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Message Posting Tips
#83 09/26/09 12:03 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 130
OP Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 130
The Mount Whitney Hikers Association forums are created so hikers can post trip reports, ask questions about the Mount Whitney area and discuss any hiking-related topic.  Here are some tips that many members use when posting messages on this board.  (You also can get additional information on the FAQ page of the forum).

Message Board TipsText Enhancement (HTML) Tips

Register First

Before you can post any message, you must first  Register (sign-up as a user).  Even if you don't post, registering and signing-in each visit allows the software to "remember" you, and flags messages posted since your last visit, so you can view them easily.  Your registration information will NEVER be used anywhere except within the forum software.

We recommend, when you Log In, checking the "Remember me on each visit" checkbox (unless you are using a public computer).  Once you do this, each time you visit WhitneyZone, you will be automatically logged in.

Using the Search Function

Before starting a new topic, see if you can recycle an existing topic on the same subject. It is possible that somebody started a similar thread a week or two earlier and it was bumped off of Page 1 by more recent repliess in other topics.

To see if there is a related topic, click on the Search link at the top of the topic list (or Search Function). Enter a few unique keywords related to the subject in the Search Words text box and see what happens when you click on the Search button. See Using the UBB Threads Search Function for more information.

If you find a related topic and still have questions, consider adding a reply to the old topic instead of starting a new topic. A post on an old topic will go to the top of the message board and be viewed like a new topic. Using existing topic may help set the context for people to answer your question.

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Starting a stimulating topic

If you do not find an existing topic that suits your needs or a recent topic diverged from its original post, start your own topic. Click on the New Topic button at the top of the topic table. A new dialog box opens containing two blank text boxes (one for your subject and one for your message) and a few option boxes. Enter your subject title and your message into the appropriate boxes and click on the Submit button after selecting all of your options. See Using the UBB Threads Enhanced Editor for more information.

When you compose the subject and the message for your first topic, keep in mind that there will be people reading your topic who do not know your background or your interests. To get the most replies to your post, you want to get the attention of as many people as possible. Make your subject specific, but try to avoid buzzwords and uncommon abbreviations. Start off your first message by setting the context with a one-sentence introduction, noting your hiking experience, your research on this board, and any previous experience in the Mount Whitney area. People who browse the message board regularly are more likely to respond to new questions if they do not have to repeat information posted on other topics and they know that you will understand what they are saying (and not misquote them). Try to be as specific as possible, but do not assume that all readers will understand special lingo. Also, consider adding words that would help a future reader find your thread when doing a keyword search (use both full names as well as appropriate abbreviations when appropriate like "John Muir Trail" followed by "JMT").

If your topic starts off with a request for information, it is common courtesy to close the topic with a thank-you message once you have received enough information to answer your question(s). Even though the exchange of information may continue on the topic, it is nice to know that the information was received by the originator.

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Posting messages on existing topics

If you find a post that you want to respond to, click the Reply link at the bottom of the post or the New Reply button at the top of the post, and the New Post form appears (similar to when you start a new topic). Enter your message in the text box and click the Submit button to post your message on the topic. You can also add enhancements to your post just like the first post in a new topic See Using the UBB Threads Enhanced Editor for more information). If you change your mind and would like to abort the post, click your browser's "back" button.

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Using the Preview Post feature

Before you click the Submit button on new and edited posts, you should see what your message looks like in the browser. That can be done by clicking the Preview Post button. A text box is added at the bottom of your post showing what your formatted message will look like. That can be very useful if you are adding any HTML tags since HTML errors are not always that obvious (which is one reason why UBB code is the default option). If you change your mind and would like to abort the post, click your browser's "back" button.

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Looking at Today's Active Topics

People can get a short summary of the most recent posts by clicking the Active Topics pull-down menu at the top of the topic table. In the menu you have three filtering options: Past 24 hours, Past 48 hours, and Past 7 days. When you select one of the filtering options, you will see a list of topics that have been posted to at least once in that time window. Float the mouse cursor over the subject to see the beginning of the last post on that topic. Clicking on the subject link for a topic opens the topic at the last post.

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Editing previous posts

If a previously submitted post becomes obsolete, it can be edited by clicking on the Edit link below the post. When the icon is clicked, a new window pops up with the original text displayed inside a text box. Users can scroll though the text, make any changes, and click the Change Post button to save the update. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to click the I want to preview my changes button first to verify that the text (and any embedded UBB Code or HTML enhancements) display correctly. Note: Once a post is stored, you cannot change the UBB Code or HTML options of the post.

The originator of a topic also has the option of renaming the subject of the topic by editing the first post in the topic. A text box with the subject appears above the text of the first post. Either box can be edited. If you change your mind and would like to abort the editing, click your browser's "back" button.

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Deleting posts/topics

Originators of posts can remove one of their posts from a topic by editing the post and clicking the Delete button. When the Delete button is clicked, you will be prompted to confirm the delete.

Note: UBB Threads only gives you one hour to delete a post. In addition, if somebody replies to your post with in the one hour, you cannot delete the post. If you want to remove the information in a post, simply edit the post, delete the content, and add the words [message deleted by originator].

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Using the UBB Threads Search Function

When you enter multiple words, the search function lists every post having ANY one of the words.  To search for posts having ALL the words, enter a "+" character before each word.  Example:  +water +filter

Here are the search enhancements that are listed on the Advanced Search Topic list:

Advanced Search Tips
  • Use +keyword for required keywords.
  • Use -keyword to exclude posts with a keyword.
  • Use quotes around a phrase to search for a phrase.
  • Use spaces around the word to match the exact word. Example " word "

The search function defaults to searching for posts that are Newer than 1 week.  You will have better success if you change that to Newer than 1 year. Increase the number of years if the search doesn't find any topics.

Here is a summary of the search criteria:

Block 1 - Forums to Search
All Forums works best.

Block 2 - Keyword Search Terms
Here is where you enter your keywords.  Note the Advance Search Tips posted above, since the default condition is to match only one of the keywords.  The search engine searches down to the individual post level, so there may be several posts from the same topic/thread. Here are some search string examples that you cay try out for yourself (the spaces between the words are required):

Search StringDescription
Microsoft WordAny post containing "Microsoft", "Word", or both
"Microsoft Word"Only posts containing "Microsoft Word" ("Microsoft" and "Word" next to each other)
+Microsoft +WordPosts containing both "Microsoft" and "Word" (but not necessarily next to each other)
+Microsoft -WordPosts containing "Microsoft" but not containing "Word"

Block 3 - Display Name Search
In addition to filtering for keywords, you can search for the most recent postings by a particular member.  Enter the member's alias exactly as it is displayed in the message headers (no extra spaces, etc.).

Block 4 - Date Range
Here is a common source of error.  Unless you are searching for a very recent post, change the units to 1 year or more in the "Newer than" block. You also can select a blank unit in the "Newer than" block and then enter 0 days in the "Older than" block.  That will give you all posts that meet the other filter criteria, and ignore the date of the post.

Block 5 - Result Format
Set this block if you want to get more than 25 matches per page or preview some of the text in the matching posts.

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Using the UBB Threads Enhanced Editor

When you click the New Topic button, the New Reply button (inside a thread), or the Reply link to a post, a new window appears with 5 blocks of data entry:

Block 1 - Subject

The first block is where you enter the subject for your post. Once the post is submitted, the subject is displayed on the title bar of the post when the thread is viewed, and the subject of the first post is also the topic name that appears in the topic list. The subject is also limited to 50 characters.

Block 2 - Posting Icon

To make your post stand out in the thread, select the icon that you want displayed on the title bar of your post. Note: The default icon is a scroll of paper. Selecting an icon only changes the icon in title bar (and the icon in the topic list for the first post in a thread). To add emoticons/smilies to you post, click the smiley icon on the toolbar (see below).

Block 3 - Post

Here is where your message goes. Check out the toolbar on the UBB Threads editor. There are a total of 15 icons on the toolbar, each representing a UBBCode display enhancement. Clicking on an icon enters into the editor the UBBCode tags needed to display the enhancement. To find out the functionality of an icon, float the mouse cursor over it and a hint will display. Here is a list of the display enhancements (starting with the icon on the left side of the toolbar):

ExamplesUBBCode Tag Syntax
 WPS Home Page[url] link [/url] = Makes the given url into a link.
[url=link] title [/url] = Makes the given title into a hyperlink pointing to link.
Email[email] [/email] = Makes the given email address clickable.
[img] URL [/img] = display image stored at URL

Note: This tag only works with *.jpg and *.gif image files. Do not use this tag to link to an online photo album page with multiple images. (They are standard HTML web pages with embedded photos). If you cannot extract the address of a specific image, use the [url] tag instead.
Unordered List
  • Line 1
  • Line 2
    • Line 2A
    • Line 2B
  • Line 3
[*]Item 1
[*]Item 2
[/list] = Makes a bullet list.
Note: [list=A] or [list=1] will make order/numbered lists.
Bold Text
 BOLD[b] text [/b] = Makes the given text bold.
Italicized Text
 Italics[i] text [/i] = Makes the given text italic.
Underlined Text
 Underline[u] text [/u] = Underlines the given text.
Striked-out Text
 Strike out[s] text [/s] = Strikes out the given text.
Quote Block
Quoted information
[quote] text [/quote] = This syntax is used for general quotes.
[quote=name] text [/quote] = This syntax is used for quoting a post made by "name".
Preformatted Text Block
Preformatted text
(fixed pitch font)
[code] text [/code] = Displays the given text in a fixed pitch font.
PHP Tags


= 10;
$number = $number + 1;

[php] text [/php] = Displays the text enhanced for PHP (not applicable for general messages).
  smile frown :) :( :grin:
Text Color
 Red, Green, Blue[color:red] text [/color] = Makes the given text red.
Text Font
 Arial Black, Impact, Verdana[font:Arial Black] text [/font] = Makes the text Arial Black font.
Text Size
 8 point, 11 point, 14 point[size:8pt] text [/size] = Makes the text 8 point font.

Block 4 - Markup

The default option is UBB Code only (UBB=Ultimate Bulletin Board). You can do all the enhancements listed above with UBBCode. If there is a chance that you will need to add HTML (HyperText Markup Language) tags (see Do I need to use HTML tags?), you should click on the arrow and select the Using HTML and UBB Code option.  (A moderator must enable your account to select this option. Just post a request or send a PM to a moderator.)

Block 5 - Post Options (new posts only)

The default option is to display any signature stored in your profile at the bottom of your post. You can disable this option by unchecking the box. You also have the thread added to your Watched Topics list so that you can easily find the thread after it gets bumped off of Page 1 of the message board. Note: The Watched Topics setting cannot be changed after you submit your post.

Bottom Buttons

It is good practice to look over your post one last time before you send it to the message board. Click the Preview Post button and a new block opens below your buttons that shows what the post will look like when formatted. If you see something that you do not like, you can scroll back to Block 3 and make the necessary changes. Once you are satisfied with the post, click the Submit button to add the post/topic to the message board.

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Text Enhancement Tips

Do I need to use HTML Tags?

Many of the commonly used text enhancements can be accomplished by embedding Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) Code in your message with the UBB Threads Enhanced Editor. UBB Code is similar to HyperText Markup Language (HTML), but the tags require fewer keystrokes to generate and the icons in the editor's toolbar will generate the UBB Code tags for you (if you highlight the text you want to enhance first).

Nonetheless, UBB Code has its limitations. This section describes some of the less commonly used features of HTML that may be desirable in certain circumstances. Here are some things that you cannot do with UBBCode (but you can with HTML tags):

  • Jump to hyperlinks in the same browser window (UBBCode opens a new window) -> Info
  • Add bookmarks -> Info
  • Set the height or the width of images -> Info
  • Use image icons as hyperlinks -> Info
  • Add line breaks in text (Note: You can use HTML hard spaces in UBB Code only mode) -> Info
  • Group information into tables -> Info

Go to HTML Tags to get more information on the tags and see examples of how to use them.

Note: Don't forget to select the Using HTML and UBB Code option in block 4 of the UBB Threads Enhanced Editor if you plan to use HTML in a post. The setting cannot be changed later.

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Adding hyperlinks to messages

Hyperlinks allow you to jump to other web pages or to other sections on the same web page with just a click of a mouse. Both HTML and UBB Code support hyperlinks, but UBB Code now automatically makes hyperlinks of any URLs that you paste in your messages, without requiring the use of tags. That is the quickest way to put a URL in a post. Nonetheless, UBB Code assumes that you want to open a new browser window whenever you click on a UBB Code link, and that probably is not desirable if you are linking to other sections on the same web page.

Three hyperlink formats are supported in UBB Code. The first two formats use the URL as the caption, and the third format includes the text for the accompanying caption. The UBB Threads editor prompts you for the information in the third format whenever you click on the hyperlink icon.

The equivalent HTML code with the new window option is shown below. The "href=" attribute holds the URL, the "target=_blank" attribute tells the browser to post the information in a new window, and the caption displayed on the screen goes between the two anchor (<a>) tags:

  • HTML with new window - <a href="" target="_blank">Caption</a>

HTML defaults to posting the new page in the same browser window. That is the way many commercial web sites are set up. HTML also allows you to use relative addressing to a bookmark on the same page. These options are not available with UBB Code:

  • HTML in same window - <a href="">Caption</a>
  • HTML to bookmark "B1" on the same page - <a href="#B1">Caption</a>

Here is an example of using UBB Code to insert a hyperlink with a caption:

     [URL=]Snow Water Content Plot[/URL]

When you hit Preview Post you should see the following link in the preview block:  Snow Water Content Plot.

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Adding bookmarks to messages

Another thing that you can do with anchors in HTML is insert bookmarks into your text for quick links to other sections of a page. Instead of inserting a hyperlink, you add an anchor with a name assigned to it. You use name= instead of href= in the <a> HTML tag. Then you reference the anchor with a # before the name in the href of your link. That is how this section is referenced from the cooresponding link in the table at the beginning of this topic. You can interactively experiment with your own bookmarks at the W3 Schools Bookmark Editor.

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Adding emphasis to words

Here are some HTML tags that can make words and sentences stand out:

EnhancementUBB CodeHTML Tags
Bold Text[b]Bold Text[/b] <b>Bold Text</b>
Italicized Text[i]Italicized Text[/i]<i>Italicized Text</i>
Underlined Text
[u]Underlined Text[/u]<u>Underlined Text</u>
Striked-out Text
[s]Strike out[/s]<s>Strike out</s>
Hard Spaces- &nbsp;
Hard Returns- <br/>

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Changing text style

The style attribute is used inside a number of HTML tags to change text fonts, colors, and similar characteristics. Styles can be predefined at the start of a page or they can be specified in-line to change only a specific block of text. In-line styles were used to change the text in this post. The header above was formatted with style="color:red; font: bold 14pt verdana". For more information on styles, go to Style Examples.

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Adding picture images
Photo images can be inserted into your post as long as they are located on a server connected to the Internet. Use the [img] UBB tag or the <img> HTML tag to specify the URL of the image.

To create your own online photo albums to share with others or display in a post, see Online photo storage web sitesNote:  The [img] and <img> tags only work with single images (JPEG or GIF files). They will not work with the URL of your photo album page on a photo storage site. (Album pages are standard HTML web pages with embedded photos). You should be able to get the URL of a picture by right-clicking on the image and looking at the properties or copying a shortcut (depending on the context). The URL should end with .jpg (for JPEG) or .gif (for GIF). If your storage site does not let you extract the address of a specific image, put the URL of the album page in a hyperlink instead. (At least people can get to the album page and navigate from there).

Here is an example of embedding the Whitney Web Cam thumbnail photo in a post:
In UBB Code:  [img][/img]
In HTML:  <img src="">

Note: You cannot set the size of the image with the UBB Code [img] tag, but you can set either the height or the width of the image inside the HTML <img> tag. Here is the same image with the width set to 150 pixels. If you use the HTML version, you must set the "Markup" value (just below posting window) to "using HTML and UBBCode". The default, "using UBBCode" will not recognize the html <img src=... code.

<img src="" width=90>

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Using pictures as icons

You can use pictures as visually stimulating substitutes for hyperlinks. If you want to make the entire image active, you can embed an <img> tag instead of a caption in your anchor (see Image as Link for an example). A more general approach is to specify an image map of one or more regions with the usemap attribute of the <img> tag. For help on setting up an image map go to the following Image Map web site. There also is an interactive example at Sample Image Map. Here is a simple example of usemap:

<div align=center>
<map name="map1">
<area href="" shape="RECT" coords="1,1,95,100">
<area href="#T0" shape="RECT" coords="97,1,350,100">
<img src="" usemap="#map1">

You can click on two sections of the following icon.

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Dividing sections and adding line breaks

There are several ways to divide up messages in posts. One way is to draw a horizontal line across the page with the horizontal rule (<hr>) tag to physically separate sections. Paragraph tags (<p>) can be used to offset different paragraphs from each other as well indent the first line of text with the style attribute text-indent. The division (<div>) tag can also be used to separate sections of a document. Hard return tags (<br>) can also be added to space lines of text.

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Adding tables of data

One thing to consider with HTML is that all leading and trailing blanks are removed and multiple blanks in the middle are reduced to one blank. That prevents indentation of paragraphs and lining up columns of text. One way around that is to use hard blank characters, but &nbsp; takes up a lot of text space. Another way is to use either the list, preformatted text, or table features of HTML.

Lists are great for highlighting single columns of data and indented outlines. People can use ordered lists (<ol>) to develop numbered outlines and use unordered lists (<ul>) to arrange bulleted data. Start with the appropriate list tag and then begin each line of data with a (<li>) tag. Lists can also be nested within lists to add levels of indenture. Here is an example of an unordered list with nested data:

<UL><LI>This is the first line of the list
<LI>This is the second line of the list
<UL><LI>This is a subbullet
<LI>Another subbullet</UL>
<LI>This is the last line</UL>

The above HTML results in the following unordered list.

  • This is the first line of the list
  • This is the second line of the list
    • This is a subbullet
    • Another subbullet
  • This is the last line

With the preformatted text option, you format your text in a simple word processor like Notepad with a fixed width font (such as Courier). Then when everything is lined up, you copy and paste the text over to the new post window, preceed the block of text with a <pre> markup and end it with a </pre> markup. All the text in the block should appear in a fixed width font when you click Preview Post.

Here is an example of preformatted text:

<pre><font size="2">

Column 1 Column 2
A 1
B 10
C 100

Here is an example of how to use table tags to fill cells:

<TABLE border="2" align="center" style="font-size: 8pt">
style="font-size: 10pt">THIS IS THE CAPTION LINE</CAPTION>
<COLGROUP align="center"><COLGROUP align="center"><COLGROUP align="center">
<TR><TH>Header 1<TH>Header 2<TH>Header 3
Cell A1<TD>Cell B1<TD>Cell C1
Cell A2<TD>Cell B2<TD>Cell C2
Cell A3<TD>Cell B3<TD>Cell C3
Cell A4<TD>Cell B4<TD>Cell C4

Header 1Header 2Header 3
Cell A1Cell B1Cell C1
Cell A2Cell B2Cell C2
Cell A3Cell B3Cell C3
Cell A4Cell B4Cell C4

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