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Entering your New Conference

With your new conference established and fitted out with two new forums, you’re ready to take a look at the messaging interface. There are a couple of ways of entering a conference. You can enter a conference by way of the conference manager, or you can load a URL for the conference directly. For now, we’ll take the conference manager approach.

To enter your new conference:

  1. Start the Forums Administrator by loading the following URL:
  2. Click the Conference Manager button.
  3. In the Conference Manager, if not already selected, select the Coffee To Go conference and click the Go to button.

In the main conference page, you’ll notice a message:

There are no threads updated in the last 14 days

Since neither of your two new forums contains any messages, nothing exists to be displayed. Messages always appear in the context of a thread. As a result, no messages appear yet in the Conference page. You need to create messages before any messages appear in a thread.

To create a new message thread:

  1. Click New Thread. The New Thread page appears.
  2. Enter a thread topic in the Topic text box.
  3. Select the forum in which you want your new thread to appear and click OK.
  4. The Post Message page appears. Much like a generic email composition window, you enter information about yourself as well as the text of the message. When you’ve entered some message text, Click the Preview button.

    Previewing a message gives you a chance to see what your message will look like prior to posting it. This can be especially useful if you embed HTML in your message or if you’ve attached a graphics or other MIME type file attachment. For now, we’ll just post the message as is.

  5. To post the message, click Post. Your new thread and message appears in the forum display.

Logging in to a conference

When you click on a hyperlink to enter a Forums conference, you may be prompted to log in, depending on whether the conference administrator has enabled the forced log in requirement. 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.

Registering yourself

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. You’ll receive email notification of your approval when it is granted.

Conference buttons

The conference main page includes several buttons along the top of the page.

The exact buttons that you see, and their exact appearance is determined by the conference administrator. By default, unless your user record is part of a group with moderator or conference manager permissions, you see only the first six buttons.

Conference buttons
Button Action
Exit Click to leave the conference.
Refresh Click to refresh the Forums display.
New Messages Click to refresh the conference page. Any messages posted since the last time the page was refreshed will appear.
Search Click to search the conference for messages containing a word or phrase you specify. You can limit the scope of the search to a particular forum in the conference.
Options Click to set a number of different user options, such as which forums you see in the main conference page, frame display, email notification options, and other user options.
Logout/in Click to logout from the conference and to login in with a different login name.
U* User approval button, only visible to conference moderators and managers. Click this button to check for any user registrations that need approval.
M* Message approval button, only visible to conference moderators and managers. Click this button to check for any messages that need approval.
A* Conference Administrator button, only visible to conference administrators and managers. Click this button to enter the Forums or conference administration facility.

Selecting a forum

When a Forums conference first opens, you see all the available forums you can enter to read and post messages. What you see in the main conference page, and indeed anywhere in the conference will depend on how the administrator has customized the conference interface.

In addition, you may not see all the forums that are available to you.

To show all available forums:

  1. Click the Options button at the top of the conference page.
  2. Click the checkbox(es) beside the forums you want to see in the main conference page and click OK.

The forums you selected now appear in the main conference page.

Collapsing the list of threads in a forum

In a conference that consists of many forums, each of which consists of dozens of threads, the list of threads may get 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.

Collapse and expand the list of threads in a forum:

  1. In the main conference page, or, if you are using the frames display, in the left frame, click the arrow button next to the forum name.
  2. Forums hides the list of threads in the forum.
  3. Click the arrow button again to expand the list of threads in the forum.

Setting frames options

If a conference administrator has enabled the use of frames in the conference, users logging in for the first time will see a non-frames interface. To view the conference using a frames interface, you need to enable frames display.

To enable frames display:

  1. Click the Options button at the top of the conference page.
  2. Click the Use Frames checkbox.

You can also split the list of posted messages in a thread from the message text by clicking the Split Thread Frame (frames) option.

Clicking the Display Single Message Only (split frames) option forces the message frame to show only a single message at a time:

Reading messages

To read a message you enter a conference and select a forum thread. When the thread page opens (non-frames view) you simply click on a message hyperlink to scroll to where the message begins.

In the non-frames interface, messages appear in a list below the thread topic in the order they were posted and in a hierarchy to indicate which messages were posted as replies to other messages. You can click a message hyperlink to view that message.

In frames view, with the Split Thread Frame option enabled, when you click on a message hyperlink, the message text appears in the message frame.


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