🤔 How Does It Work?
This forum is run by a software engine called Flarum. Here messages are classified by tags. There is no hierarchy as such, as there are in more traditional fora. To start a new discussion, click on the button:
Then, you must choose one and only one primary tag for your message in order to classify it correctly. The primary tags available are:
Only message classified under Public or Flarum can be seen by everyone, i.e. the general public. Messages tagged with on of the other tags are visible only by members of Atheist Freethinkers.
The list of tags can be viewed by clicking on the link “Tags” in the left margin of the main page. (To make sure you are on the main page, click on the AFT logo which appears in the upper left corner of every page.) On the page which displays the tags, the primary tags are listed first, each one in a large coloured rectangle with a brief description. Further down the page is a display of the available secondary tags. For those secondary tags whose meaning is less obvious, a brief description will appear if you move your mouse pointer over the tag (without clicking). Secondary tags allow you to classify your message more specifically. When you create a new message, you can associate up to four secondary tags with it. Secondary tags are optional.
🔎 Searching for messages
There are several ways of searching for messages.
Search for Text
To search for messages containing specific text, enter your text in the search box (with the little magnifying glass symbol) at the top of the page. Then hit the return key to start the search.
Search by Tag
To search by tag, go to the main page and then click on the link “Tags” in order to display the available tags. Then click on the tag which interests you.
Search by Author
You can search for messages written by a specific author by clicking on that person’s name. You can do this on the main page, where the names of users currently logged in are listed in the lower left corner, under “Who is online?” Or, if a message is currently displayed, you can click on the name of the author of that message and you will be taken to that author’s page. Then click on “Posts” in the left margin.
📝 Composing a Message
The message editor is powerful and quite easy to use. This page could be entirely written using the functionalities of the editor. For example, to insert an image just copy and paste your image. You can also share files in a similar way, although there is a limit of 2 megabytes per file. In order to avoid overloading the forum, it is better to share a link to the file (stored elsewhere) rather than share the file itself. To do this, you can use a file sharing service such as Google Disque or Dropbox.
To share a Youtube video, just copy and paste the link to the video. The video will appear directly in your message.
The space available for editing your message may be made larger by using your mouse pointer to move the top border upwards.
Explanation of the Various Buttons in the Editing Window
Control Buttons of the Editing Window (upper right)
Save the draft of your message. This allows you to save your message without publishing it, so that you can continue editing later. Draft messages are available by clicking on the icon:
to the right of the search field which at the top middle of the page. This button is available only for new messages which have not yet been published.
Minimize the editing window, so that it collapses to the bottom of the screen.
Maximize the editing window, so that it takes up the whole screen.
Close the editing window without saving your changes.
Editing Buttons (bottom left)
Preview. When you copy and paste an image or video, it first appears only as computer code in your message. But don’t worry, it will appear correctly when editing is finished. This button allows you preview what the message will look like when finished.
Displays the files which you have uploaded. Once you have uploaded a file, you may re-use it in other messages without uploading it again.
Uploads a file from your local disk (on your computer).
Allows you to create titles and subtitles. Useful for formatting long messages.
Bold. First select the text which you want to appear in bold face, then click on this button. Click it again to undo the effect.
Italics. Works just like the “Bold” button, but for italic style.
Code. To apply a monospaced font, where all letters have the same width, like an old-fashioned typewriter. This is used for inserting computer code. Works similarly to the “Bold” and “Italics” buttons.
Quotation. Use this to put text inside quotation marks. Just select the text to be quoted and then click this button.
Link. To add a hyperlink. Select the link text, click this button, then insert the URL (address).
Add an image from a hyperlink. If your image is small, you can also use copy-and-paste. However using a hyperlink is better in order to avoid overloading the forum.
Bullet List. Click to start a new bullet list. Or, select the lines you want to convert to bullet items and then click.
Numbered List. Same functionality as “Bullet List” except that the list items will be numbered rather than have bullets.
Additional Functions. Other effects and artifacts which may be useful. A tooltip appears above the various menu items when you hover with the mouse pointer. Works the same as other similar buttons such as “Bold,” “Italics,” etc.…
Mention another user. Type “@” or click this button and start typing the name of a user. A popup menu will appear, allowing you to choose a user’s name. By default, the user thus mentioned will receive an email notification informing them that they have been mentioned.
When sharing content in your messages, please be careful to respect any copyright that may apply.
📝 Editing an Existing Message
Go to the end of the message and find the ellipsis character … (three little dots) below the message. You may have to play with your mouse pointer a bit to find it and make it appear. Click on it and then choose “Edit”. A message which has received a response can no longer be edited.
🏷️ Modify a Message’s Tags
Click on the arrow beside the “Reply” button and then choose “Edit Tags”.
📝 Rename a Message
Click on the arrow beside the “Reply” button and then choose “Rename”. This command is only available for a period of 10 minutes after editing the message.
🔔 Manage Notifications
It is possible to receive email notifications to inform you of ongoing discussions. If you want to be notified of all new messages on the forum, subscribe to all primary tags. They are listed above.
To access your notifications, click on the icon in the upper right corner of the page.
Follow a Message
Click on the arrow beside the button “Follow” to the right of a message and choose “Following”. You will receive notification of any response to that message (whereas normally, you would receive notification only if someone mentions you). If you no longer wish to receive notification for the message, click on the arrow and choose “Not Following”.
Follow a Tag
Go to the tag's page by: (1) clicking on the AFT logo to go to the main page; (2) clicking on “Tags” in the left margin to go to the Tags page; and finally (3) clicking on the specific tag you want.
Click on the “Follow” button (or click on the arrow beside it for more options).
Follow an Author
Find a message from the author you want to follow.
Place the mouse pointer over their name. A small window will appear. (You may have to play with your mouse pointer somewhat to make it appear.)
Click on the vertical ellipsis (three little dots) and choose “Follow”.
Make a menu choice. An explanatory description will appear.
You can also go to the author's page by clicking on their name and choosing “Follow” in the menu in the upper right. This is also the place to go to unfollow an author.
😀 Personalize Your Profile
You can edit your profile in order to provide a few details about yourself. To do so, go to your profile page:
Click on the user menu on the top right.
Choose “Profile” in the menu.
Other members can visit your profile page to obtain a little information about you.
😸 Change Your Avatar
Click on your avatar and a menu will appear. You can choose to upload an image or use an avator from you Gravatar account. (Gravatar is commonly used to define avatars on various websites.) If you choose to upload an image, you can crop it if necessary.
📝 Add a Biography
Below “On Line”, click on the small box with a dotted outline to start editing your biography.
🔗 Add Links
To share links on your profile page, click on the plus sign “+”. A small window will appear, allowing you to enter a title and a URL, as well as your choice of associated icon.
📝 Sending Private Messages
You can send private messages to other members. To do this, click on the icon near the upper right corner of the page. From there, you can click on a name in order to join an existing conversation, or click on the button “Start Conversation” to start a new one.
🏴 Flagged Messages
Near the upper right corner, click on to see any of your messages which the moderator may have flagged. If necessary, review the Code of Ethics. But this should happen rarely if ever…
🙍♂️ Who is online?
On the main page, in the lower left corner, you can see all persons who are currently on-line. Click on a name to see that person's profile.
If you're having problems or don't know how to do something, try searching for a hint in the Flarum section first—that is, with the primary tag Flarum. If you can't find the information you need, write a message in the Flarum section and other members can try to help you.
Also note that this tool is fairly new, so there may be some bugs or you may think some features are missing. Again, the Flarum section is there for that. Please feel free to share your experience.
You can always return to this message by clicking on Help at the top of the page. This User Manual will be the first message displayed.