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John Mallinson

Help & hints for users

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BalletcoForum Basics

 

These notes have been rewritten to reflect the changes in the new forum software to which we upgraded in April 2017.

 

If there is more that you’re uncertain about that isn’t covered here please comment in the Problems, queries and feedback forum as this topic is locked and you can’t respond directly.

 

The general enquiries email address for the forum is BalletcoForum@gmail.com

 

Setting up your account

You will not be able to use the site immediately on registering but will automatically be sent an email after you’ve submitted your details. It is only after you have responded to that and had further validation checks that your account will be activated. If you don’t receive such an email quickly (within minutes usually) then it has probably got caught in a spam filter and you should check to see. Note that applications using temporary or disposable email addresses such as those from Mailinator or similar services will not be accepted.

 

The reason for this rigmarole is that sites such as ours are bombarded daily by spammers who attempt to set up accounts for advertising and other purposes, so we have to manually check every application. This is an unfortunate fact of web life and is why you can’t immediately dive in.

 

Potential members under the age of 16 years must obtain permission from parent, guardian or other responsible adult before signing up.

 

Terms of Acceptable Use

When joining you will be asked to confirm that you have read and agreed to the forum’s Terms of Use. Reading them is very important so that you understand what is acceptable here, agreeing to them is essential. This information can be reviewed at any time by clicking the Guidelines link on the forum’s Browse tab.

 

Please think carefully before making heavily critical comments of dancers or productions. In general we deprecate highly critical postings when they are made by members hiding behind pseudonyms. Abuse of other members is not tolerated. From time to time the Acceptable Use Policy may be expanded or changed to deal with circumstances that may arise. It is your responsibility to review the document.

 

User names

You are not required to give your full name when registering, though some people may prefer to do so. Rude nicknames or assuming the name of someone else will not be allowed. You can change your Display Name (which is also your login account name) in your profile settings by clicking your name on the menu bar, top right, and selecting Account Settings.

 

Your profile

If you click your user name as above you’ll get a lot of options for entering further details of yourself, your interests, birthday etc. Most of us don’t bother and may want to keep such details confidential but that’s entirely up to you.

 

It does brighten up the place if you upload a photo to appear against your postings. It doesn’t have to be a portrait. Click your name, then select Profile, then click on the dummy image on the left of the black panel next to your name. There are several options such as linking to an image on another site, uploading one from disk, or using an image stored on Gravatar which is an unrelated service linking your email address to a small avatar (image) which can then be used on any sites that accept the function.

 

Signing in

After your registration has been confirmed you can sign in to BalletcoForum with your user name and password. If you check Remember me your computer should automatically enter the details on future occasions. Don’t do this on a shared or internet café computer or others may be able to access your account – also in such cases remember to sign out when you’ve finished your session.

 

Looking around

There are two tabs on the front page of BalletcoForum: Browse gives you the way in to the forums plus the official forum Guidelines, a listing of the Staff, another of Online Users, and a link to this Users’ Guide.  

 

Activity has various ways of looking at the site and what is being posted. The site displays differently on a computer screen or on small devices where some of the functions are revealed by touching the three-bar symbol at top right.

 

The forum titles are fairly self-explanatory. Take a look through and see what people have put in them and you’ll get the idea of what should go where:

  • About BalletcoForum - contains several subforums which deal with the site itself, using it etc. Some of these are locked and you can’t post to them but this is the place to go for information about the site and to raise queries and make suggestions about using it. The subforums are:
    • What is BalletcoForum?
    • Acceptable Use Policy/Help & hints for users
    • Announcements
    • Problems, queries and feedback
    • Archived discussions
  • Performances seen & general discussions - for your thoughts about performances seen and also for more general dance-related topics that don’t fit elsewhere.
  • Ballet / Dance news & information - for news about forthcoming performances and events, companies, people. 
  • Dance Links - reviews & features - updated each morning to provide the latest links to reviews and items of news on newspaper and other websites. You won’t be able to post to this forum but if you find an interesting link that isn’t there please feel free to forward it to the person doing links at the time, or add it in one of the discussion forums. A new topic is started each week.
  • Doing Dance - the most heavily-used part of the site, mainly contributed to by parents with dancing children. This has a subforum, For Sale/Wanted, for the use of ordinary members wishing to buy, sell or exchange dance-related items.
  • Ticket Exchange & Special Offers - a forum for exchanging or seeking tickets and finding bona fide commercial special offers. More details below.
  • Not Dance - this is a catch-all repository for anything else that you think is worthy of note but which isn’t dance-related and therefore doesn’t fit elsewhere. No politics.
  • Photo archive - when photographs and links to photo collections on other sites are included with the discussion of specific productions it is easy to lose them in the mists of time. Hence this archive, which has copies of those original postings in one place.
  • Test - useful for trying out posting a new topic and for seeing how the text editor works. Postings here will eventually be removed so don’t use it for trying to start a discussion.

 

Ticket Exchange & Special Offers

This is a facility for buying and selling tickets at or below face value. Auctions are not allowed and any postings which link to eBay auctions or other such sites will be removed.

 

To respond to a notice you should send a private message (PM) to the member. (Do this by clicking the member’s name at the top left of their posting and then selecting the Message link on their details page.) BalletcoForum does not release members’ email addresses so all communication has to be done by PM, though your message should also be automatically forwarded to their registered email address.

 

The arrangements for making the ticket exchange are your responsibility. BalletcoForum does not act as an intermediary. When a transaction has been agreed please post a reply to that effect in the forum so that other members don’t waste their time.

 

Bona fide special offers on ballet and dance tickets from commercial organisations can be found in a subforum entitled Special Ticket Offers.

 

Viewing new content

Everyone probably has their own way of checking what’s going on and what’s new on the site. Forum names in bold indicate that there’s unread content there, as do Topic names in bold. A very useful tool is the Unread Content link (top right beneath the Search box, or an icon looking like a tiny newspaper front page on small devices) which produces a list of topics that have been recently updated. You can set what’s displayed from the series of options across the top of the page.

 

Clicking the blob or star on the left of a topic’s name takes you to the first unread post, clicking the time stamp on the right takes you to the most recent post. 

 

Searching

The forum has a powerful search tool. Type the text you want to find into the Search box (top right) and, depending where you are on the site, it will search all forums or the forum or topic you’re in. Clicking the little cogwheel (or daisy) to the right of the search box gives you more options for narrowing the search. 

 

Contacting other members

You can contact any member by clicking the envelope icon (Messages) at the top right of any page and selecting Compose New. The site does not release members’ email addresses to each other so all communications are by private messaging. The default setting in your Account Settings, Notification Settings means that you will also get an email when someone has sent you a private message.

 

Please respond to such emails carefully. The usual practise of hitting Reply will result in your reply going to the System Administrator and not back to the person who messaged you in the first place. When you receive an email notification you should click the Read full message link to take you to the forum’s messaging system so you can reply.

 

You can also contact members by clicking their name in a posting and then selecting the Message link on their details page. You can get a full list of members by selecting Members in the search box without adding a name.

 

Contacting Moderators and Administrators

On all pages when viewing in Browse mode there is a Staff link. This goes to a listing of Moderators and Administrators and you can send private messages by clicking the Message icon below the person’s details, or clicking their name which will put up a details page containing a Message link.

 

IMPORTANT: If you are unhappy about the propriety of a posting then click Report at the top of the post (see below). This alerts all of the moderators so that action is likely to be taken more quickly than if you just send a message to one.

 

Posting

To post in the forum you must be a member and logged in. 

 

To start a new topic click the Start new topic button in the relevant forum. Similar queries or thoughts may have been discussed before so it’s best to make a search before creating a new thread. This applies particularly in the Doing Dance forum which contains a large amount of information on most topics. 

 

Adding replies is just a matter of typing into the Reply to this topic box at the bottom of the thread. 

 

Once you’ve put a posting on one of the forums you can’t delete it, so think very carefully whether you have said what you wanted to say before hitting the Submit Topic or Submit Reply button. After making a post you have 30 minutes in which you can edit it to correct spelling or whatever. Thereafter you can’t. (It may be better to compose lengthy pieces in a text or word processor program and then paste the text into a forum post when you are satisfied.)

 

Moderators are able to hide or edit postings but will be reluctant to do so unless there is very good cause such as a breach of the community guidelines, issues of safety or legal problems.

 

Quoting posts

You can quote another post in the same topic. To copy the whole post click the Quote button at the bottom. This pastes the content in quote format into a new post. If you select part of a post a Quote this pop-up button should appear which allows you to quote just that bit. If you are quoting part of a post you should indicate this by using ellipses (…) to indicate the omitted parts. 

 

If you wish to refer to a long post please do not quote it in full - a 20 line quote with a one line response will irritate readers! In such cases a link to the post will be more appropriate. To obtain the link you click the ‘wishbone’ symbol at top right of the relevant post and copy that so you can paste it in with your comments.

 

Reporting posts

If you encounter a posting which you think is objectionable, misleading or undermines the privacy of another member you may report it to the moderating team by clicking Report post at the top. This takes you to a form where you enter your complaint, explaining briefly why you are making it. This will be brought to the attention of the moderators who will take appropriate action. If you click Report by mistake then click the close button (X) on the report form and no harm done. Reports are treated as anonymous and other members will not be aware of your report.

 

Photos and videos

You can put photos into postings by inserting a link to them if on another site. Do this by clicking the Insert other media button and selecting Insert image from URL. You cannot upload images from disk. For a video, such as from YouTube, just pasting the URL into the post will display it.

 

Notifications & ‘following’

You can follow the contents of forums or topics by clicking the Follow button at top right of the relevant page. This lets you select how and how often you wish to be notified of new content. You may also follow members’ posts by clicking the Follow member button on their profile display.

 

Updated 5.5.2017

 

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