Welcome to the new forum! Now what?

This post was originally created by @SepiaAndDust who created the screenshots and instructions. It has been co-opted and adapted by staff for permanent use!

Welcome to the new Discourse forum. You’ll notice that it’s different than the original! Here’s how to use it.

Part 1

You’ve gotten a PM (private message) from Discobot. Read it. If you bookmark it, you’ll start the beginner tutorial. You’ll get a badge for completing it, and it will answer a lot of your questions.

Note: If you’re a TL0–a brand new member–you might want to hold off on the beginner tutorial until you reach TL1 (covered in the next part) because there’s a bug with the tutorial locking up for TL0s.

Once you’ve finished, the first thing you should see is a listing of the categories. This is a good place to land, but you can change it if you want to. It should look something like this:

On some devices, it will look like this:

If that’s not the view you want, you can change it to show different things by using this navigation bar (if you have one):

If your device doesn’t display the navigation bar, use this listbox to select your view:

If you want to change the view permanently, you can do that in your preferences. To get there, click on your avatar in the upper right corner, and you’ll get a drop-down menu.


Choose the little gear wheel to get to your preferences. The screen should look something like this:

Some devices show this, instead:

Click on Interface, and you should see this:

Click on the box below Default Home Page, and you can choose which view you want to see whenever you log in.

You can also play with the various themes and text sizes while you’re here. Don’t forget to Save Changes!

When you’re done, click on the National Novel Writing Month icon in the upper left corner to take you to whichever landing page you’ve chosen.


Browse through the categories and threads until you find a topic that interests you.

Currently, there is no way to get back to the preview site page where you can view your novels and update your word counts. This link will take you there.

That’s the end of part 1.


Part 2

Unless you’ve been poking around and doing stuff–and it’s great if you have–you’re probably at Trust Level Zero (TL0). Doesn’t mean we don’t trust you, just that you haven’t been around long.

Let’s fix that.

To get to Trust Level One (TL1), here’s what you do:

So spend 10 minutes entering 5 topics (4, not counting this one) and reading 30 posts. Seriously–go do that now.

Presto! You’re now a TL1. You can now access all core functions of the board, including muting, flagging, PMs, and uploading images. Becoming TL1 will also unlock some forums (like Diversions & Procrastination).

(You can find more on the various trust levels here.)


You should have gotten a notification when your trust level increased. To view it, click on your avatar in the upper right corner, and you’ll see a dropdown that lists your recent notifications. One of them should be Earned Basic. You might also have a new PM from system that says Thanks for spending time with us. They both go on to explain that you’re now a TL1.


All of those notifications are clickable if you want to find out more.

While you’re there, go ahead and click on the little gear thingee again to get to your preferences.

If your page has a navigation bar like this, click on Badges.

If your page has this, instead, choose Badges from the top box.

That shows you all of the badges you’ve earned so far.

If you want to see all of the possible badges you can earn, look here. You can get started on those right away if you want!


Note: If you’ve put off doing the beginner tutorial because of the bug mentioned in part 1, now would be a great time to do it.

End Part 2.


Part 3

It might be a little while before you can become Trust Level Two (TL2) because one of the requirements is that you’ve read the board 15 different days (they don’t have to be in a row).

So let’s earn some badges!

The easiest one to get is the Read Guidelines badge. All you have to do is read the community guidelines.

Another easy badge to get is Autobiographer. You may have already done so, but if you haven’t, go back to the Preview site, and fill out your profile. Don’t forget to set a profile picture / avatar.

When you come back here to the forums, you should have a new notification that you’ve earned the Autobiographer badge.

You should also try to get the First Like badge. You simply have to like somebody’s post. There are several good threads that you’ll probably like something about in The Coffeehouse. You might like how someone takes their coffee, for instance.

At the bottom of each post, you’ll see something like this:

The heart is greyed out, and that means that you haven’t liked it yet. If there is a number beside it, that indicates that another person has already liked it. Click on the heart below the person’s post.

Now it’s become a healthy pink, and the number has gone up by 1.

If you haven’t liked a post before, you should have now earned the badge First Like. Check your notifications.

Liking a post is one of the other qualifications for reaching TL2, so you’re now one step closer.

But you also have to receive a like, which can be a little harder.

You can’t receive a like unless you post something, so find a thread you have some interest in and write a post.

You do that by clicking the Reply button at the bottom of a post or at the bottom of the thread.

On some devices, that looks like this:

On other devices, it looks like this:

The difference between the two reply buttons is that the greyed out reply button or the curled arrow will reply directly to the post it’s under. The blue reply button at the very bottom replies to the thread in general. So if you’re not replying to one specific person, use the blue one (though it may be some other color, depending on what theme you’re using).

Whichever one you click on, a reply area will be displayed.

It could look like this:

Or it could look like this:

If your device shows the first type, it’ll be blank at first, but once you start typing, an automatic preview should appear.

If you’re seeing the second type, there is no automatic preview.

Type your post, read over it to make sure it’s what you want to say, and click the Reply button.




If you want to cancel the post, you can click the word cancel or on the trashcan icon. You’ll be asked if you want to abandon the post or keep it.


If you abandon, it’ll be erased and forgotten. If you keep it, next time you open the thread, the post you typed will automatically be put back into the reply box.

We’ll go over the editing buttons a little later.


If that was your first post, congratulations! Now you only need to reply to two other topics to meet the posting requirements for TL2. Hopefully, some kind soul will see that this is your first post and will give you a big fat like.

If someone does, you’ll get the Welcome badge for receiving it!

That’s the end of part 3.


Minor correction. On the small editor the live preview is generated. If you don’t have the editor toolbar visible you need to click the hamburger icon next to the downward pointing arrow. On the toolbar you will see an icon that looks like a PC monitor. That icon switches to the preview.

Once the preview is active you’ll see a button labeled Hide Preview on the bottom right. On the small editor it does exactly that so that you continue working on your post. On the larger editor it hides the preview and expands the editor to give you more space to see what you are writing. :slight_smile:


Part 4

Now that you’ve got at least one post under your belt, we can snag a couple more badges.

First, we’re going to edit a post. You’ve done this before if you’ve completed the new user tutorial, but you didn’t get a badge for it.

Simply find a post you’ve made and click the pencil icon at the bottom.


The same reply area from earlier pops up, still filled in with the post you made.

Let’s add a wink emoji. At the end of your post just type in a colon. An emoji map should pop up, allowing you to select one. Choose wink.


Now just press the Save Edit button.




If you click on cancel or the x, you can get out of the edit without changing anything.

You should have two new badges now–Editor for your first post edit and First Emoji for posting your first emoji! Check your notifications.

Next, we’re going to edit a wiki. A wiki, for the purposes of this message board, is a post that anybody who is TL1 or higher can edit. I made one earlier, just to test it out. So go edit it.

You can find it here.

All you need to do is click on the special Edit button, and you can change my post!

It will look like this


or this


That opens the editor, so you can scroll to the bottom of the post and add one of your favorite things (and your name in parentheses to show who edited it).

Then just click the Save Edit button.

And now you’ve got a new badge–Wiki Editor!

You have to be a TL3 to turn a post into a wiki, so there’re no instructions for doing that yet.

And that’s the end of part 4.

1 Like

Part 5

Lots of times, you’ll want to quote what somebody else has said. There are several ways to do that.

The easiest way is to reply to somebody else’s post. Under each post is a reply button. It could look like this


Or it could look like this


When you click on it, the reply area will open. But it’s still blank, so you’ll want to click on the Quote Whole Post button in your editor.

If your reply button looks like the first example, the quote button will already be shown in the editing bar. It looks like this


If your reply button looks like the second example, you can make the editing bar appear by clicking the hamburger icon.


Then you click on the quote button shown above (looks like a speech bubble).

You’ll see that your reply box now contains the post you quoted. Like this

Or like this

Simply skip a line at the very bottom and write your reply. Leave everything that’s in square brackets ([ ]) alone. It should look something like this

or like this

Press the Reply button, and your reply will be posted.

Your reply should look something like this

or like this

Don’t forget to use the direct quote from the person you’re responding to–it makes it much easier to understand what you mean and who you’re replying to, especially in long threads.

We’ll cover other ways to use quotes later on.

End of part 5.


Part 6

Here’s a nifty little thing that I refuse to use. It’s called quote reply. Whenever you highlight some text, it lets you automatically open a new reply with the highlighted text already quoted.


If you click on the grey Quote box, the highlighted text will be entered into a new reply area.


Skip down a line, add your comments, then click the Reply button, just like you would when making any other reply.

I don’t use it, though. It prevents me from copying text and from using dictionary apps and extensions that require highlighting words or phrases.

So here’s how to turn it off.

Go to your preferences page and choose Interface. (See earlier instructions.) Find the checkbox that says “Enable quote reply for highlighted text” and uncheck it.


Don’t forget to save your changes.

Sometimes, you might want to include a quote from a book, a movie, or an article in your post. You do that by using quote tags.

Type your post as usual, but when you get to the quote that you want to use, type [quote]

Then space down once and type in or copy-paste the quote. Space down again and finish with [/quote]


Your reply will look like this when posted


This is the end of part 6.


Part 7

More badges!

The first one you should get is the Licensed badge. You get that by completing the advanced user tutorial. Remember the first tutorial you did? Well, open that same PM and reply with

@Discobot start advanced tutorial

(Update: Used to be start advanced user… dunno when that changed.)

and the advanced tutorial will begin.

The next badge to tackle is First Mention.

To get that badge, you have to mention somebody. So go play the Shoutout Game, and you should get the badge in short order.

The next badge is First Onebox. Go to the My Favorite Trailer thread and follow the simple instructions. You’ll have that badge in no time.

Finally, the Reader badge should be available for those who fully read any thread with over 100 posts (like this one).

There are some technical difficulties with it, though. Seems to be a right place, right time thing.

Update 1: The thread has been closed, so that should resolve issues with getting the Reader badge. Start again with post #1 and read all the way to the bottom. It may take a full day for the system to recognize that you should receive the badge, so be patient. :slight_smile:

Update 2: Some people report waiting times of a week or more.

And that’s all for now.

End of Part 7.


Part 8 (take two!)

Most of the formatting you’ll want to do can be done from the edit bar. But sometimes it’s easier or faster to use code. Discourse supports some BB Code, some Markdown code, and some HTML.

Bold Text
BB Code: This is [b]bold text[/b].
HTML: This is <b>bold text</b>.
HTML: This is <strong>bold text</strong>.
Markdown: This is **bold text**.
This is bold text.

Italic Text
BB Code: This is [i]italic text[/i].
HTML: This is <i>italic text</i>.
HTML: This is <em>italic text</em>.
Markdown: This is *italic text*.
This is italic text.

Bold Italic Text
BB Code: This is [b][i]bold italic text[/i][/b].
HTML: This is <b><i>bold italic text</i></b>.
HTML: This is <strong><em>bold italic text</em></strong>.
Markdown: This is ***bold italic text***.
This is bold italic text.

Underline Text
BB Code: This is [u]underline text[/u].
This is underline text.

Strikethrough Text
BB Code: This is [s]strikethrough text[/s].
HTML: This is <s>strikethrough text</s>.
HTML: This is <strike>strikethrough text</strike>.
Markdown: This is ~~strikethrough text~~.
This is strikethrough text.

Inserted Text
HTML: This is <ins>inserted text</ins>.
This is inserted text.

Deleted Text
HTML: This is <del>deleted text</del>.
This is deleted text.

HTML: This is a superscript: πr<sup>2</sup>.
This is a superscript: πr2.

HTML: This is a subscript: H<sub>2</sub>O.
This is a subscript: H2O.

Small Text
HTML: This is <small>smaller text</small>.
This is smaller text.

Big Text
HTML: This is <big>bigger text</big>.
This is bigger text.

Horizontal Rule
HTML: <hr>

is a horizontal rule.

Keyboard Text
HTML: <kbd>These boxes show keyboard text.</kbd>
These boxes show keyboard text.

Preformatted Text

<pre>This  text     is       preformatted.</pre>
This  text     is       preformatted.

Quoted Text
BB Code:
This is quoted text.
HTML: <blockquote>This is quoted text.</blockquote>
Markdown: >This is quoted text.

Quoted Text With Attribution
BB Code:
This is a quote with attribution.

BB Code: A link to the [url=https://forums.nanowrimo.org/]Forums[/url]
HTML: A link to the <a href=“https://forums.nanowrimo.org/”>Forums</a>
Markdown: A link to the [Forums](https://forums.nanowrimo.org/)
A link to the Forums

BB Code: Send me some [email=johndoe@fakeaddress.com]email[/email]!
HTML: Send me some <a href="mailto:johndoe@fakeaddress.com">email</a>!
Send me some email!

Spoiler Text
BB Code:
[details=“Click to show or hide”]

<summary>Click to show or hide</summary>

Both versions show this:

Click to show or hide


There are many other things that can be done with code, such as posting images, but we’ll save that for later.

That’s all for Part 8.


Part 9

Depending on what device you’re using, it can be difficult to find out who replied to a post. On some devices, a post that has received replies will show this

Click on it, and it’ll show the replies.

But not all devices show that pseudo-nested view.

On some devices, the only thing you can do is look at the replies.

If the reply contains a direct quote, then an up-arrow will be shown

Clicking on the arrow will take you up to the quoted post.

If the reply does not contain a direct quote, then there will be a box showing who the reply is directed to

On some devices, clicking on the box will show the quoted post

On other devices, it’ll take you up to the quoted post.

Yes, it’s complicated.

Sometimes you'll want to quote multiple people in the same post. You do that just like quoting one person, except you do it multiple times.

Click the Reply button (the grey one) for the first post you want to quote. Then click the Quote Whole Post button on your edit bar. Scroll to the next post you want to quote and click that post’s Reply button. Click the Quote Whole Post button on your edit bar again. Continue until you’ve got all the quotes you want.

It’ll look something like this when you post

You can nest quotes, too:

This is what I’m talking about:
Who let the dogs out?
See what I mean now?

will show up as

That’s about all for quoting.

End of Part 9.


Part 10

How can you tell who’s liked your posts?

If it’s your own post, click on the greyed-out heart with a number beside it. That won’t cause you to like your own post or anything (cuz that’s lame), but it will show who liked it.

If it’s somebody else’s post, you can click on the number beside the heart to see who all has liked the post.

If you click on a pink heart, you might unlike the post. There seems to be a time limit on unliking posts, though.

Another way to see who liked your posts is to go to your profile and click on Notifications. Choose Likes, and you’ll get a list of all the likes you’ve received.

To see who you’ve liked, go to your profile and choose Activity. Select Likes, and you’ll see a list of every post you’ve liked.

Update: The two areas used to be called Likes Received and Likes Given. Now they’re both just called Likes. Anyway, the likes you’ve received is under Notifications and the likes you’ve given is under Activity.

And, of course, you’ll also get notifications whenever somebody likes one of your posts. To turn that off or on, go to your profile and choose Preferences. Select Notifications.

Like this:

Or like this:

Change the Notify When Liked setting. Save your changes!

And that’s the end of Part 10. Hope you liked it.


Part 11

You’ve just read something that’s inappropriate. Maybe some snert is acting up. Maybe it’s spam. How do you report it? You flag it.

Flags aren’t normally visible, so you’ll need to click on the three little dots at the bottom of the offensive post.


That will expand the menu to include flags.


Click the flag button, and you’ll be asked why you’re reporting the post.


Only the Something Else choice will allow you to type in a reason for the report.

You’ll get a much faster response to your report by flagging it instead of by trying to call a mod or admin to the thread with a mention. Just flag it and move on.

If enough people flag a post, it will be automatically hidden. That depends somewhat on the Trust Levels of both the poster and the people reporting it. But don’t fear–if your post is hidden that way, you have the option of simply unhiding it.

You’ll receive a PM notifying you that your post was hidden and what you need to do to unhide it.

So all you have to do to unhide the post is to edit it. If it’s hidden a second time, you can’t unhide it. Since you can’t flag the same post more than once, different people will have to flag it before it can be hidden again.

Of course, the administrators will ultimately decide whether the post should be hidden or not.

And yes, there’s a badge for flagging your first post. But please don’t randomly flag posts just to get a badge.

There’s kind of a glitch with the First Flag badge. Make sure that you wait at least 30 seconds after opening a thread before you flag it. Otherwise, you might trigger the anti-spam protection and your flag won’t count.

Here endeth Part 11.


Part 12

So the snert just won’t go away! Well, we’ve got no choice. Gotta block him.

There are two options for that–muting and ignoring. If you mute somebody, you won’t be notified when they post something. If you ignore somebody, you won’t be able to read their posts.

The easiest way to do that is to visit their profile. There will be a button marked Normal.



Click it and change the value to either Muted or Ignored. If you choose Ignore, you’ll be asked for a timeframe. For some reason, there is no Forever and ever, amen selection currently available.


Select one, then click Ignore.

To unmute or unignore someone, just change it back to Normal.

You can also block people by going to your preferences, then selecting Users. Scroll down, and you can either mute or ignore other users.

To mute the user, type the first letter or so of their name into the box under Muted, then select from the menu that appears.


Save Changes when you’re done.

To ignore someone, press the Add button, and another window will open.


Enter part of their name. Remember to wait for the selection menu! If you just type or paste their name in, it won’t work–you have to select from the menu.

Then you select a length of time to ignore them.

Finally, click Ignore.

When you’re done, a list of the people you’ve muted or ignored will appear in the boxes.


To remove someone from the list, press the X beside their name.

Don’t forget to save your changes!

Now, if you ignore someone and if their post is the OP of a thread (the very first post), you’ll still see that they posted, but there won’t be any text. If the post is not the OP, you won’t see that they posted at all.

If you’re ignoring someone and someone else quotes them, you’ll see that they’ve been quoted, but their quote won’t be visible.

You can view the posts of people you’ve ignored. Click on View 1 Hidden Reply (or however many hidden replies there are).



If you want to see how it works in practice, mute and ignore this guy. It’s not a real account, so don’t worry about hurting his feelings.

End of Part 12.


Unlucky 13

You’re not going to want to read every post, especially once November gets here. So let’s silence some of the white noise while making sure that we don’t miss anything we are interested in.

To adjust what you want to see from a category or forum, click the circle button near the top. (If you’ve already changed the settings for some categories, it may not be a circle.)


That will bring up a menu where you can select when to be notifed of changes.



You may have to scroll down inside the menu to see all the options. Pick whichever of these options you prefer:

Watching–You will automatically watch all topics in these categories. You will be notified of every new post in every topic, and a count of new replies will be shown.

Tracking–You will automatically track all topics in these categories. You will be notified if someone mentions your @name or replies to you, and a count of new replies will be shown.

Watching First Post–You will be notified of new topics in this category but not replies to the topics.

Normal–You will be notified if someone mentions your @name or replies to you.

Muted–You will never be notified of anything about new topics in these categories, and they will not appear in latest.

If it’s a forum or a category that you have no interest in, for example, you can set it to Mute. That’ll cut down on the screen clutter. But if you’ve already replied to a thread in a muted forum, you might still get notifications when someone replies to that thread.

You can change that by muting the thread, itself.

At the bottom of each thread is a selection button.



The button, itself, might say Watching, Tracking, Normal, or Muted. Click the button, and change your viewing preference for that particular thread.

For threads, you have these options:

Watching–You will be notified of every new reply in this topic, and a count of new replies will be shown.

Tracking–A count of new replies will be shown for this topic. You will be notified if someone mentions your @name or replies to you.

Normal–You will be notified if someone mentions your @name or replies to you.

Muted–You will never be notified of anything about this topic, and it will not appear in latest.

Set the thread to whatever preference you want.

End unlucky 13

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A post was split to a new topic: FAQ: Common Questions From Beta Testing

Some additions, short and sweet.

How do you change your title? Well, you can’t, not unless you have a badge that can be used as a title. You probably have at least one.

To set your title, go to Preferences >> Account and scroll down to the listbox that says Title.


Click on it and it’ll list all the possible titles you can use. They’re all taken from badges you’ve earned, so everybody’s will look a little different.


Choose which one you want from the selections given. Don’t forget to click Save at the bottom when you’re done.

If you see someone with an unusual title, they’re either on staff or somebody on staff changed their title.

1 Like