Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

The page is continually updated. If your question is not answered here, please post your question in the Commons Support Forum.

 

FAQ Categories:

Members – Accounts, Profiles, Friends, Messages, Notifications, Spam
Groups – Joining, Creating, Privacy, Settings
Forums – Posting, Subscribing, Favorites
Activity – Filters, Mentions, Comments

 


 

Members

How do I become a member of the Commons?
I forgot my password. How can I reset it?
How do I change my password?
How do I change my account email address?
What is the difference between my username and my display name?
How do I change my display name?
How do I change my profile information?
How do I load an avatar (profile picture) to appear on my profile?
How do I make my profile information private?
What are notifications and how do change my settings?
What are friends in the Commons and how do I make friend connections?
How do I send a private message to another member?
How do I make a complaint or escalate an issue?
How do I manage spam messages?
How do I delete my account?

 

Groups

What is the difference between public, private, and hidden groups?
How do I join a group?
How do I leave a group?
How do I change my group email notifications?
How do I create and manage a group?
What can I do in a group?

 

Forums

What are the different types of forums?
How do forums work? And what do the different terms mean: forums, topics, voices, posts, replies, threads, tags, freshness, sticky?
How do I create a new topic in a forum?
How do I reply to a topic?
How do I reply to someone else’s post in the middle of the discussion thread?
How do I reference or create a link to someone else’s post/reply in my own post/reply?
How do I embed media into my post?
How do the “Favorite” and “Subscribe” links on the topics work?

 

Activity

What is the Activity Stream?
What are Activity filters and how to I use them?
How do I post to the activity stream?
How do I delete an activity stream post?
How do I comment on an item in the activity stream?
What are @ Mentions and how do I use them?
What are Favorites and how do I use them?
How do I use RSS to keep track of site activity feeds?

 



 

Members


 

How do I become a member of the Commons?

The Commons is an invitation-only community. While anyone can browse the resources on the site, only members of the Commons can view member profiles, message other members, make comments, participate in forums, join and create groups, etc. If you know someone who is already a member of the Commons, ask them to send you an invitation. Any current member of the Commons can invite others to join. If you do not know anyone who is already a member, you can request an invitation.


 

I forgot my password. How can I reset it?

Resetting your password is a two-step process. After you click “log in” on the top log in status bar, select the link that says “forgot password?” (or click this link (https://synergycommons.net/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword). You will be taken to a page where you enter your email address and click “get new password.” You should receive an email shortly thereafter. It will include a link to a page where you can reset your password.


 

How do I change my password?

After logging into the Commons, hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the top right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select the [Settings > General] option. Enter your current password and your new password, then select “Save Changes.”


 

How do I change my account email address?

To change the email address for your account, hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select the [Settings > General] option. In the “Account Email” field replace your current email address with your preferred email address and select “Save Changes.”


 

What is the difference between my username and my display name?

When you become a member and register in the Commons, you are first asked to provide an account username and email address. Your account username is a unique identifier and CANNOT BE CHANGED. Then you are asked to provide a display name for your profile. Your display name is a “friendly name” that shows up on your profile page and elsewhere in the Commons. You can change your display name at any time. Your display name can be the same as your username (makes things simple), or can be something different, such as a full name, first name, etc. This is important to know if you have privacy concerns. If you feel that you have made a mistake and registered a username that you want to change, you can contact the site administrators who may be able to create a new username for you and re-assign all your existing posts to the new username.


 

How do I change my display name?

After logging into the Commons, hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select [Edit My Profile]. To change your display name, enter your preferred name in the “Display Name (required)” field, then select “Save Changes.”


 

How do I change my profile information?

After logging into the Commons, hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select [Edit My Profile]. From here you can update all your profile fields and their visibility settings.


 

How do I load an avatar (profile picture) on my member profile?

After logging into the Commons, hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select [Edit my Profile > Change Avatar]. On the Choose Avatar page, choose and upload your image. (200px or 300px square is a good size. It should be a .jpeg, .gif or .png file.) Then click “Change Avatar.”


 

How do I make my profile information private?

There are three levels of privacy in your personal profile: visible to the public, visible to members, visible to friends. By default, your display name and avatar are visible to the public. The other fields of your profile are visible either to logged in members of the Commons or only to those with whom you have a friend connection. You may change the visibility level of any profile field except your display name. If you are concerned about your privacy, we recommend that you do not use an actual photo of yourself for your avatar. You may also want to use a pseudonym instead of your actual username or display name. To change the visibility settings on your profile information, hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select [Edit My Profile]. Each profile information field has a visibility setting. Click the “Change” link to see the options and change the visibility setting.

 

What are notifications and how do I change my settings?

The oval notifications icon — on the top log in status bar next to the “Welcome [Your Name]” link — will change color and display a number to indicate how many notifications you have for new messages, friend requests, mentions, or invitations to join a group. Clicking the notifications icon will allow you to see the relevant notifications from a drop-down panel. To change your notification/email settings, hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select [Settings > Notifications]. There are multiple settings on the Notification page which you can turn on or off as you wish.


 

What are friends in the Commons and how do I make friend connections?

Similar to Facebook, “friending” in the Commons is social networking. It enables you to contact each another, share information and follow each other’s activities more easily. By accepting a member’s friend request you become part of their network of friends. There are several ways to accept a friend request. If you receive a friend request email, click on the link in the email and accept or reject the request. A second way is to log into the Commons, go to the log in status bar at the top right side of the page and click the oval notifications icon. A panel will drop down. If you have any friend request notifications, you will be able to click on the request and choose to accept or reject the request. A third way is to hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select [Friends > Pending Requests]. If you have current requests, the number will be displayed. Clicking the link in any of those places will take you to a page that allows you to accept or reject the friendship request. To request a friend connection with another member, go to their profile page and click the “Add Friend” link under their avatar picture, or click the “Add Friend” button from the Members Directory next to that member’s listing.


 

How do I send a private message to another member?

There are several ways to send a private message to another member. You can go to their profile page and click the “Private Message” link under their avatar picture. You can also hover your mouse cursor over the “Welcome [Your Name]” link in the upper right corner of any page. Your username and a list of options will appear. Select [Messages > Compose]. Or, you can send private messages from your own profile page. On your own profile page, select the “Messages” tab on the right-hand side. You will then see the options for “Inbox,” “Sent,” and “Compose.” Note: you will need to know the username of the member to send a private message (not their display name or email address), so we recommend the best way to send a message to another member is to select the “Private Message” link from their profile page.


 

How do I request support, make a complaint or escalate an issue?

To request support for a technical or site issue, please visit the FAQ. If the FAQ cannot address your issue, please post your issue on the community support forum. This forum will allow another member or one of the site curators to answer your questions and followup with you. If you have a complaint or concern about another member or some aspect of the service, please communicate/escalate your concern using the contact form. Please provide as much detail and context as you can. This form will send your message to an email address monitored by the community curators. We will make every reasonable effort to understand and address your concern in a timely fashion.


 

How do I manage spam messages?

With the current anti-spam measures spam messages should be far and few between. But, if you receive one, here are some simple steps to take:

  1. Click on the member’s display name to visit their profile. Once there, use your judgement to confirm if they are a legitimate member. You can do this by viewing their profile name and entries. Sometimes their profile is clearly not someone interested in missions. Feel free to delete the message.
  2. Report the member. Go into their profile and under their avatar image or picture click the “Report User” link. This will flag their account and notify the Synergy Common’s support team of your concern about a spammer or inappropriate use of the Commons by a member and we will investigate further. You can also report user from the Community Activity stream as well.
  3. You can also block a member. This means that they will not be able to see or contact you in the future. You are essentially invisible to them. Please use this feature sparingly and wisely. However, if you know they are a spammer than feel free to use this feature. They will not be notified you have blocked them. You can access the “block member” feature by going to the member directory and clicking the “Block” button. You can also go into their profile and click the “Block” link located under their avatar or photo.


 

How do I delete my account?

To delete your account, go to your profile page and on the right-hand side select the “Settings” tab, then select the “Delete Account” option and follow the directions. This will close your account and you will cease to be a member.

 
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Groups


 

What is the difference between public, private, and hidden groups?

All content in public groups (member listing, forum posts, activity stream posts) is available to be viewed by anyone, even viewers who aren’t logged into the site. Public groups are listed in the public directory of groups, and any member of the community can join the group without approval from the group administrators. All content in private groups is hidden from the public and is viewable only by members of that group. Private groups are listed in the public directory of groups, but members of the community must request membership to the group and have that request approved before being able to view group content. All content in hidden groups is hidden from the public and is viewable only by members of that group. Hidden groups are not listed in the public directory of groups. New members must be invited to join by existing group members. Only members who create or join hidden groups will be able to see the group and its forum in the directory. Note: hidden groups are not listed in the directory; however, someone with access to the group URL will be able to see the group name and description, but not any of the group’s content or member information.


 

How do I join a group?

Find the group you wish to join in the Groups Directory [Main menu > Community > Groups]. If it is a public group, click the “Join Group” button next to the group name. You will be automatically joined to the group. If it is a private group, click the “Request Membership” button next to the group name. Your request will be submitted to the group administrator, who will approve or deny your membership. You must wait for a response from the group administrator. If it is a hidden group, you will not be able to see the group at all. You can only access the group at the invitation of the hidden group’s moderator.


 

How do I leave a group?

There are several ways to leave a group. From the group home page, you can click the “Leave Group” button. From your own profile page, click “Groups” and then click the Leave Group button next to the group name. Another way is to go to the Groups Directory page [Main menu > Community > Groups] where you can find the group in the list and then click the “Leave Group” button next to the group name in the list.


 

How do I change my group email notifications?

The creator/administrator of a group determines the default email settings for their group. Anywhere you see your group listed, you can change your email notifications. From your own member profile page, click the “Groups” tab and then click the “change” link next to the email settings by the group’s name. You can do the same from the Groups Directory listing [Main menu > Community > Groups] and from the group home page. There are five email settings: (1) No email, (2) Weekly summary, (3) Daily digest, (4) New topics, and (5) All email.


 

How do I create and manage a group?

To learn more about creating and managing groups, please read the FAQ for Group Administrators located in the Group for Group Admin’s forum.


 

What can I do in a group?

Each group can have its own forum, which is a good way for group members to hold discussions around their areas of interest. Administrators can also post announcements and send messages to the group. In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out new group features such as collaborative documents, file sharing, etc.

 
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Forums


 

What are the different types of forums?

There are two types of forums in the Commons: community-wide forums and group forums. All forums are listed on the Forums Directory page [Main menu > Community > Forums]. All group forums will be shown under the “Group Forums” category on the Forums Directory page. Group forums may be listed as public, private, or hidden, depending on the type of group and whether or not you are a member of the group.


 

How do forums work? And what do the different terms mean: forums, topics, voices, posts, replies, threads, tags, freshness, sticky?

Forums are simply online discussions, much like sending emails back and forth except that all the messages stay in one place. A FORUM can contain multiple TOPICS. Anyone can create a new topic. A topic has a title and a content area. A topic is an original POST in a forum. A topic or post can be followed by multiple REPLIES. All the replies follow the original topic post one after the other in a discussion THREAD. If you reply to the original topic post, your reply will go to the end of the discussion. If you reply directly to one of the other replies in the discussion, then your reply will be inserted and indented immediately after that reply. Threaded replies can be indented five levels deep (a reply to a reply to a reply …). When you click on one of the forums in the Commons, you will see a list of all the topics in the forum. Each topic will show the number of VOICES, POSTS, and an indicator of FRESHNESS. VOICES refers to the number of individuals who are participating in the discussion. POSTS refers to the total number of posts/replies under the topic. FRESHNESS simply shows when the latest activity occurred. When you create a topic post or a reply, you have the option to add TAGS to your entry. Topic tags are simply keywords that become links. All the tags people have added to their posts/replies under a topic will be displayed above the TOPIC TITLE in the forum. Clicking on a TOPIC TAG will display all posts/replies tagged with that keyword. Administrators also have the ability to make posts STICKY which means that they will stick to the top of the forum home page. Normally, topics with the most recent activity move to the top of the list. A sticky topic will supersede all others and stay at the top of the list.


 

How do I create a new topic in a forum?

Simply click on a forum and go the bottom of the forum home page where you will find a form for creating a new topic. It will say, “Create New Topic in {forum}” where {forum} is the name of the forum you are in. Create a topic title, content, and tags if you wish. You may also check a box to be automatically subscribed to the topic and receive follow-up replies sent by email.


 

How do I reply to a topic?

Click on a forum and then select the topic that interests you. Scroll to the bottom of the topic discussion and enter your reply in the box that says, “Reply to: {topic title}” where {topic title} is the topic you are viewing. You can choose to add tags to your reply and check a box to subscribe to follow-up replies by email.


 

How do I reply to someone else’s post in the middle of the discussion thread?

All follow-on posts/replies to an original topic will appear at the bottom of the stack of posts — even if you click the reply link in the upper right-hand corner of a post. This is because we use a “flat forum” and don’t nest responses. We chose to do this because nested responses can quickly become very hard to read beyond three levels of response. Instead of using the reply option, we recommend copying and pasting a link to the post into your response. See the next FAQ response below for how to do this.


 

How do I reference or create a link to someone else’s post/reply in my own post/reply?

Every post/reply in the forums has a unique post/reply number located in the upper-right corner of the post/reply. This is called the PERMALINK and is a direct URL to that post. If you want to reference someone else’s post/reply in your own post/reply, you can right-click on their post/reply number and copy the permalink. Then paste the link into the text of your own post. This is very helpful when trying to follow long or involved discussions with many voices/posts or when referencing a post in another topic or forum.


 

How do I embed media into my post?

You are allowed some limited HTML tags in your forum posts. However, media from some websites can be automatically embedded in your posts. Examples: youtube, vimeo, viddler, soundcloud, slideshare, scribd, photobucket, qik, instagram, hulu, flickr, etc. To embed a youtube video, for example, simply copy and paste the full URL of the youtube video into your post. It will be automatically embedded. Any image can be embedded by using the HTML tag. For other media, you will have to simply create a link to the page/media.


 

How do the “Favorite” and “Subscribe” links on the topics work?

Next to the title of every topic post, you will find “Favorite” and “Subscribe” links. Favorites works like a bookmark. Subscribe will actually send you updates via email. To see your favorites and subscriptions, go to your profile page and select the “Forums” tab on the right-hand side, where you will find the “Favorites” and “Subscriptions” options. Selecting either of these will show you the forum topics you have marked as favorites or to which you have subscribed.

 
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Activity


 

What is the Activity Stream?

The Activity Stream Main menu > Community > Activity is a real-time update of everything happening in the Commons (except Private & Hidden group activities). Members may post updates directly to the Activity Stream from the main Activity page. You will see a box at the top of the Activity Stream page with your avatar and the question: “What’s new, {username}?” (where {username} is your username). An activity stream post can be used like a Twitter-style or Facebook-style status update. Every member of the Commons has their own personal Activity Stream, and all member activity streams are aggregated into the main Activity Stream page. You can access your personal Activity Stream from your profile page. Just click on your avatar anywhere in the site, or from your profile page select the “Activity” tab on the right-hand side. By posting and commenting directly into the Activity Stream, you can carry on a public conversation with other members.


 

What are Activity Filters and how do I use them?

As the number of members in the Commons grows, so will the Activity Stream. It can be useful to use the Activity Filters to see only the updates you want. There are two places where you can use Activity Filters. From the main Activity Stream page (Main menu > Community > Activity you can filter the activity of the entire community. On the upper-right side of the page there are four filters: (1) all members – to see everything, (2) my friends – to see only the activity of your friends, (3) my groups – to see only the activity of groups you are member of, and (4) mentions – to see activity where others have mentioned you. In addition, there is a drop-down selector at the top of the Activity Stream which will filter the activity stream by ten different types of activity. You can also use the Activity Filters from your personal Activity Stream on your profile page. Your personal Activity Filter will also allow you to filter the activity stream by your Favorities – to see only those activity updates which you have marked as Favorites.


 

How do I post to the Activity Stream?

You may post Twitter-style or Facebook-style updates directly to the Activity Stream either from the main Activity Stream page or from your personal Activity Stream on your profile page. When viewing the Activity Stream, you will see a box at the top of the Activity Stream page with your avatar and the question: “What’s new, {username}?” (where {username} is your username). Enter your update/post here and it will show up in your personal activity stream and in the community activity stream. By posting, commenting, and mentioning other members directly in the Activity Stream, you can carry on a public conversation with other members. The Activity Stream is a great way to ask questions or share ideas with the entire community.


 

How do I delete an activity stream post?

Your own updates and activity in the Activity Stream will have a “Delete” button under them. Simply click the “Delete” button and the activity update will be removed from the activity stream. You can delete any activity stream post or automatic update any time you want.


 

How do I comment on an item in the Activity Stream?

Most items/posts/updates in the Activity Stream will have a “Comment” button under them, allowing any member to make a comment. Comments are attached to and displayed with the activity stream item and will be visible in the community Activity Stream. When you comment on another member’s activity, they will be notified.


 

What are @ Mentions and how do I use them?

Mentions in the Commons work just like Twitter-style @username mentions. When posting an update to the Activity Stream or creating a forum post, you can put the @ symbol in front a someone’s username when mentioning them. This will automatically notify them that they have been mentioned and will automatically turn the @username mention in your post into a link to their profile page. Mentions are a way of conducting “public conversations” in the Activity Stream. For example, if you go to someone’s profile page, you will find a link beneath their avatar picture that says, “Public Message.” Clicking on that link will automatically take you to your personal activity stream and prepend their @username into the activity stream update box, where you can continue to write your message. Your update/message will appear in your personal activity stream, in the other member’s activity stream, and in the community activity stream.


 

What are Favorites and how do I use them?

Most items/posts/updates in the Activity Stream will have a “Favorite” button under them, allowing you mark the item as a favorite. Personal Favorites act like bookmarks and will allow you to refer back to the item(s) you marked later. You can also filter your personal activity stream to show only updates on items you have marked as Favorites.


 

How do I use RSS to keep track of site activity feeds?

On the main Activity Stream page (Main menu > Community > Activity) you will find an “RSS” link at the top of the community Activity Stream. Clicking this link will take you to the feed page URL, which you can add to your browser feeds or your preferred RSS reader. Most areas of the Commons generate automatic RSS feeds, so you can easily hack the links to find the feeds you want simply by adding “/feed/” to the end of the URL.

For example, the Activity Stream feed is:

https://synergycommons.net/activity/feed/

so if you want to follow the activity of a particular member, you could simply change the URL to:

https://synergycommons.net/members/{username}/activity/feed/ (replacing {username} with the member’s username)

The same is true with forums and public groups:

https://synergycommons.net/forums/feed/

can be changed to follow updates to a specific forum, such as:

https://synergycommons.net/forums/forum/commons-support-forum/feed/

 
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If your question was not answered here, please post your question in the Commons Support Forum.