The main goal of the Bob the Pleo forums is to build a community where people can share and learn about Pleo and meet others who share an interest in Pleos. As such, its all about communication amongst members. And to promote communication and make communication between members as easy as possible, the forums offers many tools to share information. These tools include:
- Posts, Gallery, Downloads
- Shout box
- Personal Messages
are the most obvious and most common form of discussion. You read a topic (or start a new one), and respond by posting your message. Posts can be short or long, allow you to enter entire paragraphs of info, including pictures, videos, files, etc. Posts are public for everyone to read and everyone to join in on the conversation. Posts form a lengthy discussion that can go on for pages and can span a long periods of time, and the back and forth nature of the conversation, like email, can often be hours or days between responses. Posts become a permanent part of the forum, get archived, and are often searched by people looking for information.
The chat room
, on the other hand, is much more of an immediate discussion. Like the posts, it is open to the public to read, anyone can join in on the conversation, and discussions can go on for pages and pages. But unlike posts, the chat is geared towards live interaction with responses coming back and forth in seconds or minutes rather than hours or days, and can be compared to group instant messaging. Chats don't remain visible for very long, and often text from half an hour ago cannot be easily seen by other members. As such, chat is not a good way to leave a message for someone else. But it is the ideal way to carry on conversations in real time.Personal Messages (PMs)
is the other tool for discussing things or carrying on conversations. It is the tool most like regular emails. This tool allows you to send a message directly to a specific member, and receive messages directly from other members. Like posts, it can sometimes take hours or days between responses, but unlike posts the discussions are not open for everybody to respond to and the back-and-forth history of the conversation is not preserved in the messages themselves.
Unlike these other tools, the Shout Box
is not a conversational tool. It's a great way to share a quick message, or make a statement. The shout box is public and open to everyone (including guests) to read. And since it is prominently displayed at the top of every page, it's a great way to get attention and for people to see what you have to say. Two big drawbacks to the shout box are that you are limited to 60 characters per shout, and only the last 6 shouts are displayed on the page.
Other tools such as the Gallery
and the Downloads
provide ways to supplement the conversational tools. The gallery allows you to upload pictures, videos, and other files to share and include in posts and PMs. The chat room also supports displaying smaller pictures and links to the downloads. Items in the gallery and downloads allow people to rate them and post comments about them as well, and can, at times, almost become conversations themselves.A Note on Privacy
These forums, like their ancient Greek counterpart are an open and public place, not really designed for "private" conversations, and nothing ever said here should be assumed to be "private". That can also be pretty much said for anything on the internet . . . you never know if someone or some program might be spying on you! That's not to say that you're being spied on here, or that anybody else really even cares what you're saying to anyone else. None of us here running the forums have the time or interest to eavesdrop on all the chats or read all the PMs . . . I'm lucky if I have time to keep up with all the posts!
But all that information IS
stored here . . . somewhere . . . and can be retrieved to some extent or another. For example, the shout box only displays the last 6 lines. But you can click on the "History" link and see the last couple of hundred lines.
PM stands for "Personal Message" not "Private Message", again, not that anybody would bother to (or could easily) read your messages to anyone else. But the main degree of "privacy" intended by this tool is to allow you to get messages from other members without having to share truly private information such as your real name or personal email address with anyone else, thus protecting your privacy.
We encourage members not to share personal information on the forums with other members, especially for those of our younger members. But we understand there are times when you need to, and when you have things of a truly private nature you wish to discuss with another member, the best suggestion is to discuss it outside of the forums.