Help keep the site useful, please report spammers and shillers: If you see any spam, or suspect someone is posting fake info to promote a website ('shilling') then please help us out by hitting the report icon in the top right-hand corner of the offending post, put in a brief explanation and send it to all the moderators. We are normally able to act on these reports within a few hours.
What to post, where to post it: Please only post in the most relevant part of the forum for the topic you want to discuss; do not double post. Certain themes are out of bounds; please see our forum rules for further details. If you write a very long post make sure it is divided into paragraphs to make it easier for people to read it.
Your post count will only increase if your post contains at least 100 characters (roughly the number of characters in the line above).
If you post in any discussion thread, by default you will then be 'subscribed' to the thread, but will not receive any notifications of new messages. You can see the threads you have subscribed to in your "User Control Panel", which is available from anywhere in the forum via the link near the top of the forums, on the left-hand side. In the user panel you can also refine the options to receive email notifications of new posts in some discussion threads.
You can include images in your forum posts by clicking the 'Quick Upload' link underneath the quick reply box at the bottom of the forum (or at the side of the advanced edit reply box, underneath the smilies). This will upload one image and include it in your post. You will need to close the popup window manually during this process. If you have popup blockers on your computer you might need to disable them on this website to get it to work. Alternatively you can include an image you uploaded previously by clicking the 'Open your photo gallery' link and clicking the appropriate image. We are going to add the facility to write captions for the images.
If you have problems uploading an image it is probably because the file size or photo dimensions are too big. In this case (and assuming you are on a Windows XP computer) please try using Microsoft's free image resizer software to adjust your photos before uploading them: Resize digital pictures quickly (NB there is also a free version of this tool, published by a 3rd party company, for Windows Vista and Windows 7: Image Resizer for Windows)
You can put @ in front of someone's username and they will get a notification that you have mentioned them in your post. For example if I write @john in a forum post, the user 'john' will receive a notification that I mentioned him when he next logs on to the forum. If you quote someone they will receive a notification that you quoted them too.
Once you have made 10 quality forum posts you can help out the community by rating other people's posts just by clicking the thumbs up/down icons next to the posts.
Some forums have minimum post requirements to view and/or post in them. For example the “face-to-face doctor consultations” forum requires a minimum of 10 posts to be made elsewhere before you can post there. The minimum requirement, if any, is printed in the forum description. This is a measure we had to take to try to make it harder for spammers and shillers to pollute the forum.
How to use the private messaging system: You can only use the private messaging system once you have made at least 20 quality posts. This is to stop spammers, and encourage people to become active members of the community. To send a private message to someone either click the small circle next to their username in the forums and choose the "send private message" option from the drop-down menu, or else go to your forum User Control Panel and click the “Send private message option” from there (this way assumes that you know the username of the person you want to contact).
How to access the Senior Members' Forum: You need to have been a member here for at least 1 month, and have made at least 60 quality, informative forum posts before you can access the Senior Members' Forum. You will also need to receive a combination of helpful post ratings and 'like' ratings from other members to build up a reputation score of 30 minimum before you can access this area. Until you have been a member of the forum for at least 1 month, have made at least 60 posts and have a reputation score of 30, you will not be able to access that area.
To get a reputation score of 30: When you join you start with a reputation score of 0. Each helpful rating you receive gives you 2 reputation points, and each 'like' rating one of your posts receives gives you 1 reputation point. So in theory you could gain the required 30 reputation points from a combination of, for example, 10 helpful ratings and 10 likes received.
There is a complication though... each member can give out unlimited numbers of like and hepful votes every day, but only the first 5 of each type of vote will raise another person's reputation score (to stop abuse of the system), so if you receive a like or helpful vote it won't necessarily increase your repuation score. All this means that in practice more than 10 helpfuls and 10 likes will be required to get the 30 reputation point score.