Getting Started

Welcome to Forum Bap! The Tech Forum. You might be familiar with similar forums if you have been into one. If you are not, don't worry, we will get you started. Once you go through the following sections, you will find it extremely easy to use our website.

There are more features on our website than you think. Certain features will only be accessible for the logged-in users for security reasons and to prevent abuse. So, we recommend creating an account. If you already have an account, you can simply log in.


Basic Terms Used on Forum Bap

Here are some very basic terms that will be helpful to keep in mind as you use Forum Bap. These terms will be mentioned several times as you read through this getting started guide. Understanding them will be helpful to know what they are referring to.

  • Topic: The collection of messages grouped together in a meaningful conversation, with a title, listed in a category, beginning with an Original Post, and including all replies in chronological order.

    Elsewhere this might be called a ‘thread’ but Forum Bap uses ‘topic’ since thread is used for linked elements that can go off in many different directions (and be confused with programming terms).

  • Post: Each element of a topic is referred to as a post. Each post has its own author and can be moved to a different topic if necessary, or even become the start of a new topic.

    For example, each reply you publish is a post.

  • Original Post (or OP): The first post on any topic. This is key since it determines the focus of the topic and is what the title and tags will link to.

    The first post of every topic will be automatically assigned as the OP.

  • Category: The primary means of organizing topics. Each topic is placed in exactly one category. Categories have permissions that can restrict which users can create, reply, and see its topics. We also configure notification preferences per category or even mute them as explained below. Categories are a similar concept to a ‘forum’ on other sites.

    We have hundreds of categories on our forum such as Android, iOS, Windows, HTML, CSS, Java, PHP, Gmail, VPN, etc. That means each one of those categories serves as a separate forum for the discussions related to that specific term.

  • Tag: A marker placed on a topic to describe it. While a topic can only have one category, it can have multiple tags. New tags can be created by some users.

    We use tags to separate topics that are too specific. For example, we have a category FIFA and tags such as FIFA 20, FIFA 21, etc.

  • User: Forum Bap sites/sections may be private or public for anyone to read, but you will always be required to register in order to create posts and record any actions such as bookmarking, liking, tagging, and flagging. Most site activity, therefore, is based around registered Users.

    I am (@LakshmiPrasanna) a user of this community. As soon as you sign up for an account. You will be too.


Topic Types

On our forum, we mainly have two kinds of topics. the Discussions and Questions.

:left_speech_bubble: Discussions

Discussions are topics that are not questions or a question that doesn’t have a specific answer. For example, Which is the best smartphone brand? is a question that doesn’t have a specific answer that might require a long discussion with different opinions.

Another example would be, What is your opinion about 5G. It is also a discussion where users will have to post different answers that don’t qualify as an answer.

So, such topics will be listed as a discussion.

  • A discussion will not have the “Upvote” button. Instead, they have likes.

:question: Questions

Questions are topics that have a certain answer or aren’t qualified as a discussion topic. For example How to Echo in PHP or Teamviewer can’t Connect Reason Unknown is a question that can be answered.

A question will have a button at the top.

Question Button

Clicking on it will bring the details about it. It can change over time as we modify our rules and user trust levels.

Question Info

  • A question will not have a like button. Instead, it will provide an upvote button on the left side of each post.
  • You cannot downvote answers. Instead, use the :black_flag: button to report it if you think the answer isn’t appropriate. Our moderators will check it and if it violates our guidelines or isn’t suitable for the topic, we will remove it.

:open_book: Wikis

Wikis are articles or topics that can be edited by anyone (based on the trust level). Users who have a certain trust level or about (currently trust level 3 and above) will be able to create/edit wiki articles.

The aim of such topics is to provide a definition for a certain query or the answer to a certain question before the user even asks it. Just like a normal tech blog publishing a how-to guide.

The question/discussion tags

These are the tags you have to use in order to make a certain post in a category either a question or discussion.

Each one of the categories on our forum has a primary structure. Either Question or Discussion. How to find it? Just open 1 or 2 topics in the list and see if they are a question or discussion.

If the primary category is a question, and you also want to create a question, you do not have to put any extra tags than necessary. The same applies to discussions as well.

If the primary structure of the category is a question and you want to create a discussion topic, you will have to add the tag “discussion”.

If the primary structure of the category is a discussion, and you want to create a question, you will have to use the “question” tag.

If you forget to add them, no worries, we will edit it.


:globe_with_meridians: Browsing the Forum

Topic lists

By default, the Forum Bap homepage will show all Latest conversations in the community but you can filter this list in a number of ways:

Forum Bap Topic Navigation

  • By category: in the menu line, click the ‘all categories’ title and a list of all the categories appears. Clicking on any one of them will filter the topics for that specific category. If you are in a parent category, it will only show the sub-categories of the parent category.

  • By tag: in the menu line, click the ‘all tags’ title, and a list of all the tags used on Forum Bap will appear. You can simply click on any tag to show topics of that specific tag.

  • By level of activity: if you click on ‘Top’ the conversation topics will be listed in order of most activity (views and replies) for a specific time period. You can choose whether this is for all time, or select a specific period such as quarter, month, week or just today.

  • By what’s ‘New’ to you: by default, new topics are those created in the last 2 days that you have not opened yet to keep the list fresh and relevant. New topics show a small blue dot next to the topic title

  • By what topics are “Unread”: by default, unread topics are those that you have previously opened and read for at least 4 minutes, and that have new posts (replies) submitted to them. Unread topics show a number in a blue circle indicating how many new posts are in the topic.

See who is participating

There are several ways to see who is involved in topics.

Who is Participating

On the homepage you will see a selection of avatars (profile pictures) of:

  • the user who started the topic (always the first photo);
  • a selection of the most active participants;
  • and, who created the most recent post (usually the last photo).
  • in some cases, the first photo has a blue border or blue halo to indicate that the original poster is also the most recent poster
  • users without a profile picture is usually indicated with the first letter of their username. If I (@LakshmiPrasanna) didn’t have a profile picture, it will display as L (the colors will change).

Blue Hallow Recent Poster

The box at the bottom of the OP tells you; who created the post and when, gives a count of the replies and views in this topic to date, and a display of the avatars of the most frequent participants.

Topic Map


:compass: Navigation Tools

We try to make our website easy to navigate as much as possible.

Keyboard shortcuts

We have a huge list of keyboard shortcuts you can easily use to accomplish certain tasks as well as navigating throughout the website. For example, just pressing u on your keyboard will take you to the previous page. We highly recommend reading our keyboard shortcuts guide.

Search

For Search, the Menu, or your User page, use the icon buttons at the upper right.

Search Button

You can either search the entire website or search posts inside a certain topic by checking the search this topic checkbox.

Search

You can perform a much-advanced search by clicking on the options link.


:page_facing_up: Reading Topics

A healthy community needs members to be posting new content, but this activity is not everything. Readers are the true indicators of how healthy the community is. What’s the point of posts that no-one reads? Forum Bap encourages and tracks reading habits so community managers can keep a healthy balance.

Keep scrolling

Click a topic title and read down the list of replies in chronological order, following links or previewing replies and quotes as you go. Use your mouse to scroll the screen, or use the timeline scroll bar on the right which also shows you how far through the conversation you’ve read. On smaller screens, select the bottom progress bar to expand it.

Jump back in

  • Selecting a topic title will take you to your last read post in the topic. To enter at the top ↑ or bottom ↓ instead, click the reply count or last reply date.

  • Topics above the light red line on a list are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, the title will be light grey instead of black.

Related topics

Sometimes conversations are clearer if topics are split, where posts are moved to a more appropriate topic, or two related topics are merged. If a post is moved, a link will appear that will allow readers to jump to that comment wherever it has been moved to, and the person who posted it will also be notified.

At the end of the OP you will also see lists of related topics that link to the one you are reading


:speech_balloon: Taking Part in Conversations

Replying

There are two different ways you can reply to a topic based on the topic type. As we already mentioned, there are different types of topics on Forum Bap in which you can reply to both Discussions and Questions.

  • For Discussions, you can press the Reply Button button at the end of the article or the first post on the topic.Pressing the reply buttons near any other posts except the first one will add a reply to that specific post. Not the mail topic.
  • For the Questions, you can press the Answer Button button at the end of the article.

Press any Reply Button Reply button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser. You can continue reading (and even search or navigate to different topics) while you compose your reply.

Forum Bap shows all posts in the order they are published. It does not make you chase down multiple threaded paths. However, it still gives you lots of ways to follow the context of conversations.

To reply to a specific post in a topic, clicking the grey Reply button at the end of each post and your reply is linked to that post.

  • If your reply is the next one published after the post you are replying to, this will appear next in chronological order
  • If yours is NOT next, then two things happen after your post is published:
    • Your post will include a new link in its header with an image to show what this is ‘in reply to’ - clicking this link displays that previous post for context next to your reply
    • The original post includes a count of replies at the bottom - clicking this link displays the content of the replies

Drafts

Drafts will automatically be saved as you write. If you minimise the editor or navigate to a different topic, the editor might disappear. To open a draft, return to the topic you were replying to or click the highlighted bar at the bottom of your browser, and the editor will reappear with your draft.

If you do not want to save the draft, you can simply click the Cancel link. It will ask you whether you want to abandon the draft or not. If you are sure, you can abandon it.

Abandon Draft

Quoting

To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. There is no need to quote a whole message: it helps to be specific. Repeat this for multiple quotes even from different posts and different users. The quoted text will point to their original source.

Quoting

Mentioning

To notify someone about your reply, mention their name. Type @ to begin selecting a username. This search will also search the name fields in case you don’t know a particular username.

Mentioning

For example, to mention one of our admins with username lakshmiprasanna, just use @LakshmiPrasanna.

Emoji

To use standard Emoji, just type : to match by name, or traditional smileys ;)

Emojis

Alternatively, click on more to see a complete list of emoji to select from.

For example:

  • :smile: returns :smile:
  • :heart: returns :heart:
  • :) returns :slight_smile:
  • :( returns :frowning:

Oneboxes (Link Previews)

Read details about this feature in: Rich link previews with Onebox - faq - Discourse Meta

To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself. To start a topic with a link, paste the link into the title field.

Formatting

Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or Markdown:

This is <b>bold</b>.
This is [b]bold[/b].
This is **bold**.

For more formatting tips, try our 10 minute tutorial.


:heart: Actions and Reactions

There are action buttons at the bottom of each post (for discussions):

Actions on Posts

and, upvote button at the left side of every question replies.

Upvote

In addition, users can also vote on topics themselves if they need answers for the same question or you want to appreciate the topic idea.

Vote Posts

  • To let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post, use the like button. Share the love! On questions, you can Upvote the posts.
  • Currently, there is no downvote button available. Instead, if you find any topics, comments, or replies violating our guidelines or abusing anyone, or isn’t related to the main topic, you can use the (report) :black_flag: button after clicking the three dots ().
  • Grab a copy-pasteable (permalink) link to any reply or topic via the link button.
  • Use the button to reveal more actions. Flag to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem. Bookmark to find this post later on your profile page.

:bell: Notifications

When someone is talking directly to you by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your @username , or even linking to your post, a blue number will immediately appear over your profile picture at the top right.

When you have been sent a Personal Message you will receive this in your Inbox and a green number will appear over your profile picture to the left.

Click your profile image to scroll through all your notifications.

Notification

You can optionally receive all these notifications as push notifications to your desktop browser or Android device. Simply allow the site to send you notifications through your browser when it asks permission.

Don’t worry about missing a reply, you’ll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away. The email will arrive from staff@forumbap.com.

If you want, you can get notified about other things happening on the site as well, either at the category or topic level.

Topic notifications

You can change your notification level for any individual topic via the notification control at the bottom, and right-hand side, of each topic.

Category notifications

The notification level can also be set per category. To change any of these defaults, see your user preferences, or visit the category page, and use the notification control above the topic list, on the right side.

Tag notifications

Notification level can even be set per tag. To change any of these defaults, see your user preferences, or visit the tag page, and use the notification control above the topic list, on the right-hand side.

Communication

Communication on a forum is supposed to be primarily through the forum topics, questions, and replies/answers. But sometimes, that may not be necessary.

For example, let’s say, you run into a problem with your PHP script. You do not have enough time to wait for someone to see and reply to your topics. In such scenarios, you can directly reach out to a PHP Expert on our forum and ask them for help.

Keep in mind that, you should reach a certain trust level on our forum to be able to reach out to certain experts and ask for help. Or you will have to depend on the respective chatrooms.

Anyone is not allowed to accept payments or compensations in order to provide help for questions. We have a separate Freelancing section for that.

Live Chat

We have a chat feature available based on your trust level. All users will be able to participate in the public chat rooms. Certain users in a specific group or trust level will gain access to additional chat rooms and features.

This is not a place where you can have fun conversations. The chats may be monitored in order to ensure that it follows our guidelines.

We provide two forms of live chatting. Rooms and Personal Messages (PM).

Messaging

The messaging functionality is just like a forum topic in which only you and the person you are messaging will be able to see them.

It is just like the live chat but retained for a longer period of time.

Keep in mind that we reserve the right to remove live chat conversations or personal messages at any time. Currently, there is no specific time period set for the deletion of the messages or chats. As there are thousands of communications taking place every single day, we may be forced to remove your messages over time. So, copy any important messages from your inbox to anywhere else if you need a backup. Read our privacy policy to learn more.

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