A prime purpose of this website is to create a sense of community. In order to encourage interactions and sharing the IPS Community Software we are using has many power ways to help keep track on new content and interactions on the website. Content can be updates to: forum topics, forum posts, newsletters, blog posts, library content, event content, classified posts, gallery uploads, and just about anything and everything else managed by the software.
Some members will inherit some settings from the previous website and the webmaster/moderators will attempt to set some default settings for each member. But for the most part, each member must opt-in in order to follow and to be notified of what's happening on the website.
Virtually all content on the website has a setting for "Following" which allows users to proactively follow a topic and be notified if there are updates at a user specified schedule. We could do this with any and all content but for this Guide we will pick one example to demonstrate the concetps.
To help illustrate, let's take new member Charles Lindberg and apply some settings for him. His home page looks like this and to start we'll head to Community > Forums:
Let's click on the Hangar Flying Forum to see the list of Topics within the Forum:
The top of the Forum is shown below. We want to Follow this content and upper right box indicates "Following" this is Filled in Black and has a check mark by it. This means it has already been set to for you to following. The number in the box says that so far 11 members are following this content. If you click on the number (in this case 11) it will show a list of members who are following this content (and have agreed to let it be visible that they are following the content).
In a moment we'll inspect the options and adjust them for following the Hangar Flying forum. But for completeness here is an example of what it looks like when you haven't selected to follow the content. It's a gray box in the upper right that says "Follow This". You click on the box and adjust the settings.
Now let's return to our example. Click on the black Following box and you will get a list of notification options for following:
You have 4 notification options:
- An immediate notification if content in this forum changes.
- One email per day with all the new content from that day.
- One email per week with all new content from that week.
- No notifications.
The options are mutually exclusive and you must select 1.
Additionally, there is an option on the bottom of this list that allows you to follow anonymously (sometimes referred to as lurking). There is also a shortcut option in the lower right of this pull-down menu to Unfollow. Once you have adjusted your selection just click on 'Update Preferences.'
Now let's click on a particular topic within the forum. Topics that are bold have not been read yet. For this illustration we will select the first topic.
Once we are inside the Topic we can select a following plan for it that is different than the one specified for the overall forum. As you can see no special attention is given to this Topic.
Clicking on the 'Follow This' box results in the Notification options that we spotted above:
We will pick the instant Notification option. But now let's explore even more features. We will click on "Change how the notification is sent" link shown below:
And it opens up a whole new set of detailed options for setting notifications. The upper part of the new page looks like this:
These features are available for the entire website, not just this particular Topic. We can get to this list any place there is Following or Follow This box. In this illustration the recommended boxes are checked and then the next step is to click on the 'Save' box.
The middle part of the pages looks like the following:
We recommend that all switches you can turn green, turn them green If you have any specific questions about any particular box, please let us know. We will not cover each one in detail in this guide. (Thanks Goodness!)
The bottom part of the page looks like the following currently:
Make any changes that you like and click on "Save'.
Clearly it can take a long time to go through each content item and make changes to settings. So there is way where one can see all of the settings previously made and then adjust them or turn them off. You can not use this to initiate coverage, but to adjust coverage that has already been established. To effect this management click on your name in the upper right and head toward 'Manage Followed Content':
You will be transported to a very long page that has list of content areas and sections. If you click on a section the content areas you are currently following is displayed to the right. In this example, we clicked forums:
The pull down menus that show to right of each item pulls up the now familiar Notification options:
The email shows the post. Click on "Go to this post" in the blue box to be transported back to the website at this post and it looks like this:
You are perfectly positioned to place your cursor inside the "Reply to this topic ..." which would look like this:
Clicking on the box with 'Submit Reply' will post your response to the Forum. It is likely the person to whom you replied with get notified of your response. This ability to have easy access to emails and notifications was a key request of Steve Chase @chasers03. (BTW you can mention other members in posts and content by typing '@' and the first few characters of the Display Name and a menu will come up).
@chasers03 also wanted a clean interface for the iPhone as well to make it easy to reply to people's posts. Here is what the e-mail looks like on an iPhone:
If you click on the 'Go to this post' button you get the following on the iPhone:
Note that you can reply to the topic right on your iPhone (or other SmartPhone). You can also adjust your 'Following' and you can start scrolling to other Unread content. Can't get much easier, clearer or better than this.
This was a long article, but I hope you found it helpful.
Edited by Steve Sliwa