Help Topics...


Automatically Logging In

ReunionTalk uses a "cookie" that stores your ID. This lets you automatically log back in when you return to ReunionTalk using the same computer after being away for a while. We recommend that your browser be configured to "accept cookies" to enable this convenient feature.

If your browser is not configured to "accept cookies," then you'll have to type your user name and password each time you visit ReunionTalk.

If you are using a shared computer, such as in a library, school, or internet cafe, or if you don't trust any other users that might use your computer, we recommend that you click Log Out when finished using ReunionTalk. (Clicking Log Out will clear your cookies.) Otherwise, the next person who uses the same computer would be able to "log on" as you.


Keeping Track of New Messages

The vBulletin software (that powers ReunionTalk) uses a cookie which stores your identity, allowing some communication between the server (running vBulletin) and your Macintosh (running a web browser).

The cookie identifies you, so that...

  1. you can automatically log onto ReunionTalk
  2. based on your id, the server will know when you last visited ReunionTalk
  3. within any particuclar session, cues as to which threads or messages you viewed can be shown - but that depends on how you navigate through the forum. (When you log onto ReunionTalk, your visit is called a "session.")

Here is an example...

Let's say you haven't visited ReunionTalk since yesterday evening at 7 PM. If you visit ReunionTalk this evening, your browser communicates with the server to automatically log you on. The server knows that you were last logged on yesterday at 7 PM. And any forum or thread with a message posted after 7 PM last night will appear "new" - with the colored icon. It doesn't matter which forums or threads you viewed yesterday. All that the server knows is the time of your last session.

If you click a forum name with a colored icon, and then click a thread title with a colored icon, you'll see the list of messages in that thread. When you're finished reading messages in that thread, the best way to exit that thread is to click a breadcrumb link (the path shown at the top and bottom of a page) to navigate (to "back out" of a thread).

If you do this, your browser will communicate with the server and the thread you just visited will be considered to be "read" (even if you never read the new posts in the thread) and the thread's icon will change to gray, indicating that there are "no new messages" in that thread.

If you simply use your browser's Back button, to "back out" of the message page (and back onto the thread index page), you'll notice that the icons are still colored, even though you may have read the messages. That's because clicking the Back button in your browser isn't the same as backing out using the breadcrumbs. When using the breadcrumbs, communication happens between your browser and the server that facilitates the visual clues (colored icons, and bold thread titles).

All this happens within any given session, NOT from session to session. The only thing that the server remembers between sessions is the time that you last logged in (automatically or manually). And any forum or thread with a message posted after your last login time will appear "new" - with the colored icon.

One other consideration: the vBulletin software has a "timeout" feature - a length of time that a user must be inactive before his or her session is considered over and posts are marked "read." Currently, this is set to 30 minutes.


Keychain

Keychain Access does not work with vBulletin, and thus doesn't work with ReunionTalk. See Automatically Logging In, above.


Formatting Messages

ReunionTalk runs on a 3rd party software product called vBulletin. This software supports "BB Codes," a set of tags with a simple syntax that allow formatting, links, and images in your messages. These are HTML-based codes... if you've only used the nice WYSIWYG formatting, as in your word processor, be prepared for a shock. Most of this web page explains how to format your messages.


Links

If you want to include a link to another web page, you can type its address explicitly in your message. The vBulletin software will automatically underline the link, making it easy for members to visit the linked web page. It will look like this...

explicit link

You can also include hidden links using the [url] tag. Just use the following format:

[url=http://www.reuniontalk.com/]Click here to see the ReunionTalk home page[/url]

Here's how it'll appear in your message...

hidden link

Email Links

To add a link to an email address, you simply type the email address in your message like this:

myname@domain.com

Note: There must be a blank space, such as a space or a carriage return before the beginning of the address.

You can also add a hidden email link using the following format:

[email=myname@domain.com]Click here to email me[/email]

Here's how it'll appear in your message...

email link

Bold and Italic Text

To make a word or sentence in your message bold, enclose it as follows...

[b]This Text Will Be Bold[/b]

To make a word or sentence in your message italic, enclose it as follows...

[i]this is italic[/i]

Text with different Colors and Sizes

You can alter the size and color of text using the following tags:

[color=blue]some text[/color] produces some text (colored blue)
[size=4]some text[/size] produces some text (size 4 text)

You can also combine all the various text formatting tags. Such as...

[color=teal][b]Here's some bold, teal text![/b][/color] produces Here's some bold, teal text!

Quoting Text

To quote the text of a message, simply click the Reply With Quote button, under the message you want to quote.

Or, you can manually copy-and-paste quoted text into your message and then enclose it like this example...

[quote=Leroy Brown]this text is quoted, and will appear graphically quoted in your message[/quote]

Here's how it'll appear in your message...

quoted text

Smilies in your Message

Smilies are small graphical icons which you can insert into your messages to show an emotion or feeling, such as a joke or embarrassment. For example, if you entered a sarcastic comment, rather than type 'that was a joke', you could simply insert the 'wink' smilie.

If you have used email or internet chat systems, you will probably be familiar with the concept of smilies already. Certain combinations of text characters are converted into smilies. For example,:) is converted into a smiling face. To understand smilie codes, tilt your head to the left and look at the text: you will see that :) represents two eyes and a smiling mouth.

Here is a list of the smilies currently used by this forum...

Smilies
What to Type Resulting Graphic Meaning
:p Stick Out Tongue
;) Wink
:confused: Confused
:D Big Grin
:eek: EEK!
:o Embarrassment
:mad: Mad
:( Frown
:rolleyes: Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)
:) Smile
:cool: Cool

Avatars - Your Personal Picture (Next to Your User Name)

Your avatar is a small picture that is displayed to the left of your user name on all messages that you post.

To select or change your avatar, click User Settings, and then click Edit Avatar.

You may upload a picture file, or link to a picture on another web site, following the directions on-screen.

Avatars are limited to 80 x 80 pixels in dimension, and 30 KB in size.


Including Images

To include a picture or graphic within the body of your message, you can simply surround the address of the image as shown here:

[img]http://www.reuniontalk.com/doc/familybb.png[/img]

Note: the http:// part of the image URL is required for the [img] code.


Mistakes using BB Code in Messages

Here are two of the most common mistakes...

1. Don't put spaces between the bracketed code and the text you are applying the code to.

wrong -> [url] www.reuniontalk.com [/url]

2. The end brackets must include a forward slash ([/email])

wrong -> [email]myname@domain.com[email]

Editing Your Messages After Posting

You may edit your own posts at any time after posting. Look for the Edit Post button in the lower-right corner of your message. No one else can edit your post, except for the forum moderator(s) or the ReunionTalk administrators. A note is generated at the bottom of each edited post so that everyone knows when a post has been edited. Only registered members can edit their posts.


Signatures

You may append a "signature" (commonly used in email messages) to your posts. To add or edit your signature, click the User Settings button, and then click Edit Signature. Once you have a signature stored, it will be included with all posts.

When creating a message, your signature won't appear until you click Submit Message, Submit Reply, or Preview Post.

Signatures are limited to 100 characters.

To include a link to your email address in your signature, use one of the following formats...

[email]leroybrown@southsideofchicago.com[/email]
[email=leroybrown@southsideofchicago.com]Click here to email me[/email]

Searching for Messages

You may search for specific posts based on a word or words found in the posts or titles, by a particular registered member, by date, and/or by forum. Just click on the Search button at the top of most pages to explore the search options.


Thread Display Modes

When viewing a thread, you will be able to view the thread from a choice of four modes:

  1. Linear Mode (Oldest First) - In this mode, posts are displayed chronologically from oldest to newest. Posts are shown in a flat mode so that many posts can be viewed simultaneously.
  2. Linear Mode (Newest First) - This is the same as the above mode, except that posts are ordered in an opposite way (newest first).
  3. Threaded Mode - In this mode, a tree is shown along with every post. This tree allows you to see the relationship each post has to others, in terms of who responded to whom. Only one post is shown at a time.
  4. Hybrid Mode - This mode is a mixture of the linear and threaded modes. The post tree is displayed like in the threaded mode, but multiple posts are displayed simultaneously like in the linear modes.

Subscribing to/Unsubscribing from the ReunionTalk Digest

To subscribe to the ReunionTalk digest, go into your User Settings for ReunionTalk and click on Edit Your Details (under Your Control Panel/Your Profile on the left of the page). In these details, scroll down until you see the ReunionTalk Digest option - set it to Text Digest or HTML Digest (which ever format you prefer) and click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

To unsubscribe, go to the same setting noted above and change it to No Digest, then click Save Changes


RSS, ReunionTalk Forum Syndication

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." RSS is a special format for sharing the content of certain web sites. You can use an RSS aggregator program to check the RSS "feed" coming from the ReunionTalk forum. The RSS "feed" from ReunionTalk is in the form of a special file on the ReunionTalk web site. To make any sense out of this RSS feed file, you must use an RSS aggregator program. The aggregator program, also known as a "news reader," will present the RSS feed in an easy-to-read format. This feed will let you view a list of the newest ReunionTalk threads before you even open your web browser.

There are two different RSS feeds available on ReunionTalk...

RSS 0.91 - This feed is based on a standard written by Netscape and provides a link and the title of the thread:

http://www.reuniontalk.com/external.php?type=rss

RSS 2.0 - This feed contains title, author, date and the contents of the first post of the thread:

http://www.reuniontalk.com/external.php?type=rss2

Each ReunionTalk feed will only include the new threads that are visible to guests. In other words, hidden forum categories will not be included in the RSS feed.

Here is an example of an RSS aggregator application...

NewsMac: http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/13793

There are several freeware and shareware RSS aggregators available here:

http://www.versiontracker.com/

If you're using the Firefox browser, you may want to try the Sage RSS aggregator extension:

http://www.rss-resources.org/sage.html

For more details about RSS, please visit the following sites...

http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/12/18/dive-into-xml.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_%28protocol%29#Usage