Forums 101 - posting, accounts, basics (old)

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Janet H

Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
Site Team
Feb 6, 2007
Pacific NW
Welcome to Please take a moment to read through this discussion if you are having trouble posting or have other basic questions about how our forum works. Here are some links to find more help about using the forum (if you don't find what you need in this discussion thread).

Forum Rules - Posting guidelines, community practices, etc.
Forum FAQs (frequently asked questions)
Our support forum where you can ask members for help with forum tech issues.
Our help desk - e-mail us for tech support, passwords, account issues, etc.
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How to register

Registration is free and open to everyone. While even unregistered viewers may read our board, only registered members who have logged on to the forum can post here.

To register:
1. Open your open your internet browser and go to this link: or open the forums home page and click on the "register" link.
2. Fill out your birth date and click proceed. You must be older than 13 to register.
3. Check the "I agree to the rules" button (if you agree)
4. Click the "register" button
5. A form will appear and you will need to fill out the info requested. Be sure that your e-mail address is filled out correctly. We do not sell or share your information.
6. After you have filled in required info. Click on "complete registration" at the bottom of page. If you have not filled out all info - you will be prompted go enter the requested info.
7. You will get an email asking you to verify your email address. Please make sure that any SPAM filters you have enabled do not prevent email from our site from coming through.

This completes the registration process.
Forum navigation

Our site has several distinct sections:

The most active section of our site is the forums. This section is broken into several topic areas to make navigation a little easier and discussions are ongoing. If you have a question, please post it in the forums topic area that best suits your issue.
Logging In

Once you have registered you may login to post or search our data base for information about early retirement.

You will see a log in box in the upper right hand corner. Enter your username and password (these are case sensitive) and then click the remember me box.

Our site exchanges little bits of data called cookies with your computer to keep you logged in at page changes. Many virus protection programs or your computers own safety settings (if set very high) may be deleting these cookies when you navigate away from a page and then you get logged off. You can try the following things:

  • Set your system security settings to medium.
  • Be sure that you have enabled cookie handling.
  • Check you Virus protection software and firewall settings to be sure that cookie handling is not being blocked there - you can specifically allow cookie exchange with the site.
At the end of your visit, you can log out or just navigate away from our site. Our server will automatically sever your connection after a period of time.

If you have forgotten your password or have other account issues and cannot login, you may request a new one via the contact us link located at the bottom of each page. You do not need to be logged in to use this link.
How to post a new question (thread)

Questions or a new topic thread can be started in the section of the forum that best fits the topic you have in mind. Once you have posted your question you can edit that post for a brief period of time.

  • Log into the forums.
  • Click on the "forums" tab at the top of the page. You will see a list of subforum/topic areas.
  • Click on the subforum that best suits your intended post. Once it opens you will see a list of threads already in that subforum. At the top of the list, over toward the left, you should see a "new thread" button.
  • Click on the new thread button and follow the prompts.
Once you have crafted your post, click on the submit reply button below the text editor to submit your post to the board.
How to post a reply

To reply to an already existing thread:

  • Log into our site.
  • Open the thread you want to reply to.
  • In the bottom right hand side of the post you want to respond to, click on the note pad looking thing (post quick reply). A text editor box should appear.
  • Add your text and then hit post reply at the bottom of text box.
Or... you can hit "go advanced" and get a more complete text editor with formatting options and the ability to upload photos.

Once you have crafted your post, click on the submit reply button below the text editor to submit your post to the board.

When using the "Quote" function to reply to another member's post, please heed the following:

1. If you mean to reply to only a part of the post, isolate the relevant part by deleting the surrounding text and replacing with ellipses (... text to which you are responding ...). Please be careful when snipping text that you do not eliminate the brackets "[" or "]" around the word QUOTE, as it will eliminate the quote block.

2. If you mean to make your point by deleting some of the original text, please use the line-out function (like this). It is also helpful to append the letters FIFY (meaning "fixed it for you") to make the issue clear.

3. If for any reason (e.g. to add context or to replace deleted text) it is necessary to add text to a quote, please enclose the added text in brackets [like this]. Don't use italics, because all quotes are already in italics. Don't use bold or underline, because one could mistakenly think the text is original and emphasized by the original poster.

4. It is helpful to use the "preview" to see what effect your changes have had on the quoted material.

5. In all cases, the intent is to make clear to everyone which words belong to you and which ones belong to the member you are quoting.

6. If you are uncertain in any particular situation, this is the underlying principle to use as a guide -- it is unfair and misleading to change the text of another member without some indication that you have done so.

You click the Multi+ button on each post, then click Post reply to start your reply. Both get fully quoted. You can then snip them down if appropriate (like, don't re-post 17 paragraphs when only one is needed).

You can't do it using the quick reply box feature.
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How to add photos to a post

  • Click reply and scroll down to bottom of text box.
  • Click "go advanced" add text to message window and then scroll down.
  • Click "Manage attachments" or the paperclip icon on the editor tool bar. A separate window will pop up.
  • Click "browse" Then select the file to be uploaded. Be sure that the photo is appropriately sized. 1600 x 1600 pixels (or smaller) and no more than 2 megs. Forums software will automatically reduce the size, but smaller size photos will upload much faster. You may select several photos to upload at the same time by repeating the last step.
  • Click "Upload" After pics have loaded close the pop-up window
  • Click "submit reply" to mount the text of your message - photos will automatically appear at the bottom of your post.

How to embed an image stored on another site:
You can do this by using image tags. Upload the image to a service like imageshack and then copy the URL of the image and put that between tags. That will work well, as long as the host site stays in business and doesn't disable your image for overuse of bandwidth etc.

To do this: Paste the url of the image into your post. Then add the following code on either side of the url (with no extra spaces):

[IMG]url here

The image will appear where the url was in your text.
PM System and Profile Comments

There are two ways to communicate with other forums members outside of the normal posting area.

  • Private messages that only the person you send it to can read and respond to.
  • Profile comments left on the member’s page (profile). Anyone can see profile comments and the recipient has the option to delete it from their page.
If you click on a members name next to a post and select “View Public Profile” it will take you to the member’s profile page. Click on the “Contact Info” tab and you have several options depending on what types of messages the member has chosen to accept.

If you select private message you will need to select a title, type in your message and press the “Submit Message” button at the bottom. You can add smilies and links, but you can not attach pictures to a private message.

If you select to send a profile comment, type in the message and press the “Post Message” button at the bottom.
Customising your account, subscriptions

You can change various settings in your member account. To access your account, click "user CP" on the upper navbar.

From the left side menu in your user control panel, you can add a signature, upload an avatar (the picture beside a post), change your account information and your forum interface. After any change, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page and click 'save'.

One of the features of our forum is the ability to receive e-mail updates of new posts to a thread you may be interested in (thread subscription). You can opt for no e-mail, instant e-mail, daily or weekly. If you have elected to receive e-mail, make sure you have a valid e-mail address listed in your account profile. Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable and we do not sell or share member information.
Site staff

The staff of the early retirement forum consists of a team of volunteer moderators and administrators. Their job is to keep the forums running smoothly by assisting members and if needed, enforcing the rules of the forum. The moderators may warn, suspend or even ban a member who has continually violated the rules of the forums. These disciplinary actions are extremely rare and are done with a consensus of the moderator team. You can view a compete list of our site staff here.

The bottom of the portal page displays a list of members who are currently logged onto the forums. The moderator’s names are listed in bold. If you need assistance, feel free to contact any of the moderators. If you see a post that you find objectionable, use the “Report Post” option under the posters information on the left side of the screen. This option will generate an alert to all members of the moderator team.

The ER staff would like your time on the forums to be a positive experience. Let us know how we can help.
Thanks Button

The Thanks button is a nice way to show agreement or appreciation for a good post.

Each time you click the thumbs up icon (located in each post), you have the opportunity to leave a comment which the post author can read.

You can access your own thanks comments in your user cp (click on user cp on the upper nav bar) and the last 30 or so will be displayed in the center section of the page under "Latest Thanks received" You can also see stats about how many times you've been thanked.

An avatar is the little picture displayed below your user name in the profile box on the left side of every post. You may use a forums avatar or upload your own custom avatar. Avatars are limited in size to 80 x 80 pixels or 19 KB (whichever is smaller).

To upload or change a custom avatar: Choose a picture you like that is stored in your computer. Resize the picture to meet the size requirements above using a photo/image editor or camera software. Images that are too large will fail to load and you will receive and error message.

1. Click user CP (control panel) on upper blue tool bar.
2. Click edit avatar on left side menu.
3. Scroll down to the "Custom Avatar" box and click the "use Custom Avatar" button.
4. Click Browse button. A file menu screen will appear and you can choose the avatar file to be loaded. The file name should appear in the "upload an avatar from your computer box".
5. Click save changes.
How to search the forum

There are a couple of ways to search the forum. If you have a question we recommend that you search before posting. There's a fair chance that we have a several posts about your topic of interest.

The Forums search tool found on the upper blue nav bar is fairly easy to use and really quick. Our search tool searches for key words and you have a choice to search for threads or posts. Consider using the advanced search function to narrow down your choices. You must be logged into the forums to use the search tool.

Google search: We have an embedded google search available. Check out the drop down menu under search to find this tool.
Embedded Videos

We have a feature that will a feature that will convert links to videos into embedded videos in the post. To embed a video in a post simply copy and paste the URL to the video from YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo Video or PhotoBucket. The rest will be done automatically.

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Comprehensive Ignore System

This new system allows you to ignore forums, threads, and threads started by people on your ignore list. All this content will be ignored when you are browsing the forums (you don't see threads or forums you have ignored), in search results, on New Post link or Today's Posts. It also skips them if you are using the next/previous thread links at the end of the threads.

  • To ignore a member open your user Cp and find 'settings and options". Choose edit ignore list and enter your choices. Scroll and hit save.
  • To select a forum to hide you need to select the Forum Tools drop down and then select hide forum.
  • To select a thread to hide, use the Thread tools drop down and select hide thread, to ignore threads started by people on your ignore list, go to the bottom left of the User CP where you will see a settings link and check off the box to ignore their threads.
Once you have ignored these forums and discussions you will not be able to see them in case you want to unignore them. So if you do want to unignore them there are tool in the bottom left of the UserCP to manage the items you have selected to ignore.

So now if you don't like the politics forum, just hide it. Same goes with off topic, travel, etc... If you chose not to hear anymore about an ignore system feel free to hide this thread too
Username changes

Your forum username is a unique identifier and once registered cannot be changed via your user CP. Although done infrequently, it is possible to have a forum administrator change your username. To make this request, please use the contact us link. Once changed, your old posts and threads will be relabeled with the new name.
Dryer sheets?

It's a frugality reference and sort of an inside joke... subsequently added by the admins to denote poster ratings under your username in avatar blocks.

For more info about this you can read here

Confused about dryer sheets 0
Dryer sheet wannabe 10
Dryer sheet aficionado 25
Recycles dryer sheets 50
Full time employment: Posting here. 500
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post 1000
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
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A simple table tool has been added to the reply editor. It has extremely limited capabilities, but may be useful for posting tabular data.

How to set up a simple table:

Click reply and then select go advanced
Enter cell data separating info for each cell with a "|"
Use a new line for each new row. Example:


Once you have entered your data, highlight all data and then click on the table icon on formatting toolbar to add the formatting tags around your data. Click the preview post button to check out your new table.


Adding a header:

Set up your table and add titles in the first line for your header using the same "|" separator. Highlight table and click the table icon. Code tags will be added to the beginning and end of your table. Next you must edit the tag at the beginning of your table. Change the code
at the beginning of your table. No change is needed to the tag at the end of your table
Miles runweek 1week 2week 3week 4
Miles run
[TD]week 1[/TD][TD]week 2[/TD][TD]week 3[/TD][TD]week 4[/TD]

Formatting tips:

  • The first line defines how many columns are in the table. If the other lines have more or fewer columns, they are cut off
  • Columns will be as wide as the widest entry in that column (I think)
  • Empty rows are (should be) removed.
  • You can use formatting code and smilies inside the table!
Rejoice! After a long wait forum members can finally surf the board with our Custom App for iPhone, iPad, and Android Devices. This App is FREE and will help you stay in touch and up to date, while on the go. Once you have downloaded it you should be able to log in and post from your mobile device. You will use the same login and password as you would from your computer to access the forum. Most regular forum features can be used via the mobile interface.

To download your free app:

Itunes users click here!

Android users click here!

Look for future support for other devices such as Blackberry and Windows Mobile and thanks for waiting so patiently for these mobile apps :flowers:
Reporting posts and PMs to the Moderator Team

If you wish to report a problem post or a PM to the team then please click on the red triangle which is located in the panel to the left of a post
Report Post.jpg

or in the bar at the top right of a PM.

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Weekly newsletter

See how it works…

There are 2 mailings.

1. The regular newsletter that comes out twice weekly. You can sign up via the link in your profile. Look for "Edit Newsletter Preferences" near the bottom of the left side menu.

2. The daily roundup. You can sign up from the link on the nav bar under community
Direct link:
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