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How to Use the Forums (User Guide)


Forums Admin

I am Pauline Kenny, the owner and administrator of these forums. Some of you may know me from my time running the SlowTrav.com forums. If you have any questions, post on this thread or click CONTACT in the footer and send me a message.

This post covers the basics of using these forums and replaces several posts written earlier. Written December 2017 - Xenforo release 2.0.

The Forum Software

These forums are running on Xenforo software, installed on Pair Networks. Read more about Xenforo on Wikipedia. The developers are from vBulletin, now owned by IB. They left to create new forums software.

Forum Registration

Everyone is welcome to join these forums and take part. Spammers target forums and I have put up barriers to keep them out. These barriers make it a bit harder for you to register. I have a required text box “Tell us about yourself” in the registration form where you have to write something to show me you are not a spammer. If I am still not sure, your first post does not go live until I review it.

I apologize for all this - but spammers are relentless!

How to Register for the Forums

Click the REGISTER button in the upper right. Fill out the registration form. In the "tell us about yourself" text box write something to show me you are a regular person and not a spammer or robot.

When you register, you immediately receive an email. Click the link to confirm your email. If you do not receive the email, check your spam folder.

Once your email is verified your registration goes into a queue. When I review it and approve it, you receive an email to let you know that you are registered. Now you can post on the forums.

Your Profile

Your profile information is visible to anyone who clicks on your member name. It contains the information you entered when registering and an Avatar (profile photo).

Avatar: The software creates an avatar for you, with the first letter of your name. You can create a custom avatar by uploading an image. Click on your member name in the upper right. Hover on the avatar and the EDIT link appears. Click that and upload a photo. If you have a photo set up on Gravatar (www.gravatar.com) it will be displayed. Gravatar lets you define an avatar that is always associated with your email address, so it can be used in many places on the web.

Your Member Name

You can't change your user name, but the admin can. When you register for the forums, the form asks you for your name. This is the name you will be called on the forums. If you don't like your member name and want to change it, contact me and I will change it for you. Send me a Private Message (click INBOX in the upper right) or contact me by the CONTACT link at the bottom of the page. So, if you set your user name to "Tom Smith 123 Main Street Anytown" and now regret it, I can easily change it for you.

Posting on the Forums

The forum is made up of a number of forums, e.g. Italy, France, etc. Within a forum you see a list of threads – topics of conversation. A person starts a thread and others post replies within the thread.

To create a new thread, click POST THREAD on the main page or on a forum page. To reply to a current thread, type in the reply box at the bottom of the thread, then click POST REPLY.

How to Insert Links in a Post

Type the text you want to be the link. Highlight it and click the LINK icon above the text box. There you can paste in the link.

How to Insert Photos in a Post

Put your cursor in the post where you want the photo to appear. I usually leave a blank line before and after a photo. Click the INSERT IMAGE button above the text box (looks like a photo of mountains). Then you can drag and drop a photo from a folder on your computer or upload a photo by navigating to the folder and selecting the photo. If it does not immediately appear, look in the upper right to see the uploading icon (dots).

You can also click the ATTACH FILES button below the post, navigate to the folder, upload the photo, put the cursor where you want the photo to appear, and click FULL IMAGE.

Or simply drag the photo from a folder and drop it into the post. It uploads and then you can place it the same way as you do for ATTACH FILES.

How to Insert Photos from your Albums in a Post

If you have photos in the Media section, in categories or in albums, you can easily insert them into posts. Click the EMBED MEDIA button above the text box (looks like a camera). All the photos that you have uploaded to the media section are shown. Pick one and it is inserted.

How to Embed a Google Map in a Thread
Google frequently changes the format of links to google maps. If you embed a Google Map and it does not work, click REPORT on your post and send me a note. I will go in and fix it.

From Google Maps, click the SHARE link. Select the EMBED link. Paste that link into your post. If possible, remove the IFRAME code around the link and leave only the link. That is a bit tricky, you don't have to. I will clean up the post when I see it.

How to Recover your Post Draft

As you write your post, the software automatically saves it. As you type, draft versions are automatically stored. You can force a draft to be stored by clicking the DRAFTS icon (looks like a disk). Then you can move away from the page but the next time you go to it, your post will be there.

Should you want to delete the draft, click on the DRAFTS icon and select DELETE DRAFT.

Sometimes I am writing a post but then click a link and move away from the page by accident. When I click the back button, I no longer see my post!! But if I refresh the page, the saved draft of the post appears and I am back in business.

You Can Edit Your Posts for up to 24 Hours

I have the forums set to allow you to edit your posts for 24 hours. Click EDIT under your post. If you spot a typo after the 24 hours and you want it fixed, click REPORT and send me a message.

Note that for trip reports, you can edit your posts forever. I know that it sometimes takes days to get a trip report entered and you might need to make changes after.

Photos in the Media section can also be edited forever.

Why you might see "edited by moderator" on your post

That's me. I can't help myself. If I see a typo that makes the meaning hard to determine, I fix it. If you insert a photo but leave it as thumbnail, I change it to display full size. If you got your link wrong, I fix it. If you put too many spaces between paragraphs, I tell myself "leave it alone", but sometimes I still go in and fix it.

I could "edit silently" but that seems creepy. So, if you see "last edited by a moderator" that is just me making things prettier. I NEVER remove words or change your post in a substantial way.

How to Post Trip Reports

See the post at the top of each Trip Reports forum.

Profile Posts

The forums have a feature called "Profile Posts". These are 140 character posts (similar to Twitter) that you can post on your account. In some places the software calls this your "online status".

How to write a profile post: Click your member name in the upper right of the forums. At the bottom of the window is a place to input your online status. OR click your member name to get to your profile page and there you see all your profile posts and can enter a new one.

How to read profile posts: Click the MEMBERS tab at the top of the forums. Then NEW PROFILE POSTS. You see all the recent profile posts. If you want to see them for one member, click on their member name from the forums (on one of their posts) and look at their profile.

How can we use profile posts? We can use them to tell each other when we are traveling. I post when we are going on a trip. We will probably find other uses for them.

REMEMBER: Profile posts are public. These are not to be used for private conversations. We have a good system for private messages - click INBOX in the upper right. You can delete your old profile posts.

How to Display Your List of Trip Reports

I can think of two ways to associate your trip reports with your profile page.

1. Change your signature to have links to your trip reports. To change your signature, click on your member name in the upper right of the screen and click on SIGNATURE. Enter your trip reports there. Your signature shows up at the bottom of every post.

2. Put your list of trip reports in the ABOUT YOU section in your profile. To do this, click on your member name and click ACCOUNT DETAILS. Enter your list of trip reports in the ABOUT YOU text box. This is displayed in your Profile, on the INFORMATION tab. So, if someone looks at your profile, they can see your list of trip reports. Click on my name to see my profile page and you can see that I have started my list.

Your List of Resources (Travel Notes) are Automatically Displayed in your Profile

You don't have to do this for the Resources (Travel Notes) that you write. They have their own tab on your profile and are automatically listed there.

The GTGs Forum is hidden unless you are logged in

The GTGs forum where we plan our meetings is hidden unless you are logged in. This is to give it a bit of privacy.


A separate post discusses how to use the Media section.

How to Change the Colors of the Forums

We have two versions of the forums. The default is SLOW EUORPE GREEN NARROW, 1000px width maximum (this means the page does not go full size if you are using a larger monitor). The other version is XENFORO DEFAULT STYLE which is blue.
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How to Find Information

Search using the search button in the upper right. Search all forums or current forum by keyword or member. Advanced search gives you more options.

Filter forum threads using the filter pulldown above the threads. Filter by prefix, member, date. Or click on a thread title prefix to see all threads with that prefix.


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