I’ll be the first to admit that our private forum is a bit clunky. The main reason for this is that it’s free and the pay solutions were outside of our budget. Should our site grow I hope to commit some funds toward a better solution, but for now this is how to best utilize our private forum.
Probably the most important aspect of this forum is letting it know when you want to be contacted via email. When you see a forum topic that you want to be kept in the loop on, as an example “Lent Two”, then make a quick post like “I have a great story that will fit…” then click the check box next to “notify me of follow up replies via email”.
This way you’ll get an email when someone else adds to that weeks conversation. Doing this one little step will make the forum a lot more timely and lively.
If you’re like me and kind of a creative junky, then maybe subscribing to all of the forum topics would be up your alley…
There are a row of buttons (pictured here) above the typing window that allow for two important functions: linking outside of the forum and displaying images. To link outside click the “link” button. A box will open up that looks like this:
Add your link URL and any link text you would like. If you want the link to appear as text simply make the URL and Link Text fields the same, so in the example pictured the URL and Link Text would both be “http://tangledblue.com” to make http://tangledblue.com be a clickable link in the forum.
Then click “ADD LINK” and a bit of html code will be added to your post. It will look like this:
All of that weird code is the language of the web and what the forum needs to display and route your link correctly. Simply continue your typing around either end of the code <a… /a> and the link will work as it should. Once you submit your post to the forum the code will disappear and allow for link to work. In the above example the code will enable the link to look like this: check out the Tangled Blue website
The truly clunky part of this forum set up is that you cannot simply drag an image into the forum. There are two ways to add graphics to the forum. If your image is already on the web somewhere then click the “IMG” button, add the URL for the image you want to add to the forum to the box, and click “OK”. It will then ask you to describe your image; this a completely optional step. Click “OK” again and a bit of code that references your image will be placed in your post; it will look something like this:
And the end result, once you add your post to the forum, will hide the code and display your image. In the above example the code is asking to display our logo which will look like this in the forum post…
Adding an image that is not currently online, as an example a photo that’s on your phone/computer, requires a different set of steps which will be written out in “HowTo-post“.