Moderator Forum Creation Guide

For large social games such as Survivor where the primary mechanic is social interaction.
Haschel Cedricson
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Joined: May 14, 2007
Location: Cascadian Subduction Zone

Post Post #0  (ISO)  » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:28 pm

I made a guide for people who want to moderate an LSG but are daunted by the prospect of making an off-site forum. There may be other ways of doing some things but this is what has always worked for me. Enjoy.

Setting up a forum with ZetaBoards is relatively simple. First go to http://zetaboards.com and click “Register Today”. Choose a name for your board, a name for your moderator account, and your forum will be created. It should look something like this:

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To modify things, we need to go into the Admin Control Panel. There’s a link that says “Admin CP up near the top of the screen. Go ahead and click on it.

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Since this is your first visit to the ACP, you’ll be asked to answer some questions about your board.

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Set the default time zone, choose a category (or the last radio button for “No Category”), and toggle “Display board in directory” to “No”. That last thing will prevent looky-loos who aren’t part of your game from stumbling upon it.

Let’s get your comoderators on board. On the sidebar under “Users & Groups” is and option called “Pre-Register Member”. Eventually we will use this to add your players to the game, but for now we’ll just make the mod accounts.
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The email address can be literally anything you want; nobody will ever need to use it. Every single player in one of my games has had hc@ms.net as an email address with no issues. For your comods, change the Group to “Admins”. This will allow them to access the ACP and let them see everything on the board.

A quick note about account names: They need to be at least three letters long. You can give an account a shorter name and everything will appear to work fine, they'll be able to log in and everything, but everybody else will be unable to send them PMs.

Now let’s add some subforums. On our sidebar is a section called “Forum Sections”. Most LSGs divide the subforums into groups: Public forums, tribal forums, confessionals, Mod/Spec areas, and an area for future/defunct tribes. Your forum was created with “News & Discussion” and “Staff Only”. These are easy to rename. For the other stuff, click on “Create Section” and then “Category”.
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Add a “Tribes” category, and then repeat for any others you want. While you are here, go ahead and rename the premade categories to whatever you want.

Your categories are done, but there’s nothing in them yet. Fix that by adding a Standard Forum by clicking on the “Standard Forum” button at the bottom of the Section Manager. You will see this screen appear:
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Go ahead and fill this out for each forum you wish to make. Most of the buttons can be left the way they are. If you are making a confessional, toggle “Posts count towards a user’s personal count” to “No”. If you want to add an image, BBCode will NOT work; you must use HTML. The correct tag is “<img src=’YOURIMAGEHERE.COM’>

At the bottom is where you can determine which users are allowed to see a forum. For now click all five boxes for the Staff permission mask and leave the rest blank; there is another way to set up permissions for users that we will cover later.
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When you’re done your board will look similar to this:
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Not bad, but it still looks horribly generic. Time to add some color. The easiest way to do this is to use a theme. Go to http://support.zathyus.com/forum/1000728/ and see if any of the options there strike your fancy. When you find one you like, head back to your ACP and click on “Themes” in the sidebar.
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You’ll see your board already has the default theme, called Zeta Original. We want a new one, so click on “Create a new theme based on Zeta Original”. Give it a name, and then your Skin Manager will look like this:
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The new theme is exactly like the old one right now. Go to the skin you liked and want to apply. There should be two parts of code. The first one should be labeled “CSS” or “Appearance/CSS” or something like that. Copy it, click on “Theme Appearance” in the ACP, and paste that entire block of text into the Edit CSS window.
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The second block of code should be called “Layout” or something similar. Copy it, go to the “Theme Layout” page in the ACP, and paste that in there.
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Set the “Default Theme” option to your new one and go back to your main forum index.
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Now we’re starting to look good. Just a few more graphical changes and our forum will be nice and pretty. The most important one is replacing that giant "Zetaboards" with our own logo. Go back to the Theme editor in the ACP. This time we want "Edit Theme Settings.
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All we need to do here is replace that URL with the URL of the logo we want to use.
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There is only one more area under the Theme editor, and if you want to you can leave it completely alone. However, if you want to change any of the default buttons or pictures you are certainly free to do so. The most common change moderators make here is changing the New Post and No Unread Post icons from folders to something else of your choice. If this appeals to you, click on Edit Theme Images...
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...and choose "Edit Images" for Forum Markers.
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At this point you can replace the default folder pictures to anything else you want. In general the New Post marker should be flashy or noticeable, while the No New Posts marker should be a more subdued version of the New Post marker.
Complete these changes and now your forum is almost done from a graphical standpoint.
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We also still have the default favicon for our forum, which looks a little lazy:
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To change that go back to the main theme page and look for the "Board Favicon" section.
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Uploading a file is mostly straightforward, but there are a few catches. Your favicon should be only 16x16 pixels, which is not a lot. Also, the size needs to be smaller than 4 KB. Any larger and it will fail to upload. ICO files are the best but most other file types should work.
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Upload it and the favicon will be changed:
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Now it's time to add your players. There are basically three things that have to be created here. Each player will have an account. Each account will have it's own permission mask that controls which subforums are visible to each player. And finally, each account will belong to one of the groups you set up, which will determine the color of their name.

The easiest way to do this while minimizing backtracking is to start by making the groups. Go back to your ACP. Under Users and Groups is an option called Groups:
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Click on the Make New Group button.
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That's a daunting amount of options but we really only care about a few of them. Give your group a name, and in the prefix/suffix boxes you can add BBCode to change the color or text formatting. If you want to disable editing posts or changing avatars you can go ahead and toggle those buttons, but for the most part you can get away with only the name and the prefixes. There is an option for Group Permissions, but during Survivor: League of Legends we all learned the hard way that this feature was bugged occasionally; do not use it or you will risk permissions going horribly wrong. Whe you are finished the Group Manager will look something like this:
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Now it's time for permission masks. A lot of moderators worry about this task but it is actually very straightforward. In the ACP under Users & Groups there is an option called Forum Access. This will bring up the Permissions Manager.
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Go ahead and click Create New Permission Set.
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We are going to create a permission mask for the player account Mario. Give the mask the same name as the player, in this case "Mario". We want him to be able to view and read the announcements subforum; view, read, and reply in the challenge subforum; and do everything in his tribe subforum and his confessional. Click on the appropriate boxes.
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When you are finished, your mask will show up in the Permissions Manager. If Mario ever gets eliminated or swaps tribes, all you need to do is click "edit" on the Mario permission mask and check or uncheck the appropriate boxes.
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As you can see, the permission mask isn't assigned to an actual player. To fix that, first we go back to Pre-Register Member, exactly like we did for the comods. The only difference is this time we add the player to one of the groups we made earlier. Don't forget to make sure the account name needs to be at least three characters long.
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Next click on "Member Search" and search for your new player:
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Select "Edit" and a host of options will pop up:
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We need to assign the Mario account to the Mario permission mask. To do that simply highlight "Mario" under the "Alternate Permission Set" list. This will allow the player to see all of the subforums (and only the subforums) we defined while making the permission masks. At the bottom of the page you can post the URL for an avatar. For some reason Zetaboards will add the "http://" part of the URL automatically, so make sure you don't include it yourself or you will end up with "http://http://IMAGENAME.png" and it will show up as a broken image. If you want to change the default avatar size, you can go to Board Preferences...
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...and then Profiles...
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...where you will see sliders allowing you to adjust the size. If you upload an avatar that is larger than these settings it will be automatically shrunk.

Approve the changes and then you are done! To doublecheck your work, you can try logging in as the new player.
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Repeat the permission mask -> pre-register member process for each player in your game. For spectators they can all share one Spectator permission mask.

At this point your forum is pretty much built! Finish up your challenges, write your posts, and enter your game into the Queue!

*******
FAQ

How do I get that cool countdown timer?
There is an optional script that can be added to your forum. Scripts will generally be added to the Board Template page under the Themes Sidebar and looks like this:
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The code you want is
Code: Select all
<style>#name_history { display:none }</style>

<center><div id="sidebar">
<div id="portal">
<div class="portal_box">
<h1>CHALLENGE STARTS IN</h1>
<div class="portal_content"><h1><script language="JavaScript">
TargetDate = "9/02/2017 5:00 PM PDT";
BackColor = "none";
ForeColor = "#000000";
CountActive = true;
CountStepper = -1;
LeadingZero = true;
DisplayFormat = "%%D%% Days, %%H%% Hours, %%M%% Minutes, %%S%% Seconds";
FinishMessage = "THE CHALLENGE HAS STARTED";
</script></h1>
<script language="JavaScript" src="http://scripts.hashemian.com/js/countdown.js"></script></div>
</div>
</div>
</div></center>
and it gets pasted directly into the "Above the Board" box:
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Just update the header, finish message, and time whenever you need to change the timer. Be careful about time zones, especially if your game straddles the beginning or end of Daylight Savings Time.

The Quick Reply box is at the bottom of the PM page and it is awful. How do I get it on the top?
Paste this script into the Below the Board part of the Board Template.
Code: Select all
<script type="text/javascript">
//<![CDATA[
$('#pm_quick_reply').css('margin', '10px 0').closest('form').insertAfter('#pm_viewer');
//]]>
</script>

Image

Can I disable the Top 10 Posters feature?
Technically no, but you can hide the link to it. Post the following code in the "Above the Copyright" part of the Board Template.
Code: Select all
<script type="text/javascript">
//<![CDATA[
$(function() {
$("#stats td.c_foot a:contains('Top 10 Posters Today')").remove();
});
//]]>
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
//<![CDATA[
$(function() {
$("#stats td.c_foot a:contains('Top 10 Overall Posters')").remove();
});
//]]>
</script>

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How do I change the default number of posts or topics per page?
There are sliders for these under Board Preferences -> Posting Preferences.
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Every post has a stupid Twitter button on that. Can I make that go away?
Yes! There is a toggle option on the same screen as the Posts Per Page slider.

Is there a way to have different subforums have different images for New Posts or No New Posts?
Yes! Insert the following code into the Above the Copyright box under Board Template:
Code: Select all
<script type="text/javascript" >
/* Coded by Nicolas of ZNR and HNZ */
/* <![CDATA[ */
function newmarker(forumid,newposts,nonew) {
$(".c_forum strong a[href*="+forumid+"]").closest('td').prev().children('img').attr('src',nonew);
$(".c_forum strong a[href*="+forumid+"]").closest('td').prev().children('a').children('img').attr('src',newposts);
}
newmarker('FORUMID','http://imgur.com/IMAGE1A.png','http://imgur.com/IMAGE1B.png');
newmarker('FORUMID2','http://imgur.com/IMAGE2A.png','http://imgur.com/IMAGE2B.png');
/* ]]> */
</script>

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Replace FORUMID, IMAGE1A, and IMAGE1B with the Forum ID and links to the images you want to use. To determine the Forum ID, simply visit that forum index and get the number from the URL.
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Last edited by Haschel Cedricson on Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"I used to think that votes equaled pressure, too, back when I was alive. I've learned a lot since then. You know what does equal pressure? Pressure. Pressure equals pressure. Crazy, huh?"

xRECKONERx
GD is my Best Man
 
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Post Post #1  (ISO)  » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:47 pm

this is INCREDIBLE.

Seriously, it even helped me with some shit I was doing inefficiently.

Stickied!
get to know a reckoner

#EmeraldProud

xofelf
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Post Post #2  (ISO)  » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Thank you for all the hard work you put in putting this together. It's beautiful.
Xalxe: this is xofelf sometimes we call each other names and other times we share emotions
MattyP: Ur an enigma tho when it comes to circadian rhythm and the traditions we hold dear when it comes to the sun and the moon
Xof has a new place for you to ask her questions. Do it upppp

Cephrir
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Post Post #3  (ISO)  » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:12 pm

Bookmarking so i remember to read through this and see if I have anything to add.
"I would prefer not to."

Cephrir
Survivor
 
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Post Post #4  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:54 pm

In post 0, Haschel Cedricson wrote:They need to be at least two letters long.

Isn't it 3? I seem to recall Vi not being acceptable.
"I would prefer not to."

animorpherv1
Honey Trap
 
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Post Post #5  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:07 pm

Yeah, Vi was too short. 3 works, I think.
I'm a jack of all trades and a master of one. I may not be the best but I can still whoop ass.

Get to know an ani!

Cephrir
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Post Post #6  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:11 pm

anyway yeah this is pretty good, covers everything that absolutely has to get done i think. to any mods who want to do something not listed here that some other game has, i'd say just ask someone experienced about that specific thing, but this is definitely enough to get things up and running :]
"I would prefer not to."

Haschel Cedricson
Mr. Know It All
 
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Location: Cascadian Subduction Zone

Post Post #7  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:15 pm

In post 4, Cephrir wrote:
In post 0, Haschel Cedricson wrote:They need to be at least two letters long.

Isn't it 3? I seem to recall Vi not being acceptable.

Fixed.
"I used to think that votes equaled pressure, too, back when I was alive. I've learned a lot since then. You know what does equal pressure? Pressure. Pressure equals pressure. Crazy, huh?"

xofelf
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Location: Herkimer, New York
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Post Post #8  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:44 pm

Huh, didn't JT work just fine in Medevac though? I could have sworn. But maybe it does have to be 3.
Xalxe: this is xofelf sometimes we call each other names and other times we share emotions
MattyP: Ur an enigma tho when it comes to circadian rhythm and the traditions we hold dear when it comes to the sun and the moon
Xof has a new place for you to ask her questions. Do it upppp

D3f3nd3r
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Post Post #9  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:19 pm

Image
do you think so?
Back to school, back to indefinite semi-V/LA. I should still be reachable through normal means though.

Cephrir
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Post Post #10  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:31 pm

In post 8, xofelf wrote:Huh, didn't JT work just fine in Medevac though? I could have sworn. But maybe it does have to be 3.

Because medevac didn't have PMs

I can't explain Y tho did you just have to start every pm chain
Last edited by Cephrir on Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I would prefer not to."

D3f3nd3r
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Post Post #11  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:36 pm

No, but apparently Drench had some issues getting his first PM to me out (though he was able to successfully).
Back to school, back to indefinite semi-V/LA. I should still be reachable through normal means though.

Haschel Cedricson
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Post Post #12  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:42 pm

Medevac Island definitely had PMs.
"I used to think that votes equaled pressure, too, back when I was alive. I've learned a lot since then. You know what does equal pressure? Pressure. Pressure equals pressure. Crazy, huh?"

Cephrir
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Post Post #13  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:47 pm

Shhh I forgot
"I would prefer not to."

Cheery Dog
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Post Post #14  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:02 pm

I think with the shorter names you had to go to send message in their profile, instead of being able to enter throughout new message.

I think there is a few things here I might have missed out when putting up the board, I'll have to double check to confirm I have it all.
Life is always what it seems.

BROseidon
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Post Post #15  (ISO)  » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:20 pm

RIP me playing Vi in LoL :(


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