Chickscope Scratchings:
Help: The Forum Layout

If you are familiar with how newsgroups work, then using Scratchings should be a snap. But even if you are not, it does not take long to learn the basics. In a few short minutes you will be reading and writing: sharing your Chickscope discoveries with the rest of the world.

The Message List
The the heart of each forum is the message list. Message lists can be recognized by their indented and numbered, ragged-edged appearance:

Sample Message List

The messages are sorted in descending order, from most recently posted (numerically) to the oldest. Each message line lists, in order: the message number, the message category/kind, the message title, the author, and the date posted. Recently posted messages are further identified by an icon that says "new".

If a message has an indented line underneath it, the indented line is a response to the original message. Often you see reponses to responses, which would be two levels indented. A thread is a message and all of its responses. Thoeretically there exists no limit to the number of levels of responses you can create. However, please read the section on "posting etiquette" in the help page on posting concerning good responding techniques.

To read a message, click on the message title. You will be taken to a page containing the message content. See the help page on reading messages for more information.

The Outline Panel
Residing immediately above the message list are a series of icons that control how the message list is displayed. The default display is usually the best, but you can change it if you want.

Each icon has a different meaning:

Inline 1

Put the entire text of the top-level message of each message thread on one page. Inlining can produce a really long, messy looking page, but is helpful if you want to briefly scan the subject matter of each thread.

Inline All If you want a big mess, inline them all.
Inline 0

The default: no messages inlined.

Outline 1 To condense the responses to each thread down to just a number, click this button. The threads are still sorted, but all responses are hidden. To get to the reponses, you have to actually read the message.
Outline 2 Condense the threads to the top 2 levels of messages and responses only.
Outline 3 Condense the threads to the top 3 levels of messages and responses only.
Outline All The default: outline the thread to the greatest detail, showing both original postings and all responses.

The Add Messages Button
Add Message Beneath the message list is the button for starting new threads of discussion. Read the adding messages help page for more information.

Membership and Administration
The last set of buttons deal primarily with administrative issues:


You can change your membership information by clicking on this button. Of course, you have to be a member for this button to do anything. Membership information includes your name, address, phone number, and passwords. By default only your name and email address are listed.


This button allows you to move, copy, or delete messages that you have previously posted. You are not allowed to delete another member's message, no matter how much you dislike them! :-)


Takes you to the main help page, in case you do not want to use the help tab.

Detailed Help
More specific help is available on the following subjects:

General Help Membership Info
Reading Messages Posting Messages
Moving/Deleting Messages Further Help

Returning to Scratchings
You can either use the "back" feature of your browser, or you can go directly to the Scratchings main page by following the hyperlink.