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Administration Options Details & Help

As you may have noticed, VoyForums has quite a large quantity of options available to the Administrator of a forum. We try to provide each and every new addition as an option to the user -- it takes some extra time, energy, thought, and creativity, but we feel it is worth it to give you the choice instead of making it for you. While we're at it, we make a simple default setting so the Novice-user can feel comfortable without the necessity of modifying the advanced options.

We've tried to provide separate sections to make things easier; for instance, a Novice can easily select a color-name from a pull-down menu in the General Settings while an Advanced user can adjust Hex-values by hand, or modify the raw HTML used in their forum. Along with this, we have provided a Themes selector where any admin can pick the general looks of their forum, and then customize it by hand.

In taking these extra steps we have succeeded in becoming one of the most powerful and configurable message board providers on the Internet. Our goal in doing this is not for purposes of competition, but we believe in freedom of choice, and try to extend that to everyone. Just because something may be powerful does not mean only the technically-minded should have access to it.

  1. Logout: Takes out out of the administration area and removes your admin area cookie so someone else on your computer cannot access your forum configuration.
  2. General Forum Settings: Settings needed by almost everyone. This includes your e-mail address, forum name, descriptions, and also simple pull-down menus for selecting colors. (See Theme Selector (next) and also Display Settings).
  3. Theme Selector: With the Theme Selector you can choose a name of a group of settings. This is not a setting itself, but is really numerous other settings we have clumped together under a single name. By choosing a theme you are really setting a large number of other options which we have configured for you for simplicity. This is also a good way to check out samples of forum looks for both the Novice and Advanced user, and the settings can further be customized by hand in the various other configuration areas.
  4. Banner/Logo Theme: Here you may choose what you wish the top of your forum to look like, including the style of the VoyForums logo as well as disabling Banners with our No-Ads option.
  5. Category Manager: If you want users to be able to find you in our VoyForums Categories you can use this area to pick the categories you wish to appear in.
  6. Admin Password: Here you can change the password you use to enter the Administration Area. If you are interested in passwords for users visiting your forum, see Access/Password Security.
  7. No-Ads Option: Many users have requested to pay a fee to disable our banner ads on their forums. Once you purchase the No-Ads Option your forum will display the special No-ads Theme chosen from the Banner/Logo Theme section.
  8. Display Settings: A large collection of configuration options affecting forum looks. Many of these are advanced options. If you Backup your Forum Settings you can feel free to fiddle with these options without worry -- you can always restore your settings.
  9. Access/Password Security: You can set passwords to block users from reading your forum, and even separate passwords if you wish to allow users to read, but not write (without a password). In this area you can also ban users from posting to your forum by their Hostname or IP address. You may also ban users from viewing your forum, but you are limited to using the IP address. This area also has a couple of options related to security, as well as the very important Contact form setting.
  10. Main Index & Archive: Here you may configure various limits to impose on your forum, including the maximum number of threads in a single index, maximum messages, and maximum total size of all messages. Also available are some other advanced options.
  11. CSS, tables, & borders: This area is for controlling the looks and function of your forum pages. It is especially useful for forums set to a Table-style. The help on this area is included in the area itself for your convenience (and therefore, not here).
  12. Tables/Borders: CAUTION: This is a highly-advanced configuration area, even if you know what you're doing! Here you can configure the HTML for your forum's Post a Message box as well as customize settings for forums set to a Table style.
  13. Special Features: Enable/disable a special page containing some status on your forum's archives/messages. If we have any other special pages they will be placed here.
  14. Message Manager:
    Main Message Index, Archive #X: The Message Manager allows you to delete messages and is also the same area where you may approve/disapprove messages for public display. You can do this individually in the main index as well as the archives. Message approval is not only needed for forums set to Moderated (settable in the General Forum Settings area), but may also be used by any forum to disapprove a message from being seen by the public, without deleting the message completely.
  15. Counters: View/reset the activity counters of your forum.
  16. Backup Forum Settings: This makes a copy of your forum settings -- Pretty much everything other than your messages is considered a forum setting, including your email address, password, etc. This is an extremely convenient tool because it allows you to back up your settings, then make any changes you wish to your configuration -- you can then restore all your settings back to the last-backup.
  17. Backup Message Database: This compresses all your messages and your index and archive configuration and stores it in a backup copy. You should use this option periodically to keep a recent version of your forum. This backup can be restored in case of message database problems.
  18. Rewrite Message Database: Over time, adding, removing, and archiving messages can leave wasted space scattered around your message database file. By rewriting all records into a new database, this effectively removes this wasted space, thereby decreasing the size of the file, the amount of memory (RAM) used, and the amount of "jumping" that must be done when VoyForums is reading messages in your forum -- All of this causes excessive system load, so periodically rewriting your database can help keep VoyForums efficiency up.

    You can see how much space was saved by comparing your Message Database Size before and after the rewrite. You don't need to do this too often, and we are working on ways to run this automatically.

  19. Restore Forum Settings from Backup: This takes your backed-up settings and overwrites your current settings. (See Backup Forum Settings).
  20. Restore Message Database from Backup: This uncompresses your backup copy of your message database and overwrites your live-version (the version you see when visiting your forum). The restore does not remove your backup copy, so restoring twice in a row, for instance, will have the same effect as restoring once.
  21. Rebuild Messages: Sometimes message databases may get damaged. The Rebuild Messages option runs a special program which attempts to read every single message in your forum. Once it reads them all, it re-organized them into threads, and then writes them out into your main message index. The last step it performs is to re-distribute the messages into the archives, if needed. While this is a considered a safe feature to use, and actually is used to FIX problems, we still recommend making a Backup of your message database prior to using this option.
  22. Alternate Rebuild Messages: Sometimes there is a rare type of corruption in the database system we are using. The normal "Rebuild Messages" option uses a technique of restoring your messages where it reads every record, sequentially, from the message database. This technique fails with this particular type of corruption because of an infinite loop--where the Rebuild program would repeatedly process the same messages over and over and over...

    The Rebuild Messages program catches this error and aborts the process, so it cannot finish "looking" for all your messages, and will therefore fail to rebuild your forum message database. To address this issue we have written this secondary program using an alternative technique to find and restore your message database.

    The Alternate program tries to tell what messages to read based on the information found in your index/archive lists of threads.

    While the standard Rebuild option re-creates your index based on all the messages it finds, the alternate option can only restore the messages it finds in your main index and archive indexes. Once it does this, it fixes the "looping bug"--after which, you should run the normal Rebuild Messages option!

  23. Reset Operation Checkpoints: A few forum operations, like the Rebuild Messages tools, set "Checkpoints" in order to determine if the operations were successful (or if they terminated abnormally).

    With these checkpoints we can see the operation in which the failure occurred, and also prevent further changes from being performed which could make problems worse. The Reset Operation Checkpoints feature removes these checkpoints and may be needed to continue running other forum tools, including, for instance, the Alternate Message Rebuild option.

  24. Perform Rotation (if needed): Tests to see if any messages need to be archived and performs a rotation/archival if it is.
  25. Force Index Rotation: Moves your entire main index into archive 1. Similar to if you have "Index Rotation" enabled and your main index reaches a maximum limit set in the Main Index & Archive area.
  26. Delete Forum: This completely removes your forum when you don't want it anymore. Do NOT use this option unless you wish to completely delete your forum from our system. See Clear all messages if you only wish to remove your messages.
  27. Hand-sort Threads: This area gives you direct access to modify the lists of threads maintained in your main index and archives. Its primary use is for low-activity forums who wish to sort the messages/announcements/etc. in their index for better display. This sorting will not last through a message Rebuild, which sorts threads based on the message time or last-activity date.
If you feel some important information/help is missing and should be included on this page, please contact us from the VoyForums Exchange.

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