So you’ve logged on to the new TSL boards and don’t know what the heck you’re looking at. Old threads are at the top of the board, the posts are all the same color (so you can’t tell what you’ve read and not read), and there are menus and buttons all over the place.
These new vBulletin boards stink, right?
No, they don’t. They’re just different. And we tried to configure them as much like the old boards as we could, but given that vBulletin is third-party software and not our own proprietary code, there was only so much we could do.
So let me teach you how to use them.
vBulletin’s default mode is a “topic” or “linear” board. But we’re not here to talk about that today. We’ll address that later. We’re here to teach you the differences between our new board’s threaded mode, and the old threaded boards we used to have. They’re similar, but not the same.
The home (index) page of a board
When you go to one of our boards, like the Football board, it looks like this (click for a larger, clearer image):
That’s a lot like our old boards, right? Yes, it is, with two big exceptions:
The most recently updated thread now moves to the top of the board.
So yes, there HAVE been new threads posted since the last time you visited the board, even though the start time of the thread at the top of the board might be two or three days ago. The reason an “old” thread is at the top of the board is because someone just put a new post in that thread, right before you came to the board.
You can change that. More on that later.
The posts you have read and the posts you haven’t read are the same color (mostly).
On our old boards, if you hadn’t read a post, its subject line was shown in maroon. If you had read it, it was gray.
On the new boards, almost all of them are maroon, even though you could swear you have read a lot of them.
Why is that? Here’s the thing: You can’t tell, from looking at the home/index page of one of the new boards, whether or not you have read a post. Read on to find out how you can tell.
Drilling down into a thread
When you open up a thread, you see something that looks like this — ironically, I did a screen capture of a thread in which people are talking about the new format (click for a larger, clearer image):
There are a couple of major points to be made about viewing a thread like this:
When you click on a subject line within the scroll-bar area (labeled “Threaded View” in the image above), it immediately loads the body of the post into the message area.
In our new system, threaded view doesn’t load a whole new page each time you click a post. It just sticks the body of the post in the message area.
In the image above (click it), I’m looking at Brown Water’s post. Its subject line is bold maroon, and is highlighted in very light blue in the “Threaded View” area. The body of his post is ” That’s a stretch.”
Watch what happens when I click on Hubman’s post two lines above Brown Water’s post (click for a larger, clearer image):
Nothing changes, except Hubman’s information and the body of his post (“It was a 24-7 aimless conversation…..it had no real “format”…. “) are loaded into the message area instantaneously, without a whole new page load.
You can click-click-click through a whole thread in a hurry. You can view dozens of posts with just a single page load. It slaughters our ad revenue, but it makes reading a thread go VERY quickly.
Posts you haven’t read are highlighted with a blue icon next to their subject lines.
If you go back to either one of the two previous images above, you’ll note that most of the posts in the image have a little white rectangular icon to the left of the poster’s name, in “Threaded View.” But others have a little light blue icon: posts by HokieForever, avhokie, Nova Hokie 95, etc. Here’s a closer look (click for a larger version):
Here’s how it works: The previous time I accessed the thread, the posts with the white icons were there, but the posts with the light blue icons were not present. Now that I have returned to the thread, the posts that are marked with a light blue icons are the only ones I need to click on and read.
(One exception: The first time you look at a thread, all the icons are white.)
Note that I didn’t necessarily read all the ones with the white icons the last time I visited the thread, but they were there, available for me to read. I may or may not have clicked on them.
So each time you open a thread, it’s your responsibility to click on all the subject lines with blue icons next to them.
Summing It All Up
So, to read the board in threaded format:
1.) Go to the board of interest — Football Board, Basketball Board, etc.
2.) Scan the board for threads you’re interested in. The most recently updated threads will be closer to the top. Remember, when viewing a board, there’s no gray/maroon to help you delineate what posts you have read and haven’t read. (It’s impossible for us to format it that way, for reasons I don’t want to get into here.)
3.) Click on threads you’re interested in — anywhere in the thread will do — and after the page loads, look for the subject lines with the little blue icons. If this is the first time you’ve opened the thread, all the icons are white.
Once you’ve got the trick, you can go into threads you like, and with a “click-click-click” buzz through them in a hurry and bring yourself up on all the latest posts.
If You Really Don’t Like the Recently-Update Threads Bumping to the Top…
… you can change that. At the bottom of a board’s index/home page, scroll down, and you’ll see a list box labeled “Sort threads by:” — change it to “Thread Start Time,” select the radio button labeled “Descending Order,” click the “Show Threads” button to the right, and you’ll have a message board sorted like our old one used to be.
To be honest, I’m not sure if you have to do that every time you visit the board, or if it’s supposed to save your setting from session to session. Our new system has been a little buggy with saving users’ preferences, and we’re working on it.
I hope this tutorial has helped. In addition to what I’ve told you here, vBulletin has a killer FAQ link that you can access at the top of every message board page.
Questions? Fire away.