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Boards 101 & How-To Guide


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Mod Squad
Posts: 4098
Joined: February 23rd, 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon

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Tags: moderator geek squad, bootsnall community, boards 101
  • Added on: May 23rd, 2006
Welcome to the boards - we're thrilled that you've decided to join us. Although I know you're eager to post, there's a few things you should know before you hit the "Start New Discussion" button. This "Boards 101" guide is long, and it's packed with handy info. For starters, be sure to read the items called "Basic Info" and "When to Post" here at the top. Later on, when you've got more specific questions about what the various buttons and icons do or how to upload pictures to your posts, come back and just scroll down... It's all here (check out the "How Do I...?" section).

"But I don't want to read all the rules. Can you sum it up for me?"
  • Play nice with others.
  • Don't advertise products/services/websites/etc. on the boards or in private messages.
  • Use common sense.
  • Give back to the community.
  • Always listen to your mother.

If you have a question that isn't answered here, send me an email (jessica at bootsnall dot com).

Basic Info
1. Please read our Posting Guidelines for an overview of what's expected.

2. Please make note of the advertising restrictions. Advertising (even subtle advertising), posting in multiple forums, or 'spammy' threads are no-gos. This includes sending lots of private messages to members advertising your services. If you want to advertise, please go here. If you are looking for travelers to give you feedback on your hostel, accompany you on your trip or anything else of that nature, please only post once. Please do not repeat your requests because in addition to getting flamed, you will be suspended without passing go and without collecting $200. And that would make us sad.

3. We would love for you to introduce yourself on the boards - please do it on this thread.

4. Know who the moderators are - they're here to help. Any issues with another member, post or thread can be brought up with them or myself via Private Messaging. Via the moderators link, click on any moderator's name, then at the bottom of their profile, click, "Send Private Message" Any issues with a moderator can be brought up with me (jessica at bootsnall dot com).

5. It is our goal to keep the boards as content-rich as possible. Posts that do not add anything to the discussion are not appreciated and excessive posting will result in a warning with a possible ban. Examples include: Posts that say nothing more than "LoL" or "Smile" or "Agreed"

6. People sometimes post in the wrong forums and it's up to the moderators to move the threads. If you ever have trouble locating your thread, do a search on the name of it under "Find" and the new location should come up. Threads also move down on the screen when they haven't been commented on or when newer threads have appeared. If your post was a duplicate, spammy in nature or advertising, it might have been deleted. In this case, you should have received a message about it. If not, please contact us and we'll look into it.

When to Post
There has occasionally been some concern regarding the proliferation of posts with little value - those that are off-topic, contain nothing but insider jokes or 'agreed' and do not contribute to the discussion. Please, before you post, keep the following things in mind:

1. Would your post add to the value of the thread? Would it answer someone's question, or contribute to the furthering of the discussion?

2. Would your post derail the thread? Will it take it off-topic in a matter that is inappropriate?

3. Would your post go against any of our Posting Guidelines?

4. Is your post one that could classify you as a Troll? Is it Flamebait?

5. Does your post attack anyone, either directly or indirectly, in a personal nature?

Helpful hint: Answer to question one should be yes, answers to questions 2-5 should be no. If you don't pass the litmus test, your post is more than likely not appropriate for the boards and will be dealt with appropriately.

One final note on when to post: Having a high number of posts alone does not make you respected on these boards. Posters who have been around awhile and think about their questions and answers and contribute accordingly are held in much higher esteem. Their questions are more likely to be answered, and their responses are more likely to be read.

Tags on Posts
Just like blogs, the BootsnAll Community now has a tags feature on boards posts. You can tag any post you start with relevant terms, and you can even go back and tag old posts you've made in the past. To learn more about this feature, see the What Are Tags page, and if you've got feedback about the tags post a note in this post.

How to Get a Good Response to Your Question
People often wonder how to get a good response for their question. Here are a few hints:

1. Use the 'find' feature to determine if your question has been asked before. If your exact question was just asked a few days or weeks ago, people are less likely to respond.

2. Place your post in the appropriate category. People check out posts in areas of their expertise and interest. The Member's Forum is not the best place for 90% of threads.

3. Put keywords in your title. If you have a direct question, such as 'Where to Buy a Car in Sydney,' put that in the title. That way, people who look at your post already know what you're asking and are more likely to be able to help.

4. Do not post the same messages in multiple forums. That irritates users and violates our Posting Guidelines.

5. If you do not get a response after a day or two, consider emailing our extensive list of Insiders, who are experts in their particular areas and are eager to help other travelers. There is a chance that BnA members may not know the best places to eat in middle of China, but an Insider might.

How Do I...?
Whether you are Thorn Tree Refugee (more on that later) or a Vagabonder, this section is sure to answer some of your questions. If you have a question specifically about the forums that's not answered here, e-mail us and we'll put up an answer on the site!

What does the saying below my name mean? How can I change it?
The titles below your name are light-hearted descriptors that change depending on how many posts you have. They go all the way up to 10,000 posts (and we think they're fairly amusing and clever), but if you're itching to personalize it, we'll make a custom one for you after 1000 posts. Send a private message to let us know.

How do I change my profile?
Click on the "Personal Zone" button and go to "Profile." Here is where you can edit your biography, avatar and signature. Keep in mind you're allowed one web link per signature, and the signature shouldn't be too long - too many song lyrics in one thread and it takes ages to scroll through them. Nobody wants that.

Is anything NOT allowed in a signature line?
Funny you should ask, because there are a few things that we've found in signatures that just become too distracting from the real content on the boards. So - we don't allow animation (including feedburner ads for blogs), graphics or pictures in signature lines. If you put one in your signature and we notice it, we'll either ask you to remove it or we'll remove it for you (just depends on how much work we feel like doing that day). Only BootsnAll-approved graphics are permitted in signature lines. If you don't know whether your graphic is BootsnAll-approved, it's probably not - but you can email me (jessica [at] bootsnall [dot] com) to find out.

How can I get a link to my blog/website in my signature?
You have to add in some code. It's not that scary, we promise. Click on "Go" and "Personal Zone" and "Profile". Then, in the signature section, put in <a href="WEBSITE ADDRESS THAT YOU WANT TO LINK TO">WORDS YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SEE</a>. In order to make it stand out even more, add in dashes like ------------ above your signature. That way, your signature will appear 'set off' from the rest of your post. Please note that it might take some time and a few clicks on "refresh" to make it so you can see your changes.

How do I upload a unique picture to put below my display name?
It's called an avatar.

Fine. How do I upload an avatar?
1. You need a digital picture of what you want your avatar to be. It can be a digital photo or any digital JPG or GIF image.
2. Using your favorite photo editing software (Photoshop and the like), crop the image to a square. Then re-size it to 55 by 55 pixels. (A "pixel" is a unit of measurement for digital images.) Save this image and remember where you saved it on your computer.
3. Go to the main page for the BootsnAll boards. Click on your name to get to your profile. Then click "View/Edit Complete Profile" at the top right.
4. Scoll down to "Avatar" and click "Edit"
5. Click "Custom Avatar" at the top, then "Browse" - go find the image you saved and select it, then click "Avatar Me." (It might take a few minutes for the new picture to show up, and you might also need to hit the "Refresh" button on your browser.)

How do I change my display name?
You can't. However, if there is a really, really good reason (like you screwed up when you registered and no longer want your whole name to appear for everyone to see), we might be convinced to change it. Just give us a few options to choose from in case your first choice is already taken.

How do I search the forums?
Go to "Search" and enter in a few keywords.

How do I "quote" other people in a thread.
Highlight the text you want to quote and select "Reply." If you want 'originally posted by' above the quote, select the quote icon in the lower right hand corner and edit out the stuff you don't want to highlight.

How do I keep track of threads I like?
Inside "Personal Zone," there is a "Favorites" section. When you find a thread you like, click on "Tools" and select "Add to Favorites." Then head to "Go" and "Personal Zone" to track it down again.

How can I know if someone has answered my question or posted to a thread without checking it every five minutes?
Set up e-mail notifications. When you post a topic or reply, before selecting "post now," click the flag in the corner to turn on notifications. Then, when people respond, you'll get an e-mail.

Ack! I'm being bombarded! How do I turn off notifications?
Click on "Go," "Personal Zone" and then "Notifcations." Get rid of the ones you no longer want emails about.

What are private messages? How do I start one? How do I know if I have one? Can I delete them?
Private messages are discussions between you and another BootsnAll member. Only you and those you invite can participate in your private discussions. No one else can read your private messages.

To start a private discussion, go to "Personal Zone" and click on "Contacts." Then, type in the user names of the people you would like to have a private discussion with. You can change this at any time. Add their names and then go to "Private Topics" under the "Personal Zone" category. Click on the "Post New Topic" button on the bottom of the page. A list of all your contact will appear. Highlight the people you would like to invite and press "Add." When you have selected all the names, click the "Invite" button and follow the rest of the steps. Usually, people click the "Post" button when inviting people. Choosing "Read Only" means that the person or people with this option cannot comment on the discussion. Then, write an entry like normal!

You can also start a private message by clicking on the person's name in a thread and selecting "Invite ____ to a Private Topic."

You can find out if you have a private message by checking the "Private Topics" area or clicking on the "New Since Your Last Visit" option under the "Find" button each time you visit. There is also a blinking "PM" button that will appear at the top of the forum page when you log onto the boards as well. Topics are displayed with the most recently updated post on top.

Only people who start threads can delete them. Once that person deletes them, they will no longer show up in your PM queue.

When responding to a PM, be sure that you're logged into the boards! If you try to reply by replying to the email notification you receive, you'll be sending a note to a BootsnAll email address and your intended recipient won't get it. Oh, and then it won't be so private anymore, either.

How do I put a picture in a message I'm posting?
To post a picture, click on the little picture icon on top of the reply window (between the envelope and the left/right pointy arrows on the right-hand side) and link to its URL - that means you've got to have it posted somewhere online already, whether that's your blog or a photo hosting site. To get the URL of the specific image, you can either click on the image to get to a page with just that picture, or you can right-click on it, select "Properties" and copy & paste the URL listed there. The key to success is to make sure the URL ends in ".jpg" -- example: "" -- if it ends in "asddfflDFLK44kkfgDSFKe53" or any such garbage, the link will likely not work, or only work temporarily.

For those of you using Flickr to store your photos online, here are the instructions for posting pictures from Flickr (courtesy of Hydro, our Aussie tech wizard):

"Using flickr will still work, but you'll need to dig a little deeper to find the link to the actual image, not the actual page flickr gives you. When you're looking at a photo page, look for an icon/link near the top of the image that says 'all sizes'. If you have that option, clicking on that icon will show you a range of sizes. Select one that will fit inside the forum page (no bigger than 500px wide-usually 'medium'). Scroll to the bottom of the page you you should see the correct image URL to add to your BnA posts."

How can I link to another post inside a thread?
Roll your mouse over the little notepaper icon to the left of the timestamp (eg: Posted 10 March 2006 15:26) in the post. That will give you a link to that specific post within the thread. If you want to copy the link, right-click on it and copy link location/shortcut.

Why are the post times all funny? Can I change them?
The post times and date format are set to a default, which is the time and date at our headquarters in Portland, Oregon, USA, which is on the West Coast. If you want to change the times to display those in your own time zone, go to "Personal Zone" and click on "Preferences."

Do you have another help section?
Yep! Go to "Tools" on the top bar and brush up on how to post, how to track posts, how to edit, and other boards info.

I saw something about blogs, how do I set them up?
To set up a blog, go to Make My Blog. Answers to blog-related FAQs can be found there and in the Travel Blogs forum.

Do you have chat?
In addition to the chit-chat forum, we also have a BootsnAll Member Chat. Click on "Go," then "BootsnAll Chat Rooms" and then "BootsnAll Member Chat."

What do I do when I see a post that conflicts with the Posting Guidelines?
On the post/thread that is questionable, click on the little exclamation point icon in the lower right hand corner of the post, and leave a message for the moderators.

Who are the moderators?
Super-stealth superheros. Know them. Love them. Obey them.

I didn't know advertising wasn't allowed.
Really? Well, it isn't. And we have other rules, too. Please read our Posting Guidelines.

How do I suggest a new forum, ask a 'how to' question or give feedback?
Leave a note in the feedback forum. We're usually pretty good about getting back to queries.

What are all these buttons, icons and funny looking things?

We're glad you asked. Below, we break down all the whatchamacallits (that's a technical term) that do all the cool stuff on the BootsnAll Message Boards.

Online Now: This is the number of people on the boards. If you are a member and are logged in, you can click on the member name to start a private message with him or her, or read profiles.

Top Tabs:
Top tabs are the things, well, on top of the message boards. They have icons besides them. The top tabs and icons are
"Go" - World
"New" - Manila Folder
"Search" - Magnifying Glass
"Tools" - Spanner

Under each of the top tabs, there are a number of other handy links.

  • Personal Zone: Personal Zone allows you to customize your BootsnAll Community experience through a number of options (listed below).
  • Travel Forums: This is a quick link to all of the forums on the site.
  • BootsnAll Chat Rooms: Click on chat rooms to get into the BootsnAll Community Chat Room

    The items in your Personal Zone area are:
  • Profile: You profile is where you have your bio information, can change your password, email address, etc.
  • Buddies: This is a list of people you have added in order to start a new private messages. See FAQ for other ways to start PMs (Private Messages)
  • Groups: This is a list of extra groups. Ignore it.
  • Permissions: This is a list of extra permissions. Ignore it.
  • Private Messaging: These are private topics that you have started with another member(s) or that he or she has started with you.
  • Notifications: This allows you to manage your subscriptions to threads, other people's posts, responses to your topics, etc.
  • Karma: This is your number of posts, and explains how many posts you need to get to another 'level'.
  • Preferences: Change your time zone, private message options and post options.
  • Favorites: This section allows you to retreive bookmarked threads/posts. To add a discussion to your favorites list, click the "Tools" tab button and select "Add to favorites." You can keep a list of up to 30 discussions in your Personal Zone page. Icons there will show whether your favorites have been updated since your last visit.
  • More...: More...takes you to your own profile. Ignore this too.

    And now back to the icons at the top of the page...

  • Discussion: This quick link lets you start a discussion in whatever forum you select. A discussion is a topic with replies.
  • Poll: Select a forum and start a poll post. A poll invites people to vote on a question and add replies.
  • Private Message: Start a private message with anyone on your contact list by selecting this drop down. A private message is a discussion where only those invited may see it and participate.
  • Photo Album: Create a photo album. A photo album is a gallery of uploaded images with a place to add comments as required. To post a photo album, click the "New" tab and then the "Photo Album" link. A photo album wizard will take you through the following steps:
    Step 1 "Basics" is to provide basic information about the album, choose whether to allow comments and select your notification options.
    Step 2 "Upload" is to upload files from your own computer. Note: there may be size and number limits set by the administrator.
    Step 3 "Organize" is to add titles and captions to each uploaded photo. You may also add new photos, delete photos or re-order photos in this step.
    Step 4 "Preview" is to confirm what the final album looks like before you approve it for viewing by other members.
    If you are the owner of the album, you may edit the album after it has gone live by using the "edit" icon in the bottom right corner of the gallery view.

  • Keyword Search: Search topics for information using key words
  • Advanced Search: Refine searches by date, type, author, and key word options
  • New Since your Last Visit: Posts that are new since the last time you visited the boards will appear when you click on this link.
  • Today's Active Topics: Highlights the most commonly viewed/responded to threads on the message boards.

    Note: Notify ONLY shows up when you are inside of a message board or thread. Click the "Notify" tab on a thread to request email notifications of new content. Delivery options may include: Daily Email Digest - a summary of all notifications sent once a day. Weekly Email Digest - a summary of all notifications sent once a week. Immediate Notification - email automatically sent when there is an update.

  • Help: Navigating and Reading, How to Post Topics and Replies, How to Post Photo Albums, Enhancing or Editing a Post, UBB Code, Graemlin Codes, Favorites and Notifications.

    Reply with Blue Arrow
    Note: Reply ONLY shows up when you are inside of an individual topic thread. Clicking on it allows you to post a response to that thread. The response form allows you to enhance your post with bold text, smilies, etc.

    Yellow Arrow
    Note: Yellow arrow ONLY shows up when you are inside of an individual topic thread. Clicking on it allows you to post a response quickly, with a response form that only allows for text.

    Forum Categories
    Forum categories are divided into three topics:
    Destination Forums: Boards that are destination based
    Community: Boards that are community-based
    Other Travel Related Stuff: Boards that deal with travel themes

    There are a number of different clickable images on the boards.

    On the main page, there are building and houses.
    Buildings: Buildings next to "Destination Forums," "Community" and "Other Travel Related Stuff" allow you to collapse and expand those categories.
    House: The house besides individual boards lets you know if there have been any new posts - an empty house means there is nothing new since your last visit.

    Once you have clicked into a board, such as "Europe Travel," another set of icons appears, and the icons take on different meaning.
    Buildings: Quick hop to forum categories and boards inside of them
    House: Quick hop to boards inside of your current category
    Post-it Note: Quick hop to posts that are new since your last visit in a thread. Appears as an outline if there are no new posts.
    Second Post-it Note: Quick link to discussion topic.

    Once you have clicked into an individual thread, such as "Paris" inside of "Europe Travel," there are more icons! These are in the lower right-hand corner of each post:
    Manila Folder with a Quote: Reply with a quote of what the person above said, with lines around it.
    Manila Folder with Eraser: Edit or delete one of your posts
    Triangle with Explanation Mark: Report an inappropriate post to moderators.

    Decide to go one step further and reply, and - oh look! - there's another set of icons for you!
    Smiley Face: Images to convey your mood
    Paint Palette: Change text color
    URL: A web page link
    B: Bold text
    I: Italic text
    ABC with a line through it: Text to strike through
    Quote: Indented text for quote
    List bullet: Ordered text
    Envelope: Clickable email address
    Picture: Link to an web image
    Arrows with slant: End code that has been included in a post.
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    Dave Ryan

    User avatar
    Thorn Tree Refugee
    Posts: 1
    Joined: April 8th, 2009

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    • Added on: April 8th, 2009
    I am thinking about a trip to Tanzania in either July or August
    There will be two of us going on the trip.
    We were looking to climb Kilimanjaro, go on safari and go to Zanzibar.
    Ideally, the entire trip would be about 17/18 days long

    Could anyone who has done a trip like this, recommend some good companies to go with? Cheers


    User avatar
    Thorn Tree Refugee
    Posts: 5
    Joined: April 15th, 2009
    Location: Canada

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    • Added on: April 15th, 2009
    We climbed last year with Kessey Brothers Tours in Moshi. They were fantastic and reasonable. We booked our trip of 7 people when we landed. Took a cab from Kilimanjaro Airport to Moshi. Kessey Brother's is on the main street. They gave us free accomodation the night before the climb as well.
    Cost us $960 including the $630 park entrance fee. We could negotiate a great rate because of the amount of people we hooked up with. Gave $150 tip for good service to our guide and porters. We didn't have time to go on safari with them, but they offer safaris as well and I would trust them to do a great job. They also included our transfer back to the airport as we were flying to Zanzibar.
    Good luck

    Ryukyu Mike

    User avatar
    Thorn Tree Refugee
    Posts: 4
    Joined: June 2nd, 2009
    Location: Okinawa, Japan

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    • Added on: June 14th, 2009
    Hopelessly lost ! Everytime I try to comment on an Article I get sent to the Boards Page and can't see anyplace to post a Comment therte. A little computer challenged. HELP !!!
    <a href="">An Okinawan Photo Gallery</a>


    Thorn Tree Refugee
    Posts: 8
    Joined: November 29th, 2007

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    • Added on: February 1st, 2010
    How do I just post a question to everyone?


    User avatar
    Thorn Tree Refugee
    Posts: 5
    Joined: April 30th, 2010

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    • Added on: May 21st, 2010
    "Always listen to your mother!!!!" :D

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