Frequently Asked Questions

About the Forum and it's content

Why does the Thought Forum exist?
The Thought Forum is part of a student opinion project set up by the University of Nottingham Students’ Union. The forum allows a select group of students to answer questions about University life and share their opinion regarding the service provided by the Union and University. The forum also aims to provide a safe place for students to share their ideas regarding how University life can be improved.
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Is this a safe place? Can I really say what I think?
Yes! Well... as long as you don’t get sweary! The Thought Forum is managed by University of Nottingham Students’ Union Insight Team staff. This team includes University students too – and to make the forum as effective as it can possible we, we really want students to be entirely honest about how they feel. The comments you and other forum users provide will be summarised before being used to shape the future of the Students’ Union. This means that your direct comments and identity will not be shared by the Thought Forum administrators to anyone external to the forum. Please bear in mind, however, that other users of the Thought Forum will be able to read through your comments, and therefore we cannot guarantee that your comments will remain confidential.
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Am I anonymous?
Unfortunately not. In order to reward you for your comments, we need you to set up a profile using your university email address. Other users of the Thought Forum will therefore be able to associate comments that you post to your profile.
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What is the intended outcome of the forum?
The University of Nottingham Students’ Union will use your comments to improve the services it offers. With your feedback and ideas, we will be able to ensure that the Union is moving in a direction that YOU want it to.
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What’s in it for me?
Aside from financial incentives for taking part, you will also be able to share your opinion to shape the future direction of the Students’ Union in the way that you want. This is a great extra-curricular activity to put onto your CV – you are part of an opinion panel!
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Your Incentive (Applicable only during Paid For periods of the academic year)

Why do you incentivise participation in the forum?
Aside from providing the incentive as a thank you for your thoughts, the Students’ Union have found that the incentives help students to allow themselves the time to contribute their thoughts to research opportunities such as the Thought Forum. In addition to this, the incentive encourages users to continually update their thoughts, taking the time to really consider how they view the performance of the Students’ Union.
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How are the incentives allocated? How much will I receive financially?
During an ‘incentivised / paid for’ period of the Thought Forum, if you are formally invited to participate in the project - A £5 incentive will be allocated to a forum participant for each fortnight that they contribute to the forum. This contribution must meet the following conditions:

  • Posts must be useful, contributing new insights to the forum. This discounts simplistic comments such as ‘I agree’ statements. To convert this to an incentivised post, reasons and explanations must be added – e.g. ‘I agree because….’
  • Posts must not be a repeat of previous posts you have made. New contributions must be original.
  • The £5 incentive will be provided to forum users who contribute 5 or more times over a fortnight period. The start and end dates of the fortnights will be listed in the ‘Prizes’ section of the forum, found under ‘Links’.
  • You must be formally added to the programme. To explore whether you can receive this invite, please contact sarah.melville@nottingham.ac.uk or see question ‘When will the Thought Forum be incentivised? I.e. When do you offer money for comments?’
The satisfaction of this criteria will be determined by the Thought Forum administrators and moderators.

The £5 incentive will be accumulated over time over the course of a term and the following holiday break and then paid to the forum user at the start of the following term in one lump sum. Upon the start of a new term, the incentives will stop but continued participation is welcomed.

In addition to financial incentives, there are also content incentives to work towards. There are a few discussions in the Thought Forum that only allow access for participants of a particular rank. The more you post, the higher your rank, and the wider the variety of discussions you get to access (the greater the influence you will have over the future direction of the Students’ Union). There will be occasions that your posts upgrade you to the next rank category.
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When will the Thought Forum be incentivised? I.e. When do you offer money for comments?
The ‘PAID FOR’ element of the Thought Forum only happens at specific times of the academic year, usually for approximately 10 weeks. To learn when these are, please contact sarah.melville@nottingham.ac.uk. We’d love to run the ‘paid for’ element of the project all year round, but Students’ Union resource does not allow for this. We hope this doesn’t hold you back from commenting – your comments are always really important to us.

you are still more than welcome to contribute to the forum, but this will no longer be paid for. Continued participation in the forum has its benefits - you will be able to share your opinion to shape the future direction of the Students’ Union in the way that you want. You will also be able to put the forum activity and idea generation onto your CV – you are part of an opinion panel!

To make things fair, you are only allowed to take part in an incentivised / paid for period once. We want to offer the opportunity to as many UoN students as possible – and there are over 33000 of you!
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What happens over the holidays?
Life goes on! The Thought Forum will continue, as will the offer of incentives if it is during a paid for period.
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Do I get a prize for making the most amount of posts each fortnight?
During a ‘paid for’ period - Each fortnight, the Students’ Union will add £5 to eight forum participants who contribute the most to the overall forum (i.e. across all discussion boards). This will be based not only on post frequency, but also the usefulness of the post. This prize will be determined by forum moderators, administrators and usergroup leaders. The start and end dates of the fortnights will be listed in the ‘Prizes’ section of the forum, found under ‘Links’. Prize winners will be announced here.

Unfortunately entry to these prizes is only valid to users who are in their first term of participation in the forum.
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How do I know how much I have earnt so far?
Please email the board administrator for an update of your accumulative total for the term (sarah.melville@nottingham.ac.uk)
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How do I receive my incentives? Do I have to make a claim?
Towards the end of the incentivised / paid for period, the board administrator will email you with your accumulated incentive total for you to check and approve. The email will also include an expense claim form which you will need to complete and email back to the board administrator. This form requires the following information in order for the Students’ Union to pay you the incentive:

  • Your account number (8 digits long)
  • Your sort code (6 digits long)
Should you wish to return the form or discuss the form in person, please visit the Insight and Marketing Office, Portland Building, University Park.
If you do not have a UK bank account, please let the board administrator know (sarah.melville@nottingham.ac.uk). Payments can still be made to you, but an administrative fee will be deducted from the total you are due to receive.
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I haven’t received my incentive yet – what shall I do?
Once you have emailed your expense claim form to sarah.melville@nottingham.ac.uk it can take up to 3 weeks for the funds to enter your account. If you have waited longer than this time period, please contact sarah.melville@nottingham.ac.uk.
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The incentive I received was incorrect – what shall I do?
Please email the board administrator with your concerns (sarah.melville@nottingham.ac.uk). Please state the amount that you expected to receive, and then records will be double checked for errors. Please remember that incentives will only be allocated if the following criteria are met:

  • Posts must be useful, contributing new insights to the forum. This discounts simplistic comments such as ‘I agree’ statements. To convert this to an incentivised post, reasons and explanations must be added – e.g. ‘I agree because….’
  • Posts must not be a repeat of previous posts you have made. New contributions must be original.
  • The £5 incentive will be provided to forum users who contribute 5 or more times over a fortnight period. The start and end dates of the fortnights will be listed in the ‘Prizes’ section of the forum, found under ‘Links’.
The satisfaction of this criteria will be determined by the Thought Forum administrators and moderators.
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Exclusivity and Duration

Can I invite my friend?
It is possible to invite your friends to participate, they can sign up at any time. However – if they wish to participate in an incentivised / paid for period - they must request entry by emailing the board administrator as spaces are limited. They will then be asked to complete a short questionnaire before being added to the board.
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Why is it invite only for the ‘paid for’ feature of the Thought Forum?
There are three main reasons for this:

  • The Students’ Union is unable to offer participation incentives to all students. As much as we’d love to involve everyone, as a charity, we just can’t afford it!
  • We need to ensure that participants are genuine students of the University of Nottingham, and therefore we cannot completely make the forum open to everyone.
  • We want to get to know a wide variety of students, and therefore we try to avoid circumstances where everyone in the forum knows one another.
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I’ve noticed that my friend can see different things to what I can see
We want to get to know a wide variety of students, and therefore we try to avoid circumstances where everyone in the forum knows one another. Because of this, on occasions, friends will be put into different private discussion topics. There will be some forums where you can see one another’s posts, but others that have a limited view. We find that the privacy settings of these private boards empowers students to talk more openly and honestly about how they feel.
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I can’t see a discussion that I was in last week
There are a few discussions in the Thought Forum that only allow access for participants of a particular rank. The more you post, the higher your rank, and the wider the variety of discussions you get to access. There will be occasions that your posts upgrade you to the next rank category. A previous discussion you were in will be replaced by new fresh discussion with new participants. If you wish to continue with your previous discussions, please notify a board administrator.
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How long will the forum run?
The Thought Forum doesn’t have a scheduled end date, but the duration in which you will receive incentives for your participation will be limited to one academic term (including the following holiday break).
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What’s Acceptable

How serious is the forum? What is acceptable in terms of post content?
The Thought Forum doesn’t have to be all serious with no humour – please do add a bit of comedy into your posts as it makes for an interesting read! But bear in mind the following post criteria:

  • Posts must be useful, contributing new insights to the forum. This discounts simplistic comments such as ‘I agree’ statements. To convert this to an incentivised post, reasons and explanations must be added – e.g. ‘I agree because….’
  • Posts must not be a repeat of previous posts you have made. New contributions must be original.
Please also remember that upon agreeing to participate in the Forum, you agree to not post any material (including images) that is considered abusive or offensive in anyway. Other participants will not tolerate this behaviour, nor will the forum organisers.

Try to stay on topic with discussions. Other participants will not engage with your conversations if you often go off on a tangent.
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Leaving the Forum

What if I want to leave the forum?
No problem! Participants who have been inactive for 2 months will be deleted from the Forum, but if you decide that the Forum is not for you in the meantime and wish to be quickly removed, please notify the board administrator.
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What if I can’t post in the forum for a couple of weeks?
Don’t worry! Users who are inactive are not deleted for the Forum until they have been inactive for 2 months. It’s fine for you to lay low for a couple of weeks, but bear the following in mind:

  • You may receive a ‘reminder to post’ email from the moderators of the Thought Forum. You should either ignore these, or reply to let the moderator know how long you intend to withdraw from the forum for.
  • During incentivised / paid for periods - You need to contribute insightful posts a minimum of 5 times throughout a fortnight to receive a £5 incentive.
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Login and Registration Issues

Why can’t I register?
You must use your University of Nottingham email account to register. An alternative email address will not work. It is possible a board administrator has disabled registration to prevent new visitors from signing up, or the board administrator could have also banned your IP address or disallowed the username you are attempting to register – have you been naughty?! Contact a board administrator for assistance.
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I registered in the past but cannot login any more?
It is possible an administrator has deactivated or deleted your account for some reason. Also, many boards periodically remove users who have not posted for a long time to reduce the size of the database. If this has happened, try registering again and being more involved in discussions.
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I’ve lost my password!
Don’t panic! While your password cannot be retrieved, it can easily be reset. Visit the login page and click I forgot my password. Follow the instructions and you should be able to log in again shortly. However, if you are not able to reset your password, contact a board administrator.
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Why do I get logged off automatically?
If you do not check the Remember me box when you login, the board will only keep you logged in for a preset time. This prevents misuse of your account by anyone else. To stay logged in, check the Remember me box during login. This is not recommended if you access the board from a shared computer, e.g. library, internet cafe, university computer lab, etc. If you do not see this checkbox, it means a board administrator has disabled this feature.
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User Preferences and settings

How do I change my settings?
If you are a registered user, all your settings are stored in the board database. To alter them, visit your User Control Panel; a link can usually be found by clicking on your username at the top of board pages. This system will allow you to change all your settings and preferences.
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How do I prevent my username appearing in the online user listings?
Within your User Control Panel, under “Board preferences”, you will find the option Hide your online status. Enable this option and you will only appear to the administrators, moderators and yourself. You will be counted as a hidden user.
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What are the images next to my username?
There are two images which may appear along with a username when viewing posts. One of them may be an image associated with your rank, generally in the form of stars, blocks or dots, indicating how many posts you have made or your status on the board. Another, usually larger, image is known as an avatar and is generally unique or personal to each user.
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How do I display an avatar?
Within your User Control Panel, under “Profile” you can add an avatar by using one of the four following methods: Gravatar, Gallery, Remote or Upload. It is up to the board administrator to enable avatars and to choose the way in which avatars can be made available. If you are unable to use avatars, contact a board administrator.
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What is my rank and how do I change it?
Ranks, which appear below your username, indicate the number of posts you have made or identify certain users, e.g. moderators and administrators. In general, you cannot directly change the wording of any board ranks as they are set by the board administrator. Please do not abuse the board by posting unnecessarily just to increase your rank. Most boards will not tolerate this and the moderator or administrator will simply lower your post count.
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When I click the email link for a user it asks me to login?
Only registered users can send email to other users via the built-in email form, and only if the administrator has enabled this feature. This is to prevent malicious use of the email system by anonymous users.
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How do I change what I receive emails about?
Go to the user control panel, click on board preferences, then explore the ‘email notification options’ section.
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Posting Issues

How do I create a new topic or post a reply?
To post a new topic in a forum, click "New Topic". To post a reply to a topic, click "Post Reply". You may need to register before you can post a message. A list of your permissions in each forum is available at the bottom of the forum and topic screens. Example: You can post new topics, You can post attachments, etc.
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How do I edit or delete a post?
Unless you are a board administrator or moderator, you can only edit or delete your own posts. You can edit a post by clicking the edit button for the relevant post, sometimes for only a limited time after the post was made. If someone has already replied to the post, you will find a small piece of text output below the post when you return to the topic which lists the number of times you edited it along with the date and time. This will only appear if someone has made a reply; it will not appear if a moderator or administrator edited the post, though they may leave a note as to why they’ve edited the post at their own discretion. Please note that normal users cannot delete a post once someone has replied.
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How do I add a signature to my post?
To add a signature to a post you must first create one via your User Control Panel. Once created, you can check the Attach a signature box on the posting form to add your signature. You can also add a signature by default to all your posts by checking the appropriate radio button in the User Control Panel. If you do so, you can still prevent a signature being added to individual posts by un-checking the add signature box within the posting form.
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Why can’t I access a forum?
Some forums may be limited to certain users or groups. To view, read, post or perform another action you may need special permissions. Contact a moderator or board administrator to grant you access.
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Why can’t I add attachments?
Attachment permissions are granted on a per forum, per group, or per user basis. The board administrator may not have allowed attachments to be added for the specific forum you are posting in, or perhaps only certain groups can post attachments. Contact the board administrator if you are unsure about why you are unable to add attachments.
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Why did I receive a warning?
Each board administrator has their own set of rules for their site. If you have broken a rule, you may be issued a warning. Please note that this is the board administrator’s decision, and the phpBB Limited has nothing to do with the warnings on the given site. Contact the board administrator if you are unsure about why you were issued a warning.
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How can I report posts to a moderator?
If the board administrator has allowed it, you should see a button for reporting posts next to the post you wish to report. Clicking this will walk you through the steps necessary to report the post.
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What is the “Save” button for in topic posting?
This allows you to save drafts to be completed and submitted at a later date. To reload a saved draft, visit the User Control Panel.
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How do I bump my topic?
By clicking the “Bump topic” link when you are viewing it, you can “bump” the topic to the top of the forum on the first page. However, if you do not see this, then topic bumping may be disabled or the time allowance between bumps has not yet been reached. It is also possible to bump the topic simply by replying to it, however, be sure to follow the board rules when doing so.
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Formatting and topic types

Can I upload attachments and images?
Under your post, there will be a button saying +attachments. Use this to add attachments – or images.
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What are global announcements?
EGlobal announcements contain important information and you should read them whenever possible. They will appear at the top of every forum and within your User Control Panel. Global announcement permissions are granted by the board administrator.
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What are locked topics?
Locked topics are topics where users can no longer reply and any poll it contained was automatically ended. Topics may be locked for many reasons and were set this way by either the forum moderator or board administrator. You may also be able to lock your own topics depending on the permissions you are granted by the board administrator.
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User Levels and Groups

What are usergroups and how do I join one?
Usergroups are groups of users that divide the community into manageable sections board administrators can work with. Each user can belong to several groups and each group can be assigned individual permissions. This provides an easy way for administrators to change permissions for many users at once, such as changing moderator permissions or granting users access to a private forum. You can view all usergroups via the “Usergroups” link within your User Control Panel. If you would like to join one, proceed by clicking the appropriate button. Not all groups have open access, however. Some may require approval to join, some may be closed and some may even have hidden memberships. The user group leader will need to approve your request and may ask why you want to join the group. Please do not harass a group leader if they reject your request; they will have their reasons.
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Private Messaging

I cannot send private messages!
There are three reasons for this; you are not registered and/or not logged on, the board administrator has disabled private messaging for the entire board, or the board administrator has prevented you from sending messages. Contact a board administrator for more information.
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I keep getting unwanted private messages!
You can automatically delete private messages from a user by using message rules within your User Control Panel. If you are receiving abusive private messages from a particular user, report the messages to the moderators; they have the power to prevent a user from sending private messages.
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I have received a spamming or abusive email from someone on this board!
We are sorry to hear that. The email form feature of this board includes safeguards to try and track users who send such posts, so email the board administrator with a full copy of the email you received. It is very important that this includes the headers that contain the details of the user that sent the email. The board administrator can then take action.
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Friends and Foes

What are my Friends and Foes lists?
You can use these lists to organise other members of the board. Members added to your friends list will be listed within your User Control Panel for quick access to see their online status and to send them private messages. Subject to template support, posts from these users may also be highlighted. If you add a user to your foes list, any posts they make will be hidden by default.
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How can I add / remove users to my Friends or Foes list?
You can add users to your list in two ways. Within each user’s profile, there is a link to add them to either your Friend or Foe list. Alternatively, from your User Control Panel, you can directly add users by entering their member name. You may also remove users from your list using the same page.
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Searching the Forums

How can I search a forum or forums?
Enter a search term in the search box located on the index, forum or topic pages. Advanced search can be accessed by clicking the “Advance Search” link which is available on all pages on the forum. How to access the search may depend on the style used.
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Why does my search return no results?
Your search was probably too vague and included many common terms which are not indexed by phpBB. Be more specific and use the options available within Advanced search.
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Why does my search return a blank page!?
Your search returned too many results for the webserver to handle. Use “Advanced search” and be more specific in the terms used and forums that are to be searched.
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How do I search for members?
Visit to the “Members” page and click the “Find a member” link.
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How can I find my own posts and topics?
Your own posts can be retrieved either by clicking the “Show your posts” link within the User Control Panel or by clicking the “Search user’s posts” link via your own profile page or by clicking the “Quick links” menu at the top of the board. To search for your topics, use the Advanced search page and fill in the various options appropriately.
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Subscriptions and Bookmarks

What is the difference between bookmarking and subscribing?
Bookmarking is more like subscribing to a topic. You can be notified when a bookmarked topic is updated. Subscribing, however, will notify you when there is an update to a topic or forum on the board. Notification options (and unsubscribing) for bookmarks and subscriptions can be configured in the User Control Panel, under “Board preferences”.
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How do I bookmark or subscribe to specific topics?
You can bookmark or subscribe to a specific topic by clicking the appropriate link in the “Topic tools” menu, conveniently located near the top and bottom of a topic discussion.

Replying to a topic with the “Notify me when a reply is posted” option checked will also subscribe you to the topic.
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Contacts

How do I contact a board administrator?
All users of the board can use the “Contact us” form, if the option was enabled by the board administrator.

Members of the board can also use the “The team” link.
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