In addition to normal forum features, the vBulletin software comes with some social network / community features.
Many of you have found these out and are using them, but I just want to put a shout out to those users who may not have known.
Firstly, each forum member has their own public profile.
Here, forum users can post some small details about themselves, such as a biography, interests and location for other users to view, or you can provide some contact information.
All the details are managed through the "Settings" link in the forum menu frame.
Users also are provided with a 'wall'. Other forum users can leave public messages on your wall, and you can have a public conversation if you so wish.
Many forum users have been quite active in posting on other people's walls.
Secondly, the forum has a friend list feature.
You may come across other forum users who you enjoy talking with, and if you so choose, you can request to be their forum friend. They will be sent a request, and they will then appear on your forum profile, and you on theirs, in the respective friend list. To add a forum user as a friend, visit their profile page, and select "Add as Friend". Friends are a two way connection.
You may also come across users who are generally helpful, or have specialised knowledge with regards to a fan site, a mod, tech support, or gameplay tips, and although you don't often chat, you want to save their name for later. You can choose to save them as a contact. Contacts are a private list for forum users.
The board FAQ has some information:
There is a convenient popup panel for friends and contacts that is available via the "Quick Links" option in the forum menu frame. It allows for easy access to private message your friends and saved contacts.What is the difference between a friend and a contact?
A friendship is a mutual, two-way relationship between two users. It is initiated by one user and accepted by the other.
A contact is a one-way friendship. This could be where the other person does not accept the friendship, a friendship request is pending, or you do not wish to be friends at this time but want to show them as a contact only.
Where is list of friends and contacts displayed?
Your friends and contacts are displayed on the 'Contacts and Friends' page in your User CP. Your friends are also displayed in your profile page.
How can I request a friend, accept a friend or break a friendship?
There are two ways to request a friendship with someone.
The easiest way is to view the profile page of the person you want to become friends with and click the 'Befriend' link.
The other way is to add the person to your contacts first. Then from your 'Contacts and Friends' page ask to be their friend by checking the box next to their name labelled 'Friend'. Next, save the page.
If you know the username of the person you want to be friends with you can send a friend request using the box provided and clicking 'Add Friend'.
To accept a friend, go to your 'Contacts and Friends' page. At the bottom of the page you will see a list of pending requests. Check the box for the requests you wish to accept then check the 'Accept' button and save the changes. If you do not wish to be friends then select 'Reject' instead.
Breaking a friendship can be done in three ways.
From your 'Contacts and Friends' page, uncheck the box for friend for the particular person and save the changes. If you no longer wish them to be a contact either, uncheck both boxes for that person.
In your 'Profile Page', click 'Friends' and then click 'Break Friendship' next to the user's name.
In the other person's profile, click 'Friends' then find your username and click 'Break Friendship'
Thirdly, the forum has the ability to create user-defined social groups.
These groups are generally based around a smaller subset of the community, who are linked by a certain interest. Many community groups are created for shared interests, or perhaps to support a Mod community. Each group provides a way to share pictures, and comes with its own forum where group members can talk.
For example, there is a group called "C&C Mappers", where forum users who have an interest in creating maps for c&c games can come together and share creations, ideas, pictures and solutions to common problems.
The FAQ has further information:
To get started, click the "Community" link, and then "Groups", in the forum menu frame. Groups are sorted by:What is a Group?
A Group is a group of people usually with a particular interest or something else in common. It provides a way of communicating between members as well as sharing photos or other images.
You can get to the list through 'Group Memberships' section on your public profile (?).
The Groups list page displays all groups that have been created. You can list the groups by the number of members, messages or pictures, the group name, when the group was created or by the date of the most recent message posted. You can use the controls provided to search for a group.
How do I join a group?
To join a group, click the group title then click 'Join Group'. When you have joined a group, its name will be shown in your public profile. You must be a logged-in, registered member to join groups.
Can I create my own Group?
As a registered member, you can create your own Group (providing the administrator allows this). Go to the groups page and click 'Create A New Group'. Complete the title and description for your group then select the type. There are three types of groups:
Public - open to everyone. There is no restriction on who can join or who can post messages to it
Invite Only - require an invitation to be sent to join them. Invitations can only be sent by the group creator or forum moderators and administrators. Invitations are sent by clicking 'Pending & Invited Members' at the bottom of the page for that individual group
Moderated - open to everyone to join but messages need to be moderated before they will appear. They are moderated by the group creator and the site moderators and administrators
a) the groups you are a member of,
b) recently updated groups, and
c) recently created groups
Fourthly, users are able to upload pictures to the forum.
These, once uploaded, can be displayed in your public album(s) which are linked on your profile page, or uploaded to a group or forum thread.
Pictures can be shared, linked to or displayed in posts for reference. They can also be commented upon, so users can share ideas, thoughts and opinions regarding that specific picture.
From the FAQ:
Your public photo albums are accessible via the "Community" link on the forum menu frame, via "My Albums".How do I use albums?
As a member, you can create Albums of images that are linked to your public profile. Albums can be created by visiting the User Control Panel, and clicking on the 'Pictures & Albums' link, and then clicking on 'Add Album'.
Each album can have a title ('Joe's Holiday to Nepal'), a description ('A bunch of photos from my recent adventure') and can be of three different types: Public, Private or Profile.
Public albums can be viewed by anyone
Private albums can only be viewed by site staff (moderators, administrators) and your Friends and Contacts (info)
Profile albums are viewable only by you. However, you can use the images to customize your public profile (info)
How do I upload pictures?
Once you've created an album you can upload images to it. Simply view the album and click on 'Upload Pictures'.
You'll have the option to give each picture a caption, and to set one image as the Album cover, which will be displayed on the public profile. To delete an album or edit the title, description or album type, click on 'Edit Album'. To delete an image, or to edit a caption or change the album cover, click on 'Edit Pictures'.
All members who have access to your album images can comment on them, in a similar way to Visitor Messages (more info). You can delete any image comments from your albums, and report inappropriate messages to moderators.
When you have uploaded a picture, you can place it in your posts by using the BB code text that is displayed below the image when you view it at full size.
Finally, users are able to create events on the calendar. In conjunction with social groups, this is a powerful tool for organising community events, such as a tournament, mod gameplay session, just for fun online rounds, multiplayer team battles, and clan events to just name a few.
The FAQ details a bit more:
The calendar is accessible via the forum menu frame.You will see a 'Calendar' link near the top of the forums (if this option is enabled by the administrator). By default, the forums will have one Calendar that can be viewed and used by all members.
Members can add upcoming events that might interest the community. You can also sign up to get email alerts about upcoming events.
How do I add an event to the Calendar?
If you have the appropriate permissions, there will be a box on the Calendar labelled 'Add New Event'. The administrator may have enabled registered members to post public events, but usually this is not the case. It's more likely that you can only post your own private events that can only be seen by you.
There are three types of event that can be added to a calendar:
Single, All Day Event - an event that takes place for the whole of a day.
Ranged Event - events that have a defined start time and end time, not necessarily both on the same day.
Recurring Event - repeat over a set period of time based on certain criteria. Examples would be an event that occurs on the first Monday of every month and an event that occurs every Monday and Wednesday.
Just choose the appropriate option for the event you are adding, fill in the required information, then save the event. It will now appear on the Calendar.
Where do birthdays show?
Birthdays may be shown on the calendar if the administrator has enabled this feature. Your birthday will automatically be shown on the calendar if you have entered the date of your birthday in your profile. Note: if you do not enter the year of your birth when you edit your profile, your age will not be shown on the calendar.
If you enter your birthday, your name will also appear on the main forum page when it is your birthday.
So that's a quick intro to some of the major extra features this forum has, why don't you give it a go and leave someone a message on their wall. Or perhaps have a browse through the community groups and join one you like.
Please remember to be respectful to all members at all times. The EA Terms of Service apply to all forms of EA online services, and inappropriate behaviours will not be tolerated. If you have any concerns about individual forum members, forum moderation, or if you have any other forum related questions, please private message myself or another moderator and I'm sure we will be happy to assist. You can find a list of the moderators here, and their names are coloured when displayed on the forum.
So enjoy all, and I'll see you on the battlefield. ;)
As one of the people that have inspired me wrote:
"Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community."