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Recent And Future Changes To Fpn

Posted by wimg , 30 March 2013 · 696 views

Dearest Members & Visitors to the Little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

First changes
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.

Quick wins
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. :D 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 :D.

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


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New Forums, To Be Or Not To Be?

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk 07 September 2011 · 894 views

Dearest Members of the board,

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.

Brand forums
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.

General forums
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.

Regional forums
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.

Creative Expressions
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.

Miscellaneous forums
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).

Projects
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.

Review forums
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 :D. 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 :D.

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 :D.

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.

Current thinking
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 :D.

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.

Conclusion
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


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Classifieds Manual, Part 3 - Questions & Answers

Posted by wimg , in Manuals 07 May 2011 · 1,109 views

Part 3. Questions & AnswersAs already mentioned, Classifieds allows one to pose questions to the seller. This concept is discussed here with examples. In the first chapter of the Classifieds manual is shown how to browse the Classifieds part of the board. Let's assume we are there now already, and have a listing showing in one of the categories, like below, and we want to have a more detailed look at one of the classifieds, for example the one indicated with a red arrow. Posted ImageAfter clicking on the item at which the red arrow points, we get the screen below. The red arrow here indicates in which direction to scroll to see the remainder of this advert, and to reach the Questions option right at the bottom of the classified.Posted ImageHaving reached the bottom part of this classified, we can now clearly see a questions block, and an Ask a Question button (to which the red arrow points).Posted ImageClicking on this Ask a Question button makes a message editor box appear, in which we can type a question or remark we may have regarding this particular item or the classified itself, like I've done below. When I am happy with the question or remark typed, I can click the Ask Question button in this screen, as indicated by the red arrow.Posted ImageClicking the Ask Question button will save my message, and I will be returned to the screen showing the advert I was posting a question in. Do note that, as indicated by the red arrow, we now have a Questions block with an (unanswered) question in it, see red arrow, which only I can see for the time being, and the person who listed the classified.Posted ImageSo far so good. What if someone else poses a question too? Let's pursue this, and follow what happens. Another person now visits the same advert, see red arrow, and clicks on that. For ease of reference this member uses a different skin.Posted ImageHe'll get a very similar screen of course, just slightly adapted to the skin in use. The red arrow indicates the scroll direction again to read the whole advert and reach the Questions section.Posted ImageI can see an Ask a Question button again (red arrow), but no questions and/or answers yet. Since the question by the previous member was not answered yet, it will be hidden to all other members, but the poster of the advert. I want to ask a question, so let me click on the Ask a Question button.Posted ImageHaving clicked this Ask a Question button, the already familiar message editor box appears, and as an example I have prefilled the box with a message. Underneath the message box I see the Ask Question button, on which I will click as soon as I am done with typing what I'd like to say or ask.Posted ImageI was done, and clicked Ask Question. Scrolling down to the bottom part of the advert I can see the Questions section again, where I now can see my question, as an unanswered question again (red arrow). Note that I can't see any other questions, only my own, so far.Posted ImageSo, what happens on the seller side of this question and answer thing? Let's go to the seller, and check what he sees now. Circled is the name of the original poster (OP), the seller IOW. He could click on the View my Items button (red arrow), in order to see and manage all of his items listed in Classifieds.Posted ImageAfter clicking on View my Items, the screen below appears in this case. Do note that there are two questions now for the top item, as indicated with a special little note next to the title of the classified, and a count of the questions, as circled in red (follow the red arrow).Posted ImageClicking on this item reveals the item screen, in view mode. I want to scroll down, in the direction of the red arrow, to reach the questions section.Posted ImageRight underneath the classified, I now find the two questions posed by the two different members earlier. There also are two buttons next to each, Delete Question and Answer Question. The latter is the one I want to use, for the first question first (red arrow). So I will click on that.Posted ImageThe usual edit box appears, this time right underneath that first question, and I have started to answer the question. Do note the tick box right below the messagebox, the Make this question viewable to everybody? field, as circled in red and indicated by the red arrow. The default for this tick box is that it is marked, and leaving it that way will make this question and my answer visible to everybody on the board who happens to view this classified.Posted ImageSince I personally prefer to keep price discussions private, I now have unmarked the tick box (circled in red again), so that this question and its reply will stay private. I have completed my answer as well, so I can now click the Answer Question button (red arrow).Posted ImageClicking the Answer Question button will save my reply or answer, and it will now appear directly underneath the question. In case I want to keep the two, i.e., question and answer, separated slightly better, I'd have to put in a line myself, f.e., a line of dashes (which I didn't do here). Note that because this is still a private question with a private answer, the colour of the message, pink in this case, still indicates it is. Since I answered, for this particular message only the Delete button is now available (circled in red). Ok, I want to get on with the second message. For this I need to use the Answer Question button in the second question (see red arrow).Posted ImageClicking the Answer Question button for the second question, will bring up the earlier message box again, allowing me to answer the second question. I don't mind this being a public question, so I leave the Mark this question as viewable by everybody tick box marked (circled in red) and go on to click the Answer Question button underneath the message editor box, as I have typed out my answer.Posted ImageClicking the Answer Question button did save my reply, and it is visible in the screen below. Because I have left the Mark this question as viewable by everybody tick box marked, the difference between the two questions and answers is now clearly visible to me. Note that the colours vary from skin to skin, although private questions and answers are in pink generally, and public ones in the skin message background colour. For the second question I now only have the Delete Question button left too (circled in red).Posted ImageBefore I forget, I better add the Shipping to information in the classified description, as asked in the second question. Besides, it is mandatory to do so. Therefore, I scroll up, and click on the Edit Item button (circled in red, see red arrow).Posted ImageClicking the Edit Item button brings me back to the same set of fields I went through when creating a classified, with the difference being that all fields already have the correct values, except for the one I want to change. I scroll down to the Description box, and add the information required (circled in red). Noting else needs changing, so I can go ahead and click the Edit Item button (red arrow), in order to save this information and make sure it is displayed for everybody to see.Posted ImageThis will bring me back to the overall view of the classified, and scrolling down to make sure all is ok, I can see indeed that the shipping information now appears in the description (circled in red), and that both questions and answers are intact. Number 1 is a private message (indicated by the number 1 and a semi-circle in red), and number 2 (indicated with the number 2 and a semi-circle, also in red) is a public question and answer, number one in pink, and number 2 in light blue-grey.Posted ImageHow does this now appear to the members posing these questions? Let's first go the member asking question 2, about the Shipping to information. The updated screen for the advert, scrolled down, now looks as below. Only question 2 and its answer is visible (red number 2 and semi-circle) to this member, but it is visible to all. Furthermore, the Description box has been updated with the Shipping to information (red arrow). Posted ImageTo the member who posed the first question it looks a little different. He can see both questions and answers, because the first one was his own question, even if treated as a private question (red number 1 and semi-circle), bright beige background in this skin rather than pink, and the second one was a question by another member, and was answered in public (red number 2 and semi-circle), light grey background in this skin rather than the earlier blue-grey, and  is therefore also visible to him. Do note that the information added in the description as requested in the second question is also visible to him in the description of the classified (red arrow).Posted ImageSo far this manual for the question and answer part of the new Classifieds app.Warm regards, Wim


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Classifieds Manual, Part 2 - Create A Classified

Posted by wimg , in Manuals 07 May 2011 · 1,140 views

Part 2: Create a Classified. 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:Posted ImageWhen 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:Posted ImageIn 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):Posted ImageDo 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.Posted ImageNext 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.Posted ImageI 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:Posted ImageNext 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):Posted ImageNext 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:Posted ImageThe 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.Posted ImageThe 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.Posted ImageThe picture below shows my selection of options so far for the item I am describing :Posted ImageOn 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.Posted ImageIn 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.Posted ImageNext 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).Posted ImageThe 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.Posted ImageHere is the progress so far:Posted ImageNext 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.Posted ImageAfter 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.Posted ImageWe 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.Posted ImageI 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.Posted ImageScrolling 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.Posted ImageClicking 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.Posted ImageAfter double-clicking on my "fs" folder I select the correct image (highlighted in light blue), and next click on the Open button (red arrow).Posted ImageThe 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).Posted ImageAnd 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.Posted ImageAll 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....Posted ImageThe 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.Posted ImageOk, 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.Posted ImageScrolling 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.Posted ImageAnd so far for the creation of a Classified. It is accomplished. :DNext 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


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Classifieds Manual, Part 1 - User Browsing

Posted by wimg , in Manuals 07 May 2011 · 5,937 views

Part 1 - User browsingNormally, I'd start at the Forums page, and right at the top, I do find a Classifeds tab, just next to the Forums tab (circled/marked with blue).Posted ImageClicking on this tab, will give me the following view, displaying all the categories and subcategories in Classifieds:Posted ImageNote that the general Writing Instruments category is highlighted here with blue, and it consists of three subcategories. Let me click on the Writing Instruments category itself first:Posted ImageNot only do I get a list of subcategories, but also a listing of items in those subcategories. Now what if I click on a subcategory, f.e., the Low Volume one:Posted ImageGreat, just the items in the Low Volume subcategory. Let me now click on that beautiful Urushi pen I see there:Posted ImageI can see all the details now, plus a bunch of thumbnails of the pictures attached to this classified. Let me click on one of those thumbnails:Posted ImageThe complete picture shows up now, and I can save the picture, or close it again to go back to the classified. What I don't see here is that if I scroll to the right top of the picture, there wil be a Next button in case there is more than one picture attached, so that I can scroll through all of them.Anyway, this is how I can look at these classifieds. Simple enough. :DWim


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Classifieds - We Are Live!

Posted by wimg , 07 May 2011 · 731 views

Dearest members of the Fountain Pen Nut house,We would like to announce that we are Live now with the new Classifieds Application. This will replace all but Market Watch in the Classifieds and Market Watch section of our board.Before anybody starts asking questions, let me try to provide some answers first, on the following topics :D.1) Manuals2) Handling of old sales forums post3) Images4) WTB forum5) Classifieds rules6) Classified renewals7) Contact with the advertiser of a particular classifiedSo here goes:1) ManualsWe have created three manuals so far, which you will find in this column, and which can be accessed from the Classifieds app as well. These are likely not all manuals we will create, but at least this will provide us with a flying start:Classifieds Manual, Part 1: Browsing ClassifiedsClassifieds Manual, Part 2: Create a ClassifiedClassifieds Manual, Part 3: The Question and Answer system2) Handling of old sales forums postsEffectively, from the moment Classifieds opened for business, the old Classifieds and Market Watch forums are no longer active as such, meaning, no new topics can be posted anymore in the Classifieds forums, but people can still reply to the remaining topics. Topics with no replies for more than 30 days in those forums will be closed, or no longer available for further replies. The exception is Market Watch, which now becomes a forum rather than a subforum, so this will be promoted to a level slightly higher up. This will continue to exist, IOW, in its old format.3) ImagesPlease do note: every single new classified requires the attachment of at least 1 image directly to the message. No image, no classified. Do read the manuals to find out how to do that if you are not familiar or comfortable with that. If you would like to test the facility, we have set up a Play Pen category for this specific purpose. In the Play Pen you can go absolutely wild, well, decency etc. rules still apply of course, with no further consequences.4) WTB forumThis is a special case: we will try, for the time being, how this will work with the Classifieds app, meaning that even here images have to be inserted. A post can be made a For Sale or a Wanted (to Buy) post by a simple radio button, but all classifieds require the upload of at least 1 image. Our suggestion is that if you don't have an image, to upload a (simple) drawing. If this does not work out, we may revert back to the old incarnation of the WTB forum(s). Unfortunately the expected fix for this will only be avialable after the next major upgrade of the board software, and we didn't want to wait that long.5) Classifieds rulesA new set of rules will be posted as soon as they are available. In the mean time, the old set of rules is still valid, with the exception of the 3 new ads per day option - there is no longer such a rule, it has been changed, see further below. See the manuals for more on this, as there are specific categories for High and Low Volume Sellers. Other than that, many of the old sales rules are incorporated in the classified creation itself, so in a way most are self explanatory.As an addition, as the rule for posting in either Low or High Vol. is difficult to find:Only hobbyists selling in order to change their own private collection are supposed to use the Low Vol. category, with a maximum of 3 classifieds per week and maximum 100 classifieds per year. Anybody else, who is selling for any other reasons, f.e., a professional or semi-professional from the world of fountain pens, or anybody who wants to place more than the limit of classifieds for the Low Vol. category, PLEASE be so kind to place classifieds in the High Vol. category!6) Classified renewalsIt is possible at the end of the period a classified runs, to renew that classified, which is an extremely simple procedure. This option exists for up to two weeks after the expiration date of the classified, and it can be renewed up to 5 times max. When we have time and reach the point ourselves when this can be done, we will likely create a manual for this part of the Classifieds app too.7) Contact with the advertiser of a particular classifiedTo contact an advertiser, you need to use email. That is made simple, as clicking on the "Contact Advertiser Directly" Button, just above the advertiser panel or profiel panel if you like, pops up an email window straight away, with the email address already supplied. We will likely write a manual on this part of the process too, but time has been a little too short to accomplish this and the other manuals and deal with the FPN Pen etc. :DIf you have any further questions, post them here as a comment, or even better, in the Members Helping Members forum, so we and other members may be able to help and/or learn from the experience.Warm regards, WimOn behalf of the Moderator and Admin Team


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A Few Small Enhancements To The Board

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk 02 May 2011 · 909 views

Dearest members of our Fountain Pen Nut house,Some of you may have noticed already, but we still thought it would be a good idea to let you know about the 3 latest (small) enhancements to our board software.1) Local time indicator in the mini profile panel next to each post (see image below, red circled area and arrow).This will make it easier to see what a good time for communicating with a member is, or even to get an indication for a reply, if you are expecting a reply across different time zones. Of course, this does mean that members will have to set their actual time zones (My Settings in Your Profile). Just a nice touch, we thought.Posted Image2) Toggle Visibility option (see image below, red circled area and arrow)This option allows one to toggle beteen anonymous and named login, i.e, makes your member name appear and disappear from view whenever you like to do so. There was a discussion on this recently, and as we came across this option, again it seemed like a nice thought to add this to the board software. You can find this option at the right top of the board, underneath the "Your Profile" panel, next to "Sign Out" and "Help". Do note that in order to see if it worked (which it does!), you need to refresh the screen, either by refreshing the current window, or by displaying another window, for example when clicking through to the next topic etc. Posted Image3) Sliding Quick LoginHave you ever wanted to reply to a post without losing the flow, while reading a topic as a Guest, i.e., not signed in yet? Well, here is the answer, we just added the Sliding Quick Login (Sign-in option). If you now click on Sign-in, see below (circled in red, red arrow pointing to it):Posted ImageYou will now get this slide down sign in option, again circled in red with red arrow, without losing wherever you were:Posted ImageEnjoy!Warm regards, Wim


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On Classifieds, Part Two

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk 21 March 2011 · 462 views

As promised, I would continue with my  previous column on changes for the marketplace forums. We haven't entirely finalized everything yet, and there still will be an update of the software for some bug fixes, hopefully before the end of next week, but so far it looks quite stable. Some of the manuals on how to use Classifieds have been written as well, only a few smaller chapters remain.Having made you all curious, no doubt, let me show you a few screen shots of the soon-to-be-released add-on, likely in its almost-complete set-up.IOW, let me give you a sneak preview :D.First of all, where to find Classifieds when it is enabled, and how to access it, is by means of a (new) tab between Forums and Blog:Posted ImageClicking on this tab, will give one the following view, displaying all the categories and subcategories in Classifieds:Posted ImageNote that the general Writing Instruments category is highlighted here with blue, and it consists of three subcategories. Clicking on the Writing Instruments category itself presents the following screen:Posted ImageNot only does this display list of subcategories, but also a listing of items in those subcategories. Now what if one clicks on a subcategory, f.e., the Low Volume one:Posted ImageGreat, just the items in the Low Volume subcategory. Now on to click on that beautiful Urushi pen:Posted ImageAll details are visiblenow, plus a bunch of thumbnails of the pictures attached to this classified. Lets click on one of those thumbnails:Posted ImageThe complete picture shows up now, and one can save the picture, or close it again to go back to the classified. Anyway, so far this sneak preview of Classifieds. Looks simple enough. :DWarm regards, Wim


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The (Images) Upload Tab - What Is It, How To Use It?

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk, Manuals 15 March 2011 · 902 views

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:Posted ImageSo, how to use this?That is not all that difficult. Imagine you are creating or editing a post., f.e, just after starting:Posted ImageNote 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:Posted ImageAs 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):Posted ImageNow 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.Posted ImageNext an Explorer window pops up, and in my case it is pointed already at the correct folder:Posted ImageOf course, if it isn't, the explorer window allows me to browse to the correct folder anyway.Next I choose a picture:Posted ImageIn 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.Posted ImageNext 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:Posted ImageBottom part of window (scrolling down):Posted ImageAs 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:Posted ImageOf 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. Posted ImageClicking on that tab, brings me back to my message editor window.Posted ImageMaking 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:Posted ImageSo, I click on Paste in this case. Either way, it will give me the following result:Posted ImageNotice 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.Posted ImageHere 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:Posted ImageAnd the bottom part of the Preview, obviously with the editor window underneath:Posted ImageI 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).Posted ImageIn this case Post New Topic :D.Of course, once I have clicked Post, the message or topic appears as I created or edited it:Posted ImageAnd 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


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Extensions to our little fountain pen nut house on the digital prairie

Posted by wimg , in Board Talk 14 March 2011 · 1,268 views

Have you ever wondered about the skin we're using as the main board skin, and what ever happened to the old one, that nice paler blue and cream one, which was easy to read, with distinct differences between pinned topics and normal topics in each forum?

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
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:D IP.Board Mobile skin
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Or

C) Lo-Fi skin
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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:
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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:
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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 Posted Image. 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) Posted Image 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 :D.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Enjoy!

Warm regards,
Wim

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.






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