Part 2: Create a Classified.
In order to be able to create or list a Classified, you need to be a Gold Member, Rhodium or Platinum Supporter, or a Premium Account Holder (Ruby, Emerald or Diamond).
In order to create a Classified, I first need to click on the Classifieds tab (see red arrow), which is situated just next to the Forums tab underneath the board header:
When you click the Classifeds tab, the following window appears, with all the categories available for posting a classified in, Add an Item button circled in red:
In order to add a Classified, it doesn't really matter where I am in the Classifieds subsystem, as long as I click on the Add an Item button. A new screen appears, with all the fields to be completed in the Listing a New Item section right in the middle of the screen (red arrow):
Do note that all of these fields have a red asterisk postioned next to them. This means they are all mandatory. In short, all fields are mandatory. If I don't complete a field, or don't tick a box, etc., when I want to save the classified, it won't let me. I'll discuss all of the fields one by one here. Do note that I didn't highlight these with red arrows; it'll get too busy, plus I do think the field names speak for themselves and are indicated in the text in bolded, italicized and red. First up is the Item Name. I think that this doesn't require any further explanation. In this example, I have chosen an Etruria to sell (note: only as an example, not for real). The next field down is the Condition of the item. I have to select one from the dropdown list, see below. Note that there is an option for items which are not pens, and one for a condition that does not fit the "standard" ones.
Next field is the Category or subcategory where I want this item listed. Select the correct one please. First determine whether this is a Writing Instrument or parts thereof, or something else (choose appropriately). If it is parts of writing instruments, I select that option. If it is a complete pen or complete pens etc. for sale, I check either the Low Volume category if I don't intend to place more than 100 classifieds a year, with a maximum of 3 classifieds per week, otherwise I select High Volume. If I don't comply, my classified will be removed by a moderator without any form of consultation or feedback, I need to be aware of that!Note that Charity Auctions is a special case: these are only allowed for registered charities after consultation with moderators and admins, and work by a starting price where interested buyers will add a new price in a question - that will be dealt with in a separate part of the manual.
I now have added an Item Name, have selected the Condition of the item, and have selected a Category for the item to be listed in. So far the Item Details section:
Next up are the fields in the Shipping & Handing section, beginning with a dropdown list of the Currency used for the price (to be listed later). This list contains all currencies of the world, beginning with the currencies used most often on this board (to make selection of any of those a little faster):
Next up is the Payment option field. Again this holds most used payment options on the board, with an additional option for other payment possibilities or combinations thereof, to be described in the text for the Description of the classified, if so required:
The field following this is the Shipping From field, another dropdown selection box which lists all countries of the world. Either scroll down through this and click on the correct one, or type the first letter one or more times until it appears and becomes highlighted (blue), and press the Enter key to select it.
The Shipping To field follows, another dropdown selection list. The selection is somewhat more limited here for obvious reasons, and also allows for an option to indicate other countries or regions, or combinations of those listed.
The picture below shows my selection of options so far for the item I am describing :
On to the next section, General rules and conditions, essentially being an implementation of the rules for market place postings on FPN. I have to tick the boxes in this section to agree with these conditions. If I don't tick these boxes, I won't be able to save this classified for listing, and if I don't agree I should not really post a classified. These fields are No PayPal Fees or Personal Payment (not allowed by PayPal), Valid Email Address on FPN, which is used to contact the seller, and Unconditional Agreement with Moderation, i.e., the Fountain Pen Network, FPN for short, retains the right to disqualify a classified without any further discussion, discourse or communication, and remove it from public view. BTW, one of the reasons to remove a classified is a blurry picture, from which it is impossible to tell what the condition of e.g. a pen is.
In the following image I have ticked the boxes in General rules and conditions, plus another one in Further item information, i.e., Image(s) of Actual Item(s), i.e., no stock images etc., and not of another item. In short, I HAVE to show an image or several images to include all items on sale here, of the actual items on sale. No urls are allowed. At least one (1) image must be viewable directly in the classified, and it also must be uploaded (attached) to the classified. The latter will be discussed a little bit further down. The next field is also displayed with its dropdown list, namely Image(s) Used. This indicates the rights I have to the images I use, and who created them and/or holds the copyright.
Next up is the Brand and Model dropdown list, to indicate that I actually provided the brands and models of the items listed (I already did in the Item Name actually), or alternatively, that it is not a pen, with a description either in Item Name, the classified Description, or in both (in most cases anyway, I would expect).
The field following it is LE and/or Serial Number Info, which again is a dropdown box which indicates which information I have added (and shouldn't forget to add either). A good reminder IOW. Fortunately there also is an option for items other than pens.
Here is the progress so far:
Next there is the Nib Size, a field providing me with a dropdown box for the most common nib types, from XXF to 1.3 Italic, plus an option for Other(s) and of course the option to indicate I am not listing a fountain pen.
After I have now selected my nib size, I can now continue with the Restoration Status. Not too many choices, one of which indicating it is not a pen we are dealing with here.
We are nearing the end now. First of all a Description box, with the usual editor we all well know from posting messages in the forums. Add any information about the item(s) for sale here, not only the item name, but maybe a further description. Praise your wares here, the motto goes. In addition, I can also see a few more fields, in the Pricing options section, namely Advert Type, a radio button with options For Sale and Wanted, and Price, plus an Attachments section.
I now have added a description, left the Advert Type on For Sale (the default), and added a Price. Note that the Price is of course the number linked to the Currency I selected quite a bit higher up. Also note that if I do not add a Price, or leave it at 0 (zero), it will automatically come up with FREE in the Price field when I save this classified, which is not necessarily something I want to do for an item I want to get some money for.... In short, I should not forget to put an actual number in.
Scrolling down a bit further, I can now see the entire Attachments section. In order to attach an image here (mandatory!), I click on the Browse button (red arrow) to select one from my hard disk.
Clicking on this Browse button will bring up an explorer window, which allows me to find the image I want to attach. It first happens to come up quite conveniently with the contents of the drive where I have stored my images, but it could well be any drive or folder, which means I would have to browse a bit through my drives and folders. As it is here, I just need to select my "fs" folder (no, not "for sale", "full size" actually), see red arrow.
After double-clicking on my "fs" folder I select the correct image (highlighted in light blue), and next click on the Open button (red arrow).
The screen reverts back to the classifieds editing screen, and in the text field box next to the Browse button it now shows the path and name of the image file I want to display in my classified. I now have to click on the Attach this file button (red arrow).
And after clicking on the Attach This File button I get to see the following, essentially the same as before, but with an attached file added (red arrow, numbered 1). Do also note the Add Item button, also with a red arrow pointing to it, numbered 2. I need that in for the next step.
All done now, and after a final check that I did indeed complete all the fields, I now click on the Add Item button (red arrow 2, see above), which then presents me with the actual classified, with an attached thumbnail (see red arrow, below). I could have added more files this way, but for now I thought this was enough. Do note that if I forget to click on the Add Item button, and just go back to the main Classifieds screen, I lose all the information I just added so diligently! In short, I would have to start all over again....
The thumbnail is actually clickable, and will bring up the entire image in its full glory, as shown below. It also provides me with an option to Close it again, to return to the classified itself, or to Save the image for closer inspection, or maybe for later (see circled area and arrow, both in red). In the case of more thumbnails, it will even show a Next button towards the top right, to display the next full image I attached, for as many images as I actually did attach.
Ok, I closed it again and scrolled down a little to see how it looks like further. Note that it now shows the Price a bit larger, as wel as the remaining time for the run period for this classified. As it starts at 30 days, the first number of days this countdown timer will actually show is 29 days, which really means it is on the 29th day of the countdown (30 days minus a second, or minus more seconds). Also note the Edit Item, Close Item and Watch Item buttons. Edit Item obviously will get me back into Edit Mode, just that the fields will have the values I already supplied. The other two buttons wil be discussed in another part of this manual.
Scrolling further down I can see the remainder of the classified. Note that there now also is a Question section right at the bottom. This wil also be discussed in another part of this manual, and finally a Report button in case this classified merits reporting to the moderators, i.e., when it doesn't comply with the rules despite all the mandatory fields.
And so far for the creation of a Classified. It is accomplished.
Next steps (other parts of the manual) will be dealing with Questions, from the view point of a (potential) buyer, and from a seller's view point to, and contacting a seller for a confirmation on a deal, or a transaction.
Warm regards, Wim
Part 2: Create a Classified.
There seems to be some confusion with regard to the Upload Tab, as opposed to, e.g., attaching images from the options underneath the message editor box, when replying to or creating a new post. The Upload Tab is an alternative to uploading images to FPN, without any personal quota restrictions. The only limit to Upload is the file size, but as that is 1 MB, it means that there are ample possibilities to upload a picture. Any picture with a largest side of around 1000 pixels will easily fit within that 1 MB constraint.The Upload Tab, which we added as an additional service to FPN about a month or so ago, is situated underneath the board header. This appears on every page. See the picture below, Upload Tab circled in red:
So, how to use this?That is not all that difficult. Imagine you are creating or editing a post., f.e, just after starting:
Note that I have circled the Upload Tab in red, it is still there, right at the top of the page.So, let's add some text, until we get to the point where I'd want to insert an image:
As indicated in the picture, I now need to click on the Upload Tab, and a new window or tab opens in the browser (dependent on browser settings. Here it is a new tab, and note that the old tab with the editor window is still there too (circled in red):
Now I can upload an image to FPN. Note that the maximum file size is 1 MB, see red underline and arrow on left (we only have limited file space on FPN). Since that easily caters for a large image (1000 pixels on the largest side easily), that shouldn't be a problem. There are two ways to upload an image, one is by supplying a url, from e.g., your Flickr site, or by direct upload from your hard disk. I want to select a file from from my HD and do that by clicking on the Choose button, see red arrow on right.
Next an Explorer window pops up, and in my case it is pointed already at the correct folder:
Of course, if it isn't, the explorer window allows me to browse to the correct folder anyway.Next I choose a picture:
In this case etruria02.jpg. Of course, next step is to click the Open button, which brings me back to the Upload screen. As you can see, the image name etc. is now displayed in the little Upload from HDD field.
Next of course is to click on the Add Image button, where the red arrow is pointing, after which the image appears in the Upload screen. Since the image is reasonably large, dimension wise, more than the browser window is filled, so I am scrolling down through the window (as displayed here in 2 stages).
Top part of window:
Bottom part of window (scrolling down):
As you can see, the picture is all there now, and I can also add a new picture, if I like. Better to do that one at a time, however.Also note, which is most significant, that there also is a Codes block, in this case with BBCode highlighted/selected. Selection is done by just moving the mouse cursor over those fields.The first code, Direct link, I can use in combination with the Image button in the editor, by copying the url, and pasting that in the Image Url field in the Image Button option. The seond one is direct BB-code, which can be inserted straight into the message. The third option is html code, which we don't really use here on FPN.The easiest really is to use the BBCode, and it also has another advantage, but I'll come to that in a minute.So, I select the BBCode option just by moving my mouse cursor there. Now I have two options in order to copy that code, which I need for my message. I can either press Ctrl-C on the keyboard, or right-click on the code. The latter will give me the following pop-up:
Of course, I click on Copy, as highlighted in the pop-up box.I need to go back to the message editor window now, so I scroll back to the top of this window, and there it is, to the left of the tab with the Upload screen I am looking at now, see red circle and arrow.
Clicking on that tab, brings me back to my message editor window.
Making sure my edit cursor is positioned where I want my image to appear, I now either press Ctrl-V to insert the code I copied from the Upload screen, or I right-click, which will give me the following pop-up window:
So, I click on Paste in this case. Either way, it will give me the following result:
Notice the weird code in my message. That is the BBCode we saw earlier. So, you may ask, what is the advantage of this? Well, it is faster than adding an image via the Add Image button, and it also makes for faster scrolling in the editor box when editing or creating a message.Well, you may say now, but I want to see the image in the text. To which I will reply again: you can. Click the Preview Post button at the bottom of the message editor box, and the message will appear with the image in all its glory.
Here follows the result after clicking on the Preview Post button. The message has appeared. Since the picture is still large, I'll show it here in two parts again, scrolled through the browser window.
Top part of Preview:
And the bottom part of the Preview, obviously with the editor window underneath:
I can continu editing now, add more images too if I like, do more Previews, and once I am happy and done, I can now scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on Post Reply, Post New Topic, etc., depending on what I was doing (creating a reply, a new topic, or maybe doing an edit).
In this case Post New Topic .Of course, once I have clicked Post, the message or topic appears as I created or edited it:
And that's all there is to it!Within Upload there also is the option to manage already uploaded images, including getting the codes again, but I leave you to play with that by yourself for now.
Warm regards, Wim
You will likely have noticed some changes at the top of the board, right underneath the header and tabs. After some iterations, there are a few image links rather than a boring piece of text referring to the FPN Pen Store, and a few more. Essentially, all options which support funding of FPN are clearly visible now.
FPN well within top 100,000 busiest websites, worldwide
One of the reasons for making these options more visible is that FPN is starting to run more and more like treacle rather than a fast flowing mountain stream when it comes to the browsing experience. This is caused by the simple fact that the current hosting plan doesn't really cater anymore for the amount of registered members and visitors we have. On a monthly basis, we have over 300,000 unique visitors (= different ip-addresses from which we are visited), and the download stream is up to 30 GB or more a day currently - which is a lot for what basically is moslty plain text plus a few images going down the line. And new registrations on FPN is still on the increase as well. FPN reached the top 100,000 busiest web sites worldwide category towards the end of last year, and for a non-commercial site I think that is nothing short of awesome - thanks to our membership here!
Hosting of FPN
Furthermore, likely due to the economic crisis, and several other factors, while costs keep mounting, funding is a worrisome issue. It costs a lot to run this board, and if we want to keep up with the increasing numbers here, we will need to upgrade to the next category of hosting plans, tripling resources, but also tripling hosting costs.
More changes required
It will be clear that we need to make some changes as a result.
Some of the simple quick wins we are doing already now, or have done so, and the initiative to alter the header at the top of the board was one of them. We will also make some changes to the Writing Instruments forum very shortly. It is extremely busy, by far the busiest forum, and as a result it has become so slow that it is really worrisome. The plan is to divide it in two or three forums very, very soon, to split the load. More announcements on this split will follow.
Changes coming to Classifieds
We will also make some changes to Classifieds, and likely not all will be very popular. First of all we will make posting a Classified easier. We think that the rules have become engrained enough now that we can do with a general acceptance of the rules and guidelines once, rather than have all the relevant bits completely spelled out as is now the case.
Researching the listed advertisements has also shown that many of our members who are hobbyists and are interested in fountain pens from a user's or collector's POV, do not really place many ads, less than 10 classifeds on an annual basis. So we will tighten the rules for normal Gold Members further, allowing a maximum of 3 items per week to smaller maximum on an annual basis than the current limits.
Classifieds section is not a storefront
We have also always maintained that the Classifieds and FPN is not a storefront for people who are only interested in selling or running their business from FPN, and are therefore looking at options to make the presence of traders more pleasant and more predictable, both for our normal members, and for the traders themselves. And frankly, having the largest ready made target group and busiest site in the world for people interested in fountain pens and related items, this must be worth something - this may even help with funding, and secure the existence of FPN in the future.
FPN now a registered company
Other items that have changed or are changing, is that FPN now is owned by a registered company. This had to be done not only from a legal and tax POV, but also in order to secure the FPN hosting and servicing funds. We would have stood to lose a lot of funding to taxes otherwise, and in addition there are legislative conditions we do have to adhere to .
Possible changes to donations?
Finally we are also thinking of changing the donation system. Currently that is totally anonymous, and we don't really know whether our members who donate, would like that changed or not. We will start a topic on this in Community Feedback soon, and further announcements will follow.
More news will follow soon.
Warm regards, Wim
On behalf of the FPN Moderator and Admin Team
Considering the most recent discussion and poll for a new forum, Visconti in this case, I guess now is the time for another attempt at explaning why and how of forums, etc.
First of all, the brand forums exist because each of them either represents a brand with a large contribution in posts to the board as a whole, or because a moderator seen as an expert on the brand loved to moderate such a forum here.
Next there are a bunch of general forums, such as News, New Members, and different types of pen related discussion forums Writing Instruments, Inky Thoughts etc.), and I think I do not need to explain those.
The regional forums were created when it was clear that some pens were discussed a lot, but not enough to warrant a forum by themselves. I'll come to those requirements just now. However, when combined as a regional group, for which there were no other forums yet, they did have enough weight, hence the Italian and Japanese pen forums.
The forums in Creative Expressions were created for what we do with our pens, to show them off etc., so makes sense too if you'd ask me.
Next there are a few community related forums, such as Chatter, Community Feedback, Members Helping Members, etc., which used to have the FS forums too. The latter were of course moved to Classifieds, which is really what they are, and they do deserve a section just for themselves anyway (and no, I do not plan on discussing that here, just so you know).
We also have a Projects Category, with currrently a single forum, namely the FPN LE Pens forum, only visible to those who ordered and paid for a pen, for status updates and the like on the FPN Pen project.
Another important part of the board is the Reviews section or category, which was created in 2004 or 2005, I can't remember now, and which is really a very important part of this community, because it allows people to share their opinions on pens and pen related items, without bias from vendors etc. This, BTW, is the category that really made FPN fly from a Google rating POV.
Other, hidden forums
Finally there are a few forums which are only available to moderators and admins, in which we discuss devious plans to keep everybody here on their toes at all times . Just in case, as some people do not seem to realize yet: we do discuss all happenings on the forums and other sections in these forums, are in daily contact most of the time, and are always aware of what is happening as a result. Furthermore, the mod and admin team back each other up at all times .
Conditions and prerequisites for new forums
Niow, when do we consider it worthwhile to start a new forum, and what are the prerequisites?
First of all, a new forum needs to take away at least 7% of traffic from Writing Instruments, otherwise it will just not fly - speaking from experience here. Secondly, we need at least two moderators who are able to work with the rest of the moderator and admin team. They have to fit in with the bunch of loonies we are, work with and in the team, and have to be able to cope with the stress involved - yes, at times it is very stressful, mostly because we really care about the people here and then FPN as a site itself.
If those conditions are not met, we will not create a new forum. Also, we do not want to create a forum list that is longer than the list of messages posted here. With 1000-1500 new messages a day, the current structure works well enough.
There are 800+ brands known worldwide, we will not create 800+ brand forums. Furthermore, a brand forum needs to be interesting enough to keep on generating new discussions. If a brand has only a short history, and few models, we will likely not create a forum for it. Neither will we do so if it attracts too few posts in general, as already stated above. Neither will we create forums for differently shaped pens, differently coloured pens, etc. Although this would make for interesting discussions, it is not really how the pen world works .
The creation of a new forum, BTW, is a very painful thing to do. Topics have to be moved from one forum to another, which is a manual exercise, i.e., going through all topics and moving them more or less one at a time from WI to the new forum. That is another thing to consider, and therefore not something we will do just on a whim. It takes many hours to finish this process, and I am speaking fom experience here.
The current thinking is that the structure here works very well, and that there is more gain to be had from implementing new functionality rather than new forums, hence the spate of introductions of new applications rather than forums in the last year or so, such as Classifieds, Downloads, Upload, Blog and the Store, and there are likely more to follow .
However, more important currently is to upgrade the board itself, as a new version of the board software is already in its third incarnation (2nd upgrade) since late yesterday. We are still waiting for a few pieces of software to be upgraded as well, and then we will likely plan a day of downtime for the upgrade, but only after extensive testing on our test site. BTW, this also includes an improved version of Classifieds.
In short, there is not going to be a Visconti forum any time soon. It doesn't warrant the creation of a (sub)forum by itself (and neither do Lamy and TWSBI), and there are still quite a few exciting updates and enhancements lying ahead of us anyway.
Warm regards, Wim
Well, we were stuck with this because it was the new Invision default skin, while the other was the old Invision default skin, and not compatible with later versions of the software. That essentially gave each of us just the following options:
A) IP.Board default skin
IP.Board Mobile skin
C) Lo-Fi skin
And each of the latter two skins are rather limited of course, due to the fact that they cater really for as simple forum access as possible.
You could, and still can, change the skin used to display the board by scrolling down to the bottom of any page, f.e., like this:
And right underneath the birthdays you'll find the skin selection box (red arrow), with just next to that the button with the downwards pointing triangle (blue circle and arrow). Clicking on this would present you with the three options ilustrated above:
Resulting in the above dropdown and selection list. Just click on either, and that determines how your FPN experience is.
Well, not being all that happy about these options, we decided to build a few extensions to our little digital nut house, make it look small from the outside, but extend it to a mansion from within . The rebuilding is more or less complete, so we would like to introduce to you a few new rooms and spaces, besides IP.Board, IP.Board Mobile, and Lo-Fi. There may still be a few hiccups here and there, as happens when extending a house, and of which we are aware, mostly, but we didn't want to keep these from you any longer regardless.
Therefore, let me present to you our new extensions:
1) The Library - a room (skin) with the luxurious feeling of brass, wood paneling and leather, in marvelous shades of green, brown, cream and yellow copper, with an occasional red highlight.. This room is where you may find admins and moderators alike when they are relaxing after a hard day of moderating and administering .
2) The Vault - very much a technically oriented room, in the basement of the nut house, the place where we keep our server and software, where technical stuff resides. No distractions there, except for a few flashing lights.
3) The Zen Retreat - you can almost hear the grasshoppers chirping away here, while emptying your thoughts in a most pleasant and peaceful green-tinted environment with lovely paper lampshades and bamboo twigs all over the place.
4) The Armoury - our gun-metal grey room where we don our suits to fight spammers, hackers and other unwanted intruders. Sparse and relaxing somehow.
5) The Hangar - a high tech blue tinted place where we store our Virtual Space Exploration machinery, and any other transportation equipment we need on our treks.
6) The Pebble Garden - This ornamental stone garden in colours and textures is tingling with the (almost) sound of small brooks, taking one away on those dreams of beautiful skies and beaches somehow in the confines of a space feeling very secure.
7) The Pink Pavillion - This is the place to go in order to get this summer feeling again, looking through a window frame from the pavillion, and getting enraptured by the rich green and pink colours of all that is in flower and bloom at the glorious height of summer time.
Well, so far our extensions here. Why don't you join us in one of these new rooms and places?
Try them out for yourselves, by scrolling down to the bottom of this page, and select any of these places (skins) from the drop down list you'll find there, the new extended one that is.
On behalf of the admin and moderator team
P.S.: Guests, i.e., those not signed in, will only benefit from 1 additional skin, namely Vault.
Classifieds Manual, Part 2 - Create A Classified23 February 2016
The (Images) Upload Tab - What Is It, How To Use It?03 December 2015
Recent And Future Changes To Fpn30 March 2013
New Forums, To Be Or Not To Be?07 September 2011
Classifieds Manual, Part 3 - Questions & Answers07 May 2011
The (Images) Upload Tab - What Is It, How To Use It?gwsmallwood - Sep 02 2018 14:11
The (Images) Upload Tab - What Is It, How To Use It?Aislingean - Aug 04 2018 07:56
The (Images) Upload Tab - What Is It, How To Use It?jonathan7007 - Apr 28 2018 21:29
Classifieds Manual, Part 2 - Create A ClassifiedBobby Check - Apr 27 2018 23:06
The (Images) Upload Tab - What Is It, How To Use It?sidthecat - Apr 15 2018 22:42
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