Community Help

Community Participation

Provides information on on how to get started in the community. From creating an account, to actively participating and contributing in the community itself.
  • How do I start participating in the community?
  • To start contributing to the community you must first register for an account. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes to complete. Click here to create your account today.
  • Can I participate without creating an account?
  • No. All public posts can be viewed by all site visitors, however you must be registered in order to participate in the community (i.e. - posting, replying leaving comments, etc...).
  • Is there a fee associated with becoming a member?
  • No. Joining our community is 100% free and only takes a few minutes to complete. Register today!.
  • After I created my account, I was shown a message that said I was in a trial period. What does that mean?
  • Not all communities use trial periods. A trial period is used to determine that an individual creating a new account is a legitimate account creator. After your account is created, a determined number of posts (usually only the first) must first be approved by a site moderator before it appears open to the public. Once a moderator has determined your account is legitimate, the trial period will be over and your account will be moved into regular status.
  • Is there a recommended browser that I should use when browsing the community?
  • All major browsers should be supported up to their latest version release. These include (but are not limited to) Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. We recommend that you use the latest versions available for the browser you are using. We cannot guarantee that older version releases will be compatible with the community.

    When new browser versions are released, we will do our best to remedy any discrepencies that may occur as a result of the new release.
  • I want to cancel my account and have all my posts removed from the community. Is this possible?
  • Although we hate to see you go, this option is available upon request. Please contact us directly with your community screen name and request information.

Your Profile

A basic overview of some of the features that you can manage with your community account.
  • What is a profile?
  • A profile is the information about your account that controls how you view information in the community. Your profile consists of items such as your screen name, avatar, site settings, privacy settings, time zone, site activity, etc... It is your identity within the community and is used by other members to interact with your account.
  • What is the profile box?
  • The profile box is an area that allows quick and easy access to your profile and account settings. It is often found towards the top of the page and displays your avatar, screen name, unread messages, friendships, your forum discussions, email alert settings, favorites, photos (if enabled in the community), and more. Profile Box
  • How do I manage my profile information?
  • Click the "manage profile" link from the profile box to view and update your settings. Edit Profile
  • Can I change my screen name after it's already been created?
  • No. Once your screen name has been assigned it cannot be changed. If you need assistance with your community profile please contact us.
  • What are status messages?
  • Information on status messages can be found in the Interacting with other Members help topic.
  • What are announcements?
  • Announcements are notifications that you can leave on your profile for other members to see. To add an announcement, go to your profile and click the "Announcements" tab.

    Click the "Create Announcement" button to create your announcement and post it on your profile.

Community Settings

Overview of the community settings that are available to you.
  • How do I access my community settings?
  • Click "Community Settings" from the profile box.
  • What information that I update on the settings area is displayed on my profile?
  • Only public information that you provide is available for display on your profile. Private information and account settings (private e-mail, e-mail settings, conversations, etc..) are not displayed.
  • How do I update my email address?
  • From the community settings page, click the "Email" tab and click "Update E-mail Address". Your e-mail address can also be updated from the "Basic Options" tab.

    *Note: Do not confuse your public e-mail under "Basic Options" with your private e-mail. Public e-mail is not required and is displayed on your profile for other community members to see. Your private e-mail is never shown and is used by the community to log you into your account.
  • How do I update who can start a conversation (personal message) with me?
  • Click the "Email" tab.

    Scroll down to the "Conversation Settings" area and choose your setting.
  • I do not want the community to send me any type of e-mail alert or notification. Can I turn these off?
  • Yes. E-mail notification settings can be managed from the "Email" tab in the community settings area.
  • I enjoy flagging posts in the community as my favorites, but I do not want anyone to see what I flag as being favorite to me. Can I do this?
  • Yes. Indicate you do not want to share your favorite posts on your profile from the "Basic Tab".
  • How can I set my time zone?
  • Time zone settings can be found under the "Advanced" tab.
  • What are activity messages and how are they used?
  • Activity messages are used in conjunction with the site activity feed. Any activity connected to your account that you allow the community to track will be displayed in the site activity feed. To learn how to turn off certain activity messages from being logged with your account, see the privacy section of this page.
  • What are e-mail notifications (or alerts)?
  • E-mail notifications allow you to subscribe to an area of the community, and then receive alerts to your e-mail inbox whenever new activity occurs in the area you are subscribed to.

    For example, if you are viewing a forum thread and want to be notified when someone creates a new reply, you can subscribe to the thread and be sent an e-mail message that new replies have been made to the thread.
  • How do I insert a signature to my profile so that it automatically appears at the bottom of each of my posts?
  • Access the community settings page. Scroll down to the signature area and enter a signature. Click the save button when finished.
  • Can I change the order of how replies to threads are displayed?
  • Yes. At the bottom of each thread starter (the first post in a thread) you'll find a an area that will allow you to change the order of replies.

    By default all replies to a thread are shown in order from oldest to newest. If you want to change this default behavior you can edit your community settings by accessing the community settings page and change the Post Sort Order option.

Interacting with other Members

There are various ways you can communicate and interact with other members in the community. Below are some common questions on how these interactions take place.
  • How do I interact with other community members?
  • There are many ways to interact with other community members. These include, but are not limited to:

    - Visiting their profile
    - Sending them a conversation
    - Replying to a forum thread created by a member
    - Following their activity
    - Using the hover widget
    - Sending them a friend request
  • What is the user hover widget?
  • The user hover widget allows you to hover over any members' screen name or avatar and have a pop up window appear that gives you quick access to interact with that member. From the user hover widget you can send them a friend request, start a conversation with them, see their recent activity, and visit their profile.
  • What are conversations?
  • Conversations are a way of sending a private message to another member. You can send a conversation to another member by using the hover widget or by visiting their profile.
  • I do not want any community members to contact me directly. Can I setup my profile to do this?
  • Yes. Please reference the "Community Settings" help topic.
  • I want to start a conversation with another community member, however there is no option to contact them from their profile. How do I contact them?
  • Some members may have their privacy settings setup so that only certain members can contact them. If you do not see any options to start a conversation with another member, and you are logged into your account, the members privacy settings are probably preventing you from sending them a message.
  • What are friendships and why are they important?
  • Please reference the friendships help topic.
  • What does it mean to follow a community member?
  • If you are interested in keeping track of what another member of the community is doing but are either waiting for a response to a friend request or don't want to request friendship, you can instead just Follow him/her.

    When you follow a user, their activity feed displays under the People & Groups tab in the activity list displayed on the main page and on your profile.

    You can follow a another member by going to their profile and clicking the follow link.
  • What are status messages and how do other members interact with them?
  • Status messages are set on your profile and are used to display a message to other community members. Status messages are displayed in the site activity feed and allows your friends to reply to your status from directly in the feed.

    To create a status message, go to your profile and click the Insert Status Message link.

    After you submit your status message it will appear in your activity feed and the activity feed of members that are connected to you. From within the feed other members can respond to your status.

Privacy

Topics on your privacy and security while participating in our community.
  • What information linked to my account is shared in the community for everyone to see?
  • Only public information is viewable to other members in the community. Private information is never shared. Examples of private information include (but are not limited to):

    - Conversations between members (private messages)
    - Your private e-mail address
    - Anything posted to a private area of the community
    - Your favorites (if you turn them off from public view)
    - Your online status (if you turn this setting off)
    - Your account settings
  • Is my e-mail address displayed on my profile?
  • Your private e-mail is not, no. However, you have the option to include a public e-mail in your account. The public e-mail would then be displayed on your profile for all members to see if you want to provide a way for members to contact you via e-mail instead of through the community.

    To add or remove a public e-mail address from your profile, click Manage Profile from the profile box to access your profile. From your profile, click Edit Profile near the top. In the right column should be an area for contact information that has a field called Public Email. Update this field as you see fit and save your profile at the top.
  • I do not want my account displayed in the "Who is Online" list. Can I prevent this from happening?
  • Yes. Click Settings in the profile box to access your community settings. Click the Advanced tab and make sure the field Display in Members List is not checked.
  • I do not want any community members to contact me directly. Can I setup my profile to do this?
  • Yes. Click Settings in the profile box to access your community settings. Scroll down to the area called Conversations Configurations and select what members of the community are allowed to send you messages. Save your settings when done.
  • Can I prevent certain types of activity from showing up in my activity stream?
  • Yes. Click Settings in the profile box to access your community settings. Click the Advanced Options tab and scroll down to the Account/Profile Activities area. Check or uncheck the types of activity you want to show up in the community activity streams and save your settings.

Friendships

Overview of friendships and how you can use them to better interact in the community.
  • What are friendships and why are they important?
  • Maintaining a group of friendships allows you to make your activities known to a select group of users and likewise to keep up with their action. Adding members as friends designates these members in the community to receive special privileges to your account.
  • How do I add friends to my account?
  • You can either add a friend from the user hover widget, or by visiting their profile and click the Add as Friend link.
  • How do I manage my friends list?
  • Click the Friendships link in the profile box.
  • Is there a limit on how many friends I can add to my account?
  • No. You can add as many friends to your account as you want.
  • What happens if my request is rejected?
  • Friend requests need to be approved first by the member you are requesting to be friends with. If a request is denied, the pending request will be removed from your account. No notifications are sent to your account to notify you of the denied request.

    You can view the status of a request by clicking the Friendships link in the profile box and selecting the Requests you Sent tab.
  • I would like to know when another community member has contributed to the community, however I do not want to add them as a friend. Can I do this?
  • Yes. You can choose to Follow the activity of another member. When you Follow a member, their public community activity will appear in the People tab of the activity stream found on the main page of the community and also in your profile.

    To learn more about Following, visit the Interacting with Other Members topic.

Forums

Basic overview of our forums and discussion topics.
  • What is a forum?
  • A forum is a discussion area where you can ask a question, make an announcement, share your thoughts on a topic, etc.. Other community members can then respond to your posts from within the forums.

    To access the forums in this community, click here.
  • What is a thread?
  • Threads are what make up the forums. They are the first post created by a community member.
  • Do I have to be a member of the community to contribute to the forums? (Posting and replying)
  • Yes. Only community members are allowed to participate in the forums. Anonymous posting is not allowed.

    Login or create an account now.
  • How do I create a new post?
  • From the forums area, select the forum you want to start contributing to. At the top of the page will be a New Post button. Complete the form to create a new thread in the forum.

    *Note: Some forums may not allow new threads to be created. If you do not see an option to create a new post, then it is likely that the forum is locked.
  • How do I reply to a thread?
  • From within a thread, click the Reply button found on the bottom of each post.

    Depending on how the community is setup, a text box might appear that allows you to create a quick reply to the thread. Otherwise you will be taken to a page that allows you to create your reply to the thread.

    If the quick reply option is enabled for the community you will only be allowed to enter plain text into the text box. If you want to use Rich Text formatting (bolding, underlining, images, links, etc...), click the Use Rich Formatting link.
  • Can I delete a post that I created?
  • No. Only site administrators and moderators can delete forum posts.
  • Can I use HTML in my posts?
  • Yes. Most common HTML characters are allowed when using the Rich Text Editor.
  • How do I setup my account so that a personalized signature appears at the bottom of each of my posts?
  • Please see the "Community Settings" help topic.
  • How do I insert an image to my post?
  • Before an image can be inserted into a forum post it needs to be uploaded somewhere. This can be from another website or from any of the popular free image hosting solutions (PhotoBucket, Flickr, etc...)

    Our communities do not allow photos to be uploaded for the purpose of sharing them in the forums, therefore they must be housed somewhere else. You MUST know the URL of the image before you can insert it into your post.

    Images can only be inserted using the Rich Text Editor. The Rich Text Editor is displayed when creating a new thread by default and for thread replies when you select to use Rich Text Formatting (see question about replying to a thread above).

    Insert an image by clicking the Insert Image button in the toolbar of the text editor.
    A new window will then open to allow you to insert the URL of where the image is located.

    *Note: Depending on how the community is setup, images may not appear in the forums. Some communities may remove images from posts or replace them with links.
  • Is there a way for me to see all discussion topics that I've contributed to?
  • Yes. Click the Your Discussions link in the profile box.
  • Why does my post have words replaced with *** ?
  • The community uses word replacement filters to prevent certain words from appearing in the forums. If you see a *** in your post, that is an indication that the word filter has found a word not approved to be shown and therefore has been replaced.
  • When I create a new post I receive a message that says the post is moderated. What does that mean?
  • Moderation means that your post must be approved first by a moderator before it can be viewed by the public.
  • What are tags?
  • Tags are a way of categorizing content in the community. When you create a new thread or post a reply, you may be presented with the option to tag your post. These tags are then accessible from the tag cloud found in the right column of the forums. Clicking a tag will then display any post in the forums that have been tagged with the term you clicked.
  • Can I be notified when someone responds to a post I created?
  • Yes. You can e-mail subscribe to any forum or thread and be alerted when via e-mail when a new post has been made to the area you subscribed to.

    Subscribe to any of the community by using the forum or thread options area found in the right column of the page and click the Email subscribe link.

    *Note: If you do not see an option to subscribe you probably do not have your account setup to receive e-mail notifications. Access the Email Notifications page to check your settings.
  • I no longer want to be notified when someone responds to a post I created. How do I turn this off?
  • To stop receiving e-mails you can either turn off noticications completely from the Settings link in the profile box, or you can click the Email Notifications link in the profile box and manage your subscriptions individually.
  • How long does it take for my post to be approved if my account is under moderation?
  • Moderated posts are usually approved or denied within 24 hours of when the post was created.
  • Can threads be rated?
  • Yes, if the forum you are viewing allows ratings you can rate a post by using the star system found in the right column of a thread under the thread details. The star rating can also be found at the bottom of the first post in a thread.
  • How do I notify someone when a discussion topic has taken a turn for the worst and requires attention by a site moderator?
  • Every forum post in the community has a yellow alert icon at the bottom that can be used to Report Abuse in the community.
  • What do the badge icons under my screen name in a post signify?
  • The badge icons below your screen name are indicators used to display your rank in the community. Ranks are based on total number of posts contributed. Clicking on the badges will display all posts you have contributed. Post counts can also be found on a community members profile.

    Ranks in this community are defined as follows:

    Less than 25 posts — No badges
    25 - 74 posts — 1 badge
    75 - 249 posts — 2 badges
    250 - 499 posts — 3 badges
    500 - 999 posts — 4 badges
    1000 - 2999 posts — 5 badges
    More than 3000 posts — 5 orange badges

Blogs

Basic overview of our blogs.
  • What is a blog?
  • A blog (or weblog) is like an online journal that a community member updates on a regular basis for other members to read. A blog can contain anything from commentary to personal accounts or descriptions of certain events.
  • I enjoy reading a particular blog on your site. Is there a way for me to follow the blog so I know when a new post is created for me to read?
  • Yes. Every blog in the community has the option to add the blog as a favorite for quick access in the profile box or your profile and links for subscribing to the blog via RSS.
  • How come some blogs will let me leave a comment and some will not?
  • Each blog is setup differently depending on the requirements of the blogger. If you cannot leave comments on posts in a particular blog, then the blogger has elected to turn them off.
  • How long does it take for my comment to show up on a blog post?
  • If comments require approval, the approval process can take up to 24 hours to complete. If comments do not require approval, they will appear immediately.

Photo Galleries

Basic overview of our photo galleries.
  • How do I upload a picture to your gallery?
  • First go to the gallery you want to upload a photo to. At the top you will see an option to create a new post in the gallery.
    If you do not see an option to create a new post, the gallery is either read-only or you do not have the proper permissions to upload to the gallery.
  • Some of your galleries do not have an upload option. Can I still contribute to them?
  • No. Galleries that do not have an upload option are either set to be read-only, or require special permissions to contribute to them.
  • What information do I need to provide with my picture when I submit it?
  • You will need the picture you are uploading and a title for your submission. The title should be descriptive of the picture you are uploading.

    Some communities will also require a description of the photo.
  • What types of files am I allowed to upload?
  • Most common image formats are allowed for upload in the galleries. We recommend you only upload pictures in Jpeg format, however other formats may be allowed depending on how the community is configured.

    We do NOT allow high resolution RAW image formats.
  • Is there a restriction on how large (file size) my pictures can be?
  • Yes. Each community may be configured differently, however a restriction is in place for how large images can be in size. This restriction is usually displayed on the photo upload page.
  • After I upload my picture I receive a message that says my post is under moderation. What does that mean?
  • Photos under moderation must be approved first before they will appear in the galleries.
  • How long does it take for my photo to be approved by a moderator?
  • Photos are normally approved within 24 hours of the upload.
  • Can I be notified when someone leaves a comment on a picture I uploaded?
  • Yes. Each photo in the gallery has an option to e-mail subscribe to the photo to receive an e-mail alert when a new comment has been added. This option can be found in the right column of the picture under Media Options.

    *Note: If you do not see an option to subscribe your account settings may not allow e-mail notifications to be sent. You need to update these settings by clicking the Email Notifications link in the profile box.
  • Can I replace a photo with a different one after it's already been submitted?
  • This depends on how the community is configured. Some communities will allow this, while others will not.
  • How can I view all pictures I have uploaded to your galleries?
  • Click the Your Photos option in the profile box.

Mobile (smartphones)

Details on the mobile version of the community.
  • What is the mobile version of the community?
  • The mobile version is the full site community optimized for a mobile device and it's smaller screen size.
  • What devices work in the mobile version of the community?
  • The mobile version should support all major smartphones, including (but not limited to):

    - IPhone
    - Android devices
    - Blackberry
    - Windows 7
  • How do I access the mobile version of the community on my phone?
  • The community will automatically detect the type of device that is trying to access the site. If the device is indicated as one that should be loaded into the mobile version, the community will automatically redirect you into the mobile version instead of the full site.

    Alternatively, you can access to the mobile version directly by clicking here.
  • I don't want the mobile version of the community. Can I view the full site version on my phone instead?
  • Yes. At the bottom of the mobile site is a button to switch to the full site.
  • What is the command ribbon?
  • The command ribbon appears at the top of the page of the mobile site. It provides quick access to the homepage, your account information and searching the community.
  • Can I post to the forums on a mobile device?
  • Yes. The mobile site allows access to read forums, create new threads, and create new replies.

    Because the site is optimized for a mobile device you will only be allowed to post plain text from your phone. Rich text editing (font styles, images, links, etc...) is turned off.

    Certain types of formatting may also be turned off in the mobile version as compared to the full site. This includes things like images, styling, YouTube videos, links, etc...
  • Can I view and comment on blogs on a mobile device?
  • Yes. The mobile site allows access to read blog posts and comment on blogs that have comments enabled.
  • Can I access your galleries and upload a picture on a mobile device?
  • Photo galleries are accessible from the mobile site and do allow comments to be added.

    However, at this time we do not allow photos to be uploaded into our galleries from the mobile site.
  • Can I send conversations (private messages) on a mobile device?
  • Yes. Messages can be sent to other community members by going to their profile.
  • Can I access profile information and friendships on a mobile device?
  • Yes. Profiles can be accessed by pressing a members name or avatar in the community. You can send friend requests from their profile and manage your friends list by using the command ribbon.