View Full Version : FAQ - technical issues - please read this BEFORE posting a question
03-12-2002, 09:07 AM
Q: I'm a new user and I have not received my confirmation email. What do I do?
A: If you don't receive your confirmation email within an hour or so after your initial registration, email TubaDiva at TubaDiva@aol.com. She will retrieve your registration and manually assign you a new password. You will then be able to complete your registration and make postings.
Q: Why can't I do (some vBulletin action)?
A: We have disabled some of the standard vB features at our message board. Some were disabled because they were abused in the past; some because we thought the usage might become abused in the future; some to protect the privacy of our members; some due to site speed considerations; and some for other reasons.
Q: In particular, why is editing disabled?
A: Because of the potential for abuse. After posting something inflammatory that causes hurt feelings a poster could change what they had said originally and confusion would ensue. Even allowing editing for a short period of time could cause this issue due to the short interval between posts in a busy thread.
If you make a serious typo, email the Board moderators (or REPORT the post) and they’ll be happy to fix it. A “serious” typo includes errors in coding (spoiler tags, quotes, etc) and typos that lead to misunderstanding (“now” when you meant “not,” for instance.)
Q: Then why is the edit button still there?
A: Because staff members (moderators and administrators) need the ability to edit posts.
Q: How do I change my board settings?
Q: How do I change my board settings?
A: Click on "User CP" in the upper right hand corner of any SDMB page, then "Edit Options." Here you can change your privacy settings, time zones, etc.
Changing Username, Email, or Password
Q: I want to change my user name.
A: Contact any administrator by email and request a change. You must use the email address under which you are registered. Remember that names are subject to approval by management. NOTE: Do not simply re-register on your own. Multiple screen names may cause you to lose privileges under ANY name, as spelled out in the registration agreement.
Q: How do I change my password?
A: Click on "User CP" in the upper right hand corner of any SDMB page, then "Edit Email & Password." Type in your current password. Type your new password TWICE: once to change, once again to confirm. Hit the "Submit Modifications" button.
Q: I forgot/lost my password! What do I do?
A: Click on "User CP" in the upper right hand corner of any SDMB page, then "Edit Password." Hit the "Forgotten your password?" hyperlink and follow the prompts.
NOTE: IF YOU DON'T RECEIVE YOUR PASSWORD WITHIN AN HOUR OR SO, EMAIL TUBADIVA at TubaDiva@aol.com. SHE WILL MANUALLY ASSIGN YOU A NEW PASSWORD SO YOU CAN GET INTO THE SYSTEM.
Q: How do I change my email address?
A: Click on "User CP" in the upper left hand corner of any SDMB page, then "Edit Profile," then “Edit email & password.” Type in your new email address TWICE: once to change, once again to confirm. Make any other profile changes you like and hit the "Submit Modifications" button. Then check the new e-mail address for the confirmation message that will be automatically sent to you.
IMPORTANT: When you change your email address, the system will AUTOMATICALLY send you a confirmation email to the new address. You will be locked out of the system until you respond to that confirmation email. If that email address was invalid, guess what? You just locked yourself out of the SDMB. Then you have to email an administrator and ask to have your privileges restored.
SO don't register with an invalid email address. Don't change your email to an invalid address. Otherwise, it just inconveniences everyone.
03-23-2002, 02:38 PM
Q: How do I e-mail a staff member if I have problems logging in? I can't look up a profile.
A: At the Straight Dope Homepage (http://www.straightdope.com/) you can find TubaDiva's e-mail address: TubaDiva@aol.com
03-27-2002, 10:07 AM
Q: Why won't the software allow me to search for a three-letter word?
A: The minimum word length for the search index is four characters. Making the minimum word length three characters would cause the index to become too large to be efficient on our current server. Customizing the search index to (e.g.) only index certain three-letter words, or index those words only in thread titles, would require "hacking" the vBulletin software, and we don't "hack" the software because if we did we would no longer be supported by vBulletin.
03-28-2002, 07:26 PM
Q: Why do I see a thread with no posts in it, or a poster with post count 0, or a thread that doesn't show (in the forum list) the last poster in the thread?
A: The Chicago Reader IS department says that due to the demands placed upon the server, the full set of database updates needed to successfully complete a thread/post creation gets interrupted, and so you may end up with inconsistent data in the database. Modifying the values of some database parameters might fix the problem but it also might make the board slower, so those parameters will not be changed (at least for now.)
04-01-2002, 01:08 PM
Read the vBcode page (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/misc.php?do=bbcode) for how to post links, make bold, underlined, italicized, colour text, etc... (Note that images and HTML are currently disabled at this message board.)
Go to the smilies page (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/misc.php?action=showsmilies) to see which smilies are available.
There is a link to the vBcode and smilies page at the bottom of a thread display, and underneath the "Reply" box used when adding a thread/post.
For special characters, you can use the HTML Name codes or Number codes (http://home.earthlink.net/~awinkelried/keyboard_shortcuts.html), or use the method appropriate for your operating system.
On the Windows operating system, you can copy and paste special characters from Character Map (one of the items in the start menu). Character Map will also show you the ASCII value for that character, and you can create the character by holding down the ALT key and typing in the ASCII value on your numeric keypad.
On MacOS, you can copy and paste special characters from KeyCaps (one of the items in the Apple Menu.) Hold down the option key and the shift-option keys to see the special characters.
Q: How do I post a "spoiler"?
A: Use the custom vBcode tag spoiler, added by the SDMB staff. Typing:
- and it really *was* a kitten, after all.
would appear as - and it really *was* a kitten, after all. (Highlight the "invisible" text in the black box to read the spoiler.)
Read also the section concerning the spoiler tag in the FAQ - guidelines for posting at the SDMB (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=106617).
Note for Opera users - It seems that the spoiler tag does not work with the Opera browser. Opera users can either copy and paste the text to another window, or they can try to use the [Ctrl+G] (or "Change to UserMode") feature to see the text of "spoilers". The effect of this command is to turn page styles and colours off.
04-02-2002, 10:28 AM
Q: Why is this board not fast enough for my rapidly typing fingers and hair-trigger mouse speed?
A: This board has in a way been a victim of its own success. Our server is often at capacity, especially during peak times (9 AM - 5 PM in the U.S., Monday - Friday.) You might try posting at non-peak times, you'll find better speed. Generally, the board speed has been quite good after our last server upgrade.
Q: Why would the server be slow even during the middle of the night (continental USA time), when hardly anybody in the USA would be on?
A: Doing a large search can cause everyone to have to wait. So if you have only a few people, each doing a large search, that can slow down all the other users.
Q: Would you like suggestions on how to make money from the board?
A: This has already been discussed at the SDMB multiple times, at great length, with many different types of suggestions, so forgive the staff if they don't become actively involved in any new discussions.
Q: I get a lot of enjoyment out of the SDMB and would like to contribute financially to my host in some way.
A: You can always Buy Straight Dope Stuff (https://securesite.chireader.com/cgi-bin/dopestore/buystuff.bat). If you already own all the Straight Dope items, you could buy some more and give them away to friends / local libraries / high schools etc. Because the SDMB is owned by the CHICAGO READER, we are unable to accept contributions (there's adverse tax implications.)
04-02-2002, 10:47 AM
Q: I see people using abbreviations like AFAIK, IIRC, TMI. What do those mean?
A: AFAIK = As Far As I Know.
IIRC = If I Recall Correctly.
TMI = Too Much Information.
Others: see here.
Netlingo: Acronyms and shorthand (http://www.netlingo.com/emailsh.cfm)
For SDMB-specific, see Beginner's Guide to Glossary of Terms on Straight Dope Message Boards (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=6241129#post6241129)
04-08-2002, 03:28 AM
Q: What does the small button displaying the vBulletin logo do? There is one at the top of the forum list, to the left of the top-level forum, and one under each post, to the left of the profile button.
A: There is text that appears when you hover your mouse over the buttons, but the pop-up text only appears in some browsers. The button in each post shows whether the poster is online/offline. The button at the top of the page shows the version number for vBulletin.
04-09-2002, 05:36 PM
Finding the profile for an SDMB poster
Q: How can I look up the profile for an SDMB user, if I don't know the poster's userid and can't find a post by that user?
A: Use the following URL:
After the "username=" include the poster's SDMB username. Replace spaces in the username with "%20". e.g.
Linking directly to a post within a thread
To link directly to a post within a thread, modify appropriately the following URL
by replacing NNN with the postid. Here's how you find the postid for a post:
If you position your mouse button over the "quote" button at the bottom of the post, you should see a link appear in the "status bar" of your browser (usually at the bottom of the browser window), and the link will show the postid for that post. If that doesn't work, you can press the quote button, and a new reply window will open. The URL for that reply window should show in the URL field at the top of your browser window, and the URL contains the postid for the post.
04-10-2002, 06:48 AM
Q: What's the difference between Member, Moderator, and Administrator?
A: Members are people that post at the SDMB. Moderators are people that are in charge of reviewing the posts in a certain forum to make sure they meet forum guidelines. Administrators are people who are in charge of resolving user access issues and customising the software features for the message board.
04-11-2002, 09:14 AM
Q: Why does the time I see displayed for a post not match my current time?
A: First, the administrator has to set the server location's offset from GMT (which we have done.)
Second, you (the poster) must go to User CP > Edit Options and set your location's offset from GMT.
Then you should see the time displayed correctly.
Also keep in mind guests (and/or posters not currently logged in) will always see GMT no matter what.
Q: What does vBulletin (the software used to run our message board) do for daylight savings time?
A: Here's how vBulletin handles Daylight Savings Time.
The SDMB server automatically updates its time according to the Daylight Savings Time in effect at the server's physical location (Chicago, Illinois, USA). Rules for that location are:
At 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in April, Chicago sets its clocks forward one hour ahead of standard time ("spring forward"). Chicago "falls back" at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in October by setting the clocks back one hour and thus returning to standard time. Dates for this change will be:
Move clocks forward Move clocks back
2002 2 a.m. April 7 2 a.m. Oct. 27
2003 2 a.m. April 6 2 a.m. Oct. 26
2004 2 a.m. April 4 2 a.m. Oct. 31
If the Daylight Savings Time change of your current physical location does not match the Daylight Savings Time change of the server's physical location, members will need to select the right offset accordingly, typically by adjusting the time in your User CP by one hour, either forward or backwards depending on where you are. Unfortunately during this period you can not rely on the "physical location" drop-down in the User CP > Edit Options control panel. Choose the offset that is correct for you, ignoring the description of the physical location that corresponds to that offset.
This site, Countries and territories operating Daylight Saving Time (http://www.worldtimezone.com/daylight.htm), may help you determine if your physical location's Daylight Savings Time change matches the scheme used in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
04-14-2002, 01:25 AM
Q: What is this box at the bottom of the threads?
A: It is a quick reply box. We hope that it will cut down on the server load because people won't have to call up a reply page every time. However, it's not entirely authorized by the producers of the vBulletin, and if it causes problems for the board we will take it away.
Q: Why doesn't it work when I try to log in at the quick reply box?
A: I don't know. It doesn't appear to work at other boards that have the quick reply either. If someone figures out a fix, we'll implement it. I could remove all the login info altogether, but we thought that it would be useful to show the poster's name by the reply window, to hopefully cut down on people sharing computers posting under the wrong username.
Do not use the Quick Reply box unless your username appears as the logged in user under the reply field.
05-15-2002, 09:40 AM
When a person is on your ignore list, instead of their post, you see the message "This person is on your Ignore list. To read their post, click here.", and there is a link on which you can click to read their post anyway.
If an ignored person starts a thread, you do indeed see the thread, just not the OP - unless you click on the link inside their ignored post. The thread title is unaffected.
07-02-2002, 07:24 PM
Q: Why is it that when I type in several spaces between words in my post, I only see one space?
A: Your web browser compresses spaces. If you include more than one space between two words, only one space will be displayed.
HTML 4.01 Specification (http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/text.html#idx-white_space-2)In particular, user agents should collapse input white space sequences when producing output inter-word space.
08-01-2002, 11:50 AM
Under the reply box there is a checkbox labelled "Email Notification". In user cp->Edit Options there is a "Use 'Email Notification' by default?" radio button. At the bottom of the screen there is a link labelled "Subscribe to this Thread". What do those options do?
[list=A] "Subscribe to thread" and "Email notification" are supposed to work exactly the same way. You will get an e-mail notification when someone posts in the thread and the thread will show up in the "user cp->My vb Home->Subscribed threads" box.
There have been complaints that even if you choose "Email notification" as the default setting in user cp->Edit Options, the box is not checked by default when you post a reply. Please note that you only need to check the box once per thread.
"Email notification" means that you will get an e-mail the first time someone posts in that thread, but only one e-mail until you visit the board the next time. Then after you leave the board you will get one other e-mail if there are one or several posts after you leave the board and before you return to the board.
The exact meaning of "leaving the board" and "returning to the board" is probably determined by Logging in / Logging out. But several people have complained that they get more than one e-mail / get no e-mails / the feature doesn't work right.[/list=A]
Since the server is overworked we recommend that people not depend on this feature. Instead keep your popular threads in bookmarks, or, if you absolutely must, subscribe to them but don't expect the e-mail.
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