The latest version of the vbulletin software came with some new social-networking features, and it appears that quite a lot of our members are still having problems with them.
This thread will hopefully clarify how these features are supposed to work. Feel free to ask questions if you still don't understand something.
We can now leave messages on other people's profiles. These messages are public
and can be seen by anyone who visits member profiles.
We've had a lot of cases where people have used the Visitor Message feature when they meant to send a private message, meaning that private information has accidentally ended up being broadcast on people's profiles, leading to panics, reported messages, frantic PMs, and all sorts of avoidable drama.
In order to stop this happening, Andy has made a couple of updates.
- The Visitor Message feature has been renamed Profile Comments.
- The "Send a Visitor Message to..." option has been removed from the "Send Message" drop-down menu and the "Contact Info" tab on member profiles. To add a profile comment, use the message box on the member's profile.
You can't edit or delete profile comments that you leave on other people's profiles. If you leave a comment on someone's profile by mistake, contact that member or one of the admins or moderators to get it removed.
If someone leaves an unwelcome profile comment on your profile, you can use the Moderation drop-down menu below the comment to delete it. If you think there's an urgent problem, use the Report button on the right of the message to alert the admins. You can go ahead and delete a reported message on your profile; the admins can see deleted messages. Don't report profile comments unless there's an urgent problem.
Reports generate e-mails which go out to the entire moderation team, and we don't want to have that happen unnecessarily.
If someone leaves a profile comment on your profile and you want to respond, go to their profile and leave a comment there. Don't respond on your own profile because the other member won't know there's been a response. Please note that the forum rules apply to profile comments, and we don't want to see this feature being used for fights or for solicitation of personal information. Please respect other people's privacy and be considerate when posting profile comments.
In order to see an entire conversation between yourself and another member, click the "View Conversation" button, and the comments on both profiles will show in chronological order.
If you don't wish to accept profile comments, you can turn off this feature in the Options menu of your User CP. You can also elect to receive comments only from admins and your friends and contacts.
If you want to send a private message
to another member, you need to use the Private Message system, not the Profile Comments system. There are several ways to do this.
- Click the member's username in one of their posts and choose "Send a private message to..." in the drop-down menu.
- On the member's profile page, click the "Send Message" link under their profile picture and choose "Send a private message to..." in the drop-down menu (it should be the first item on the list)
- On the member's profile page, click the Contact Info tab and choose "Send a private message to..."
The Friends feature is an updated version of the old Buddy list. You can send a Friend request to another member as follows:
- Click the member's username in one of their posts and choose "Add xxx to your Contacts" on the drop-down menu.
- On the member's profile page, click "Befriend xxx" in the Friends box on the right of the page, and a request will be sent.
Friend requests are sent via the PM system. If you get an incoming Friend request and want to accept, tick the checkbox on the top left of the box to highlight the avatar, make sure "Accept selected friend requests" is selected, and click "Save changes." If you don't want to accept, tick the checkbox, select "Reject selected friend requests," and click "Save changes." The other member isn't notified of accepts or rejections.
If you want to limit incoming PMs and profile comments to those from your friends and contacts, you can do so in the Options menu of your User CP.
If you send a Friend request and it's rejected, don't worry about it. The Friends feature is meant to be a light-hearted way to promote social interaction and foster a sense of community, and different members have different criteria for accepting other members as friends. We've already had a few cases where people have become offended or upset at being rejected as friends and have taken their grudges to the threads or the profile comments feature or have tried to involve the admins in mediation. We've also had some cases where members have tried to befriend people they've never interacted with in order to get a large Friends list, leading to complaints of stalking. We're supposed to be mature adults here (or mature minors in some cases
), and we can really do without the sort of juvenile drama caused by taking the Friends feature too seriously.
The Social Groups provide a venue for members to interact away from the threads. You can find them here
(there's a link in the Quick Links drop-down menu). Members from other countries can get together in the groups to chat in languages other than English, and people with a mutual interest in non-royal topics can chat about them in a group.
Most of the groups are public, which means that the messages can be read by anyone. However, to respond to a message, you need to be a member of the group. There's a "Join Group" link at the top right of the front page of each of the groups, above the list of group members.
You can join a group by clicking the Join Group link. For public groups, that automatically makes you a member. For private groups, your membership needs to be approved by the group leader before you can join; clicking the Join Group link sends a message to the leader to notify him or her of your request to join.
Both members and nonmembers of public groups can use the Report button if they see messages that violate forum rules (such as those containing spam or vulgar or aggressive language). Use of the Report button sends e-mails to the entire moderation team to warn them of a problem, so please don't use the Report button unless there's an urgent problem.
For non-urgent problems, just send a PM to one of the admins.