- Registration details – When registering you must provide us with your name, full postal address (including postcode or ZIP code) and a valid email address. Provision of your telephone number is optional. The provision of incorrect or fictitious information may result in your access to the forum being denied at our discretion, and without further reference to you. We reserve the right to use other sources to verify that what you have told us is correct. We may use the personal information you provide to notify you about changes to the site or to contact you for marketing purposes. Please note that the selection of forum usernames that are obscene or are likely to cause offence will result in your registration being disabled without further reference to you. We reserve the absolute right to delete registrations which contravene this condition.
- Liability – The forum is populated by fellow computer users who give freely of their own time. The help and/or advice they provide is based on their personal experiences, and if you act upon it you do so entirely at your own risk. The opinions expressed by registered forum users and by the Forum Editor are not necessarily those of IDG Communications Ltd., and neither staff nor IDG Ltd will be liable for the consequences of following advice given by other registered users. You are advised to back up critical data files before making any changes to software or hardware configurations, and to consider seeking professional advice before taking legal action as a result of advice offered by other forum users. . Electronic components are delicate and easily damaged, and opening your computer’s case or changing hardware components might invalidate the manufacturer’s guarantee or other warranty. You are advised to check carefully before proceeding. Computer Power Supply Units contain live current at mains voltage; make sure that you turn off the power supply at the main socket before opening the case.
- Copyright – By registering for access to our web forum you agree that the copyright in any content you may post to the site passes to IDG Communications Ltd upon publication, and that we may reproduce any contribution in whole or in part any IDG Group publications, websites, or advertisements without further reference to you. We will not use your real name in any such publication without first obtaining your prior consent.
- Acceptable content – We reserve the right to remove your forum contributions without prior reference to you if, in our opinion the content is inappropriate, may be defamatory, or constitute a libel, or is not in accord with our policies from time to time in force. Any such deletions will be made at our discretion and the decision of our Forum Editor in such matters is final. The use of obscene or offensive language, sexual or sexist references, and expressions of racial, religious or cultural intolerance or personal abuse directed towards another forum user is unacceptable and may result in your further access to the forum being denied without prior notice.
- Commercial use – You may not use our forum threads to solicit for trade, to offer goods or services for sale, or to advertise a business. It is permissible to post links to commercial websites in the course of providing advice and/or help to other forum users, or in our Web design forum when inviting other users to appraise and comment on your own site.
- Spam – Using our forum facilities to send spam to other members or for publishing spam messages in threads is forbidden, and may result in termination of your registration without prior warning.
The forum is a community composed of people from many countries and cultures, of both sexes, and of all age groups, and we ask you to respect others. We want you to express your opinions freely, but we expect you to abide by the following rules of conduct:-
- Inappropriate language – It isn’t necessary to use bad language to make a point, and although modern usage has seen many previously unacceptable terms become a part of everyday conversation there are certain words that are acknowledged as being unacceptable in a family-friendly forum. We will exercise our right to remove any posts that in our opinion contain unacceptable language, and the Forum Editor’s decision in such matters is final. Please do not attempt to avoid censure by disguising offensive words with asterisks etc., they will be deleted, and repeated use may result in a forum ban.
- Personal abuse – See ‘Acceptable content’ item number 4 under ‘Conditions applying to registration and forum use’
- Adult content – Pornographic references or links to sites of an adult nature are not permitted – posts or threads that contain links to ‘adult’ sites, text, or images (or to sites which themselves contain such links) will be deleted without warning or explanation. Repeated instances may result in your registration being invalidated.
- Advertising items for sale – See item 5 ‘Commercial use’ above.
- Charity appeals – We regret that we cannot allow threads that contain appeals for charitable donations or links to such appeals, except in exceptional circumstances. The Forum Editor’s decision is final in such cases.
- Petitions – we do not allow the posting of petitions, or threads that link to petitions on external websites.
- Copyright infringement – We do not permit the posting of information that will enable other people to use pirated software or to contravene the copyright laws. Please do not post software keys, links to sites that contain illegal material of any nature, or links to other sites that offer such information. Do not ask other forum members to provide you with help or information that will enable you to illegally download copyright-protected material, to circumvent product registration or activation requirements, or to bypass an operating system’s password protection.
- Humour – What is funny to one person may be in bad taste or even offensive to others. For that reason we tend to discourage threads that encourage others to post jokes, or to link to other sites with humorous content. Please exercise care when posting links to other sites.
- Libel or defamation – Please do not encourage others to boycott a company that provided you with defective products or inefficient service. If you have a bad experience with a supplier state the facts, and by all means voice your complaint, but allow others to make up their own minds. We will routinely delete any threads or posts that contain comments such as “avoid this company like the plague”. Please do not make statements that you cannot substantiate, or state as fact something that is in reality your personal opinion. “XYZ Computers are a bunch of thieving cowboys” may well be your opinion, but unless you can produce evidence to show that the company deliberately stole from you or others an action for libel would almost certainly succeed. We will delete any comment that in our opinion is defamatory or may constitute a libel. Our decision in such cases is final, and we will not enter into discussions about deleted comments or threads.
- Political comment – Discussions of a political nature are inevitable in an online forum, but they can rapidly degenerate into a heated argument and personal abuse. We want to allow our forum users as much freedom as possible when taking part, but we will act to stop personal abuse when it happens. If you find yourself losing your temper try to take a break before responding in this way.
- Personally addressed threads – Certain regular forum members tend to answer questions on specific subjects, and it can be tempting to address a thread to an individual. Please don’t do this; it discourages other forum users from contributing. We usually delete such threads.
- Multiple threads – Please don’t post multiple threads on the same subject in different forum areas.
- Two part threads – Please don’t post threads in two parts, they’ll become separated as people will post almost exclusively to the second part, and the separate parts will cease to make sense to people seeing them for the first time.
- Posting to old threads – Please take time to check the thread’s original date before posting with help or advice. Posting to an old, un-ticked thread is usually a waste of time as these threads tend to have been resolved, but not marked as such by their originators. Forum threads are automatically locked six months after the date of the last post.
- Multiple registrations – Please do not register with us using multiple identities. We will routinely delete multiple registrations.
- Personal email addresses – Please do not include your personal email address (or that of a third party) when posting a thread or a message in a thread. Personal privacy is something that once compromised is difficult to regain, and posting an address in a web forum is akin to publishing it in a newspaper – it can be read (and used or abused) by thousands of strangers.
- Search the archive – It’s very likely that your computing problem has cropped up before, so we maintain a forum archive of previously posted threads. You can search the archive by using the facility at the top of each forum section, and we hope that you’ll do so before posting a new thread. Doing so may accelerate the resolution process for you, and make things easier for those forum members who might otherwise spend time resolving a problem that has been dealt with before.
- Use the correct forum section – Before you post a new thread spend a moment thinking about the most appropriate forum area in which to place it. If the Forum Editor thinks a thread appears in the wrong section of the forum he may move it. If this happens you’ll receive an email informing you of the new location. If you notice that a thread you were reading has disappeared, check other forum areas – it may have been moved.
- Use a meaningful thread title – Your thread will be archived, and will be available for other forum users to read long after it has been resolved. Please make sure that the title reflects the subject matter – a thread with the title ‘Help!!’ will be meaningless to other users later on. We reserve the right to edit thread titles.
Newcomers to a web forum are sometimes confused by the jargon, so here are explanations of some of the words and phrases to help you to feel comfortable:
- Post– A message that is added to a thread (by anyone who wishes to contribute) . When you click on a thread title it will open to reveal all the messages that have been posted by other forum members.
- Thread– Used to describe a separate forum topic.
- Moderator– Someone who monitors the forum for inappropriate thread content. We maintain a constant forum presence, and our Forum Editor will sometimes remove threads or posts if he believes them to be inappropriate in nature. If you need help or advice on forum matters you can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the ‘Contact Forum Editor’ link at the top of the forum pages. Please do not use this facility to ask for personal help with computing problems – we can’t provide this on a one-to-one basis by email. Please don’t post personal messages to the Forum Editor in the forum threads – use the contact button to send him an email.
- Refresh– This word will often be posted in a thread which has not received any responses. It ensures that the thread is once again brought to the top of the forum page, and may be noticed more easily. Please do not refresh your thread in this way more than twice at the most as it will irritate other users.
- Green tick– This is used to indicate that a subject has been satisfactorily resolved, and can only be placed on a thread by the person who starts it. You’ll find the button that does this at the end of your thread.
- FE– The forum users’ shorthand for ‘Forum Editor’.
- Hyperlinks in posts– If you wish to include a link to an external web page in your post you can do so
- Copy the url (web address) of the page you wish to link to (highlight the page address in your browser, right-click on it and select ‘Copy’).
- Now go to the text entry box on the forum page and click on the small green/blue icon in the format section. A dialogue box will appear, into which you should paste your link address (make sure you first delete the ‘http://’ that may already show in the box).
- Click OK and the text box will show details of your link, with some text highlighted in brackets.
- Delete the highlighted text and type anything you like inside the brackets, ‘Click here’ for instance.
- Now you can continue to type your post, and click on the Post button. Your hyperlink will appear in red text.
- Thread hijacking– This is the term applied to the practice of posting an unrelated message in someone else’s thread. You should remember that unless he/she has used the tick box to opt out, a person posting a thread will by default receive an automatic email notification every time someone posts to the thread. If people post on matters unrelated to the subject being discussed, the originator of the thread may be inundated with emails. This can be very irritating, and leads to confusion in the thread, as various people respond to the different subjects that have appeared. Please do not add a request for help with your own problem to someone else’s thread, even if your problem is similar – post your own thread in the appropriate forum section.
- Parked threads– This term applies to threads that are posted and appear to be abandoned. Sometimes people post threads and then go out to work, or to bed, and don’t log into the forum for many hours. In the meantime other forum users may be trying to offer help or advice, and because they get no response they may feel they are being ignored. This can lead to the posting of irritated “where are you?” messages. If you intend to leave your thread for a day or so (or even a few hours) it helps to say so. Helpers will then understand that some time may pass without any feedback from you.
- Beta testing projects– From time to time we are approached by software companies who want us to arrange for the beta version of a new product, or a new version of an existing product to be tested by our forum users. We run a special beta test forum for this purpose, and when the occasion arises we will post threads in other forum areas, inviting members to apply to join a test panel. Testing involves downloading and installing the software on your machine, carrying out a set of tasks set by our Forum Editor, and posting your responses in the beta forum. On completion of the test it is usual for the software company to provide testers with a free licence for the full release version of the product. Beta software is not the finished product, and testers are reminded that they participate on the understanding that they do so at their own risk. In our experience these software versions are safe to use, but we will not accept any liability for file corruption or data loss caused by the testing of beta products on your computer, whatever the cause.
- Site feedback– We welcome your feedback about our site, but please send it to our Forum Editor via email, rather than posting a thread in the forums. He’ll respond to every email received, although we can’t promise that all suggestions for changes will be acted upon (See ‘Our forum policy’ below).