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ZDNet and ZDTV Forums Update

This is the second message from ZD to all the members of our
message boards. It contains information and tips about a coming
 transition to new software. You will receive just one or two more
of these messages in the coming week.

When you go to the ZDNet or ZDTV forums on Tuesday,  Dec. 8, you
will find the new Deja News software in place. You will see some
differences in the way the message boards operate, so you may need
to  experiment a little.  If you are very familiar with our current
forum features, it will take some time to become comfortable with
the new system. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes and
are trying to make the switch as painless as possible. We'll have
dozens of sysops online answering your questions every day. We also
will update the on-line help files frequently to highlight key
differences between the current software, called Podium, and the
new version.

Below are some advance hints for everyone making the switch to Deja
News.  You can try these features out in now our Test Forum at

** Messages that you have not yet read appear in bold. **
That's how Deja News tells you which posts are new since you last
visited. Once you open and read a message, the bolding goes away.
You have the option to Mark Thread As Read, and an entire set of
messages will lose their  boldness.  In addition, you can Mark All
As Read, and every message in that  forum will become un-bold.

** When you leave a forum and come back later, messages that you
read previously are not displayed. **
You can see these already-read messages by clicking the Show All

Here's the tricky part: If you read all the messages in a thread
and then someone  adds another, the entire thread will be displayed
and most messages will not be  bold. Just the new message that you
have not yet read will appear with bolded text. (In our current
message board software, messages that you had already  read remain
hidden when a new message is added.)

** On Tuesday, some messages that you have read will be marked as
unread. **
We will migrate all the messages currently in Podium over to the
new Deja News software. However, we cannot keep track of which
messages every user has read. As a result, all messages will be
marked initially as unread. You can easily take care of this by
doing one of two things:

1) Use the Mark All As Read  found at the top of the new message
board. This approach is fastest, but it might make you overlook
some messages you really do want to read.

2) Use the Mark Thread As Read text link found at the beginning
of each thread. This approach is a more selective way to get
up-to-date, but it takes a bit more time.

** You can Expand or Collapse the entire thread list. **
The thread list shows all the individual "conversations" happening
in the  message board. The default setting shows you just the
starting topic in each  thread.  If you want to see a detailed
list of all the replies to that initial  message,  just click the
Expand button. To shrink your threads list again, click the
Collapse  button. Collapse and Expand are basically toggle buttons.
Show All and Show  Unread are also toggle buttons, and they oper-
ated  independently of the Collapse and Expand controls.

** Your browser's reload button works in the forums. **
In Podium, when you hit reload in your browser, your forum display
settings would disappear.  In the upcoming Deja News software, your
settings are preserved. So go ahead and hit reload to see if new
messages have been added while you are online -- it works!

** Give Search a try. **
The Deja News fast search capability will help you track down
messages easily.  You can look across all the forums or in just one,
for any text in a message. If  you choose Mark All As Read but want
to locate an earlier message, use the Search function.

Thanks for taking the time to read this note. I hope these tips
give you some insight into the new software and make the switch
smoother. We're adding user-suggested info to our help file with
the launch of the new forums next week, so keep those comments
and ideas coming!

We look forward to seeing you in the new forums, and we are glad
to have you as a part of the ZD Community.

Wendy Frankwich
ZD Community Central

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