Forum discussions are particularly well suited to debates and exchange of opinions. Unlike blogs and media, where comments are linear and listed last-comment-first, discussion replies are ordered first-reply-first and members can reply to replies.
You access the Discussions main page by clicking on the Forum menu on the top menu bar.
On the Forum Discussions main page, discussions are listed with their latest activity item.
You can choose instead to view the Categories main page.
From any discussions list page, you can search the forum with keywords or sort the list by latest activity, newest discussion added or most popular topics.
Clicking on the discussion title brings you to the first page of the thread and clicking on the Latest Reply link or on the word Reply brings you to the latest reply in that discussion.
From the top of any discussion page you can:
You can also:
At the bottom of the post, clicking on the Like button will add this discussion to your Likes page. You can also share a link to this thread if you have linked your account to the various services we support.
Clicking on Reply to This will open up a text box and you can reply to the post with Add Reply. Your reply to the original post will be posted at the end of the other replies, on the last page of the discussion.
Clicking on Reply under an earlier comment opens up a text box where you can type your message. Your reply will be added under that comment in a threaded fashion where replies are indented hierarchically with a level number.
There is a maximum of eight levels of sub-replies.
If the poster is a friend or a moderator of AU, the envelope icon will show underneath the reply and you'll be able to send a private message to the member.
Starting a Discussion
You can start a discussion from the Latest Activity column, under your status box, with the Add button on any forum page or by choosing Start a Discussion from the Forum menu on the top menu bar.
This brings you to the Add a Discussion page:
The main component is the discussion text box. Like a blog text box, discussion text boxes let you set the font, size and color of your text.
You can also add links and images, embed playlists and videos and attach files.
Adding a Link
To add a link, select a word in your text and click on the Link icon. In the Add Link dialog you can edit your link text and paste the link URL.
Adding an Image
Click on the Image icon to add an image. You can add images from your computer or from an URL by pasting the link to this image.
Once the image has loaded, you can set how it will be displayed on the page with the Layout options. Note that with the left or right options, the text will flow around your image. The default option is Full, with the image aligned left and no text flowing.
You can add Padding to leave some clearance around your picture. Usually a value of 10 or 15 is enough.
In the link field you will find the link to the full-sized image you have uploaded.
If the image you have uploaded is bigger than the 750 pixels allowed, it will be automatically re-sized at the maximum width on the page and the Width field will indicate 750 pixels. However you can set the width of the image to a smaller value, if you want for instance to have the text flow around the image using the Layout option.
To add a video, music playlist or a slideshow to your discussion, click on the Media button. A dialog will open where you can paste the embed code from the video provider or the music or image hosting services.
You can embed any of the Atheist Universe slideshows, playlists or videos in your discussion.
Adding Plain Text
Sometimes when you copy text from an external source, the original formatting of the text comes with it and your pasted text doesn't display correctly on the page.
If this is the case, just Undo (CTRL-Z) your last paste and click on the Plain Text icon. This will open up a dialog where you can paste the irregular text. When you click OK, it will be added to your discussion stripped of all its formatting.
Adding a File
Clicking on the Paperclip icon opens an Upload File dialog. You can upload any type of file. Note that some file types can be viewed directly in your web browser, and others will need to be downloaded to your computer to be opened.
Once the file is uloaded, the dialog will display the permalink of the file and you'll be able to edit its title.
Click Ok to complete the upload. The uploaded file will display as a link below your reply.
Note that you can also attach files to your reply with the Browse buttons below the text box.
Editing an Addition
At any time you can edit the information of a link or an image. In Edit Discussion mode, scroll to the image or link you want to change and left-click on it.
If it is an image, it will turn blue and an Edit/Delete menu will appear at the bottom left of the item:
Click on Edit to open the Add Image dialog for the corresponding image. You'll be able to replace your image, get its permalink (URL) or change its display parameters.
In the case of a link, you can change the link's text and its URL.
Below the main text box, you will set the Category in which your discussion will be posted. Select from the pulldown.
You can also add keyword or expression Tags to make your discussion easier to retrieve.
At any time you can switch the text box from Visual Mode to the HTML editor.
It allows you to modify or add HTML tags. You can also paste plain text in the Editor.
Previewing your discussion
To view your discussion as it will appear when published, with the media players loaded and active, click on the Preview button at the bottom of the page.
This will open your discussion in a separate browser page or tab. Only you can view this page.
When you are done, simply close the preview page to return to your Add a Discussion page where you can continue editing.
When you are ready to publish, click on the Add Discussion button.