Private Messaging

 
 
By Jim Lynch  |  Posted 2005-02-15 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Beehive, like most other forum software, has a private messaging feature. Forum members can click the PM Inbox link in the top frame to visit their inbox to send or receive private messages. New in this release is a handy gauge that appears at the bottom to tell you how much private messaging space you have left (admins globally control this setting for all forum members). Also new in this release is the ability to click "Reply Via Private Message" in any message in the forum. We like this idea a lot. Some things are better said privately between forum members. This has the virtue of taking insults, personal attacks, etc. into private messages that dont skunk up the forum or thread. Users can also turn on auto-pruning for their private messaging, or admins can opt to turn it on globally. Admins can also customize how much space users get in their Saved Items folder. Anything outside of that folder will be automatically deleted as per the admins auto-pruning settings.
My Controls and the Personal Word Filter
My Controls (formerly known as Preferences in the last release) has been changed from having all preferences appear on one page to having each option selectable via list on the left side. Its debatable as to which way was better. Some folks probably preferred to scroll down one page while some like being able to click to access each section separately. We can live with it either way.
In the My Controls area you can change your user details, user profile and password, as well as email & privacy potions—including browsing the forum anonymously so you arent listed in the stats at the bottom of the message frame as well as choosing whether to receive email or private messages from other forum members. You can also control how the forum is displayed including the timezone, preferred language, how many posts appear per page, font size and style, among other things. You can also choose to delete any or all attachments that youve uploaded or view the messages that the attachments appear in. Or you can upload a new attachment directly from the My Controls page. You can also edit your forum signature as well. And, new in this release, is a built-in HTML toolbar that makes creating a forum signature a breeze, even if you dont know HTML. Another new change in this release is the ability to edit your relationships with other users from within the My Controls interface. You can opt to ignore a user or to display/ignore their signature. You can also opt to ignore any threads started by that person. Theres also a search box on this page if you need to find a particular user. As we noted above, you can also do this by clicking the hand icon in one of their messages too. Either way works. We love this kind of empowerment of forum members to control their experiences; its one of the things that makes Beehive such a great piece of software.
One exciting new feature in this release is the Personal Word Filter. We have longed for something like this in our own forum for quite a long time and now its finally here. Each forum member can create his or her own personal list of words to be bleeped. Not only can you turn the filter on or off, and choose your own word list, but you can also choose what you would like to replace the offensive word with. For example you could opt for the usual #### or **** or you could do something weird like replace the profanity with "Merry Christmas!" or some other phrase. We tested this and thought it was a hoot. In our own personal forum we intend to do something silly like that for the default view of forum guests (who cant control the personal word filter since they arent registered and arent logged in) so that they arent inadvertently subjected to bad language. This is a terrific way to allow users to customize what they see in a forum, particularly since its not always clear what specifically will offend various people. Some people dont approve of the use of the word "damn" in messages let alone actual obscenities. With the PWF, each user has total control of what gets bleeped and what doesnt. Kudos go to the Beehive developers for empowering forum members to take control over their forum experience this way. Continued...


 
 
 
 
Jim manages the PC Magazine and ExtremeTech forums, and is responsible for building community in the forums on both sites. He started managing PC Mag's forum on ZiffNet on CompuServe many years ago. He then transferred the staff and expertise to the Web. He left ZDNet when it moved to San Francisco and came back to Ziff after the split from ZDNet, right before ExtremeTech launched. You can get more background at his personal site: www.jimlynch.com/profile.htm.

His favorite movies include Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Three Musketeers (1973 version), Dune (Sci Fi Channel version), and gobs of others. He can't live without his iPAQ Pocket PC—,he uses it at the gym and everywhere else—,and his DVD collection features more than 200 films. His favorite game is Tribes (PC), which is more than three years old but he still plays it all the time.

Jim likes interacting with the folks in the forum and the content. 'I Love both of 'em,' says Lynch. 'It's what makes the job fun and interesting.'

You're welcome to visit Jim's site for more information about him.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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