Now that the first few days of the new version of the site are over, and we are into a new year, its time to blog about the numerous ways to find content across the whole site .... this has drawn a lot of questions, some users have figured it out, but it has also left a few folk scratching their heads.
On the old version of the site you could use the search function to search for keywords in posts and bring up a list of topics containing those words. This functionality is still there. You could also use the "view new content" link on the forum index to see posts that were made since your last visit. This too is still there.
However, both systems have been beefed up a bit, and because we are now using the forum software for our articles as well, the search and view new content functions now spread across the entire site instead of just the forums.
Both features are still in the same place, right below each other on the header ...
Lets talk about searching first .... its easier to explain !
Search is easy, you enter the word you want to search for, and it will search by default in whatever section of the board you are currently in ... so if you are in articles, it will search articles, if you are in the forums, it will search forums etc ....
If you want to search a different area from the forum or site area you are in, just click the name beside the magnifying glass and you can select different areas of the site ... see screenshot below.
And thats about it for searches .... if your membership level allows it, you will be presented with a list from your chosen area if anything matches. The minimum length for a search word is 3 letters.
VIEW NEW CONTENT
This is a little more complex .. but in the end, only as complex as you want it to be !
Like searches, the view new content link will show the new content in the area of the site you are currently in so if you are on the front page (articles), clicking View New Content will show any new articles posted in the last 24 hours, if you are in the forums, it will show forum posts for the last 24 hours ..... and so on and so forth.
this is the default "new content" listing filter for the forum for the last 24 hours when I go to view it. If this works for you, then there is no need to fiddle with the settings ....
So what do you see ?
By default, you see the topics that have had postings in them for the last 24 hours and these are displayed in chronological order with the most recently posted in topic at the top. Just because they are on this list doesnt necessarily mean you have not read them .... In the example above, I have read all the topics, and we know this because the topic title is not bolded, and there is not a little dot to the left of the topic title. If a user has unread topics - regardless of filter - they will show up like the image below instead.....
On the left, you can click on the link to change the content type ... allowable options are Forums, Members, Calendar (entries), Blogs, Gallery, Downloads and Pages (articles). They are all pretty self-explanatory.
Once you know what content you want, you can then filter the timeline. Each of these sections can be filtered by 8 distinct time periods .... as shown below
"content I have not read" shows anything you havent viewed and in this context, because I have read everything, it will show up like this .....
New since my last visit will also show the same result as nothing new has been posted (no new topics, no replies) whilst I have been typing this blog entry.
Past 24 hours is the default filter and is shown above (where I mention default filter)..... Depending on how often you visit the forum you can extend this to a week, 2 weeks, a month, 6 months or a year ... just click on the entry. The same principle applies to these as to the default filter ... content you have read as well as content you have not will be displayed and those you havent read will show up as bolded and with the little dot to the left. Clicking on the little dot - instead of the topic title like it used to be - takes you to the first unread post.
If - like some users - you only want to see topics listed that you have not read, set it to view "content I have not read" or "new since my last visit". These are all tied to your account and will show less items than the other timeline filters .....
Lets say you have chosen FORUMS as your content type, and you chose the "past month" as your timeline ..... for me this would report something like 8 pages of topics .... we want to reduce that ... so the "Other" options can help here .....
If I want to just see topics I follow (topics where I pressed this button on the right side of it) then I could add that to the filter and it would show Forum topics from the last month which I follow.
If I want to see only topics I have posted in then I would select "topics I participated in" to see topics I have posted in in the last month
If I want to see only topics I started then I click that option and I will see any topics I started in the last month.
Where the multiple selection comes in - and this is the only multiple selection available - is that I can also use the "Filter By Forum" to only search within one specific forum (eg. just "ICT" or "Serious Topics" etc)
[NOTE: to clear the choices made in the "other" section, just click on them again]
In the screenshot below - I am filtering Forum Topics for the Past Month which I started, and which are located in the ICT forum ... as you can see, that whittles it down from 8 pages to 5 topics ! I dont start many topics, just post in them !!!
A final little feature we should mention, once you have your list of topics ... is the ability to preview them .... just click this little button to the right of a topic title and you can see a section of the first and last post ....
So there you have it .... clear as mud isnt it !!! Why not just go to the View New Content page and try it all out for yourself .....
Oh ... and while you are there ..... try out this final little button we didnt mention ! Its the quick navigation box ! another little hidden gem which can be found immediately to the right of the view new content link !
PS - Happy New Year to you All !