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STIPs on using the forum.

Chrissaf

11838 posts


Community Moderator

The most common issue that we see on the forum from newbie members is the difficulty experienced making a reply to a post. It is true that many forums include a 'Reply' button with each published post that can be clicked to make a 'Reply'.

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This forum does not have a 'Reply' button embedded within each individual post

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What looks like a 'Reply' button (the blue box with white arrow in it) is not a 'Reply' button. It is a 'Quote' button. What follows is a number of TIPs that will assist newbie members to make more effective use of the forum.

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TIP 1 - The correct way to 'Reply' to a post.

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It is best to write any reply you want to make in the 'Reply Text Box' at the very bottom of the page and click the Green 'Reply' button. This is particularly relevant if a reply includes an image. If you use the blue button, any reply you write, may be held back for image approval. Even though it is already a previously published image.

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If there is a genuine reason to use the 'Quote' tool, then these following tips will assist. These tips assume a Windows PC as the platform being used.

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TIP 2 - How not to get your cursor trapped inside the buff quote box.

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After clicking the 'Blue Quote button' do not put your cursor inside the buff box. Doing that, will end up 9 times out of 10 with your cursor trapped within the quote box (see TIP 3, regarding what to do if the cursor becomes trapped).

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Instead, scroll the reply box down so that the small space (one clear line) is visible below the buff text box and place your cursor in that clear white space.

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With your cursor in that clear space start typing your reply.

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With the reply typed.......now you can go back and put the cursor inside the buff quote box and delete any excess text from the quote that is unnecessary, amend and edit it if required etc. In most cases, it is only necessary to quote a very small section of the original quoted post, so removing excess text should be something that is done with nearly all quotes, else it gets tiresome for the reader to have to re-read the whole quoted post again. Members then have to compare the follow up reply with the quote to see what part of the quote the reply refers to. Therefore it is much better to redact the superfluous non significant part of the quote to make it easier to read. Or better still, just don't use the quote function at all.

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TIP 3 - How to get your cursor out of the buff quote box should it accidentality get trapped inside it.

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This is an easy fix...... as the cursor is already inside the buff quote box, just click the 66 icon in the reply text box tool bar. The 66 icon is the third one in from the left between the italic icon and the list icon.

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Clicking the 66 icon will remove all the buff box highlight. You can then re-edit the whole post as required to separate the quote from the reply part of the text. Removing excess quote text as required. Once you are happy with the editing. Then drag the cursor over the text lines that you want put back into the buff quote box and click the 66 icon again. This will re-instate the quote buff box but only around this selected text.

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You can also use the 66 icon to create a brand new quote box as I have done around this paragraph of text as an example. Useful when you have copied and pasted a line of text from somewhere else that you want to highlight.

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Here are some more general tips that will assist newbie members.

 

TIP 4 - How do I get paragraph gaps to show in the published post?

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There is nothing more tiresome for readers than to have to try and read a very long post that is devoid of any form of paragraph formatting. One has to really concentrate hard to keep ones place when trying to read one very long block of unpunctuated text.

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The forum software for some inexplicable reason strips out 'carriage returns'. But only the first one. When compiling your reply, type two consecutive carriage returns where you want a paragraph gap to appear in the published post. The first one will be stripped out, leaving the second one behind to be shown in the posted reply. This post has numerous paragraph gaps showing (as emphasised by the inclusion of a period (full stop) at the start of the paragraph gap). My personal choice, but I include a period so that I can see where the paragraph gaps will appear when I am writing or editing my post in the creation / edit box.

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TIP 5 - The formatting of the post can be layered using the tool icons in the tool bar.

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For example Bold or Italics or Bold Italics

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Lists can either be bulleted lists or numbered lists using the list option tools in the tool bar

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  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C
  • Item D

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  1. Item A
  2. Item B
  3. Item C
  4. Item D

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These lists can also have layered formatting using the other tool icons in the tool bar.

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  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C
  • Item D

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  1. Item A
  2. Item B
  3. Item C
  4. Item D

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TIP 6 - How can I extend my 10 minute post edit time?

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When answering a post, or creating a new post. Do so in a new browser Tab or Window. For as long as this Window / Tab is open and showing the 'Blue' edit button, the post is editable. Close or refresh that Window / Tab and the ability to edit further past the initial 10 minutes is lost. I have kept some of my replies open for hours using this method. You can leave an editable post open whilst you use a different Window / Tab to navigate to other pages and sites using the browser. If you look at the timestamp on this very post you will see that it has been open for editing for the best part of 10 hours. I have been using these 10 hours to develop the content of this post as I think of things to add.

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TIP 7 - Preventing multiple posted duplicates.

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Sometimes the forum website is slow to respond and seems to lock up. The newbie thinks that their post has not been posted and clicks the 'Green Reply and/or Save' button again. Sometimes several times. All this does is 'queue' as many duplicates of the post that the user clicked the button into the forum software. Then once what has been causing the temporary lack of response has finished (usually some aspect of internal forum software housekeeping activity) all the duplicates are then published in one go as a flurry of duplicate posts.

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So if there is no immediate response after clicking the 'Green Reply' or 'Green Save' buttons......don't panic and be patient. Just open a new browser Window or Tab and navigate back to the forum where you are trying to place your post and you will almost certainly find that your post has been published there successfully.

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A large amount of Com Mod time is spent removing errored duplicates.

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TIP 8 - Including an Image in your post.

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Very few people have the knack for explaining things effectively in the form of the written word. Text can be so easily misunderstood, and is not helped if the newbie is unfamiliar with the correct technical terms to use. It is perfectly true that an image can save a thousand words......videos are even better at showing clearly the issue that needs resolving.

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Although videos are not directly supported on this forum, links to YouTube are - see TIP 13.

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If appropriate, try to include a photo, image, drawing or sketch that supports the explanation of your issue. They can really help to generate accurately targeted advice to be given. Note that newbie posts with images are currently held back for image approval by the forum administrator (not Com Mods) and is only performed during normal Hornby weekday office hours. So an image posted late afternoon on the Thursday before the 'Good Friday' Easter B/H is unlikely to appear before the following Tuesday.

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Refer to this existing 'How To' for posting an image.

https://www.hornby.com/uk-en/forum/how-do-i-include-an-image-photo-in-my-post/?p=1

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TIP 9 - Choosing a post title.

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The title of the post is key to being able to find it again using the forum search. It is always better to create your own new thread with your question rather than resurrecting a thread that is several years old. Make the title descriptive and informative. Example....... "How do I control points using DCC" is far more helpful than a bland "Help Wanted" title.

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TIP 10 - Searching the forum.

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Very nearly every question you can think of has been asked before and an answer can be found via a forum search. It is not unusual for some common questions to get asked 2 or 3 times by different members in the same week.

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However, the internal forum search engine is absolutely dire. It is only effective when searching 'single words'. Far superior searching can be performed using 'Google's Advanced Search'. Using Google's search engine can be very effective at finding that elusive bit of info buried away in a far distant post. Refer to the 'How To' below for guidance on using Google to search this forum.

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https://www.hornby.com/uk-en/forum/searching-the-hornby-forum/#post-249994

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TIP 11 - What is the forum structure, which is the correct forum section to place my post in.

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Another challenge the Com Mods face is moving newbie posts into the correct forum for the question that they have raised. Refer to this previously posted guide.

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https://www.hornby.com/uk-en/forum/forum-structure-what-goes-where/?p=1

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TIP 12 - Can I sell or buy items with other forum members via this forum?

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The simple answer is no......the primary reason is that there is no 'Private Messaging' capability on this forum and there is a 'Forum Rule / Guideline' against posting personal  contact information such as Telephone Numbers, Postal & Email Addresses. New forum members are advised to familiarise themselves with the forum rules & guidelines. Clickable links to these are replicated on every forum page.

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TIP 13 - Posting clickable links to other sites / pages.

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Use the 'Chain Link' tool  icon in the tool bar to make your pasted URL text clickable. The clickable text does not necessarily need to have the full URL syntax i.e start with https:// for example. Any text (even an image) can have a URL assigned to it using the chain link tool mentioned above.

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For example both the links displayed below will take you the same Hornby website page:

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https://www.hornby.com/uk-en/downloads/view/index/cat/2/

Hornby Service Sheets

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TIP 14 - Can I "Drag n Drop" or "Cut n Paste" on this forum.

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"Drag n Drop" is not officially supported, but some limited success may be noted on some platforms..

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"Cut n Paste" works for text. It may occasionally work with images and URL links in some circumstances but this can not be guaranteed to work in all situations. When it comes to 'images' and 'clickable links' it is always best to use the tool icons provided in the tool bar.

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TIP 15 - Spell Checking.

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The 'ABC Tick' icon in the tool bar switches on 'spell checking' but note this.

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The software for 'spell checking' is not part of the forum software. It is enabled locally on the platform you use to access the forum. Thus there are a number of variables. Spell Checking may not function on all browsers (the ABC Tick icon remains greyed out). For example, I am using Firefox on Windows 7 Pro and with that combination 'spell checking' is functional. But on the same PC, 'spell checking' is not functional using MS Internet Explorer 11. To get 'spell check' to work on Firefox, I had to download and install an optional FF dictionary and make additional FF configuration changes. Other non PC platforms may also need to have specific local configuration changes made to get 'spell checking' to work.

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TIP 16 - Can I change my displayed 'user name'?

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Yes...but only once yourself. You change your 'user name' in your 'Community Account' pages accessed via the "Account/Logout" (you have to be logged in first) button on the top black bar. If you have used up your one chance to change your name, then subsequent changes need to be requested by sending an email to the Hornby Forum Administrator at forum@hornby.com

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In Conclusion:

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So as you can see, the tools are reasonably powerful if one takes the time to learn to use and experiment with them.

Chris........ Making the wood in the trees visible.

RAF96

13580 posts


Community Moderator

Your guide needs to be made a sticky post Chris. New members should have to confirm they have read it before they are allowed to join the forum.

 

If using an iPad then at Tip 3 to escape the quote box, just insert a double carriage return and then hit the 99 button. This will release your cursor from the quote and you can type your reply.

 

Having typed something/anything outside the quote box then you can safely re-enter it and say strip out extra lines or unwanted text, noting that if you delete the first line it will also unquote the whole box.

 

Also on the iPad if you click anywhere in a sentence or paragraph and hit the 99 button it will quote that whole block not just the word as I have done here.

Halton Brat - Running Win 10, 64-bit - RM (Pro-Pack) with Elite as Controller-A, Select as Walkabout and E-Link as Controller-B - Locos are mostly TTS. http://www.halton96th.org.uk/robs_rails.html

Ericm0hff

5860 posts

On the Windows format - rather than copy the whole thing, then delete most of the bits you don't want, you can copy and paste just the line you want to quote.

Put your mouse cursor at the end (or beginning) of the line you want - press and hold the left 'clicker', and draw it along the line of words.

The line will appear in a blue bar.

Let go of the left button, and right click - you get a drop-down box.

Find and left-click the word COPY.

Move your cursor to where you want the words to appear - right-click for the drop-down box.

Find and left-click the word PASTE. 

Job done.

p.s. this works on ANY text anywhere in Windows, not just on here!

if it works first time, you did something wrong!

walkingthedog

19671 posts

Might just be me but I find 66 and 99 a bit confusing. Do you mean “and ” if so just say so.   

WTD ........... Nurse, the screens.

RAF96

13580 posts


Community Moderator

Sorry I said 99 when I meant 66 the quote icon just to the right of B and I in the top row of the reply box.

Halton Brat - Running Win 10, 64-bit - RM (Pro-Pack) with Elite as Controller-A, Select as Walkabout and E-Link as Controller-B - Locos are mostly TTS. http://www.halton96th.org.uk/robs_rails.html

Jimyjames

1592 posts

On Tip 13 when doing a insert/Edit Link using the chain link - when the little gray  insert /Edit link box appears after typeing in the top space the Link URL - in the middle Space is a small pull down Target menu - always select the "Open Link in a new Window" option because it is less annoying for others - it it better to have it opening a new window rather than to have to go back to a previous window!!!

Then if you want to, in the 3rd space down just write a quick few words description of what the link it in the Title Space!!!

Thank you Smile 

Jimyjames - You can only please some of the people some of the time, But not all of the people all of the time, & that is why I have a mixture of vids on my YouTube Channel. Every 1 has busy lives but you don't relise what you have missed untill it's too late - Please who every is reading this - make time for your family/friends before it's too late!!!

Lb101

172 posts

Very useful Chrissaf. Worth keeping as a link page perhaps for those who are struggling or getting in a knot (or a bit like the tip thing you do to remind Newbies not to hit the blue button when they make their first post, though this info herein might be more useful to those who want to get more involved in the forum than those who post a one off single question). Most people seem to go straight to the General Discussion section and might not see this here, and as new posts are added to this section here it will be a shame if it moves down the list and gets lost in the ether.

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The rules of the forum are useful and do remind people to search etc. but this adds a lot more scope on using the forum, good tips on keeping posts clear and on helping people use the tools available.  I‘ve bookmarked the page Smile (alsoworth mentioning that smiley faces etc only work when selected from within the posting at the top, the ones on the iPhone itself from its keyboard don’t work, don’t know if it’s the same for other phones/tablets).

Lb101

172 posts

Edit to my last post. Actually many tips are useful to new members too with a ‘one off question‘. Searching through Google as you said often brings up an answer linked to this forum (hopefully meaning they don’t need to sign up just to ask that one question they’ll ever have, not that we want to put off people joining but I get the fact some join, ask a question that’s been asked and are never to be heard again), using a suitable topic title, getting a diagram or photo up. thanks

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