I just wrote a book on Chat, so I thought maybe I should copy and paste the book here. Please feel free to add more information as you think of it.
Hey @Sally! Can you please share some tips about using forum for those who are interested? Tx
7:22pm by mclingham
7:32pm by Okie
I’m not @Sally but I’ll share how I use it- I’m mainly only interested in WDW chat, so I click on the Walt Disney World label to just see those threads. I scan the titles & jump into the ones that look intetesting. Then I click back to the first page &
7:36pm by sterps
Click on La Cava Del Chat to scan through the open threads.
7:36pm by sterps
7:37pm by MDU
If you reply on a thread, the system will start following that thread for you, and you get a notification, kinda like Facebook when someone replies, so it’s easy to jump back into conversations & find them again
7:39pm by sterps
Umm, last time I checked you were completely different than Sally. Can I check again? I know the best way to do that but that would be a conversation for the forums.
7:43pm by alitig1
@MDU you are more like the unSally.
7:48pm by DoUwannaBldAsnowman
Lol @ douwanna. Cause I can’t heart you here.
7:49pm by jenmckenna80
Heh. @MDU is the unSally. I like it. Yes, @mclingham. I’d be happy to give some Forum tips. I’m just cleaning up dinner, but I should be back in a little bit. Thanks for starting a thread.
7:58pm by SallyEppcot
OK. I’m going to start listing tips. Forum-savvy Liners, please help me if you think of something to add. If anyone has questions, please ask. I’m just trying to be helpful, so if you hate the Forum, just scroll on. Helpful tips, coming right up.
8:25pm by SallyEppcot
New Forum users should explore at a PC first. It’s much more usable on phones now, but it’s easier if you learn how to navigate on PC first. http://forum.touringplans.com/
8:27pm by SallyEppcot
Sally/MDU the ying yang of TP
8:29pm by BearsMom2011
It’s organized by categories, but you can ignore the categories and just click “latest” if you want to see the most current threads. Not a lot of people use the Forum yet, so there are probably only 20 new questions a day.
8:29pm by SallyEppcot
Ignore LaCava (the subscriber-only chat area) in the beginning. Start with the on-topic threads. After clicking on “latest” you should see a list of threads with the most recent at the top. Click on a title to read the thread.
8:34pm by SallyEppcot
If you are interested in a thread, add a comment. This will make that thread one that you are following. After you have a few threads you are following, the “new” and “unread” categories next to “latest” will become useful.
8:37pm by SallyEppcot
There will be little blue circles next to threads that you’re following that tell you how many new comments have appeared.
8:38pm by SallyEppcot
The important thing in the beginning is to 1) sort by latest and 2) comment on any thread you want to follow. There are probably only 20-30 new threads a day (way fewer than Chat) because not that many people use the Forum yet.
8:41pm by SallyEppcot
It’s fun to collect all the badges over there too for doing the various things you earn them for doing and I’m talking in a circle. And you can use many more words and pictures in your messages. And you can heart things like Liking on facebook
8:42pm by alitig1
I think the best feature is the tagging with the @ sign and the username. the forums will show you a little green number if you have messages with your name in them to you. its very personal. And searchable.
8:43pm by alitig1
Responses WILL be slower on the Forum. There just aren’t that many people answering questions yet. Staff try to respond to threads in their areas of expertise, but it’s not immediate.
8:44pm by SallyEppcot
If you want to tag someone, type the @ symbol and then start typing their Liner name. A list of suggestions will come up, and you can choose the one you want when you see it. He/she will get a message or email, depending on their notification preferences.
8:45pm by SallyEppcot
If you want to search for a thread on a topic, type the subject into the search box at the top. You might need to click the “show more” option at the bottom to see all of the threads that use that term.
8:47pm by SallyEppcot
Anyone can start a thread. Choose " NewTopic" Give it a descriptive title - “A question” is WAY less useful than “Favorite Epcot snacks.” If you want to do a trip report, try putting your Liner name in the title to identify it. Choose a category for it.
8:49pm by SallyEppcot
I find it most useful to put new threads into specific categories like WDW - Dining. Lots of trip reports go into La Cava because that area is not open to Google searches and is for subscribers only (kind of…it’s complicated.)
8:51pm by SallyEppcot
When you’re typing a starting post for a thread or any comment/reply on an existing thread, you have a text box with a few options. This will look different depending on your device. It’s easiest on PC, but has gotten better on phones.
8:53pm by SallyEppcot
To add a photo on PC, choose the little UP arrow (for upload.) To add a photo on your phone, the “upload” is a word at the bottom. You have to wait for the html code garbledy-gook (not a technical term) to show up before you post reply.
8:55pm by SallyEppcot
So you’ll upload a photo, wait for the photo to load to 100%, and then you’ll see a bunch of text in your text box. That’s the photo. You won’t see the image until you click reply if you’re on your phone.
8:55pm by SallyEppcot
and you often have to hit reply 2 or 3 times to make it actually go.
8:57pm by alitig1
Is this helpful? Should I keep going? I kind of feel like I’m shooting fish in a barrel here, because I don’t know what is needed. How about if I wander off for 10 minutes to give you all a chance to ask questions. I’ll be back in a bit.
8:57pm by SallyEppcot
Very helpful - thank you @sally
9:09pm by zarina101
Part II - The Fun Stuff - Most of the threads on the Forum are all business. Seriously. People ask questions. One or two people answer. The end. That’s the same as Chat, and works better on Chat, in my opinion.
9:12pm by SallyEppcot
Long trip reports with pictures, conversations about your favorite resort or childhood memories of WDW are made for the Forum format. This is the fun stuff. A lot of those conversations have moved to La Cava, but anyone can start a thread like this.
9:16pm by SallyEppcot
There are enough daily Forum users for lively conversations on any topic, especially WDW-related topics. If you start a fun thread, people will participate. It’s fun, and we don’t have to feel guilty about sucking up @Len’s server space with rambling.
9:17pm by SallyEppcot
This is great! Keep going : )
9:19pm by ourhappyplace
You can add photos, Internet memes and emoticons to make it fun. If you’re on a PC, you can copy images or “copy image URL” for animated gifs. Then just past into your reply and it will show up. On your phone, you’ll usually have to save/upload the image
9:20pm by SallyEppcot
Here. I made a thread where you can practice. Try adding a photo, animated gif or emoticon. Practice adding photos, animated gifs, emoticons
9:23pm by SallyEppcot
Ooops. I forgot to tell you how to do emoticons. They automatically show up in a list of options when you type a colon : so to add a heard your text box will say but the image once you hit reply will be an actual heart.
9:24pm by SallyEppcot
So you can make your own threads on any topic. Disney-related threads are great, and a lot of Forum users only participate in these. You can also join the daily stream-of-consciousness La Cava Open Threads. This is the social part of the Forum.
9:27pm by SallyEppcot
9:28pm by JodiF
Thanks for the great info Sally!
9:29pm by tinkermel
@BGK starts the (original!) Open Thread each day. This is where the shenanigans will be. It isn’t all shenanigans and dirty jokes though! People are kind and supportive and share a lot about themselves. I feel very protective of my Open Thread friends.
9:29pm by SallyEppcot
There’s a second Clean Open Thread each day that is an innuendo-free zone. We realized that not everyone felt comfortable with the colorful language and jokes in the Open Thread, so we made a Clean Thread. We want everyone to have a comfortable place.
9:31pm by SallyEppcot
All are welcome in either or both Open Threads. Really. We joke around and are intensely protective of each other (especially when someone is feeling bullied) but I can honestly say even the biggest jokers also have very kind hearts.
9:33pm by SallyEppcot
You might not be able to post in the LaCava threads until after you’ve made a few posts in the general Forum threads. I don’t quite remember how that works. Maybe @LaurelStewart can clarify for me. But please say hello when you are able!
9:34pm by SallyEppcot
To find the daily Open Thread and Clean Open Thread, just click on that “latest” button at the top of the Forum page. They always have the date at the start of the thread title, and should be very near the top. Lurkers are welcome.
9:36pm by SallyEppcot
Some of the daily threads have 200…400…800…even more than 1000 posts. Don’t worry about that!! Nobody expects people to read every post (although some of us have no lives and do read every word.) Just jump to the bottom and say hi.
9:38pm by SallyEppcot
9:40pm by cobia
OK. I think I’m done. There are a lot of little technical details, but those will only be helpful as answers to specific questions. Please ask if you get stuck. I’m around a lot (yes, I’m the one with no life) and I’m happy to help.
9:41pm by SallyEppcot
Good job Sally!
9:44pm by happygolucky
Yes, this is helpful. I just renewed about a month ago after a year or so away and am still getting used to the changes. Poked around in the forum a little, but was having trouble finding much. Will try again tomorrow with your tips! Thanks for sharing.
9:46pm by kaycee1016
Please ask if you get stuck! Just post a question here in this thread, and I’ll see it eventually. I promise I’ll check a few times a day.
9:48pm by SallyEppcot
Fantastic job Sally. You done good, girl.
59 min ago by DarthDopey
See, this whole 50 line post could have been done in 1 message on the forum because there are no character limits. Great Job Sally. You make a mom proud!
58 min ago by alitig1
Thanks this is very helpful!
56 min ago by grandfloridian
Well done @Sally! You explained that so well!
47 min ago by LoveBug53
Personalization! I guess this is part III. You have a lot of control over your settings in the Forum. You aren’t stuck with the defaults!
46 min ago by SallyEppcot
Most of the settings and things are more easily accessed on a PC. Your profile picture will be the first letter of your liner name to start. Click on it (at the top) and go to profile to make changes.
43 min ago by SallyEppcot
Then click on “preferences.” You can change your photo and the image at the top of your profile page. If you don’t want your real name visible you can make your profile name and Liner name match. I did this for added Google-obscurity.
41 min ago by SallyEppcot
Under “email” you can change your notification settings. If you don’t go into the Forum often you might want it set so you get an email if someone tags you or mentions you by name. I turned that all off because I was getting too many emails.
40 min ago by SallyEppcot
Ok, I am subscriber and have never been able to find la Cava. Is it invitation only?
39 min ago by readytogoback
The options under “other” will affect how the forum works for you. The bottom one “Don’t jump to new post after replying” is one that a lot of people feel strongly about. I like it checked so things stay chronological. Others uncheck it so that replies…
38 min ago by SallyEppcot
…stay with the linked comments. (I’m not sure if that makes sense.) When you are reading a thread, you can click the little arrow next to the tiny photo on the top right to see what they were replying to.
37 min ago by SallyEppcot
So if you see a comment at the end of a thread that says “that’s hilarious?” and you think to yourself, “WHAT is hilarious? This is confusing!” just click on that little arrow to see what the person was referencing. It IS confusing, especially at first.
35 min ago by SallyEppcot
Sometimes those little reply arrows disappear on some phones and smaller devices. Then everyone gripes because it all becomes very confusing. It usually gets fixed pretty quickly. Those reply arrows create order out of chaos.
34 min ago by SallyEppcot
Another thing that can be very frustrating is when the text box for a reply/comment starts to float above your window on your phone. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, so if you had that problem, try it again to see if it’s been fixed.
32 min ago by SallyEppcot
@Sally, you are a font of knowledge. Thanks so much for breaking it down. I forsee a not very productive work day in my future tomorrow.
30 min ago by ElastiGirl73
I often find on my phone that the text box disappears as I’m typing. When that happens, I tap “done” and then I can re-position the cursor and continue. This usually fixes it. I do this multiple times while typing on my phone.
30 min ago by SallyEppcot
Sometimes, while I’m typing a comment on my phone, everything will freeze. This seems to happen when lots of new comments are being posted while I’m typing. The best way around this is to close the browser and then reopen it.
28 min ago by SallyEppcot
I access the Forums with Safari on my iPhone 6. If you have trouble with one browser on your phone, try using a different one. If everything is really wonky, it might be that you are in “desktop view” instead of “mobile view.” Desktop view doesn’t work…
27 min ago by SallyEppcot
…doesn’t work on phones. There should be three little lines at the top next to your profile photo. One of the options when you tap those lines is a way to toggle back to “mobile view.”
25 min ago by SallyEppcot
Oh! Sorry @readytogoback! I was on a roll. LaCava is NOT invitation only. That only happened for a few days. Try scrolling down through the categories. If you still don’t see it, make sure you’re logged in. You might have to do it twice.
23 min ago by SallyEppcot
You guys rick
22 min ago by MeyerDisneyFan
And that was ROCK
22 min ago by MeyerDisneyFan
If you still don’t see it, try posting a couple of comments/replies in one of the regular threads. That practice thread I set up should be visible in the WDW category. I wish I could remember if that was a requirement. I think it’s just that you need…
21 min ago by SallyEppcot
…to be a TP subscriber in one of the areas (WDW, DLR, etc.) but I can’t remember. You can tag @LaurelStewart in any thread if you can’t get it to work. I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you to do that. (Hi Laurel!)
20 min ago by SallyEppcot
Heh. I feel more like gravel than a rock with all these itty-bitty posts @MeyerDisneyFan. Thanks. In other news, my migraine is GONE. I guess I just needed a project.
18 min ago by SallyEppcot
I like how when you start to create a new thread, it makes suggestions of other threads that might already have asked and answered your question… I wish other forums would do that
13 min ago by megstr29
I agree @megstr29. Some of the automatically generated suggestions are hilariously annoying though. The running joke is that we all insist that our bodies are valid, because the Forum Powers That Be say “your body is invalid” if you type in all caps.
4 min ago by SallyEppcot
I think I should make a cup of tea and walk away from the computer now. Good night all.
3 min ago by SallyEppcot
Thanks for compiling all of this great info!
< 1 min ago by Tinkerminnie