Forum Tips & Tricks

Brad's quick guide to the new Stardock.net forums

By on July 25, 2006 1:58:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1115

Welcome to Brad's tips on how to use the new forums.  The new Stardock forums are custom developed based on the needs and uses of our customers. Over the years, we have experimented with many different layouts with varying degrees of success.

Background

The 2006 Stardock forums have many advantages over previous generations:

  • Bandwidth - they use about 1/4th the bandwidth of previous forums we've used which means they load a lost faster.
  • They use a lot more AJAX/Javascript based techniques to cut down the number of page views people have to go through.
  • They allow for more categories to be displayed.
  • They conform more to the style of the more common forum styles out there which reduces the learning curve for new users.
  • They display who last commented on a particular post.
  • They have much easier navigation between various sub-forums.
  • They have more customization options for the user.

Stardock forums have one primary advantage over other forum systems. It's an advantage that is invisible to most users -- it is the world's only distributed network forum system (that we know of anyway).  Visit other companies or communities and they have one giant forum in one place. Visit a site using the Stardock.net forums and the forums displayed are specific to that site.  If two sites overlap, so do the posts.  A post on PC Computing on WinCustomize.com will show up on JoeUser.com but not TotalGaming.net.  A post about strategy games might show up on TotalGaming.net and GalCiv2.com and Joeuser.com but not on WinCustomize.com. This overlap means that users from different communities can interact together without even being on the same site.  It gives more options for users and customers and allows Stardock to interact with the varied communities much more easily.

Another key difference in Stardock forums is that new posts float to the top of the parent forum which in turn floats to the top of its parent.

In a forum system you might have:

Software
    Games
        Strategy
            Turn Based
            Real-Time
    Utilities
        Disk Utilities
        Security
        Anti-Virus
        Desktop Enhancements
    Applications

..and so on.

In a typical forum system, if you wanted to find out the newest post on a real-time strategy game you would have to dig all the way down to the real-time sub-category.  On a Stardock forum, the forums are set up almost like a search result -- The parent forum contains all the posts of its children arranged by the newest first. If the newest post is in the Real-Time area it will be the first post in the Software forum.  In this way, digging down allows users to get more specific if they choose but casual readers can stay more general.

One can imagine a forum like this:

Hardware
    PC
      Graphics Adapters
            nVidia
                7800
                    Overclocking
                        Utilities

In a Stardock.net forum, a user who clicks on the nVidia forum would see the newest posts from all the sub-forums. So if there's some hot new utility that lets users over-clock their 7800, the user who just clikced on the nVidia forum would see it without having to dig all the way down to the Overclocking utilities area.  As a result, it saves a lot of clicks. 

So why are other forum systems set up the way they are? There are lots of reasons, but one likely reason is that when forum software was first being developed, getting more page views was considered the goal.  Stardock's sites are designed to try to reduce the number of clicks and page views since it generates revenue from selling software and subscriptions. So our forums are designed to let users get to as much info as possible.

Tips & Tricks

Tip #1: Quick-Jump

One of the first new tips I'd like to show you is how easy it is to jump to other sub-forums.  If you click on one of the arrow separators between categories (i.e. Home -> General -> etc.) you will get a pop up menu that lets you jump to another sub-category.

Tip #2: View All Recent Posts

Near the bottom of the forums is a small link that we will probably make more prominent over time and that is the "view all recent posts".   By pressing that button, all the recent posts on the forum will be listed and users can go through and see all the actions anywhere. 

Tip #3: Smart Pins

Pinned topics are very important to new users but just get in the way for expert users.  The new Stardock.net forums let users minimize the topics and it will remember that you did so for future viewing.

Tip #4: My posts

At the top of the forum, "My posts" are there.  Click that link and you will get a list of the posts you have made.  Are also working on it so that it will eventually display all the posts you've recently interacted in.  That way, if a post you've been participating in scrolls off, no problem, you can quickly follow it.

Tip #5 Your Watch List

If you want to keep an eye on a post for the long-term, even if you're not participating in it, you can add it to your watch list.  To add a post to your watch list, click on the tools button.

Tip #6: Referrals

Is someone pointing to a post you or someone else made? Stardock.net forum posts automatically link back and let you see who is talking about it (and sends traffic back to the people who link to you).  Your account gets points every time someone goes to something you created from another site via a referral.

These are just some of the tricks that we have already.

The 2006 Stardock.net forums are still in their infancy and we are always looking for suggestions and ideas for them.  But we hope you find the new forum system fast, reliable, and effective.  Have fun!

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July 25, 2006 3:24:16 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
oh. I like that you can navigate the sections of the forum lilke you do with the address bar in Vista. nice.
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July 25, 2006 4:57:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
All around fantastic change. # 3 is niiiiice.   
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July 25, 2006 10:04:40 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I think some of the 'goodies' within the forum system go unnoticed and others are simply taken for granted.

It IS a great system, though now and then an odd 'glitch' pops up only to be hunted down and beaten into submission by the back-room boffins in the white coats....

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July 26, 2006 12:26:29 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Overall very good-
Opera problem: Some (but not all) images inserted from off-site hosts show up as a small dot that can be clicked to open the image in a new tab. I know T-Man & Andrew do get around to Opera problems, so I wanted to report it. An example of an image host exhibiting this behavior is ImageShack. The images are displayed as expected on other site forums with Opera-- it's peculiar to WC forums
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September 9, 2006 1:04:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Simple solution: Make the whole thing a newsgroup again and you'd save enough bandwidth to make the whole distributed forum superflous - It takes the same time for me to load 300 newsgroup posts on news.stardock.com, as it takes to load ONE post on the forum.
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August 27, 2007 6:20:47 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
f

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August 27, 2007 6:23:33 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
hi...Im new in this of stardock and I've been trying to download skins from the page but i have'nt any success...what can I do to download skins??...do I need any program else but windowsblinds 5??
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August 27, 2007 8:51:36 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Im new in this of stardock and I've been trying to download skins from the page but i have'nt any success...what can I do to download skins??.

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looks like you figured it out at least a few times -- you're off topic start a new post



Back to topic - I like the forums
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October 29, 2007 11:50:47 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
hello I am new as well , I payed money for a skin download , i do have windowsblinds6 i still don"t get the full efect of the skin ,do i have it wrong or do i need another program for that as well ,i love your work but i think i am missing something .

regards david


bradshaw_justin_david@yahoo.com.au
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December 21, 2008 8:09:27 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
This is another GOOD example of a Post that deserves to go into the WinWikipedia. Maybe a section "Beginner's Manual" is justified in the Wiki. That may be slightly OT, but I do wish to express my satisfaction with this post and the efforts being made (all the time) to improve the Forum. Thanx, Frog.
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May 30, 2009 7:17:30 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
hi, im a new user.how to enhance my desktop..?
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May 30, 2009 10:39:12 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting venkatrao,
hi, im a new user.how to enhance my desktop..?
http://wiki.wincustomize.com/wiki/Skinning:_An_Introduction

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