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Help - Editing a Message

General Information

This help page gives information on how to edit both bulletin board (BB) posts and private messages.  In what follows, the term "message" applies to either.  Where applicable, differences between the two are called out in the text below.

You must be a registered user, and logged into Dreamflows, before you can post either kind of message.

When you're writing a private message, select the Username of the recipient (if it isn't already filled in for you) from the pull-down list.  For either kind of message, be sure to fill in a Subject if this is a new message (if it's a reply to an existing BB post then no subject is required).  Try to keep the Message Body short and to the point - while still providing enough information to be useful.  In particular, if you're making a BB post, provide enough context so that a total stranger knows what you're driving at - but without overwhelming them.  For instance, if you're reporting a hazard, please include when you saw it and where (giving landmarks), on which section of which river/creek/stream in which State, what the flow was, how severe the hazard was, how to recognize it, and what to do about it (e.g. where to get out and portage).  Best of all, provide a photo if you have one.

This page assumes you already know the basics of how to enter, change and delete text using your browser.  Special features are discussed below.

Special Tags

On the edit dialog page, there's a bank of buttons between the Subject and Message Body text boxes.  The first three allow you to change emphasis in your message.  B stands for Bold, I stands for Italics, while U stands for Underline.  For instance, to embolden a section of text, click on the B button.  The special BBcode sequence [b] will be written into the text box, and the B button will change to /B.  Continue entering the text you want to be emboldened, and when you're finished click on /B.  At this point, [/b] will be written into the text box to end the bold section.  Note that while the Message Body shows the uninterpreted BBcode, Preview will correctly interpret it and display the bold text.  Note also that special tags won't work in the Subject.

In a similar way, use Indent to indent a section of text.  This indents the text between tags, in a paragraph of its own, so the sequence "Previous unindented text.[indent]Indented text - by way of example, pretend this is a really long line so that it wraps.[/indent]Following unindented text." renders as follows:

Previous unindented text.
    Indented text - by way of example, pretend this is a really long
    line so that it wraps.
Following unindented text.

In a similar way, use Quote to quote a section of text.

If you want to insert a link to a webpage on another website, use the Link button.  A pop-up dialog box will prompt you for the URL and a description.  It doesn't check that the URL is valid, so be sure to Preview and check the link before submitting your message.  The description is optional, though if you do provide it, then the link will be formatted in a more comprehensible way.

If you want to insert a link to an image (e.g. a photo) on another website, use the Image button.  Operation is similar to the Link button, except you aren't prompted for a description, and BBcode suitable for an image (rather than a link) is output.

If you want to insert a video clip which is on another website, use the Video button.  A pop-up dialog box will prompt you for a Location.  At this time, YouTube and Google are supported.  If you select YouTube, set Value to YouTube's video clip id (e.g. ABCDtoEFGHz).  If you select Google, set Value to Google Video's video clip id (e.g. -123456789123456789).  Alternatively, enter the entire URL for the video clip and the video clip id will be extracted for you.  If your video clip isn't on either of the above sites, then you could either upload your video to one of them and use Video, or use the Link button described above.

Note that when you Preview or Submit, the bulletin board will close any open BBcode tags (e.g. close a Quote) for you.  However, the closing tags probably won't be inserted where you intended them, so it's much better to close them yourself.

Uploading Photos

You may upload your own photos into the database, and display them in your BB posts (though not in a PM).  To do this, click the button (usually called Browse) to the right of Upload Photo.  This brings up a dialog box; you can now search on your computer's hard drive for the photo you want to upload.  Select Open to insert it into the message; otherwise select Cancel to do nothing.  If you're uploading a large photo, it could take a while.  Note that there are limits on the size of photo you can upload, how many photos, and the total disk space used by them.  Supported image types are GIF, JPG and PNG.

If you upload a photo but then decide not to submit the post, then it has still been uploaded (using disk space and other resources).  However, the photo isn't associated with any post; it has become an "orphan".  The same thing may happen if you remove a photo from an existing post.  Please delete unwanted orphans by visiting the photo management page.

To check what your limits are, see how much space you have left, and for a link to the photo management page, visit your profile.  You can't change your limits yourself, but if you're out of space and need more, please contact chris@dreamflows.com.

Emoticons

To insert an emoticon into your message, place the cursor at the appropriate point in the Message Body, and click on the appropriate emoticon.  Or, you can just type the character representation (e.g. :) for a smile) directly into the message.  Emoticons won't work in the Subject.  Note that only the character form of the emoticon will appear in the Message Body, however Preview will display the associated symbol.  Some folks love these things , others loathe them .  They can aid in understanding (by letting the reader know what inflection you intended), but they can also clutter up the message.  Moderation is key.

JavaScript Issues

The bulletin board uses JavaScript to handle the insertion of special tags and emoticons.  JavaScript is notorious for behaving differently on different browsers, and even on the same kind of browser on different operating systems.  So, if you're not using Firefox, Opera, Safari or IE, or if you have an old version of any browser, inserting special tags may be frustrating, particularly if the cursor isn't at the end of the message.  In the worst case (or if it's easier), type in the BBcodes yourself:

ActionBBcode sequence
Bold[b]bold text[/b]
Italics[i]italicized text[/i]
Underline[u]underlined text[/u]
Quote[quote]quoted text[/quote]
Link[url]http://domain/path/page[/url]
- or -
[url=http://domain/path/page]description[/url]
Image[img]http://domain/path/image[/img]
Video - YouTube[video=youtube]video-clip-id[/video]
Video - Google[video=gvideo]video-clip-id[/video]
Note that the code for a Photo isn't listed above, so you're not tempted to enter it by hand.  This is because you need to upload the photo and obtain the correct photo id before it will display (or for that matter before the bulletin board will let you submit a BB post with a photo reference in it).  However, if for some reason something got screwed up and you need to fix, here is the format: [photo=4-digit-id] (e.g. [photo=0001]).

Signature

If you filled in the Signature field in your profile, and this is a new message (i.e., not an edit of an existing BB post), then a checkbox asks if you want to include your signature.  It'll be checked by default.  If you leave it checked, your signature will be appended to the end of your message both when you Preview, and Submit.

Reply Notification

The Notify me when a reply is posted to this topic checkbox is checked by default if either the Send email for replies to my posts box in your profile is checked, or you've already asked to be notified.  If you decide to check it (or leave it checked), then when someone else makes a post to the topic, you'll be sent an email notification.  Note that this isn't when someone else replies to your post specifically - it's when someone else replies to the topic.  Note also that you'll be sent only one email notification, however many replies there are, until you log in and view the topic.  Later, if you decide you don't want notification any more, then login, view the topic and click the StopNotify icon.

Preview and Submit

Once you successfully Submit a PM, it gets sent, and there's no way for you to recall it.  Once you successfully Submit a BB post, it is added to the database, and it gets messy - and later on impossible - for you to change or delete it.  Specifically: you may not change or delete a post unless it's been made by you, is the last post in the topic, and also was created less than 12 hours ago.  Preview displays your message as it will actually look in a separate window for your review.  For instance, bold text is shown bold, quoted text is actually quoted, etc.  Therefore, always Preview and check your message before you Submit.  This will help to avoid surprises later.

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