How to use The Circus Website

For people new to The Circus website, this site is still in "beta" phase - not everything works perfectly, and rather than work out all the kinks, our webmaster Mark Jeffers has been working on going straight to version 2.0 - a major update that promises to take us to another level - this is a major undertaking by his company, and it's over a year in the making. We're all looking forward to it!

In the mean time, here's a quick tutorial for using the website in it's current state. Please consider this a work in progress and add your questions and tips to the comments section. (Read on...)

Groups
Groups are semi-private associations of people who have the ability to communicate with each-other via this site. Each group can post things in every forum, and every forum post can be made visible either to everyone, or only to members of a specific group. The main function groups serve is to keep members updated via e-mail - I belong to all the groups, and read most of the posts to the site in my inbox, as that's what works best for me. If you'd rather read posts just on the website, turn e-mails off on your member page, but still subscribe to the groups you want to keep in contact with. This will allow you to see the posts made to those groups.

There are a few groups who get member specific updates - Garden Station, D'Art Mega Zine, The Sideshow, the Building Committee. By default, every member of the site is subscribed to "The Circus - everyone". When writing a blog post, forum discussion topic, event, or uploading an image, in most cases the best thing to do is check "public" and "The Circus - everyone". This assures that your post will be viewable by all (even guests to the site), and that it will show up in the inbox of those who mainly keep in touch via their e-mail inbox. Please check the box "public" and only one additional group - checking no boxes means that few people (if any) will be able to read your post; checking all the boxes generates unwanted duplicates in others' inboxes. If you haven't been getting replies to your blog posts and forum messages, it's probably because you haven't checked "public" and "circus - everyone".

You'll only get e-mails (if you have that option enabled) from the groups that you belong to, so if you want updates on a specific project, make sure you belong to it! Although we have groups enabled for all members, please do not create additional groups without discussing with the group first. In most cases, it's unnecessary, and additional groups just clutter up the site.

I recently overhauled the Groups portion of the website, so please go to your member page and make sure you're signed up for all the projects you have interest in.

Events
To create an event, go to the "Create Content link on the left side of the page, then select "event". Then check the groups of the people you would like to be able to see the event on the calendar - in most cases it's important to check "public" and "Circus - everyone"

Blogs
This is a cool feature allowing you to post updates about yourself and your projects, your thoughts, views, rants, whatever. It's like your own personal forum! Click on "create content and choose "Blog Entry" on the Create Content page (blogs doesn't show up in the automatic drop-down menu for some reason).

Forums
Clicking "Create new forum post" when viewing the forums is broken. Don't know why, can't fix it. To create a forum post, Click on "create content" and choose "Forum Topic" on the Create Content page. Then choose the forum that best fits the description of the topic you'd like to discuss - for example, posts about Garden station should go in the "Circus Projects - Garden Station" forum. I'm going all forklempt! Discuss amongst yourselves.

Images
The images section is, well, in beta stage at best. To upload an image, Click on "create content and choose "image" on the Create Content page, or on the drop-down menu. Select the folder you'd like to place it in- for example, if you've got a picture of The Sideshow 2 from 2007, select "The Sideshow and other Events - Sideshow 2007". After you have posted an image, please do not edit the post! This results in mild breakage. If you MUST edit the text of an image, please re-upload the picture at the same time. In almost all cases, it's better to simply upload the image, then post what you'd like to say about it in the comments section.

Files
This area is kind of defunct, but still working properly if you need it. Please use this for small text files, documents, and PDFs only. In most cases, documents (Word files, spreadsheets, etc) you'd like to share with the group are more effectively handled by uploading them to Google Docs, then posting a link to the document on the forum. We now have a private network storage device capable of handling large files - this is available to administrative members and trusted members of the site. If you'd like to use this service, which allows sharing large files which are then available to all members of the group, anywhere in the world via a web browser, PM me with your e-mail address and I'll send you an invite.

Polls
Same as a forum post, but allows statistical tracking of the answers to your question. More secure than Diebold, this feature of The Circus website is being tentatively considered for use in the next presidential election.

Video
This feature works, but it takes some effort - Youtube has changed their code somewhat, making it (slightly) incompatible with our site. The simplest thing to do is to Copy the YouTube video embed code into a word processor like Word or Notepad - then delete everything that comes before the "embed src=" tag. Paste the remainder in the "Youtube embed coed" field of the video feed page.

If that doesn't work, open a text editor such as Word or Notepad, then copy and paste the following code:

{embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/D2FX9rviEhw" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="295"}{/embed}

Replace the two "{" with "<" and the two "}" with ">". Now go to the youtube video you want to embed, and at the end you'll se a URL. It will look something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2FX9rviEhw

Copy this to your clipboard. Go back to the text editor, and paste the url into your text file. Now copy everything after "watch?v=" (in this case "D2FX9rviEhw" - this is your video code, yours will be different) and replace "D2FX9rviEhw" in the code with your your video code. Then go to "Create Content" and select "Vdeo Feed". Now paste the resulting code into the "Youtube embed code" box and you should be all set!

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