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

๐Ÿ™‚ or ๐Ÿ™‚

Sad

๐Ÿ™ or ๐Ÿ™

Grin

๐Ÿ˜€

Love

๐Ÿ˜ก

Mischief

;\

Cool

B-)

Devil

]:)

Silly

:p

Angry

X-(

Laugh

:^0

Wink

๐Ÿ˜‰ or ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blush

:8}

Cry

:_|

Confused

?:|

Shocked

:O

Plain

๐Ÿ˜

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.