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Try our new and enhanced Forums features

These enhanced Forums features provide users with new ways to express themselves and better ways to make their point to the rest of the TechRepublic community.

Members participate in our TechRepublic Forums every day, trading ideas, offering solutions, and adding commentary. Over the last several months, we have asked for your input on some of the things you like about our Forums, what you don't like, and what you would like to see changed.

Based on your feedback, we have implemented some new features and are looking for some feedback. Whether you are merely a forum lurker, an occasional participant, or a hardcore regular contributor, we want to know what you think about these enhancements.

Emoticons

Sometimes you need a little more than mere text to express your point with the passion it demands. For that reason, we have implemented a system of emoticons. But you'll find more than just happy faces in our emoticon converter. In fact, type ]:) in a discussion post and you'll see what we mean. Here are the current emoticons we have implemented.

Emotion

ASCII

Image

Happy

:) or :-)

happy.gif

Sad

:( or :-(

sad.gif

Grin

:D

grin.gif

Love

:x

love.gif

Mischief

;\

mischief.gif

Cool

B-)

cool.gif

Devil

]:)

devil.gif

Silly

:p

silly.gif

Angry

X-(

angry.gif

Laugh

:^0

laugh.gif

Wink

;) or ;-)

wink.gif

Blush

:8}

blush.gif

Cry

:_|

cry.gif

Confused

?:|

confused.gif

Shocked

:O

shocked.gif

Plain

:|

plain.gif

Adding URLs inside the discussion

One admittedly annoying problem with the previous version of the TechRepublic Forums was the way the system would break URL links. We are overjoyed to announce that URL links are now fixed, active, and alive. And, the even better news is that all URLs previously listed in discussions are also live — in other words, no more broken links. Now, you can put a link in your post that takes members to important information, wherever it resides on the Internet.

Formatting tags

Another way to enhance the communication of ideas in a discussion post is to add emphasis with basic text formatting. While the system does not allow HTML tags, we have made allowances for basic text features like bold, italic, underline, and verbatim text. To implement these formats, you use these special custom tags:

  • Bold use [b] Bold [/b]
  • Italic use [i] Italic [/i]
  • Underline use [u] Underline [/u]
  • Verbatim use [pre] Verbatim [/pre]

The verbatim text custom tags are equivalent to the <pre> tag in HTML. This tag is intended for programming code and other texts that are best displayed "as is" without being modified to conform to page style. For example, this XML code snippet can now be included in a discussion post without losing the indents and other formatting:

<?xml version='1.0'?>
<object colour="red" type="polygon">
    <height units="cm">23</height>
    <width units="cm">5</width>
</object>

Alias and user name

Upon initial registration, your user name was designated to be your e-mail address by default. But in this era of excessive spam and junk mail, many of us don't want our e-mail addresses visible on Web sites where they can be easily harvested by evil marketers. In TechRepublic's discussion system, your e-mail address can be concealed by designating an alias; otherwise known as your user name.

To change the default user name/alias setting, you must edit your account profile. Before posting your comments to a discussion thread you will be asked if you want to change your alias information, which is accessed via the Manage My Account page. This page can also be reached using the navigation menu in the upper right corner of most TechRepublic pages. Once you change your user name/alias, everything you have posted in the past and everything you post in the future will be associated with your new identification, and your e-mail address will be concealed.

We need your input

We hope you like the new and improved features. Take them out for a spin, then come back here and give us your feedback. Tell us what you like, what you didn't like, and what you'd like to see in future upgrades to our Forums.

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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