It’s not defined, but basically it means that a post is appreciated by the thanking member. Many people use it to mean “Hey, I agree”, but it could also simply mean that the post was valuable and respected, even if NOT agreed with.

What do the terms ‘Retired’, ‘Unsubscribed’ and ‘Deactivated’ mean by the name of someone who’s left the forum?

Sometimes I read about a member who is ‘on vacation’. What does that mean?

It’s a colloquial term the moderators use for someone who’s been temporarily unsubscribed for some unacceptable transgression. It’s like being in the ‘sin bin’ in ice hockey. A ‘vacation’ can last from one day to a couple of weeks, which is usually (but not always) the maximum.

In every case, the member concerned would have been sent an e-mail explaining, sometimes in detail, and in most cases not unkindly, why the action has been taken. And in many instances, there would have been an exchange with the member by PM (Private Message) to try to resolve the problem without sending them ‘on vacation’, which is usually a last resort.

I’d like to recommend a friend to be a forum member. How should I do that?

Send them this link http://projectavalon.net/join — and let the moderators know by PM that they should look out for their application, and that you recommend them.

How do I ‘ignore’ another member, if I want to?

Click on ‘Edit Ignore List’

in your Settings page, and add the name of the member there. That person’s posts will then be invisible to you. (This can be undone at any time later, by editing the list again.)

How do I report a post or a Private Message (PM) that I see a problem with, or want to bring to the moderators’ attention for any reason?

There’s a little triangular icon to the bottom right of the post of PM that you can click. That post or PM is then automatically sent for the attention of all the moderators. In many cases the mods will acknowledge that the report is being looked at, but in some instances, like a request for a post to be deleted or a thread merged, you would simply see that its been done.

Important note: the mods take serious and usually very rapid note of all reported items, whether they’re large or small. If there seems to be a silence after sending a report, please know that it has most definitely been read and is being discussed by the mods.

Another thing to note is that you don’t always have to report problems! The mods sometimes rely on reports to be their eyes and ears in a large forum where it’s almost impossible for them to notice everything. Do by all means also report anything particularly wonderful that you think may have escaped the mods’ notice.

Where can I see the forum activity... who’s online, the number of posts and threads and visitors, etc?

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page http://projectavalon.net/forum4/forum.php — that’s the FORUM tab in the menu bar

...there you’ll see a section called 'What's going On?' with all the various statistics.

What do the moderators do?

They keep everything working well and in good shape (like aircraft mechanics, what they do is often unseen by the passengers), do a lot of routine housekeeping that’s also usually invisible, solve problems of all kinds (big and small) if and when they appear, look out for everyone’s well-being, safety and security, filter new member applications, put together pages like this, and try to do everything they can to make this a wonderful and user-friendly place to be.