Frequently Asked Questions
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- The Editorial - reviews and articles to help you make purchasing decisions and set up and use your equipment. Editorial starts with our reviews.
- The Forums - where you can ask other people questions, share your experiences, help others and join in the community of like minded people. Click here for the full list of forums.
- reply to an existing thread if you have something to contribute to the topic or
- start your own new thread about your topic of choice. Whether that is to ask a question or share an experience.
Membership gives you an identity on the forum, a fixed username on all messages you post and an online public profile.
Registration is free, and offers an extended range of features, including:
- Posting new threads
- Replying to other peoples' threads
- Receiving email notification of replies to posts and threads you specify
- Starting private conversations with other members
- Entering competitions
- Creating showcases
- Buying and selling for free in the classifieds
- Writing your own reviews
How do I register?
You register by clicking the Log In or Sign Up link top right of the page. You can create a new account either using your Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts; or via the AVForums system. You will be asked to type a user name and password. In addition there may be some other information which you will be invited to enter. Please also make sure you read our terms and rules which are different from other websites.
If registering via the AVForums system, you will be sent an activation email to confirm your email address. Click the activation link in the email. Once you have done this your account will be confirmed.
Once registered, you can start posting messages and enjoying the other benefits of being a member.
The Content Management System we use at AVForums to manage our editorial content was developed in-house. As too was the front-end system which is an addon for Xenforo. Both are bespoke to AVForums and will not be appropriate for use on any other website.
In October 2013, for the first time in 12 years, we migrated AVForums to new forum software. We moved from vBulletin to Xenforo.
What is Xenforo? And why did we change to it?
Xenforo is a relatively new forum platform released in 2011 by the original developers of vBulletin. These guys built vBulletin and grew it to be the market leader in forum software. But while vBulletin is, in my opinion, failing in the hands of new owners, the Xenforo team have moved on to create an efficient, user friendly, innovative, contemporary forum platform which we will all benefit from using.
The nitty gritty
For 12 years, we used Jelsoft's vBulletin software to run AVForums.
As late as 2013 we used vBulletin 3.8.2 while the latest currently available version is vBulletin 5 Connect. For a number of considered reasons, we, like many other vBulletin forum admin* had declined to upgrade to the newer versions of the software since 2009, after the key developers left the company following its purchase by Internet Brands.
The vBulletin 3 key developers, Kier Darby, Mike Sullivan and Scott MacVicar, wanted to redevelop vBulletin from scratch as far back as 2007. Internet Brands, however, insisted on working on the vBulletin 3 code to release vBulletin 4 as soon as possible. Kier, Mike and Scott all left Jelsoft in 2009.
In my opinion, Internet Brands has mismanaged the development of vBulletin, producing generally poor code in vBulletin 4, creating security problems and pricing structure issues. vBulletin 5 Connect has received considerable criticism for being a premature release absent many important features, containing old code inherited from vBulletin 2 and being ineptly inefficient.
When vBulletin 3 was developed, the future formatting of websites to maximise Search Engine Optimisation (SEO - primarily for Google) was not foreseen.
On our installation of vBulletin 3, we used an addon called vBSEO which helps make the forum more search engine friendly. It's kind of a standard addition to a vB3 forum.
vBSEO is dead
On July 13th 2013 I received notification that vBEO is suspending operations. There is a video from one of the co-founders about it and a discussion at Admin Talk.
Dear vBulletin Forum Community - vBSEO is Suspending Operations
I was aware that there were problems with vBSEO. There has been no development for some time, though the vBSEO product on AVForums will, of course, continue to work indefinitely. SEO evolves. If our SEO addon does not, it will become increasingly useless.
We had already made the decision to move away from vBulletin some time ago, so this news about vBSEO didn't really affect us. But it might give other forum owners the impetus to also migrate away from vBulletin.
What do others think about vBulletin?
I posted a link above to a single thread at Digital Point where people criticised vB5 soon after its release.
In the above thread at Admin Talk, several admin also comment on the status of vBulletin:
These are just a taster of the general feeling amongst experienced admin. In the private vBulletin Licensed feedback forum, there is much dissent about the poor quality of vBulletin 5 Connect. It's criticised heavily for being slow (often unusably slow) and plagued by bugs.
So why not just stick with vBulletin 3?
The problem with sticking with vB3 is that modern internet users are used to websites with a better user experience. vB3 sites nowadays are starting to look pretty old.
That may not be a problem for existing and loyal forum users like most of you reading this right now, but new visitors to your site are less and less likely to be impressed by the clunky look and feel. And it is the retaining of new visitors which is so important for growing a community.
And believe me the look and feel of vB3 is clunky. It's also not particularly fast. Other forum platforms have taken advantage of the latest in framework development, CSS and jQuery widgetty niceties to make their forums function with fewer page loads (modal overlays instead) and faster page loads (inevitable from more evolved, efficient coding).
So to say vB3 is still fast may be true when running on a fast server with little traffic, but compared to different forum platforms, it is not necessarily so.
Because other forums use modern techniques (e.g. jQuery), they usually provide for a nicer, slicker user experience also. Less page loads, more slide-down notifications. Automatic message saving to draft for later, anyone? Drag and drop images into the new post form? Responsive design for people using mobiles? All these features and many more are missing from vB3 but available in competing forum platforms.
In my opinion, vBulletin is already a dead product. I would not recommend anyone choose vBulletin to run their community, and those currently using it should look now at migrating to an alternative forum platform.
Because vB3 is so out of date and vB4 and vB5 Connect are so poor, we could not continue using vBulletin to run AVForums.
[*] Other forums still using vBulletin 3 include:
- 5Series.net - Forums
- AudiForums.com - Powered by vBulletin
- Audio Video Revolution Forum - Powered by vBulletin
- DVD Talk Forum - Powered by vBulletin
- FlyerTalk Forums
- Land Rover Forums - Land Rover Enthusiast Forum
- Mazda Forum - Mazda Enthusiast Forums
(and these are all owned by Internet Brands!)
Plus vBulletin.org Forum - the 'community' development site for vBulletin is on vBulletin 3 and the admin have no plans to move to a later version.
Who else is using Xenforo?
Here is a list of big forums.
Every member has a publicly viewable profile page. This page includes information provided by the member, either during the registration process or later on via the account pages.
Whenever you see a member's name, clicking on it will usually show a pop-up panel showing their details in brief. From here you can view their public profile.
When logged in, you can also view your own public via the menu activated when clicking on your username shown in the header at the top of the page.
What's on the Profile page?
The public profile lists information about the member under various tabs such as recent activity and posts. In addition there may be information about the bookmarks which the member has publicly shared, the competitions they have entered, the showcases they have created and their trading statistics.
When logged in to AVForums, you can navigate to /account/privacy to set your privacy options as shown below
What are Profile Posts?
Profile posts are messages posted on a member's profile. They are a method of sending a public message to a particular member and are viewable by everyone who has access to the forum. Members have control over which messages appear on their profiles and can use the Report link to alert moderators to any inappropriate messages posted there.
You can set your signature in your Personal Details page
Our rules apply to signatures in the same way that they apply to posts.
Then click the Signature menu link. If there is no link, it's because you do not have permission to have a signature.
Novice (new) Members do not have permission to add signatures because spammers have used them in the past to post spam messages.
Advancing to Standard Member is not difficult. Click here to see your usergroup status and the permissions you have, plus information on how to advance your membership.
Once you have set one up, readers of AVForums will start to recognise you and your messages by your avatar.
For this reason, we encourage you to use a high quality avatar which you are happy to 'represent' you. You may use either a JPG or PNG. We do not allow animated GIFs as we feel they can be distracting when trying to read the forums.
We support the Gravatar service which is convenient for managing a single avatar across many of your social websites.
When we migrated from previous forum software in October 2013, members' smaller avatars were transferred. Since we now support larger avatars, the older, smaller ones usually look somewhat pixelated or blurred.
See this example of an older avatar.
So we encourage you to upload a larger avatar, at least 200 pixels square.
This is an example of a new, higher quality avatar.
If you get a You do not have permission error when trying to change your login name, it is because you have either already changed it the maximum of 5 times, or you are blocking adverts. Please see here about advert blocking on AVForums.
Once requested, a moderator will approve or deny your user name change request. Name change requests are usually approved, and only denied if they break our rules in some way.
After your name has changed, your old one is displayed under your new one for a few days. This is so the community can see that you changed your name and still recognise who you are.
You can jump directly to the user name change page by clicking here.
A forum is an online discussion site. It's sometimes also called a 'bulletin board' or 'board'. It may contain several categories, consisting of forums, threads and individual messages.
How is all this structured?
The forum as a whole contains various categories (broad subject areas), which themselves contain forums (more specific subject areas) which contain threads (conversations on a particular topic) which are made up of individual messages (where a user writes something).
Threads are also sometimes called 'discussions'.
Messages are 'posted' to the forums and are sometimes called 'posts'.
How do I find my way around the forums?
Because we have so many forums, we have created two views for the main forum list.
The forum list is here.
The default 'Compact View' shows the names of the categories and their top level forums. This view is designed to give an overview of the available forums in a more 'digestible' way for people new to AVForums.
The 'Detailed View' shows the traditional forum list like we see on most forums. It shows the categories, the top level forums and the top level sub forums, as well as forum statistics. This view is more appropriate for people who are confident at navigating around the forums.
You can swap between the two views using the 'Switch to Compact View' or 'Switch to Detailed View' button top right of the forum list.
When you click on a forum's name, you are taken to the list of threads it contains. A thread is a conversation between members. Each thread starts out as a single message and grows as replies are added by different members.
To start a new thread simply click on the 'Post New Thread' button towards the top-right of the page. If there is no such button, it means you do not have permission to post a new thread (this is usually because you are not logged in, or the thread has been closed, or the thread is in a forum in which new replies are not permitted).
Threads can be ordered in many different ways. The default is to have the thread with the most recent activity at the top. But you can easily change this ordering, for example to have the thread with the most messages at the top, or the most views. Simply click on the appropriate column heading at the top of the list of threads. You can also reverse the sorting order by clicking the heading again. (Note that 'sticky' threads will always be at the top no matter how you change the viewing options).
The elements of the Thread Page are shown in the image below.
When there are more threads to display than will fit on a single page, you may see the 'Page' navigator top-left of the list of threads, which contains page numbers. This indicates that the list of threads has been split over two or more pages. This method of splitting lists of items over many pages is used throughout the forum. If there are lots of pages, you can click a small arrow to change the displayed page numbers to find the page you want.
What are sticky threads?
'Sticky' threads are created by forum staff, and remain 'stuck' to the top of the listing, even if they haven't had any messages recently. Their purpose is to keep important information visible and accessible at all times.
How do I read a thread?
To read a thread, click on its title. Each message in a thread is created by a member. You'll see some brief information about the member who created the thread to the left of their message.
How to I reply to a thread?
To post a reply to an existing thread, type your reply in the box at the bottom of the list of messages and click on the 'Post Reply' button. If the 'Post Reply' button does not appear, it could mean that you are not logged in as a member, or that you do not have permission to reply, or that the thread has been closed to new replies.
The 'More Options' button gives you more options when replying to a thread such as the ability to preview your reply prior to posting it.
Is there a faster way to get to forums?
If you know which forum you want to go to, you can use the 'Forum Jump' control, which appears to the right of the breadcrumb (see below).
How do I find out more about members?
To view information about a particular member, click on the user name. This will take you to their public profile page.
What is the Breadcrumb?
The breadcrumb is a navigation aid which shows you the location of the forum page you are currently viewing in relation to other forum pages. The term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale.
The image below shows the anatomy of a typical thread.
The breadcrumb is a standard feature of websites as explained by Wikipedia.
In order to rate posts, you must be an AVForums member. A Novice Member will not have sufficient privileges to rate posts and must be promoted to Member before they can do so.
To rate a post, you must log in to the forums and mouse over the post in question. Once your mouse is over the post, the post ratings buttons will appear towards the bottom right of the post.
(On touch screen devices, the post rating buttons are always visible).
Click one of the ratings to rate the post. You can always undo your rating by clicking the Undo Rating link.
The ratings given to a particular post are shown below the post on the left.
To select a message to be quoted, click the + Quote button. Note that the plus sign + changes to a minus sign - which indicates that you have selected this post to quote. Click the - Quote button to deselect it.
When at least one post has been selected for quoting, an Insert Quotes... button will appear below the reply text box.
Clicking the Insert Quotes... button will activate a pop-up window allowing you to confirm which of the selected posts you wish to quote in your reply. Select the required quoted posts and click the Quote These Messages button.
The posts will all be inserted into the reply box ready for you to add your comments.
If you know the name of the moderator you wish to contact then you should open your conversations page and type the moderator's name into the recipient box. Click here to open your conversations page.
If you don't know the name of the moderator to contact, you can either find the online moderators on the forum list page here, or preferably, you can navigate to the forum relevant to your issue and click the Moderator List link. This link is above the thread list of all forums.
The list of moderators shows the most recently online at the top. Start a Conversation with one of the moderators in the list.
Novice Members do not have permission to start new conversations. For more information click Membership Information.
To access your Conversations, log in to the forums and then click your name, top right of the page. This will drop down your user menu where you can click the Conversations link.
Or you can bookmark http://www.avforums.com/conversations/
To start a new Conversation, from your Conversations page, click the New Conversation button towards the top-right of the page and enter the user name of the person you wish to start a conversation with. Alternatively, click on the member's avatar and click the Start a Conversation link.
Note that the small envelope you see next to your name, top-right of the desktop version of AVForums is a shortcut link to see the recent conversation messages you have received.
Use the 'Leave Conversation' option and you will then not be part of that conversation and it will be removed from your conversation list.
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