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Can I search the boards?
You can search for posts based on username, word(s) in the post or just in the subject, by date, and only in particular boards.

To access the search feature, click on the "search" link at the top of most pages.

You can search any board that you have permission to view - you will not be allowed to search through private boards unless the webmaster has given you the necessary security rights to do so. Also, please note that searches based on username identify only those messages posted by the user since PhinisheD has migrated to this site. Since registration was not required on the old site, all posts imported from the old site are listed as being posted by "Guest" and therefore are not searchable by username.

How do I use the search engine?
Here are some tips for using the PhinisheD boolean search engine:
  • By default, when no operators (+, -, ~, <, >, *, etc.) are specified, the word or words are optional, but the posts that contain them are rated higher the more matching words they contain. This type of search is the broadest and returns the most results.

  • + A leading plus sign before a word indicates that this word must be present in each post that is returned.

  • - A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any of the posts that are returned.

  • > < These two operators are used to change a word's contribution to the relevance value that is assigned to a post. The > operator increases the contribution and the < operator decreases it. See the example below.

  • ( ) Parentheses are used to group words into subexpressions. Parenthesized groups can be nested.

  • ~ A leading tilde acts as a negation operator, causing the word's contribution to the post's relevance to be negative. This is useful for marking “noise” words. A post containing such a word is rated lower than others, but is not excluded altogether, as it would be with the - operator.

  • * The asterisk serves as the truncation wildcard operator. Unlike the other operators, it substitutes letters in the word being searched. For example, searching for 'writ*' will return posts that contain "writ", "write", "writes", "writing", "writings", or "written". Searching for 'wr*te' will return posts that contain "write" or "wrote". See more examples below.

  • " A phrase that is enclosed within double quote (‘"’) characters matches only posts that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.

  • If the phrase contains no words that are in the index, the result is empty. For example, if all words are either stopwords or shorter than the minimum length of indexed words, the result is empty.

Some words are ignored in searches:

  • Any word that is too short is ignored. The default minimum length of words that are found by full-text searches is four characters.

  • Words in the stopword list are ignored. A stopword is a word such as “the” or “some” that is so common that it is considered to have zero semantic value.

The following examples demonstrate some search strings that use boolean full-text operators:

  • apple juice

    Find posts that contain at least one of the two words, and rank posts that contain both words higher.

  • +apple +juice

    Find only posts that contain both words.

  • +apple juice

    Find posts that contain the word “apple”, but rank posts higher if they also contain “juice”.

  • +apple -juice

    Find posts that contain the word “apple” but not “juice”.

  • +apple ~juice

    Find posts that contain the word “apple”, but if the post also contains the word “juice”, rank it lower than posts that do not. This is “softer” than a search for '+apple -juice', for which the presence of “juice” causes the post not to be returned at all.

  • +apple +(>turnover <strudel)

    Find posts that contain the words “apple” and “turnover”, or “apple” and “strudel” (in any order), but rank “apple turnover” higher than “apple strudel”.

  • apple*

    Find posts that contain words such as “apple”, “apples”, “applesauce”, or “applet”.

  • *apple

    Find posts that contain words such as “apple”, “snapple”, “dapple”, or “scrapple”.

  • "apple juice"

    Find only posts that contain the exact phrase “apple juice” (for example, match posts that contain “add apple juice” but not “add apple or grape juice”).


Can I send email to other members?
Yes! To send an email to another member, you can either locate the member you want to contact on the prophiles page, or click the username link on any post made by that member and select "Send email to...".

This will usually open a page that contains a form where you can enter your message. When you have finished typing your message, press the [send email] button and your message will be sent instantly. Note that for privacy reasons, the email address of the recipient is not revealed to you during this process. If you cannot find an email button or link for a member, it either means that the webmaster has disabled email functions for this board, or that the member in question has specified that they do not wish to receive email from other members of the board.

Another useful email function is the ability to send a friend a link to a thread you think they may find interesting. Whenever you view a thread, you will find a link under "Thread Tools" which will allow you to send a brief message to anyone you like.

Registered members may also be able to send messages to other members of this board using the private messaging system. For more information about private messaging, click here.

What is Private Messaging?
Private messages work a little like email, but are limited to registered members of this board. You can include text formatting, vB Code, smilies, and images in private messages that you send, and you can send file attachments including photos, PDFs, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, and more.

You may send a private message to a member of this board by clicking the "Compose Message" link in the private messaging section of your user control panel, or by clicking the "Send a private message" link on a member's prophile page. When you send a message, you have the option to save a copy of the message in your Sent Items folder.

Private Message Folders

By default, you will have two folders in your private message area. These are the Inbox and the Sent Items folders. The Inbox folder contains any new messages you receive, and allows you to view all the messages you have received, along with the name of the person who sent the message to you, and the date and time the message was sent. The Sent Items folder contains a copy of any messages that you have sent, where you have specified that you wish to keep a copy of the message for future reference.

You may create additional folders for your messages by clicking the "Edit Folders" link.

Each folder has a set of message controls which allow you to select messages, then either move them to one of your custom folders, or delete them completely. You may also have a button which allows you to forward multiple messages from a folder to another member of the board.

You will need to periodically delete old messages, as the webmaster has set a limit to the number of private messages you can have in your folders. If you exceed the number of messages specified, you will not be able to send or receive new messages until you delete some old messages. You will also need to periodically delete old attachments sent by private message, as the webmaster has set a limit to the number of attachments that you are allowed to maintain on the PhinisheD server. If you exceed the storage space allotted to you, you will not be able to upload new attachments until you delete some old ones.

Whenever you read a message, you will have the option to reply to the message, or forward that message to another member of the board. You may also have the ability to forward that message to multiple members of your buddy list.

Message Tracking

When you send a new private message, you may have the option to request a read-receipt for that message. This will allow you to check whether or not a message has been read by its recipient by viewing the Private Message Tracking page. This page is divided into two sections: unread messages and read messages. The unread messages section shows all messages that you have sent with a read-receipt request, that have not yet been read by their recipient. The read messages section shows all messages you have sent with a receipt request that have been read and acknowledged by their recipient. The time that the message was read is also shown. You may choose to end the tracking on any message you choose by selecting the message and clicking the [end tracking] button.

When you receive a message with a read-receipt request, you may have the option to read the message while denying the read-receipt request. To do this, simply click the 'deny receipt' link rather than the title of the message, if it appears.

How do I use the Prophiles directory?
The Prophiles directory contains a complete list of all the registered members of PhinisheD who have posted at least once. Registered members who have never posted are not listed in the Prophiles. The Prophiles directory also has a search function that allows you to quickly locate members according to categories you specify, such as searching for all members who have joined in the past week etc.

How do I use the calendar?
There are two types of calendars on PhinisheD: The public calendar, and each member's private calendar. All members in good standing can post events on the public calendar, and those events will be visible by the rest of the members. Each member also has a private calendar, and events posted on the private calendars are only visible to the individual who owns the calendar. Both public and private calendars can be viewed by year, month, or week by pulling down the "View" menu in the calendar toolbar.

There are three types of events available for posting on the calendar: all day events, ranged events, and recurring events.

All Day Events have a date field but are not associated with a particular time. All day events cannot have email reminders attached to them.

Ranged Events have a start and end day and time. Members may set email reminders to be sent to themselves before the beginning of such events. Email reminders can be attached to any ranged event, including events scheduled by other members on the public calendar.

Recurring Events are ranged events that can be set to repeat over a period of time based on certain patterns. Examples would be an event that occurs on the first Monday of every month or an event that occurs every Monday and Wednesday.

Birthdays that users enter into their prophiles will also be shown on the public calendar. Note: if you do not enter the year of your birth when you edit your profile, your age will not be shown on the calendar.

If you enter your birthday, your name will also appear on the PhinisheD home page when it is your birthday.

How do I rate a thread?
You will find a small "rate thread" menu on thread pages which allows you to 'rate this thread' with a number between 1 to 5 stars.

Casting a vote for threads you view is entirely optional, but if you think that the thread is superb, you might rate it as a 5-star thread, or if you think that it's unspeakably dismal, you might choose to rate the thread with a single star.

Once votes have been cast for the thread rating, you will see a set of stars appear with the title of the thread in the thread listings. These stars reflect the average vote cast, and can allow you to quickly see which threads are worth reading if you are on a very busy board with a lot of threads.

What are the various thread display options?
When viewing a thread, you will be able to view the thread from a choice of three modes.
  1. Threaded Mode - In this mode, a tree is shown along with every post. This tree allows you to see the relationship each post has to others, in terms of who responded to whom. Only one post is shown at a time. Threaded mode is the default display mode for all PhinisheD discussion boards. It is recommended that you use this mode or Hybrid Mode to best follow discussions on PhinisheD.
  2. Hybrid Mode - This mode is a mixture of the linear and threaded modes. The post tree is displayed like in the threaded mode, but multiple posts are displayed simultaneously like in the linear modes.
  3. Linear Mode - In this mode, posts are displayed chronologically from oldest to newest. Posts are shown in a flat mode so that many posts can be viewed simultaneously. While this is may be the most common mode used on other web sites, PhinisheD discussions tend to be more complex and too difficult to follow in linear mode.

What is an RSS feed and how it is used?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an XML-based format for content distribution. An RSS feed is essentially a file encoded so that it can be easily used by another program or website. PhinisheD subscribes to an RSS feed from the Careers section of the Chronicle of Higher Education, and that feed is published on the Chronicle Careers board, a child board of Phinally Phinished. In addition to receiving the Chronicle feed, PhinisheD also offers RSS feeds of its own from each of its main discussion boards or from all boards at once. These feeds include titles and summaries and links to the full posts. RSS offers an easy way for you to be alerted to the latest discussions on PhinisheD. PhinisheD's RSS feeds are free and available to both members and nonmembers.

To use any of PhinisheD's RSS feeds, you'll need an application known as a news reader or aggregator. These applications display the RSS information feeds you have selected on your computer. Some news readers are available for you to download. Others are Web-based and let you read your feeds online. If you have an account at a web portal that supports aggregation, such as My Yahoo!, you can add RSS feeds to your personalized page. Once you have a news reader or web portal such as My Yahoo!, Google, My MSN, My AOL, or similar RSS-enabled service, you simply subscribe to the PhinisheD feed. Consult the documentation provided with the reader you are using for more info, or see the FAQ below.

Where can I find the RSS feed?
More information and links to PhinisheD's RSS feeds, and buttons for adding PhinisheD disussion board summaries to your My Yahoo!, Google, My MSN, or My AOL pages can be found on the RSS Feeds page.


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