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 ? Forum Help Page

This page provides answers to user's frequently asked questions about the forums. If you are encountering problems, check to see if a solution is provided below.

Please make sure you have read over the forum instructions carefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

 ? I posted a message, but I can't see it listed. Where is my message?

This problem is caused by the "caching," or saving, of Web pages. This might be by your browser or by your access provider. Instead of a new request being made to our site, you are being served an old version of our page which has been saved somewhere else.

If your browser is doing the caching, here are some possible solutions:

  • Use your browser's "Reload" (or "Refresh") function. This may be either a button or a menu choice.
  • Set your browser's disk cache to zero (0), or clear it.

If neither of those work, it is probably that your access provider is caching Web pages on their machines. This is not a problem if the caching is setup properly, but it rarely is. America Online, Compuserve, Prodigy and Microsoft Network all have caching problems, as do many other large providers. You can try complaining, but you probably won't get anywhere. We suggest you look for another access provider. Usually, the smaller ones provide a truer Internet connection and they rarely cache. There is a Web site called The List that lists access providers by area code.

 ? Can I use HTML codes in my message?

The forums are set up to allow html codes in the message body.

If you do use a code to create a effect, it's important to turn it off as well.

A mistake can screw up an entire thread (or page.)

If you do use HTML codes, make sure you check the preview screen to see that they are working as intended and that you turned them off.

If you want to just play around, you can go to the Test Forum and post some nonsense. Then if you make a mistake, you know it won't affect anyone else's message.

 ? How do I include images my messages?

There are several ways of including images within postings to the forum. Please read this document in its entirety.

  • In ALL cases, an image you include in a forum message MUST belong to you. That means it is a copy of a photo you took, or an image you created. Do not post images you scanned from some other source, downloaded from the Internet, or linked to at someone else's Web site. These are all violations of the owner's copyright, regardless of whether or not you provide attribution, and there are now criminal penalties for violating the copyright laws.

  • Some forums, and forum gallery areas, allow images to be uploaded along with forum messages. These forums/galleries are denoted on the alphabetical list of forums on the main forum page and have instructions on how to upload images. If a forum allows direct uploading, it will say so at the top of the forum page. Forums with gallery areas provide links to those areas at the top and bottom of the message list. You can test the upload system by visiting the gallery area of the test forum.

  • Some forums/galleries are linked to HortiPlex, our plant database. These forums usually are specific to a particular genus or plant family. For instance, when an image of a Hydrangea is uploaded to HortiPlex, the image may, at the poster's option, also be posted to the Hydrangea Forum. There is a help page on posting to HortiPlex.

  • We allow most HTML codes to be included in forum messages. These can be used to make text bold, use different colors, or to link to an image you have at another Web site. While we allow the use of HTML code in forum messages, we do not have the staff or time to support it. If you have have trouble you need to debug your code on your own. You can experiment in the the test forum.

  • If you need to reduce the size of your image to in order to upload it, you will need to use an image editing application. There may well be one already installed on your computer. If not, we suggest IrfanView, which is freely available. Sometimes just re-saving the image as a jpeg file is enough to reduce the file size, but you might also want to change the degree of compression, or quality, the dimensions, etc. If you have problems, you'll need to resolve them using resources on the Web.

 ? Why can't I mention my products in the forums?

If we allow vendors to post ads to the forums, their value as a place for users will deteriorate. Business people using the forums must be careful not to advertise or solicit business in any way.

 ? Why aren't the forum messages in order?

The order that messages are listed in is based on an algorithm that both increases the likelihood of at least one response to each message and at the same time keeps active threads (discussions) near the top. Here is how it works:
  • New messages go to the top.
  • A message with a new response will move to the top, but will not displace a certain number of unanswered messages (usually 4-6.)

 ? Some of these ads are very annoying, how can I avoid them?

We are members of several ad networks, but on many occassions, pop-up ads are servered through software individuals have loaded onto their computers which we have no involvement with. This software may come bundled with music sharing applications and many other utilities provided on the Internet.

Though we try to limit our users' exposure to annoyning banners and pop-up ads, this is something that is not always within our control. For users who are not subscribing members, our only revenue stream is advertising and we are not in a position to dictate which types of ads the various ad networks send us.

For users who are subsrcibing members, these annoying ads are turned off on our sites, since their contributions cover some of the cossts of the site. Subscribing members will still see advertisements, but not the most annoying ads like pop-ups. For information on becoming a subscribing member, please visit the member services page.

 ? Why you send me these "cookies?"

Cookies are used to make the forums easier to use. For instance, after you have posted a message, your name and email address will be "remembered" in a cookie so the next time you post, you won't have to enter this information again. We could save this information in a central file on our server, but in the interest of privacy, we save it to a cookie, which resides on your computer.

There are many misconceptions about cookies. Here are some facts:

  • The cookie is assigned by the Web site. It can only contain information known to that site.
  • When a Web site reads a cookie, it can only read the information that the Web site itself had assigned to the cookie earlier.
  • Only the site assigning a cookie can read it later.
  • Drinking milk with your cookies will make them go down easier.

 ? Why won't the links at the top of the forum page to post a message and/or to the instructions work?

You probably entered a forum and clicked on a message before the forum page had completely loaded. This interrupts the transfer of the forum page. Just hit your browsers "Reload" button.


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