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matthew
November 9th, 2006, 04:57 PM
This is being drafted to eventually have it's own special page/place in the forums.

Please feel free to ask questions in this thread you think should be considered for inclusion and I'll do my best to add the most important/common. Also, please read through the existing answers I have written and let me know if there are things that are difficult to understand. Finally, any comments you want to make are welcome.


v0.1 is in post #2 (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=1735933&postcount=2). This is the FAQ's first draft.
There are some additions in post #12 (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=1741378&postcount=12).
There is a change to an item. The new text is in post #18 (http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=1748950&postcount=18).

matthew
November 9th, 2006, 04:59 PM
Ubuntu Forums FAQ

-Where can I find a list of forum rules?
On the Forums Policy & Expectations (http://ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=policy) page. These are also shown to every user when they sign up for an account.

-How do I change my password or email address that is listed on my account?
Click UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) (for user control panel), then on the new page click the link on the left that says “Edit email & password”?

-How do I change/add user info to my account?
Click UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) (for user control panel). You will have lots of links to various options at the left of the page. These will include, but are not limited to, choosing whether to display user profiles on top of posts or at the left, hiding/showing your post count (beans) and choosing whether to allow other users to send you email or private messages on the forums. Take a tour!

-Who/what are admins? Who are the staff of ubuntuforums?
The admins are the people who keep this site up and running. They are the tech gurus that performs all the maintenance and make the forums work. We all owe them a debt of gratitude. One of them in particular, ubuntu-geek, is also the owner of this site. See the about page for more (http://ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=about).

The staff (http://ubuntuforums.org/showgroups.php) are people who have been chosen to help moderate discussions because of consistently helpful and kind attitudes, a willingness to serve others as demonstrated by their posting history prior to being chosen as staff, and the fact that they happily agreed to do tons of work behind the scenes with very little recognition and absolutely no payment other than having their usernames in red and the ability to put images in their signatures.

-What's the deal with coffee cups/beans and the funny titles?
Beans are posts. The post/bean count can be turned off by the user if so desired.

There tends to be a close connection between geeks and coffee, so that's where the theme came from. Yes, we know not everyone likes coffee, but it's just a silly thing.

The images, their colors, and the changing icons don't have any special meaning. They simply change as time goes by. You will see (among other things) green coffee beans, roasted (brown) coffee beans, various sorts of coffee cups and mugs and so on. Like the titles, nothing specific is implied by the presence of specific images or titles (in almost all cases that is...staff, admins and banned users are some of the exceptions). These items are for fun, and are not serious. They are not a rank of any kind. They don't tell anyone how long you've been here nor how many posts you've made. The sayings and the images are a semi-random feature we have to provide a little kick. There is some structure to it, but only on the implementation side. We did this on purpose - because it was fun and whimsical.

There isn't a list of what you get, and when, because that's not the point. The reason for the secrecy was/is this: while we want to reward people who participate in these forums with titles and changing symbols we really don't want them to become some sort of gauge that people use to determine whether someone is speaking with more/less authority on a support topic. Other forums use the title/icon system that way and more power to them. However, there are people here with less than 20 posts who can code circles around much of the staff and are capable of giving amazing and useful responses to support questions...and there are some of us here with thousands of posts (ahem...me?) who might get lucky with a good and helpful reply on occasion. The fear is that people might use post count and titles/symbols as a means of judging the validity of a post's content rather than the content itself. We had a long discussion about this in the forums when they were first started and this subject has been revisited among the staff several times. Some forum members and staff wanted to eliminate the post count and title/icon system completely, some have gone the other way wanting a complete ranking system that is clear and gives honorific titles with great meaning to those with higher post counts (that particular group is in the extreme minority). The current system is a compromise that has been working pretty well for a while. With the compromise of meaningless titles/icons, post count can be hidden in UserCP. Anyway, this is why we don't publish how many posts are necessary for a change in title/icon...it's just a silly reward. The post numbers needed for title changes is something that is easy to modify so it gets modified on occasion, when the admins don't have better things occupying their time, merely to maintain the surprise factor. Bottom line: it just a trivial, whimsically amusing little thing. Don't read too much into it...it really isn't worth the slightest emotional involvement.

-What is all that info in the user profile (the banner at the top or left of each post)?
For each registered user who posts you will find the certain bits of information which I will now try to define and demystify a little bit. Some of these are more obvious than others, but I'll talk about them anyway.

The "Join Date" is the month and year the user registered in these forums.

The "Location" is something that can be set by the user and may be an actual, physical place or a state of mind or even just something whimsical. Some people don't have this because they didn't set one in their UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) (user control panel). There is also a place in UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) where you can set to display which Ubuntu version you are using so you will often see that listed as well.

The picture that most users have is called an “avatar” and it is a small graphic image the user chose that best represents him/her or at least their mood the day the picture was chosen. You can upload one in the UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php).

Referrals (only shown on the profile page) are how many people mentioned that user when registering for a new account.

-Why can't I use an animated gif as my avatar?
In the past (up to sometime near the end of 2005) users were allowed to use animated gifs as avatars. This ended when there was a sudden wave of really distracting and obnoxious flashing, gaudy avatars. (Honestly, can you concentrate on information when looking at animated avatars like these (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=1741535#post1741535)?) Rather than make a long list of what is an isn't acceptable for animated avatar usage and then forcing the staff to monitor and police their use it was decided that they would be banned altogether. Those users who had appropriate animated avatars at the time were allowed to keep them and so you may see a small number of them floating around the forums. If/when those users decide to change their avatars they will not be allowed to replace the current animated gifs with another animated avatar but will have to choose an regular non-moving picture like the rest of us.

-Can avatars/signatures/images be turned off?
Yes, they can! Go to UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php)->Edit Options and scroll down to thread display options and check/uncheck at will.

-Why can't I use images in my signature? (Why are the staff allowed to use them?)
Banners, flashing images, colorful and hidden links...the list is a long one. This is primarily a tech support forum with a small number of frivolous additions. This was something that people either love or hate, and people looking for tech support answers with as little distraction as possible are among those who hate this feature so we turned it off. The staff of the forums are allowed this as a perk since they are volunteers and receive no payment or other renumeration for their time, efforts and services here.

-Can I change my username?
No. Usernames can not be changed at all - dashes can not be added, lowercase cannot be made uppercase, etc. However, you may choose to create a new account.

Note: If you do make a new account, you will have to transfer all information yourself, as we cannot do this for you. Also, we cannot transfer your statistics (beans, account age and the like) to the new account.

-Will you delete my account for me?
We regret to inform you that account deletions are not possible at this time. If you wish for your account to become inactive we recommend you choose a difficult password for the account and then quit using it.

-Why does a forum for free software use a proprietary software?
While we would love to use an open source solution, vBulletin provides all that we need right now and also much of what we want. Other software does not. Serving this community well is our main priority and so we can/will not use something that does not provide what we require. If anything else provided what we must have and what we really would like to have, we would be using it instead; at this juncture, there is no viable alternative.

-Why was my post moved/what is the most appropriate location to ask X?
Here is a short, annotated list of what should be posted where. It is not complete, but it covers the basics.

Absolute Beginner Talk (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=73) is for anything computer/linux/Ubuntu related, but with the expectation that answers will be simplified as much as possible for the user...and you might be told that your topic is something best left to someone with more experience or that you will need to do some studying or research before you can understand the answer, please don't be offended if that happens.

The Main (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=173) and Other (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=125) Support Categories are all pretty clear. If you aren't sure which of these your help request should go into then please use General Help.

The Ubuntu Users Mailing List (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=6) is a special case and is a mirror of the official mailing list. Please read the sticky (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/announcement.php?f=6) in that forum before you post there.

Several developers and teams have approached the Ubuntu Forums and requested space to host discussions about their project. We are happy to be able to accommodate this and you can find these in 3rd Party Projects (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=46).

For general, non-tech related discussions please join us in the Ubuntu Cafe (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=11). For topics that tend to be a little more controversial (not illegal or contrary to the forums policy (http://ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=policy) or the Ubuntu Code of Conduct (http://www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct)) you can check out the Backyard (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=121) if you wish. Sometimes threads get moved here that we feel are too heated for general viewing or too weird/controversial/inappropriate for a general audience. Please read the warning and rules before you use this special section. Our goal is to keep the forums clean and appropriate for viewing at work or by children. The Backyard is the only exception to this, even it is moderated and has specific rules that are clearly posted.

Some forums can not be posted in by users or require moderation (a staff member has to look at the post before it will show up). For example, all posts going into Faqs, Howtos and Tips (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=100) need to be approved as it is not a place to ask questions, just to share neat tricks that you have learned or knowledge you have discovered. Posting is not allowed in News & Announcements (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=13).

Finally, everyone should know of the existence of three important forums, even if you never need them. Forum Feedback & Help (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=48) is for reporting problems or requesting assistance with forums-specific issues. The Jail (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=69) is where all spam ends up as well as really bad posts...no posts are ever fully deleted in the Ubuntu Forums. That way, if there is any sort of controversy over what has transpired the old posts can be found and used as evidence. Finally, if you ever have a dispute with staff or admins regarding their actions in the forums you are welcome to use the Resolution Center (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=123) which is a public-readable place to express your grievance and receive an answer. Please read the rules there before posting so you know what to expect and how things will be dealt with.

You will probably also want to read “The basic philosophy of moderation among the staff. (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=244237)”

-What is an infraction? How do infractions work? Do they ever expire?
When someone posts in a way that violates the Forums Policy (http://ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=policy) staff have the ability to issue infractions or warnings. In either case the offending party is notified by private message what the problem was. If an infraction is issued it will have a point value attached to it as well as an expiration date. If 10 unexpired points are accumulated by a user then all his posts must be reviewed by a staff member before becoming visible to other users. If 15 are accumulated the user is suspended until they expire and may be banned. The staff have some leeway in assigning a point value to infractions or whether a warning is better suited to the issue at hand. In the case of a dispute between a user and a staff member the Resolution Center (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=123) is the place to go to file a grievance.

-How do I report bad posts or bad behavior on the forums?
For each post you will find a small icon that looks like a stop sign with a white X in it. If a post needs the attention of a moderator for any reason just click that icon and type a reason in the box that pops up and a staff member will look at the post as soon as possible.

-How do I subscribe to a thread?
[need to confirm whether "subscribe to thread" is the default for threads that are written in or not]

There are three cases to consider: threads you start, threads you contribute to, and threads you just want to read and follow without posting in them. For threads you start you should be automatically subscribed as with threads you post in. For all others you can choose to subscribe by viewing the thread and then in the “Thread Tools” link at the top of the first post selecting “Subscribe to Thread.”

You can set the default behavior for subscribing to threads in UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) (user control panel) by clicking the UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) link. Then choose the Edit Options link at the left. On the page that comes up, scroll down to “ Default Thread Subscription Mode” and make your choice.

adam.tropics
November 9th, 2006, 09:28 PM
Very useful. Whilst I know it is sometimes done to death, another 'why you should search before you post' wouldn't go a miss!

picpak
November 9th, 2006, 09:49 PM
Maybe something about viewing your own profile without tracking down your posts. I didn't figure that out for a while.

mdsmedia
November 10th, 2006, 07:31 AM
Sensational. You've already answered a couple of my questions, and I've been here over a year.

Is there a way that someone can help in fixing grammatical errors or typos? I'm not a techie or a scripter/coder/programmer but would love to help if possible.

matthew
November 10th, 2006, 09:49 AM
Good ideas so far, thank you for contributing! I'll work on them soon. I invite further comments and suggestions by anyone wishing to do so.

adam.tropics
November 10th, 2006, 10:37 AM
BTW, is there any chance this could be used as a vehicle to keep the number of sticky threads, for example in Absolute beginner, to a minimum? That would be most welcome!

frodon
November 10th, 2006, 11:14 AM
BTW, is there any chance this could be used as a vehicle to keep the number of sticky threads, for example in Absolute beginner, to a minimum? That would be most welcome!That's exactly the goal of such documents ;)

maniacmusician
November 10th, 2006, 09:17 PM
Have you considered turning this into a Wiki? Sounds like the logical thing to do.

It's a brilliant guide. Want to work on one for launchpad next? bug filing, etc? ;) If you do, that would actually fulfill one of the goals of the Forum Ambassadors (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumAmbassadors) spec. I look forward to the final version of this guide, I'll certainly be handing it out to a few people :)

matthew
November 10th, 2006, 09:36 PM
Have you considered turning this into a Wiki? Sounds like the logical thing to do.Yeah, I toyed with the idea after Jenda put this up (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumsFAQ) with my pre-first draft. My version here is one generation more advanced than the wiki one, but the only real changes so far are the added links I have in the version in this thread.

The only problem is that the wiki format and the forums format for things like links and so on are very different and I didn't feel like I could write/maintain both. I was thinking first of all of something just for and in the forums. If enough people think the wiki is needed/useful as well I have no problem with someone spearheading that and mirroring/using everything I write here as well as adding to it.


It's a brilliant guide. Want to work on one for launchpad next? bug filing, etc? ;) If you do, that would actually fulfill one of the goals of the Forum Ambassadors (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumAmbassadors) spec. I look forward to the final version of this guide, I'll certainly be handing it out to a few people :)Thanks for the complements.

matthew
November 10th, 2006, 10:11 PM
Is there a way that someone can help in fixing grammatical errors or typos? I'm not a techie or a scripter/coder/programmer but would love to help if possible.Sorry I missed this question earlier. Do you mean in the faq? Just tell me, either in this thread or in a PM. Thank you.

matthew
November 10th, 2006, 10:14 PM
These are updates/additions to post #2 to be added to the next full draft.

How can I find out if my question has been asked/answered before I post?
Use the search function (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/search.php)! You will find it on the main page as well as in the link bar near the top of every page. You can even do more precise searches by clicking "Search" and selecting "Advanced Search."

How do I view my account profile?
In the link bar near the top of every page click "Quick Links" and scroll down the drop down menu and select "My Profile."


Any other ideas, comments, questions, words of encouragement, corrections, gentle rebukes??

ubuntu-geek
November 12th, 2006, 05:48 AM
This looks really good.

matthew
November 12th, 2006, 03:02 PM
This looks really good.Thanks. Let's leave it up for a few more days and see if we get more comments/suggestions. I can't think of anything I want to change or add so we may be just about ready to roll with this.

Mimsy
November 12th, 2006, 03:23 PM
-How do I subscribe to a thread?
[need to confirm whether "subscribe to thread" is the default for threads that are written in or not]

I find myself subscribed to all threads I post in, so I have assumed that's the default.

Nice job. :) I have been wondering about several of these things. Now I am off to unsubscrbe from that hyper-active thread I lost interest in three weeks ago... the email notifications were getting anoying.

/Mimsy

maniacmusician
November 12th, 2006, 06:45 PM
It's only default if you choose that option when creating your account. This can be modified in the User CP

matthew
November 12th, 2006, 08:50 PM
I find myself subscribed to all threads I post in, so I have assumed that's the default.

Nice job. :) I have been wondering about several of these things. Now I am off to unsubscrbe from that hyper-active thread I lost interest in three weeks ago... the email notifications were getting anoying.

/Mimsy


It's only default if you choose that option when creating your account. This can be modified in the User CPMinsy & maniacmusician: Thank you both for your input!

I think I'm going to work on phrasing that question and its answer in such a way that the default doesn't matter...I came to a realization that there have been 3 or 4 major software upgrades since I've been a part of these forums and many people have joined at different times during those transitions up to the present...and I'm pretty sure the default action has changed at least once if not several times.

matthew
November 12th, 2006, 09:03 PM
(This item is a rewrite to be inserted in the final document...)

-How do I subscribe to a thread (or unsubscribe from one)?
You can change your thread subscription status for any thread you are currently viewing by clicking the “Thread Tools” link at the top of the first post and selecting “Subscribe to Thread” or "Unsubscribe from this Thread" as appropriate.

You can set/change the default behavior for subscribing to threads in UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) (user control panel) by clicking the UserCP (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/usercp.php) link. Then choose the Edit Options link at the left. On the page that comes up, scroll down to “ Default Thread Subscription Mode” and make your choice.