Bay Area Miata Drivers
BAMD Forum Using the BAMD Forum
Features of the Forum, Profiles, and Private Messages

Please note the following: We encourage all points of view on the forum. We appreciate people with opinions, but not people with agendas. Haters and trolls may find their access to the forum revoked at any time without notice.

Please keep discussions on the forums relevant to Miatas, driving, or BAMD. The forums are infrequently moderated, so please keep posts civil. Tolerance for profanity is limited. Commercial or promotional posts may be deleted without notice. You cannot create posts in the Sell/Swap/WTB forum or the Driver Recommendation forum until you've posted a few times in other forums. If you would like your post to reach Miata owners beyond the Bay Area Miata Drivers group, consider creating it on miata.net. If you have a problem with any post, please contact the BAMD webmaster.

Topics

Forum Page Layout
Forum Basics
Editing and Deleting Posts
Pictures and Links in Posts
Tagging
Polls
Emoticons
Forum Search
Unread Posts
Avatars
Signatures
BAMD Profiles
Private Messages
Email Notifications
Privacy
Changing your Login or Password

Access the main forum page from any BAMD page by clicking the Forum button in the top menu bar. If you haven't logged in within the last two days, or you're sharing a computer (or ISP connection) with another BAMD driver, you will have to sign in with your login and password.

Forum Page Layout

In addition to reading and posting to the BAMD forum, you can use the main forum page to access your personal BAMD profile, exchange private messages with other BAMD drivers, search the BAMD forum for posts containing specific words or phrases, and log off the forum. These features are accessed by clicking icons in the upper section of the page. Review the layout below to familiarize yourself with these icons and other links on this page.

Forum Basics

Skip this section if you're familiar with forum posting.

Forum posts are grouped into threads, or topics, and threads are grouped into subforums. To post to the forum, choose the appropriate subforum, and either find an appropriate thread in that subforum for your post, or create a new thread. You can't create a new subforum.

The main forum page lists nine (or more, if you're reading this in the future) subforums. In each subforum you will see the subject of the thread containing the most recent post to the subforum, along with the name of the poster and the time of the post. Before noon, times for today and yesterday after 6:00 p.m. will be displayed in red. After noon, only times for today will be displayed in red.

Place the cursor over a thread subject to see the first few dozen words of the first post in that thread. Place the cursor over the name of the latest poster (to the left of the latest post date) to see the first few dozen words of the latest post in that thread. Click on the thread subject to see all posts in that thread. Posts will be in date order, earliest first.

Subforums that contain posts you haven't read yet will have a small envelope icon next to the subforum name. Click the envelope icon or the subforum name in a subforum to see all of the threads in that subforum. Threads will normally be in order of the date of the last post to the thread. Threads with posts created since the last time you visited the forum will appear in boldface.

A sticky is a thread that remains at the top of the subforum regaredless of the latest post date. You can identify a sticky by an orange Mazda logo in place of the blue one. Stickies are generally used for posts that everyone using the forum needs to be aware of. You can't convert a regular thread to a sticky, and you can't create a sticky. They just appear from time to time.

Starting a New Thread

Click the New Thread button on any subforum page to create a new thread. Enter a Subject and the text of your post, then click the Submit button. Note that the New Thread button won't appear in the Sell/Swap/WTB forum or the Driver Recommendation forums until you've entered a few posts in other BAMD forums. We'd like to avoid people joining BAMD just to post ads or promote businesses.

Replying to an Existing Thread

Click the Reply button in any thread to add a new post to an existing thread. Enter the text of your post, then click the Submit Reply button. You will be returned to the thread at the beginning of your reply. If you see something you don't like, you can change the reply or delete it by clicking the appropriate button below your reply message.

Quoting an Existing Thread

Click the Quote button in any post when you want to reply to that specific post, and not to the thread in general. This will insert the contents of the selected post into your post. You will see this in your reply as the text of the selected post enclosed in [QUOTE] tags. You can remove any part of the text that you deem irrelevant to your reply, but don't remove the brackets or change anything inside either [QUOTE] tag, or else the post will look funny.

Click the login name of any poster on any forum page to see information about the poster, or to send the poster a Private Message (PM). You will only be able to see as much information as the poster has authorized. See the Privacy section below to allow or restrict access to your own information.

Editing and Deleting Posts

You can edit or delete any reply that you posted at any time. You can edit the first post in any thread you created, but you can't delete it. If a thread must be deleted, email or PM the webmaster to do it, or simply edit the post to say "Mods, please delete."

Edit or delete a reply by clicking the appropriate button at the bottom of the post. If you are editing the post, you will be taken to a new page that looks similar to the reply page, with the text of your message already typed in. Make your changes and click the Submit Changes button.

Pictures and Links in Posts

To insert a picture (from another website), paste the picture URL into your post and enclose it in [IMG]. . .[/IMG] tags, like this:

[IMG]http://www.etc (location of the photo on the other website)[/IMG]

You can get the picture URL from the other website by right-clicking on the photo, then clicking Properties. Copy the contents of the Address (URL): field to your post.

We prefer pictures no wider than 680 pixels. Wider pictures will be resized to 680 pixels, but this may casue a slight delay in displaying the post. The width of a photo can usually be found on the Properties tab.

if you have a photo on your own computer that you want to use in a post, you will first have to upload it to a commercial picture site like PhotoBucket or CarDomain (there are many others). Most are free, but they'll require you to create an account with them, after which they'll pester you for years for paid upgrades.

To insert a link in a post, use [URL]. . .[/URL] tags:

[URL]http://www.etc (location of the other website)[/URL]

When your post is displayed, the URL will appear underlined and in a blue font, and anyone clicking on the link will be taken to the other website in a new browser window. If you'd prefer to display a more descriptive link in place of the URL, insert that descriptive link into the first [URL] tag, following an equal sign (=), for example:

[URL=descriptive link]http://www.etc (location of the other website)[/URL]

Now the descriptive link will appear underlined and in a blue font, and clicking it will take you to the other website. The descriptive link can contain spaces and any other characters (except ]), but the equal sign should have no leading or trailing spaces.

Tagging

Tagging is a way to notify a driver that you've posted something in the forum that you want to be sure he or she sees. The notification will be sent through a Private Message from the BAMD Admin to the tagged driver. To tag a driver, include the driver's forum name in the post, preceeded by an at-sign, for example @webmaster. The tag can appear anywhere in the post, but it's typical to use it in the form of an address, for example, "hey @webmaster, this forum is awesome!"

Tagged names in forum posts will appear underlined and in a blue font to the tagged driver only. This isn't a link, just a way to highlight the tag. All other drivers will see the tag in a normal font and color.

There are only a couple of limitations to tagging. You can't tag yourself, and you can only tag drivers who have specifically opted in on their BAMD Profile page. See the BAMD Profiles section below for how to do that. A tag notice is sent to the tagged driver as soon as the post is submitted, however a notice will not be sent if a post is edited. So it doesn't do any good to add a tag after the post has been initially submitted.

Polls

Anyone can create a poll, if you want to query BAMD drivers on their views about a topic, for example what color you should paint your brake calipers, or something equally superfluous. A poll will appear as a new thread, and anyone clicking on the thread will be invited to vote. To create a poll:

Click the New Thread button in any subforum. On the New Thread page, scroll down and click the Create Poll button. Click this button first, before you do anything else on the page.

On the New Poll form, enter the poll question in the Title field. It's best to preface this with "Poll: ", so everyone knows what to expect when they open the thread.

Add any message you want if you think the question needs clarification (or you want to skew the results with your own biases).

You have to enter at least two responses (e.g. "yes" and "no"), in the first two boxes. You can't enter more than 8 responses. Responses can be up to 255 characters, but try to keep them shorter, 80 characters or fewer, or else the poll might display funny.

Be sure your responses are correct before clicking the Submit Poll button. Polls are stored seperately from the post, and the Edit button won't retrieve the poll.

After you submit the poll, the post will display with radio buttons for each poll response, below any message you may have entered.

To vote, select a radio button and click the "Vote" button. Current results will be displayed, in order of popularity. You can't vote more than once. After you vote, the thread will always display the latest results.

If you created the poll, the thread will appear in boldface on the subforum page (with an envelope icon on the main forum page) whenever a new vote is submitted, whether the voter replied to the thread or not.

Emoticons

An emoticon is small image that you can insert into a post to set or change the tone or attitude of the post, in case the tone or attitude of the post is not obvious. Some forums have emoticons for just about every attitude you can imagine. We currently have two, the smiley face, and the sad face. The smiley face can be very useful to change the tone of a post that might sound harsh to one that sounds much more cheery. We're not sure how much use the sad face can be.

You can place the smiley face at the end of your subject line, or the end of your post (or both), by adding a colon and close paren at the very end of your text, like this :)

The post or subject line will be displayed in the forum with the colon and close paren replaced by a small picture of a smiley face, like this

Similarly, the sad face can be added at the end of your subject line, or the end of your post (or both), by placing a colon and open paren at the very end of your text, like this :(

The colon and paren must be the last two characters of your subject line or post text. A cariage return (i.e. hitting the <-Enter key), or spaces following the colon and paren, or spaces between the colon and paren will prevent the face from being displayed. Spaces or carriage returns preceding the colon are optional and won't prevent the face from being displayed.

As with any modifier, overuse will dilute the impact. Use emoticons wisely.


Forum Search

The forum has a rudimentary search function that can help you find old posts, or posts about a specific topic. To search the forums, enter a word or phrase in the search box at the top of the main Forum page, and click the search icon (magnifying glass above). A results page will be displayed with threads containing posts with that word or phrase. Up to 40 posts will be displayed. If more than 40 posts qualify, click the More. . . link at the bottom of the page to display the additional posts.

The BAMD search function, like everything in the BAMD website, is home grown. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the big commercial search engines. On the plus side, it's only searching the BAMD forum, which means it can get by without a lot of bells and whistles.

The search engine retrieves all threads with a subject line or post that contain any of the words entered in the search box. It then scores the threads based on how many words were matched and where the matching words were found. Threads are displayed in order of their score, with the highest-scoring threads at the top. Threads with the same score are displayed in post date order, most recent post first.

To get the most out of the search feature, keep the following guidelines in mind:

The search is not forum-specific. All subforums are searched

Both the text and the subject are searched, you can't specify one or the other.

The search is not case sensitive, so you can enter a search word or phrase in all lower-case or all caps and you'll get the same results.

You can enter a word as singular or plural, and it won't make a huge difference. A match on a word where the search is plural and the text is singular (or vice versa) will only reduce the score for that word by about 10%.

The order in which the search words are entered is important, and a different order may change the results. The first word is the most important, and each word after that is about 25% less important than the one before it. So if you enter "24 hours of lemons", for example, any post with 24 in it will get a high score, anything with hours (or hour) will also get a pretty good score, and it won't care a whole lot about posts that contain the word "lemon", although it will pick them up. Since "lemon" is the key word here, entering "lemon 24 hour race" or something similar will almost always guarantee the posts you want will come up first.

Avoid using punctuation in your search word or phrase. Most punctuation is stripped from the search text before matching. Quotes in your search phrase won't buy you anything, nor will plus or minus signs.

Avoid using common words like "and", "of", and "for". Although the bigger search engines rate the relative importance of words, we rate them all the same.

If you're not sure the item you're searching for should be one word or two, like "powdercoating" or "roll bar", search for it as two words. You'll find more that way. If you enter it as one word, you'll only find posts where it was typed as one word. If you enter it as two words, you'll find all the posts where it was typed as either one word or two.

If you mouse over the Mazda logo next to threads on the results page, you can see the score the thread received. 30 is a perfect score, but anything over 15 is pretty good. A much lower score means the thread is less likely to be relevant.


Unread Posts

In addition to the envelope icons that appear to the left of subformus containing posts you haven't read in that subforum, there is an envelope icon (yellow envelope above) near the top of the forum page that you can click at any time to display all threads containing posts you haven't read. Threads will be displayed on a new results page in order of the last post date, with the latest post first.

Up to 40 posts will be displayed. If more than 40 posts qualify, click the More. . . link at the bottom of the page to display the additional posts.

If you click on a post in the results screen, you'll be returned to the regular forum. You'll see the post and you can reply to it or click on a link or do anything else you could normally do, but the only way to get back to the results screen is with your browser's BACK button.

Avatars

An avatar is a small picture that appears below your login name in all of your forum posts. The picture can be any image from any website, but we prefer a picture of you or your Miata. You can't use a picture that's only on your computer, you must upload it to the Internet first. If you have a picture of your car on the BAMD Miatas page, you can use that for your avatar. See the BAMD Profiles section below for instructions on setting up your avatar.

We have a few simple guidelines regarding Avatars:

To have an avatar, you must either have been registered for 30 days, or be the webmaster. 30 days after your registration date, a spot for your avatar will appear on your profile page. You may petition the webmaster for exceptions to the 30-day rule.

Avatars will be a maximum of 120 pixels wide. Any image you supply will be resized to 120 pixels.

Your avatar can be a link to a photo on another site, but for performance reasons it should be downloaded to our server. A function will be added to the profile page for this once we figure out how to safely do it. Meanwhile, email it to the webmaster.

Avatars must be G-rated, or possibly PG. Most of the avatars on Norcal Roadsters, for example, would not qualify. We want to be able to open the BAMD forum at work and other public places. (A flag on the profile page allows you to turn off avatars if you don't want to see them).

Save your animated GIFs for the PlayStation forum. Dazzle us instead with your words of wisdom.

Signatures

A signature is a short (255 characters or fewer) text that appears below the message in all of your forum posts. The text can be just about anything you want, but we prefer information about your Miata, such as mods or accessories. See the BAMD Profiles section below for instructions on creating a signature.

We have a few simple guidelines regarding signatures:

Signatures are restricted to plain text only. Forum tags and HTML tags won't work.

Signatures must be G-rated, or possibly PG. Our limited tolerance for profanity is further reduced when the offending message appears in multiple posts.

Please leave commercial URLs out of your signature. We have a number of BAMD drivers who own or work at car-related businesses and abide by BAMD's zero-commercial content policy. Besides ignoring our policy, posting your own URL would be unfair to them. URLs for your non-commercial website (e.g. cardomain) are perfectly acceptable.


BAMD Profiles

Several forum features are controlled by your BAMD Profile. You can access your profile from the main forum page. Near the top of the page, click the profile icon (green profile above) and it will take you to your Profile page. You can change anything on this page except your login and password (see Changing your Login or Password below for instructions on how to do that).

Whatever you enter in the Location field will appear below your login name in all of your forum posts. Ideally, this would be a way for other forum users to get to know a little more about you, for instance where you're from. However, it's up to you.

If you've sent in a picture of your Miata, that picture will appear on your Profile page. If you haven't, you'll see a missing car image instead. If you have a car photo on your Profile page, you can elect to have this picture appear on the BAMD Miatas page, or not.

Click the Miata Page link to see the page that contains larger photos and information about your Miata. You can elect to have this page appear whenever anyone clicks on your car picture on the BAMD Miatas page, or not. If you want the page to appear, but you're not particularly happy with the photos or content, send the webmaster an email or PM. We'll see what we can do to change it.

If you registered for BAMD more than 30 days ago, you'll see an Avatar field in the Forum section of the Profile page. If you want an avatar to appear below your login name in your forum posts, enter the URL of the photo you wish to use from any website. You can get the exact location of the photo on the other website by right-clicking on the photo, then clicking Properties. Copy the contents of the Address (URL): field to the Avatar field on the Profile page.

Enter any text up to 255 characters long in the Signature box, and that text will appear below your message in all of your forum posts, including posts you've already submitted. You can enter multiple lines if you want, but the total number of characters can't exceed 255.

If you have the main forum page open for an extended period, you can have it refresh automatically by setting the refresh rate at the bottom of the Profile page. The refresh rate can be any number of seconds, but somewhere in the range of 60 to 300 (or more) would be appropriate.

Enter any personal information or networking links in the Me on: section. These will be visible to other BAMD drivers only if you authorize it with your security settings (see the Privacy section below).

Set all of your Forum options from this page, by clicking one of the Yes/No radio buttons for each question asked.


Private Messages

You can send a private message to any registered BAMD driver. Only you and that driver will be able to read the message. To send a private message, either click the Private Message icon (blue spies, above) near the top of the main Forum page, or click on the login name of a BAMD driver wherever you see it on the main Forum page.

If you click the login name of a BAMD driver, a BAMD Profile page will be displayed with as much profile information as the driver has authorized. At the bottom of the profile will be a Send <login> a PM link. Click that link and the New Private Message form will be displayed with the Send To field containing the driver's login. Enter a subject and message, then click the Send PM button. A page will appear telling you the message has been sent.

If you click the Send a PM link near the top of the main Forum page, your personal BAMD Private Messages form will be displayed. If you have received one or more messages from other BAMD drivers, a link to each of those messages will be displayed on this page. To read a PM, click the link.

To send a new PM from the BAMD Private Messages form, click the Send PM button on the right near the top of the page. The New Private Message form will be displayed with a drop-down box containing the login name of all BAMD registered drivers, in alphabetical order. Select the recipient from this list, enter a subject and message, then click the Send PM button. A page will appear showing you the message that has been sent.

The subject line of all private messages you've sent and received will always be displayed on your BAMD Private Messages form, in date order with the most recent on top. Only the ten latest messages will be displayed initially, but you can expand the list by clicking the Older PMs. . . link below either list.

You can reply to any message you have received by clicking the Send Reply button at the bottom of the message. The message received will be quoted in your reply, however you may erase the quote completely, or remove anything you deem irrelevant between the [QUOTE=. . ./] and [/QUOTE] tags.

You can include pictures or links in Private Messages, but only by using HTML tags. Forum tags like [IMG]. . .[/IMG] and [URL]. . .[/URL] won't work.

Email Notifications

You can elect to receive emails whenever another BAMD driver sends you a Private Message, or whenever a BAMD driver replies to a Forum post that you created. The email will be sent to the email address you supplied when you registered with BAMD. These options are available from the BAMD Profile page. See the Profile section above for information on how to do this.

If you elect to receive emails for Forum post replies, each time you start a new Forum thread you'll see a checked box indicating that you want to receive email notifications for replies. If you're not interested in getting notifications for this particular thread, uncheck the box.

Privacy

Below the Forum section of the Profile page is the Privacy section. From here you can allow or restrict visibility of your profile information to other registered BAMD drivers. If you click Yes on the top radio button, other drivers will be able to see your Name, Location, and Registration date when they click on your login name in your forum posts. They will also be able to see any personal information or networking links you entered in the Me on: section of your Profile page. If you click Yes on the middle button, other drivers will be able to see your email address. If you click Yes on the bottom button, other drivers will be able to see your Miata's year, color, package, modifications, and accessories.

You can select Yes or No on each of these questions independently. Other drivers will only be allowed to see what you've authorized.

Changing your Login or Password

You can change your login or password at any time. On the Profile page, next to the your login name, is a (change) link. Clicking this link takes you to another page where you can enter a new login, a new password, or both. You must know your old password to create a new one. If you don't know your old password, go to the Login page (click the Forum button while logged out) and click the (I forgot) link next to the Password entry field.

This should be enough information to get you started. Don't hestiate to email or PM the webmaster if you have any questions about forum use, or any suggestions for improvements. This forum application is exclusively ours. We developed it, we own it, and we can make any changes to it you want.