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HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THIS FORUM

I’ve been gradually updating the software on this Forum so I hope it hasn’t been too frustrating for people who have been looking for functions that haven’t been available for a while.

However, some things haven’t changed and while the easiest way to use the Forum is still to read it, there is so much more you can get out of it if you register, log in and participate.

However, I would still recommend using the search facility to see if your question has already been covered. Most of us face the same issues so there’s a very good chance that your question has already been answered (many times over).

You can search the whole website (or individual topics, using the Advanced option), for keywords like parking, pets, smoke or noise, and find out everything that's already been written. Just have a think about how specific you want to be. Searching for “problem” or “strata” is going to list every posting on the site, while plugging in specific terms like ‘safety’ or ‘window’ will get you to where you want to be much quicker.

However, there’s always some new variation on an old themes so the next step is to start a new topic or respond to an existing one on a topic close to your question. Exactly how to do that is explained in the previous topivc 'How to post to this Forum'. And if your question is different from anyone else's we really want to read it, so please register and log in then tell us what’s on your mind.

Once you have started a new topic or replied to an existing posting, you will want to keep tabs on any responses to your question or comment.

So if you look near the top of the Forum menu you will see a little button called FORUM RSS. Click on this and you will receive new postings direct to your RSS reader (like Outlook, for instance) whenever something new is posted to that forum.

TOPIC RSS does the same for the specific Topic that you're on.

SUBSCRIBE works a little differently and allows you to receive email notifications of any new posts specific to the topic that you are on. When you get the email, you can then log on to the Forum and read the postings. This is the one I would recommend to most users.

WATCH allows you to keep track of new posts to the topic via the Watched Topics panel. You have to log in to the Forum first of all to be able to see what's been updated since you were last in. In both cases you just need to click on the buttons and follow the instructions.

One final word – don’t expect to see your postings appear immediately. With the exception of a small handful of highly trusted contributors (StrataGurus), every posting is ‘moderated’ by me. The reasons for this are many and complicated but mainly it boils down to keeping out abusive posts, spam and dangerous links that could damage your and my computer.

I prefer not to edit content, per se, but I will tidy up spelling and grammar occasionally and when posts are repetitive and boring – and by that I mean making the same points over and over again and basically posters using this website as a stick with which to beat their neighbours – I will pull the plug.

I am inevitably accused of bias by the very, very few people who I feel have crossed that line and it’s true – I am biased in favour of you, the readers and would prefer you not to be subjected to pointless rants.

Which sounds like the right note on which to bring this particular rant to a close.

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