Ordinarily, the conference manager or Forums administrator will provide a link you click to open a conference. What happens when you click on such a link depends entirely on how the manager or administrator has set up the conference. You may have to log in, providing a username and password, or, if you don't yet have an account, you may have to register and provide some basic information about yourself, such as a username, password, and your full name.
When you open the conference, you'll probably initially see a list of forums and threads. Remember, forums are like clusters of people talking at a party. Threads are like the conversations they are having, each one with its own starting point. People enter and exit threads according to their interest in reading or participating. If you're the quiet type, you can just browse around without any obligation to post messages.
What you'll probably do first when you enter a conference is click on a thread that looks interesting so you can read the messages that are inside. However, you may not see any forums or threads at first. Instead, you may see only this message:
There are no threads updated in the last 14 days
Not to worry. You probably only need to set a few conference options before seeing all the forums and threads that are available to you. See Conference Options for information about filtering the display of messages by their age.
When you click on a hyperlink to enter a Forums conference, you may be prompted to log in, depending on whether the conference requires it. Since the conference administrator can enable a variety of security options, what you see when logging in will vary according to how the conference is set up.
The conference administrator may require you to register prior to entering a conference. To do so you click the Registration Form hyperlink in the login page to open the user registration page. Once you have filled in a few details about yourself, you enter the conference immediately, or, if the conference administrator requires user approval, you wait until the administrator or a conference moderator approves your registration. Youll receive email notification of your approval when it is granted.
The conference manager or administrator may require all new user registrations to be approved before new users are allowed to enter a conference. If this is the case for you, all you can do is wait until you receive notice that approval has been granted.
Approval can also apply to posting messages, that is, a message you post may require approval before it actually appears in a forum. In either case, don't panic, you'll probably get approval very quickly and be on your way in no time at all.
When a Forums conference first opens, you should see all the forums you can participate in. What you see in the main conference page, and indeed anywhere in the conference, depends on how the administrator has customized the conference interface.
However, you may not see all the forums that are available to you.
The forums you selected now appear in the main conference page.
In a conference that consists of many forums, each of which consists of dozens of threads, the list of threads may be very long. To help you see what forums are available in a conference, you can collapse the list of threads in a forum in the main conference page.