Message Boards allow logged-in users to post thoughts and questions on the website for other logged-in users to respond to.
Posts are searchable based on full or partial text matches within the post.
Topics are posted to categories which are organized by sections.
Below is an example of the main message board page:
From this page you can:
- Start a new discussion topic by click the clicking the "Start a new Topic" link
- Review your "subscriptions". You can subscribe to one or more categories. When you are subscribed to a category you will receive an email notification whenever there is a new posting to that category. When you click "My Subscriptions" a form, like the figure below, will be displayed. Select the categories for which you would like to receive a notification when a here is a new posting and submit the form.
- Use the search function to search for postings which contains the search criteria you specify. Clicking the "Search" link to the right of "My Subscriptions" will display a search dialog. The search dialog will search both the contents of posts and the authors name.
- Browse posts by "drilling down" into a category by clicking on the category name. A list of posts associated with that category will be displayed.
- Reply to a post by clicking on the "Add Reply" or "Quote" links. The two link are similar in that the both open a dialog box into which you enter the information you would like to post in the reply. The quote function, pre-populates the dialog box with the the text from the original post.
- If you are the person who submitted the post there is also an "edit" link which allows you to revise the text in your original posting.
Here are some suggestions for making the message board a success:
- Before posting a question to the board, check if anyone has asked it already and received a reply.
- Stay on topic – Don’t post irrelevant links, comments, thoughts, or pictures.
- Don’t type in ALL CAPS! If you do, it will look like you’re screaming.
- Don’t write anything that sounds angry or sarcastic, even as a joke, because without hearing your tone of voice, others might not realize you’re joking.
- Respect the opinions of others. If you feel the need to disagree, do so respectfully. Acknowledge the valid points in postings. Remember others are entitled to have their own perspective on the issue which may differ from your opinions.
- Be brief. If you write a long dissertation in response to a simple question, it’s unlikely that anyone will spend the time to read through it all.
- If you refer to something said earlier in the discussion, quote justa few key lines from their post so that others won't have to go back and figure out which post you’re referring to.
- Before asking a question, check the FAQs or search the internet to see if the answer is obvious or easy to find.
- Check the most recent comments before you reply to an older comment, since the issue might have already been resolved or opinions may have changed.
- Be forgiving. If there is a mistake in a posting, don’t badger the author. Just let it go – it happens to the best of us.
- Run a spelling and grammar check before posting anything to the discussion board. It only takes a minute, and can make the difference between sounding like a fool and sounding knowledgeable.