Fort Refuge - Abuse Survivors Chat and Forums FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

Finding Your Way Around

I'm completely lost...

If you look on top of any Fort Refuge page, you will see an image with a sign saying "Fort Refuge - Abuse Survivors Community" and a navigation bar under it, containing links to main parts of Fort Refuge: Forums, Chat, Library, Playroom, FAQ, and a few others. Feel free to explore them, and use the Navigation Bar to come back home if you get lost.

Fort members communicate with each other mainly through Forums and Chat. This is different from social networking sites such as FaceBook: FaceBook consists of personal profiles of members, while Forums consist of discussions organized by topic. Participating in Forums means responding to existing discussions and starting new ones.

What are Forums?

Forums is basically a storage of discussions members have on various topics. Discussions are called "threads" and are made up of "posts" - a post is one entry by one member. Someone starts a thread by making the first post, another member responds to it with another post, other members chip in as well, adding their posts to the thread - at the end there's a long discussion on a particular topic that was started by one member and that other members contributed to. Every member can view all threads in all folders (except for a few private ones), start them, and respond to them.

All these threads are organized into forum folders, by topic. For example, "New Member Introductions" folder consists of threads started by new members saying 'hello' to the community. If you look at Forums main page (by clicking on "Forum" link in the Navigation Bar), you will see a list of all available folders. Each of them has a description, specifying which topics it contains. For example, there's a folder named "Child Abuse" with a description "Break the silence. As children, many of us were unable to speak about what was happening. Now we can. Topics on any type of abuse inflicted on a child belong here: emotional, physical, sexual, neglect."

Folders, in their turn, are organized into sections, also by topic. For example, New Member Introductions folder is located in "Lounge" section, while Child Abuse folder is located in "What Happened To Us" section, along with folders for discussions regarding other types of abuse.

Once you see a folder that sounds interesting - click on its name. You will see a list of threads it contains. By default, threads with most recent posts are displayed on top. To start a new thread, click on "Post New Thread" button. When you click on a thread's title, you can read the posts it consists of. To respond to a thread (i.e. add a post containing your input to it), click on "Reply to Thread" button.

Aside from the list of folders, Forums main page also has ChatBox (this isn't chat, this is a place to drop a short message for all members to see), "Top 6 Stats" box (which lists latests posts, top posters, and latest posts in Social Groups), and "What's going on" box all the way at the bottom. This box lists all members who are currently using forums, all members who are currently in chat, latest library articles, upcoming events for the next week (such as next hosted chat), birthdays, statistics, and icon legend). These boxes provide quick reference of what's happening at Fort, and most members use this page as a starting point.

Making a Post

Click on Forums link in the Navigation Bar (located on top of every page) and pick the folder you'd like your post to appear in. Folders have short descriptions specifying what are they for. For example, if you want to post an introduction saying hello to our community - we have a folder named "New Member Introductions" under "Lounge" section. If you're not sure where to post - don't stress over it, just go with your best guess. Misplacing posts does not put you in trouble, and moderators will move a post for you if needed.

Once you picked your folder, click on its title. This would open its contents: all the threads that are already there. From here you can go two ways: to start your own thread (discussion) - click on "Post New Thread" button; to respond to an already existing thread - click on its title and then on "Post Reply" button. Type up your entry and click "Submit" button.

But I can't view contents of the folder I like and/or don't see the "Post New Thread" button?

This can happen for a few reasons. First of all, you need to be a logged in registered member to post anywhere aside from Guests folder. Second, some folders are private - you can request access to them after you've been an active member for 30 days. Third, some folders are open to view but closed to post, for example, Announcements; if you have a question regarding anything you read in those folders - post it in Questions & Comments.

I've just made a post, but it's not showing up in the folder I placed it in?

This means your post is being moderated, i.e. it needs to be screened by a moderator before it's viewable to public. It's not gone, it's just hidden until a moderator gets to it. First few posts of new members are moderated to prevent spam - once a moderator screens them, your account will be approved and your further posts will start appearing instantly. All posts made in Guests folder are moderated as well - even if you are a long-standing member of our community. Finally, if you were placed on moderation for guideline violations, all of your posts are screened until your moderation status is lifted.

Post Icons, Thread Prefixes, Smilies, and Other Formatting

How do I format my posts and messages?

When posting, you may wish to include some formatting such as bold text, italic text and underlined text, center your text on page, use a different color, size, or style of your font, etc. Adding formatting to your post can be done in two ways: using clickable controls similar to those found in most word processors, or typing formatting commands in BB code. Clickable controls are located just above the box where you type up your post or message; simply highlight the portion of your text that you want to format and click the button; for example, the B (bold) button would make your highlighted text bold. BB code is a special set of codes similar to HTML that can be used in posts to the board. To see the full list of BB code tags that can be used on this site and examples of their use, click here.

What are post icons?

Post Icons are tiny images that appear in the title of your post. If your post is the first in a thread, then they also display in the thread listings. Available icons can be found below the message box on the 'New Post' and 'New Thread' pages. Simply select the icon that you wish to use and it will be displayed before your thread title.

What are thread prefixes?

Thread Prefixes can be used to further identify your thread as containing a particular content. You can find available prefixes in a dropdown menu above the title box. It is customary to use them as a TW (trigger warning) when content of your thread or post would not normally be expected in the folder it's in. For example, if you wish to post a poem about SI in SI folder - you don't need to use a "TW-SI" prefix, as it's self-understood that a post in SI folder may contain SI content. However, if you wish to post this poem in Poetry folder instead - do use a prefix, as members would not expect explicit SI content while browsing poetry.

What are smilies?

Smilies are icons that can be used in your posts to express emotions or feelings. You might wish to use these to show that you are happy, sad, joking, or embarrassed. For example, if you are telling a joke or being sarcastic you may wish to add a wink instead of writing 'this is a joke'. The basic smilies are the same as what you would find on any instant messenger system. They are made up of a combination of characters which often show the basis of the resulting image. For example, :) is converted to a smiley face and :( to a sad face or frown. Tilt your head to the left to see this in action as these consist of two eyes and a mouth either smiling or frowning.

Smilies can be found to the right of the message box on the 'New Post' and 'New Thread' pages. Clicking on one of them will automatically insert it into your message. As an alternative, you can also type the character combinations for the smilies directly into your post. A full list of the smilies and their character combinations used on this forum can be found here. If you wish to prevent the text in your message from being converted into smilies, you can select 'Disable Smilies' checkbox under the message box.

Posting Images, YouTube Videos, and Other Attachments

How do I add an image to a post?

To include an image that is located on another website, copy the full URL of the image, (not the page on which the image is located), and either press the 'Insert Image' icon or type [img] before the URL and [/img] after it, ensuring that you do not have any spaces before or after the URL of the image.

To include image (or another file) as an attachment, you need to upload it first. We allow the following file types: bmp, gif, jpe, jpg, png, psd, pdf, txt, doc, and zip. Maximum size depends on file type and varies between 20kb and 100kb. To upload a file, click on 'Manage Attachments' button below or 'Attachment' icon above the message box on 'New Post' or 'New Thread' page. Clicking either of these will open a new window for uploading attachments. Click on 'Browse' button, locate the file you wish to upload, and click 'Upload'. Once the upload is completed, the file name will appear below the input boxes in this window. You can then close the window to return to the 'New Post' screen. The files you upload are stored until you delete them, and can be attached to multiple messages. To attach one of them to a new post, click on 'Attachment' icon and select the file you wish to attach from the list of all the files you have uploaded.

How do I post a YouTube Video?

Open the YouTube video you'd like to post. See it's URL: it should look something like Copy the last portion of it (in this example it would be "JFwCCL0Vh6U"), and paste it into your message. Then highlight it and press on 'YouTube' button above the message box. This will surround it with YouTube BB code, so it would look like this: [youtube]JFwCCL0Vh6U[/youtube]. Preview your post to see if the video would display correctly.

Creating and Participating in Polls

You may notice that some threads include a section where you can vote on an issue or question. These threads are called 'polls'.

How do I create a new poll?

When you post a new thread, you have the option to add a poll to it. This allows you to ask a question and specify a number of possible responses. Other members may then vote for the response they wish, and the results of the voting will be displayed in the thread. An example poll might be:

What is your favorite color?

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Sky-blue
  • Pink with yellow spots

To create a poll when you post a new thread, simply click the 'Yes, post a poll with this thread' checkbox at the bottom of the page, and set the number of options you want to include (the example above has six options).

When you click the submit button, you will be taken to the poll creation page, where you can specify the question and the list of options that members can select as responses to your question. You may also want to specify a time limit for the poll, so that (for example) it stays open for voting for only a week.

How do I vote in a poll and view the results?

To vote in a poll, simply select which option you want to vote for, and click the 'Vote!' button. Sometimes you can choose more than one option. You can see the current results for a poll before you vote by clicking the 'View Results' link. Voting in a poll is entirely optional. Note whether or not the poll is public. If it is, other members will be able to see how you voted. Once you have voted in a poll, you will not be able to change your vote later, so place your vote carefully.

Editing, Deleting, and Moving Your Posts

Can I edit, delete, or move a post I just made?

You have 45min to edit your thread title, 25min to edit your post, and 1hr to add a poll to your thread. Click the Edit Post button by the post you wish to modify. The time limit is enforced in order to preserve consistency of forums: it provides ample time to fix typos or add information, but blocks members from modifying posts that were already viewed and possibly responded to by others.

Can others edit my posts?

Administrators and moderators may edit, delete, or move your post. They might do so if they feel your post would be better placed in a different folder, if it violates our guidelines, or if you ask them to edit the post for you. Moved posts usually show a redirect link.

Thread Tools, Tags, Ratings, and Thanks

What are thread tools?

At the top of each thread, there is a link called 'Thread Tools'. By clicking on this link, a menu will appear with a number of options:

  • Show Printable Version - this will show you a page with the thread post content in a reduced graphics format that is more 'printer friendly'.
  • Email this Page - if you think the thread may be interesting to someone else, you can forward a link to it to their email address. Please note though - our forums are private, so your friend will only be able to view the link you sent them if they themselves are a Fort member. Anyone else will see an error page.
  • Subscribe (or Unsubscribe) from this Thread - by subscribing to a thread, you will receive periodic email updates on recent activity within it. Click here for more information on subscriptions.
  • Adding a Poll - if you started the thread, you can add a poll to it with this option. Click here for more information on polls.

What are tags?

Tags are a useful way to search for threads with similar subject matter and content. This complements the normal search system, which searches only for certain words or phrases and/or posts by specific users. To add tags to a thread, click on "Add Tags" button on the bottom of the screen. For instance, if the thread is about domestic violence - you can add the tag 'domestic violence' to the tag list. But you could also add tags like 'physical abuse', and 'abusive husband' (depending, of course, on the nature of the thread). This will allow members to find this thread when they search for any of these words, whether or not the thread itself contains them.

How do I use tags?

Tags are displayed in a box near the bottom of a thread page. Clicking on a tag will allow you to view other threads that have the same tag - and which may be related. Clicking on the word 'Tags' in the top of the box will take you to an overview page with a 'tag cloud.' This cloud allows you to see which tags are the most popular - the larger the word, the more times it has been used on threads within the board. There is also another tag cloud on the advanced search page that shows you the tags that have been searched for (or clicked on) the most.

What are ratings?

The forums allow you to rate threads between 1 and 5 stars. To do so, click on the 'Rate Thread' link at the top of the thread viewing page, and choose the number of stars you feel best represents the quality of the thread. Once enough votes are cast for a thread, stars will appear next to its name in the listings, visible to all members. These show the average vote, and can be an easy way to see which threads are worth reading.

What is the "Thanks" button under each post?

Thanks buttons allow you to express your appreciation of a particular post. You might not want to rate the whole thread as excellent, recommending it to members, but still be grateful to one post within it: because it contains valuable insight, is supportive and made you feel good, or you're glad to see an update on a situation you were concerned about. It is also a great way to let people know you've read this post without having to post a response to it. Pressing the "Thanks" button displays your name under the post within the list of other members who thanked it, and adds positive reputation to the member who made this post.

Searching Forums and Threads

How do I search for something?

To quickly find a thread or post of interest anywhere on the bulletin board, click on the 'Search' link in the navigation bar at the top of most forum pages. Then, type in the keyword or phrase you wish to search for, and select either 'Show Threads' or 'Show Posts' to view the results. By selecting posts, you will be shown only the actual post in which the search word appears.

For more control over the search, select 'Advanced Search' from the drop-down box. The advanced search page allows you to restrict your search to individual forums, find posts or threads by user, or return results based on tags (?). There are also options to find posts from a certain date, or threads with a certain number of replies.

How do I search a specific forum or thread?

If you are browsing a forum, you can quickly search for a thread or post within it by clicking on the 'Search this forum' link near the top of the page (it's above the list of threads). You can also search for individual posts within a thread by clicking on the 'Search this Thread' link at the top of any thread view page.

Viewing New Posts

How can I see the latest posts?

If you go to Forums main page and scroll all the way down, you'll see Icon Legend. Folder Icons change depending on whether the folder contains posts you haven't read yet. If you click on a folder title, you'll see the list of all threads it contains, with newest ones on top. Those that contain new posts will be displayed in bold letters.

As an alternative, there's a "New Posts" link in the Navigation Bar, which gives you a listing of all threads that have been created or updated since your last visit. New threads (or threads with new posts) will not be marked as read until you have actually read them.

On the bottom of forums homepage there's a link "Mark Forums Read", that marks all threads and posts as if you had read them already. Many of our members find this option helpful: there is about 100 new posts every day, you can't possibly keep up with them all, so it helps to be able to mark everything read and start from a clean slate once in a while.


Can I change the way Forums look?

Yes! You can change the styling of the entire Forums by using the style changer in the bottom left corner of any page. This lets you choose different themes which change the color scheme and appearance of the Forums. If you prefer a theme other than our default one - you can save it through you Settngs, so that your preference will be remembered and you won't have to keep switching to your favorite theme each time you log in.

Forums and Threads Display Options

Can I hide a section of Forums from view?

Yes. We have 65 folders, naturally you might want to ignore some of them. Though you can't pick and chose particular folders, you can hide entire sections if you wish. To hide a section, click on a small arrow button on the right of it's title. To unhide a section, click on that arrow button again. This only affects your view, and nobody will know which sections you're ignoring.

Can I rearrange threads within a folder in a different order?

Threads can be ordered in many different ways. The default is to have the thread with the most recent activity at the top. But you can easily change this ordering, for example to have the thread with the most posts at the top, or the highest rating. Simply click on the appropriate column heading at the top of the list of threads (Thread, Thread Starter, Rating, Last Post, Replies or Views). You can also reverse the sorting order by clicking the arrow next to the name of the active option. (Note that 'sticky' threads will always be at the top no matter how you change the viewing options).

Multi-page views

When there are more threads to display than will fit on a single page, you may see the 'Page' box, which contains page numbers. This indicates that the list of threads has been split over two or more pages. This method of splitting lists of items over many pages is used throughout the Forums; for example, long threads are also split up into a few pages.

What are sticky threads?

'Sticky' threads are created by moderators or administrators (?), and remain 'stuck' to the top of the listing, even if they haven't had any posts recently. Their purpose is to keep important information visible and accessible at all times.

Can I change the order of posts within a thread?

You have a choice over how you view threads. When you're in a thread, look at the top bar. On the right hand side you'll see 'Display Mode'. Click on this and it lets you change how posts are ordered.:

Linear Mode - posts are displayed chronologically, usually from oldest to newest. Posts are shown in a flat mode so that many posts can be viewed simultaneously. It is possible to change the ordering by changing your preferences in the User CP

Threaded Mode - a tree is shown along with every post. This shows you the relationship each post has to the others. It's easy to see who responded to whom. Only one post is shown at a time. By clicking on a single post in the post tree, the page will show that post and all posts made in response to it.

Hybrid Mode - This is a mixture of the linear and threaded modes. The post tree is displayed as in the threaded mode, but many posts are shown at the same time as in the linear modes.

Keeping Track of Threads or Forum Folders You're Interested In

What are subscriptions?

With new posts and threads getting created 24/7, it can be hard to keep track of threads you wish to follow. Subscriptions are a way of handling this problem: you select threads or forum folders you are interested in, and choose how to be notified about updates - for example by having them listed in your User CP and receiving email updates for each one.

How do I subscribe to a thread or a forum folder?

Click the 'Thread tools' or 'Forum Tools' link on top right and select 'Subscribe to Thread' or 'Subscribe to Forum' (If the forum that you are subscribing to has any child forums (forums within a forum) then your subscription will be extended to these automatically). You will then have the option to choose the subscription mode:

  • Instant Email Notification - only available for Threads; sends an email as soon as a new post is added to the thread. This is not sent for every reply and will only be sent once until you revisit the forums.
  • No Email Notification - lists the subscription in your User CP only. You do not receive any notifications about updates to the thread or folder you subscribed to.
  • Daily Email Notification - sends one email a day with the list of all the updates to the thread or folder you subscribed to. If there are no updates, you will receive no email.
  • Weekly Email Notification - sends one email per week in the same way as the Daily Email Notification.

How do I manage Subscriptions?

Thread subscriptions can be sorted into group folders for easy management; for example, you can create a folder 'Threads I started', to keep track of all your threads in one place, without having to search for them through the entire forums. You can create as many folders as you wish by going to 'Edit Folders' in the 'Subscribed Threads' section of your User CP. To add a new folder, enter the folder name into one of the blank boxes and save the page. To delete a folder, delete the folder name. Editing a folder is done by simply editing the folder name in the list.

You can also manage your individual subscriptions by clicking 'List Subscriptions' under 'Subscribed Threads' in your User CP. Here you can select which subscriptions you wish to manage and delete them, move them to another folder, or change their subscription type.

Forum subscriptions are not managed through the List Subscriptions page and are shown on the User CP page where they contain the option to unsubscribe from the forum.

Shorthand Abbreviations Fort Members Sometimes Use

What do all these "tw", "ptsd", and "sui" mean?

3d - things that are not online, aka 'real life'.
aka - also known as
bbiab - I'll be back in a bit
bc - because
bf - boyfriend
bpd - borderline personality disorder
brb - i'll be right back
btw - by the way
did - dissociative identity disorder
ed - eating disorder
gf - girlfriend
gl - good luck
idk - i don't know
imho - in my humble opinion
irl - in real life
jk - just kidding
lmao - laughing my @$$ off
lol - laughing out loud
mpd - multiple personality disorder
np - no problem
npd - narcissistic personality disorder
ocd - obsessive-compulsive disorder
od - overdose
omg - oh my god
pdoc - psychiatrist
ptsd - post traumatic stress disorder
ra - ritual abuse
rip - rest in peace
rofl - rolling on the floor laughing
sa - sexual abuse
sh - self-harm
si - self-injury
sra - satanic ritual abuse
stfu - shut the f up
sui - suicide
t - therapist or therapy
tbh - to be honest
tc - take care
tgc - take good care
tmi - too much information
ttyl8r - talk to you later
tw - trigger warning
ty - thank you
tysm - thank you so much
wtf - what the f
wth - what the heck
xoxo - hugs and kisses
yw - you're welcome

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