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How to use the Community

How the Community works in our system:

The Cardinal Flyers Community is built inside an instance of a cloud based tool named Discourse. The system is hosted externally from our servers, but is linked to our data.

When you click on the Community link the system will automatically log you into the community based on your membership profile. You must be a member in good standing to access the community.

Your primary email address will be used as your email address within the community, as will your name. Your username in the community will be firstname.lastname, although people will see your name rather than your username. Your aircraft type, N number and purchase date information will automatically become part of your bio.

You may want to review your name, email address and other information before logging into the community for the first time. You may change these things later, although this may confuse people who notice your name change.

The community is an addition to our current communications: the digest will remain active. Messages sent to the CFO digest input will be cleaned up and moved into the proper category manually as they arrive.

It will help the moderators very much if you reply via the community functionality, as any follow-up messages will need to be added into the discussion thread manually.

The Community will also send you emails summarizing the activity since you have been away. You may control this function in the settings within your account on the community. Please do not call these messages spam, as that could have an impact on reception by others.

First things to know:

Before we get into the how to details, there are a couple of important style details:
  • No signatures please! As the system headers reference your name and information, signatures at the end of messages are not used. It will be hard to remember, but you can go back and edit it out if you forget at first. If you forget, the Community Leaders will need to clean that up for you.

  • Meaningful topic subjects are important! Since the full message will not immediately be visible, it is very important to use a meaningful topic title. Not too long, not too short... shoot for a sentence structure but don't get wordy. Be clear and complete about the point of this topic. The proper flavor will start to feel right after some reading. Community leaders may improve your topics to help with readability.

  • Your 'powers' will evolve. This system is based on a user trust system which will grant you user capabilities as you gain experience with the system. You will be notified as these abilities are granted. To peek ahead see the Trust page.

Here are some very basic terms that will be helpful to keep in mind as you use the community:
  • Topic: The collection of messages grouped together in a meaningful conversation, with a title, listed in a category, beginning with an Original Post, and including all replies in chronological order.
    Elsewhere this might be called a ‘thread’ but Discourse uses ‘topic’ since thread is used for linked elements that can go off in many different directions (and be confused with programming terms).

  • Post: Each element of a topic is referred to as a post. These are the messages you enter. Each post has its own author and can be moved to a different topic if necessary, or even become the start of a new topic.

  • Original Post (or OP): The first post in any topic. This is key since it determines the focus of the topic and is what the title and tags will link to.

  • Category: The primary means of organizing topics. Each topic is placed in exactly one category. Categories have permissions which can restrict which users can create, reply, and see its topics. You can also configure notification preferences per category or even mute them as explained below. Categories are a similar concept to a ‘forum’ on other sites.

  • Tag: A marker placed on a topic to describe it. While a topic can only have one category, it can have multiple tags. New tags can be created by some users. You will be able to search or filter base upon tags, so please use them and help us keep them tidy.


Viewing the Community:

There are four primary ways to view the community. It will initially open showing a list of topics from newest to oldest. This is the 'latest' format. You may also choose from other formats including New, Top or Categories.

It may be useful to start with the Categories format as a new user, as it will give you an idea of the 'lay of the land'. That view also shows the latest topics in a column to the right, so it can be a handy dual view when viewing on a desktop browser.

For more details about managing the views please read the First Steps page.

The system is 'live' in that it will update while it is open on your phone or desktop. You do not need to click on anything to refresh. It knows you are there, so it can provide notifications or change icons on the screen if a reply or mention arrives while you have the browser window open.

Reading Messages:

Click on any topic to see the stream of messages which flowed under that topic.

Selecting a title from the topic list will always take you to your last read post in the topic. To enter at the top or bottom instead, select the reply count or last reply date.

Topics above the light red line are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, its title will be light grey instead of black.

Navigation

For search, the menu, or your user page, use the icon buttons at the upper right.

While reading a topic, use the timeline on the right side to jump to the top, bottom, or your last read position. On smaller screens, select the bottom progress bar to expand it.

If you have a physical keyboard, you can also press ? for a list of keyboard shortcuts.

Replying

Press any Reply button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser. Continue reading (and even navigate to different topics) while you compose your reply; minimize the editor for more room. Drafts will automatically be saved as you write.

DO NOT sign your posts, as your name and information are already attached to the message. You may find this difficult to do at first, but as you watch the flow you will appreciate people who properly keep the flow dense by leaving off the signatures. Be one of those people!

Quoting

To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. Repeat for multiple quotes.

Mentioning

To notify someone about your reply, mention their name. Type @ to begin selecting a username.

Emoji

To use standard Emoji, just type : to match by name, or traditional smileys ;)

Oneboxes

To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself. To start a topic with a link, paste the link into the title field.

Formatting

Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or Markdown:
  • This is <b>bold</b>.
  • This is [b]bold[/b].
  • This is **bold**.
Actions

There are action buttons at the bottom of each post:
  • Like to let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post.
  • Link to Grab a copy-pasteable link to any reply or topic.
  • ... to reveal more actions.
  • Flag to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem.
  • Bookmark to find this post later on your profile page.
Notifications

To mention someone in a post, start with @ then start typing the name. Options will come up, pick one or hit return when the right one is selected.

When someone is talking directly to you — by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your @username, or even linking to your post, a number will immediately appear over your profile picture at the top right. Select it to access your notifications.

Don’t worry about missing a reply – you’ll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away.

Preferences

All topics less than two days old are considered new, and will show a new indicator.

Any topic you’ve actively participated in — by creating it, replying to it, or reading it for an extended period — will be automatically tracked on your behalf, and will show an unread post count indicator.

You can change your notification level for any topic via the notification control at the bottom, and right hand side, of each topic. Notification level can also be set per category, look for the notification control on the upper right of each category page.

To change any of these defaults, including the choice of a dark theme, visit your user preferences.

Be sure to read the Community Policy, then jump in and start reading! As you gain knowledge of the basic flow of the community, you may wish to check out the hints and tricks.

Let's get started building this new element to our community!

We recommend you start by clicking this link, which will start you in a mode where the categories are visible. There are various modes which you will have control over individually.