|Another beta test please|
Message #1 Posted by Dave Hicks on 28 June 2005, 3:35 p.m.
Hi everyone. I've just installed a new beta version of the forum software. You may recall of beta of this a long time ago. I got sidetracked by the new DVD release and other things but I'm back at work. I've done a few clean ups and added a few features. There's a link to an Account User's guide that doesn't exist yet - but equivalent content is below in this post. Accounts created during the first beta are still there.
Pleas start here
(This has links to the other beta forums.)
if you read the following in the first beta - you can skip it - little has changed in the text that follows.
The first things you'll notice are that
1) There are now formatting buttons on the new message posting forms,
2) On Search / Personalize Display page there are options to display an entire thread on one page.
3) Ability to optionally create an account and login (see "login / register" in the upper right corner of each forum),
5) Posting to the classified ads, warns you about scammers.
These forums are using a snapshot of the forum messages from some time ago. When the beta ends, these messages will be lost, so have fun in the beta forums but please keep the important HP-related messages here in the "real" forums. Likewise, any account names you create in the beta forums are only temporary.
Here are the details:
It is now possible to create an account and to log in to the forum. Having an account gives you several advantages: It prevents other people from using your (exact) name and logging in allows you to enter your name and password just once. Once you are logged in, you can create, edit and delete your posts without reentering a name, password, and email address each time. You can also create an account to reserve your name yet continue to post as before without logging in. In this case, you will need to supply your account password on each post. You can also mix and match - for example, log in on your home computer but post without logging in on a public computer.
Accounts are currently optional and I think you'll find that they make the forum more convenient. However, another reason for creating accounts is that we now occasionally get spammed. A few moderators have been successful in keeping most of you from seeing these spams, but if the spammers get more aggressive, the new software provides several new options such as requiring an account to post or sending anything posted without an account to the moderators for approval before it appears on the forum. If you use an account, you'll never notice if these features are ever needed.
Email Options / Private email
If you create an account, you have several email options. You can provide no forum email or obscure it in any way you like (such as meNO@SPAMdomain.com) or you can enter a valid email address but keep it private. If you use the latter option, someone who wishes to contact you will do so by clicking on your name and filling in a form. The text will be emailed to you, but your address will never be visible. Only forum users who are logged in can send you emails in this way. This should reduce the amount of spam and scam emails received. If you are a heavy user of the classified ads, you will need to decide whether a private email address is worth making it a little more difficult for a potential trader to contact you. Of course, I can't guarantee that scammers won't create accounts to contact you but it raises the bar for them a bit.
When you create an account, your are asked for two email addresses (which may be the same.). Your "Forum email address" is the address you wish other forum members to use (and possibly see). This could be your normal email address, a hotmail account, an obscured address or it could be left blank if you wish no email contact. Your "Activation Email Address" is the address that will be used to activate the account. It will never be displayed to other users. This address must be a valid non-blank non-obscured address and can't be a disposable "freemail" address such as hotmail, yahoo etc. These freemail addresses make it much too easy to a spammers to create accounts to be used only for activation of spam-and-run accounts. (The software checks for known freemail domains. If you manage to use an obscure freemail domain, it may work but your account might be deleted later if you draw attention to yourself by spamming or trolling.)
Accounts and older Posts
When a new account is created, the forum treats any existing posts made without an account but with the same name as being possibly owned by this account. For anyone clicking on a name field, the forum will honor the email options of the current account of that name. This means that you can hide the email addresses in your previous posts by creating an account with the same name and setting the private email option. (Old Biographies require one additional step - see " Taking Ownership of your Biography" below.)
In order to edit or delete a post created before your account was created, your account password will need to match the password that was given when the message was saved. (In the case of the Classified ads, it is the forum email address on old ads that must match. This is because the Classified Ads posted without accounts don't have passwords.) This prevents random people from creating accounts that match existing messages and then editing or deleting those messages. Any NEW messages that you create are linked to your account such that you can freely change your account password and still be able to edit them. If you have an account with a new password but need to edit an old message, the easiest thing to do is to logout from your account, edit your old message the old way, and then log back in.
Classified ads posted with an account are protected by casual deletion by people typing in the email address. If you use an account, only you and moderators can delete your ads.
Taking Ownership of your Biography.
Unlike the other forums, messages in the Biographies forum are stored under a person's Family Name, Given Name and there's no 100% safe programmatic way to link this format to the way you usually list your name. Therefore simply creating an account named Given Name Family Name, will not immediately cause your biography's email address to become private. To do this, your account must have the same password as your Biography and you must edit your biography. When you exit the edit screen by saving, the Biography will be assigned to your account and options like "Private email" will apply.
When you click on a poster's name, you are now taken to a contact page, which may provide an email address, or a contact form if the user has selected private email. This page will also tell you if the person you are contacting is a registered user.
(new) in all forums - now personalized
The main forum used to print (new) on the last 20 posts. ALL forums now print (new) based on posts made since your last visit. (If you have cookies enabled.)
If you have an account and are logged in, you will notice that each post has a "Report Post" link. This may be used to notify the moderators of any posts that are offensive, harassing, rude, spam etc. The moderators will then take a look and may delete the post.
Basic personalization preferences are maintained ("sticky")
Under "Search / Personalize Display", "List messages", "Display Messages" and "Posted within the last" are now "sticky" if you have cookies enabled. They are set on a per-forum basis and will be remembered even if you stay away for months. (astute readers will note that setting "Posted within the last" to "Two days" makes the daily view redundant and the daily view URL may be phased out over time. "Display Messages Grouped into threads" is new on the "Search / Personalize Display". Setting this causes an entire thread to be displayed with one click. Indentation and information in each message header will guide you on the thread structure. (There is also an option to display the entire thread flush left which is meant for very small displays as on PDAs.)
Cookies and Privacy
The forum software now sends cookies under these conditions:
Logging in to the forum: Login in is optional but you must have cookies turned on in order to do so. You can an create an account and not log in if you really dislike cookies. This keeps people from using your name and deleting your ads but requires you to enter your password on each post/edit/delete.
Each display of the Index and Posting messages: These are simply set to save your list style and time preferences as well as to save the last message seen in order to update the (new) display. If you block these features then you won't see (new) and you're list style preferences won't stay "stuck" for very long.
If you really dislike cookies, then don't log in and blocking the preferences cookies will cause mostly the loss of minor conveniences. However, please note that these cookies are used ONLY in the HP forums. They are not shared with other sites or used to track you across the Internet or even in other parts of the HP museum. (They aren't even logged anywhere.) Also note that the information contained in the cookies is the information that you normally enter to post messages and set forum options. The just automate providing the information that you have been giving the forum software by hand all along. The museum does NOT send any third party cookies that would allow some third party to track you around the Internet.