This is a guide for those members making the transition from the old site, which ran on Drupal, to the new one which uses Discourse. Some things are the same, some things are better! I hope this helps you to use and enjoy the new site.
You’ll notice the URL is now split between http://www.driveonwood.com and http://forum.driveonwood.com. These are two different web platforms, each with their own login. All public info can be viewed without an account. Non-premium users don’t need to login to the content side, only the forum side. Premium users will have two accounts, one to view Premium content, and one for forum use. This is a bit more complex than it was, but it works better in the long term. As I said, unified login will be added soon, allowing you to use one login for the whole site. Bear with us as we work out the bugs in this new routine.
There’s a saying in the software industry, “ship early, ship often”. With this in mind, we’re going live before everything’s polished and settled. The new site will continue to improve as we fix things and add more to it. There’s good reason to do this, as we may discover important things that would have otherwise been missed or seriously delayed.
Posts made here may not carry over. You can post and try things out, report bugs, discuss anything you like etc. But anything you write will not stick around after the transition. UPDATE: we managed to preserve it after all! Nothing was lost.
If you just got here after the transition, welcome! You should find everything you need in the following guide, and the Discourse Quick Start Guide. All your posts should appear just as you left off. If something is missing or you have an issue, please contact me via PM or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Log in: Your account is still here but you need to reset your password. Premium users need to create an account on the home site as well. See here for details:
Differences in posting
Be bold, and explore! This site has a different layout than Drupal did. The important things to know:
- In the forum area, click on the flame icon to see “what’s new” (ie the latest posts).
- “Home” goes to the main DOW homepage. Browse articles and resources from the “Library” link.
- From the homepage, click the “Forum” link to return to the discussion area.
The next thing you’ll notice is the post editor window. When you click Reply to a post, you can see a preview of what it’ll look like in real-time. You’ll also notice the editor stays with you as you browse the forum.
Subforums are now called categories. You’ll find some familiar ones like Fab shop, Projects, Small Engines, Off-Topic, etc. The Meta category is about the site itself. There are a couple of new ones, like Wood Chunkers and Gasifier Science. Premium categories are much the same as the old sections, but slightly shuffled and better organized. You’ll still get the Builder’s Discussion (now simply called Premium), Ask Wayne, Beta, and a new WK Projects category.
[Categories can also be muted. See here for more info.]
You can simply drag and drop photos onto the editor to upload them. They will automatically embed with the correct code. You’ll see a preview in the window at right. You can add text in between pictures as well.
All you have to do is post your link on a line by itself. Discourse does the rest! All Youtube links will now appear as embedded players. “Clean” links work best, either the short youtu.be or the longer youtube.com/watch link. Other sites will one-box as well, like Wikipedia, Amazon, Discourse itself, and many more.
In Drupal we only used full names, usernames were generated by the system from email addresses, and only used for logging in. Now we have usernames again, alongside full names. We still require a real name on your account, but your username can be whatever you like. You can change your username if you don’t like the email-based one. If you don’t feel very creative, just make it first and last with no space, ie JohnSmith or john_smith.
Similar to Facebook or Twitter, we now have the ability to mention someone by an @username. This allows you to mention someones’ name and they will get a notification.
If you want to reply to someone a few posts back, just click the Reply button on their post. Your post will go after the others as usual, but will be linked on their post and yours (try it and see).
You can use the editor buttons to make text bold, italic, add links etc. You’ll notice what this adds to your post is very simple code, which you can learn yourself and save a step. This formatting is called Markdown. The full syntax is available here. As always, the preview window will let you play with the code in real time to see what works and what doesn’t. Just a note, this whole site is now written in Markdown (including this post).
20 characters minimum
This is a feature, not a bug. Most posts below this threshold are not very informative, and in the interest of good conversation, you should think up some more stuff to say. If you only wanted to say “looks nice”, “great work” or similar, it would be much better to click the Like button, and not clutter the thread with non-informational replies.
There are several other posting options like bookmarks, spam flagging, and like buttons which are self explanatory. Explore, push buttons, see what you can do! Discourse is fairly intuitive, and is structured to let you learn and progress. Read the Discourse Quick Start Guide.
Every time a post is made to the site, it will show up instantly for those reading the same page. If you’re on the latest posts page, you’ll get a notice saying “new posts are available, click to view”. Edits also show up instantly. Conversations can now happen faster and smoother, without needing to refresh the page to check for replies.
The text bubble at the top has all your notifications, such as @mentions, replies to topics, and new PMs.
Yes, finally! You can communicate with other members privately through the site, without using email. The PMs work just like regular topics, so all the normal controls apply… but only you and the other person can see it. You’ll have an initial PM from the system, so check your inbox by clicking your picture at top right, then “Messages”.
Reply as linked thread
Hover over any post, and a link appears to the right, “Reply as linked topic”. You can use this to avoid hijacking a thread, by quickly and easily starting a new one. Don’t hesitate to start a new topic, linked to the old one.
Forum based comments
All comments on DOW content and article pages will now appear as forum threads, giving you full posting functionality. Discourse is a self-contained system, so you will be redirected to the appropriate thread if you want to add a comment to Library or Premium content.
You, the reader, are our first line of defense. If you see posts that may be spam, offensive, or otherwise need attention, flag it. After several people flag a post, it will disappear and need moderator approval to return. Excessive or incorrect flagging will cost you some trust points though, so use your best judgment. Read more here.
You may notice some restrictions on brand new users. You need to use the site a bit, read and post for just a little while, then you’ll move up a “trust level”. This is designed to keep spammers out, and reward our users with more responsibility later on. You can even become a moderator by sticking around long enough. If you have questions about what you can and can’t do, please contact me, email@example.com or via the PM system.