Using the UK Forums

Forum or MatterMost?

The reason we have the Forums are because they do slightly different things than MatterMost, and if you embrace them they will help you.

MatterMost is for:

  • chat, that disappears quickly
  • asking someone for help
  • finding a person or group

Forums are for:

  • focussed discussions
  • asking specific questions or finding a specific topic
  • searching for information easily

Forums 'Landing Page'

When you get to the Forums 'Landing Page' you will find all the forums you're joined to by your membership of Hub Organisations. The individual forums have been classified into 8 Categories:

Pams_Forum_Landing_Page_02_17Feb21.jpg You'll find the forums from each of your Hub Organisations as clickable link names in the different Categories. If there's a new post waiting for your attention, you'll see an 'unread' button - click this to go to the unread post. As you can see, there are several other functions, which are descibed in more detail, below.

Overview of Forum Screen

A4Jforums.png

Further Information

Categories, Subcategories, Topics, Tags

Categories are the broad groups/areas in XR - Regions/Nations, Arts, Finance, Media, etc.

A Subcategory is where discussions take place on a particular area - e.g. Arts in North Cornwall, Finance for Actions, Social Media, etc. There may be many Subcategories in a particular Category.

Topic is a single conversation (or 'thread'). It has a title and consists of a number of posts, each created by a named user.

There are also Groups which are the people who have access to each Subcategory - you need to join the group to view and post in their Topics.

For example, North Cornwall may have separate town groups so that people in Wadebridge do not have to have the Bude discussions cluttering their screen, but can if they wish. This arrangement reflects XR's internal structures.

Tags let you flag things for searching depending on what they relate to, which will help others find them e.g. 'actions', 'how-to', 'documentation' etc.

Using the Forums

What can I see?

Generally, the top-level Categories - Arts, Finance, Media, etc. - will be visible to everyone as read-only. Typically, there will be a post signposting what subcategories are available and how to join them.

What is Public and what is Private?

Many forums are public, so you can join just by clicking the 'Join' button, but others are private so to be invited you will need to ask an existing member to join you via the Hub.

Some discussions may be read-only for most people, with only certain people able to contribute (e.g. Hints and Tips).

How to join a Forum or Group?

Groups may be public - anyone can see and join them, or private - you have to be invited (from the Hub) to join.

You can see all of the public access groups and any private ones you are joined to by clicking on the Main Menu (three bars) icon in the top right and selecting 'Groups for Forums'.

This will give you the Groups list - search by entering text in the box at the top, or simply scroll down to find the one you want. Click on Join to join the group and get access to its forums, or click on the name for more info.

Almost every local/regional/working group or circle has a public reception forum which you can join - Find and join now...

Help - page does not exist?

Sometimes you will get a message like this: pagenotexist.png This may be because you have typed the wrong thing into your browser, but normally it's when you have clicked a link (e.g. on Mattermost).

  • If you know which forum it is, and it's Public, join it youself.
  • If you don't know, or it's private, you'll need to ask the person who posted the link to add you.
How do I quote text from other posts and topics?

Simply highlight the bit of text you want to quote in the source post and you will see a "Quote" button appear above your highlighted text like this:

142e1a09482c3e53b0738d07ff2f7159356d3ce5.png
If you have not yet started editing your reply click the button and the editing pane will open in the bottom half of the screen, the selected text will be inserted as a quote with the source post and contributor linked to it. You then carry on and edit your reply as normal.

If you are already editing a reply, or starting a fresh topic, then in the top half of the screen, above the editing pane, you can browse around as normal and select text from any post, and the "Quote" button will insert it in the editor for you.

How do I format my posts, add bold/italic etc.?

There are simple ways to make your message more readable:

  • **bold** displays as bold
  • _italic_ displays as italic
  • ~~strikethrough~~ displays as strikethrough
  • ```typewriter style``` displays as typewriter stye
  • >quote displays as

quote

How do I alert someone to a post?

If you want to draw the attention of another member of the team to a post you are making type @ followed immediately by their username, eg '@username', and they will be notified of the mention.

When to start a new topic?

Before starting a new topic, it is always worth checking whether the issue has already been discussed (by looking through the previous topics) - it can be very frustrating when someone begins a fresh topic with a question that has already been answered.

How to create a Poll?

You can create simple polls directly in a post.

They are only visible to the other members of the particular forum where you create a topic (or reply) with a poll embedded. To create a poll click the cog wheel icon while editing your post and select "Build Poll"

69b6b0f6d606ddbba40d1fe9487873e80d1d694e.png

How can I follow or track a discussion?

When you are viewing a topic, at the bottom of the screen, just above 'Suggested Topics' you will see a grey button with a coloured dot in it most likely marked 'Tracking'.
Click on that button, and you can then set the level of alert on that particular topic.
(To stop following, select 'Muted'):

tracking.png

Simply copy the address from your browser and paste it into your new post. The Forums will automatically find the title of the topic and add that as the link text.

How do I bookmark a post so I can see it later?

There are three ways:

  • At the bottom of each post is a line of icons:
    4ff9770205f9010f7a35cac4a156cb42a77a9528.png

    Click the three dots to get more options: 191eecf458fa8d39d2c61c6a90c92cc6fae4875f.png

    Click the bookmark icon (circled in red in the image above) to bookmark the current post within the topic.

  • At the bottom of the whole topic, after the last post is a row of buttons. Click the 8ed213daed3b38ad967e481eda61ecedb439e0bb.png button to bookmark the whole topic.

  • If you have a keyboard then use the shortcut keys. First [j] to select the post - this will mark it with a red bar on the left), then [b] to bookmark the selected post. Use keys [j] and [k] to move the highlight to the next/previous post.

How do I find my bookmarks?

There are two ways:

  • Click on your picture/avatar at top right and then the bookmark icon to get your most recent bookmarks list:
    82f534c1719cfb3bddd9540644e8ed665f7ad77f.png
  • If you are on a device with a keyboard and are not currently editing then use the keyboard shortcut [g] followed by [b] to jump straight to your bookmarks page.
How do I change the page layout/colours?

The default home page shows you all of the top level Categories with their short descriptions and any forums that you are joined to in each category.

There are two alternative layouts (called 'themes') available which you can choose - you find them under 'your preferences', in the 'Interface' section.

  • XR UK Light is the default theme with 4 columns of boxes
  • XR UK Light 3col is the version with 3 columns
  • xxDiscourse Light displays the categories with a selection of the recent topics in all their forums.

There are also "Dark" variants of each theme if you prefer a layout with a black background.

Main Menu

The Main Menu (three bars) enables you to search quickly for particular topics (e.g. 'unread' or 'latest'), tags (e.g. 'actions'), etc. and also shows the Forums you have joined so you can jump to them.

Your Profile

You will have a 'profile' where you can set useful information about yourself that others can see, and upload a simple picture (an 'avatar') by which others can easily identify your posts. You will also be able to set preferences for notifications and how they are sent to you.

How do I find and edit my forum profile?

Click on your picture/letter/avatar in the top right of the screen:
1.png

Click on the person icon:
person.png

Select 'Preferences' from the menu.
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There are several pages of preferences - listed on the left on the browser screen or in a selection box at the top on a mobile screen.

Be sure to scroll down through each page to find what you want - and remember to click the
5.png button at the bottom of the page or any changes you make will not take effect.

  • Do set your Name (fullname) to something recognisable (especially if you have an obscure username) so that people who know you can find you. XRUK is an open community, we take ownership of our actions and do not hide behind alaises or masks.
  • Do upload a simple picture as your avatar to replace the default initial-letter-in-a-coloured-circle avatar.
Can I change the home/Categories page?
  1. Go to your profile page (click on your picture/letter/avatar in the bar at the top right, then click on your name, then select 'Preferences')

  2. Select 'Interface' in the menu at the left (or in the select-box that says 'Account' if you are on a mobile device)

  3. Scroll down a bit and find a setting called Default Home Page - select your desired home page in the box from 'Categories | Latest | New | Unread' (you can't select Bookmarks as your home page)

  4. Remember to scroll down to click the Save Changes button, or your changes won't work!