A Forum for NatickFOSS?
Updating your password if you need to.
Need to Know More First?
What is a forum?
Here's my simple definition.
A forum is an online community meeting place.
As it is, the NatickFOSS usergroup has monthly meetings at the Natick Community-Senior Center. Thanks to them for hosting us and to Dick and Jill Miller for getting the group going. But what if you want to connect in between. There is always a telephone or email, of course, but if you want to communicate in a way which involves more than one person at a time, there are drawbacks to each of those methods.
A forum is one alternative.
This article and the associated meeting (given August 1, 2013) is designed to help the group begin to explore the potential of a forum with phpbb forum software.
The intent is to provide a testing or "sandbox" forum so the NatickFOSS User Group can evaluate the idea and this will perhaps not stay an official group forum. Now, understand, the forum isn't hidden. A person reaching this page will be able to click the link and get to the forum. Therefore, reveal only what isn't truly private in any posts you make. That's good Internet behavior anyway.
Some of the screenshot images can be enlarged to full size. Click on the images to see if they reveal themselves. Use the browser "back" button to return to this page. Look for the hand pointer
OK, let's look at some basics. Links lead to more detail.
- Anybody can read the forum as it is currently set up.
- Anybody can register (though we do have the ability to be restrictive). PHPBB has many powerful administrative controls.
- You can add posts to a topic and create topics, too.
- You can personalize your posts by adding a recurring "signature" at the bottom of your posts.
- You can (and should) upload an "avatar" image to represent you and help others identify you.
- Hey, you guys should add to this list, don't you think? Suggest at the meeting or in the forum. We'll set up a topic together.
Work at your own computer or share with a parter.
You'll need to register before you can log in.
The forum is now set to require a login before a person can post anything.
You will be asked to agree to a standard set of sensible terms. Read here.
Please enter a user name (which does not need to be your real name, but might help the rest of us if you don't try to hide your identity. "BobSmith" or "Bob Smith" both work but are not the same user name. Spaces do count along with capital letters. That meands "bobsmith" would be different, too."
Please use a valid email address. You will not need to verify registration by way of email, but notices need to go out from time to time (such as telling you a follow-up post has occured in a topic you are following. Those notices go out by email. Between regular users, the forum provides a buffered connection. You send a "direct message" to someone, the software handles the email contact so you don't need to make your email open for all users.
As always, use a sensible password. Write it somewhere so you don't need to go through the reset process later.
The software asks you to enter the sequence of letters and digits in a "captcha." The captcha is designed to thwart software "bots" since it is assumed only a real human can figure out the letters. It is a goofy process. Sometimes I need to click the request for a different captcha before I can figure it out myself.
UPDATE AFTER AUGUST MEETING: To prevent spam accounts from overrunning the forum, each account needs administrator approval before you can log in. I get an email to say somebody has registered. I look at the account name and the email. If the two of them look at all suspicious, I simply delete the account. I don't think this combination looks like a human. Username: cigmgtam - email: ub.15a.jcA@hotmail.com. Advice? Pick a reasonable username and I'd hope your email already makes sense. If you want to avoid any problems, contact me directly (email in this page's footer) to say that you have registered, telling me only your username and email. I don't want to know the password, thanks. Also let me know your connection to NatickFOSS if we have not already spoken at a meeting. Please be patient. I don't do site administration professionally. I don't check email minute by minute.
After your registration is approved, log in. If something goes wrong, we can check the issue during the meeting or you can contact Algot later.
There currently are just two top-level forums with sub categories. If you add a topic, for now, put it in the Discussion Forum, please. You may add a new post to any topic you already see, of course.
Open time...half an hour...an hour? You decide. Let's not rush if it is working well.
- Oh, and do add a post to introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic within the Discussions Forum.
- Please be sure you read the current Welcome information.
- Take a look at your profile by clicking the link to the "User Control Panel" near the top at the left on the forum screen. Consider adding an avatar. [Additional Control Panel Details]
There is a small gallery of avatars if you don't have a 90x90 pixel image of yourself handy.
This view of seven examples isn't all that are available.
Do you have a great source of avatar images? Tell us.
Anybody want to show all of us how to make an avatar from a photo?
Questions? Check the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), Ask each other, ask Algot.
phpbb is FOSS, of course. What else would you expect? Unlike some other software like LibreOffice, Firefox, Fotoxx, etc., phpbb is installed on a computer set up as a server. While you will interact with it from your own computer, the "action" is occuring on the server. Your browser gets to look in at the display from phpbb. phpbb is, in turn, helped by a Web server (Apache) and a relational database (MySQL). As a Web application, it is written in a scripting language. This time the scripting language is PHP. Ask for more details or go out and do your own research. You can learn more about these things by setting up a server at home (even if you don't plan to open it up for friends). Making a server is a great way to reuse an older computer. The entire set of server software can be FOSS. I bet you knew that!