Piano Education Page Forums FAQ
John M. Zeigler, Ph.D.
he Piano Education Page Forums are a tool for students, teachers and parents from all over the world to talk with each other about piano education-related issues. The Forums are not a chat room. Unlike a chat room, the messages left on the Forums can be seen by anybody who visits the board at any time, whether or not the writer of the message happens to be online and in the Board at the time. Thus, the Forums aren't useful for passing particularly personal messages and are much less subject to abuse than chat rooms, although the Forums software gives a way for private messages to be sent as well. The Forums software is powerful and provides lots of nice features for users. If you need some information about or help with using the Forums, read on.
Q: Can anybody be a member of the PEP Forums?
Q: Do I have to be a certain age to post to the Board?
A: No, even kids are allowed to register and post. In fact, there is a special forum for kids to talk to each other on the Board (The "Young Students" forum).
Q: Who are the Members of the Board?
A: The single largest group of Members is comprised of piano and music teachers, but students, parents, educators, performers and people who just have an interest in the piano can all be found among the active members. Some Members post only a few times, while others post regularly. Some just like to read others' posts.
Q: Must I register to view postings on the Board?
A: No, but visitors who are not "logged in" (i.e. registered) can only view and post in very limited parts of the Board as "Guests." Registration is simple and painless, taking only about two minutes for most people. Since the very heart of a message board is the ability to post messages and communicate with others all over the world, we think that most visitors to the PEP Board will want to register.
Q: Do I have to post to be a member of the board?
A: No. However, those members who do not post or visit are automatically purged from the member database after a period of time, usually one year. Purged members will have to re-register to be able to view or post again.
Q: What is done with my registration information?
A: We do not distribute or sell registration information about any member of the Board. Registration is done solely for the legitimate purposes of the operation of the Board. Of course, almost everyone has heard of "hacking" incidents these days, in which information has been stolen from other computers. However, the Forums software we use is very highly secure and runs on a secured server, so, while we cannot promise total security, we believe that the information will be secure, especially in light of the fact that we do not request credit card numbers or any other information which could be of monetary value to anyone. We caution users not to reveal personal information (credit card information, addresses, children's full names, etc.) on the Board in postings, since that information becomes public. If you want to send a private message to a member of the Board, the software allows you to do that via its Messenger feature.
Q: Once I provide the registration information, what happens next?
A: The board software will automatically and immediately (within seconds) send you a confirmation e-mail to the e-mail address you gave at registration. You must respond to this e-mail by clicking on the link provided to activate your registration. If you do not respond or if your mail filters delete the confirmation e-mail, the board software will assume the e-mail address is invalid and you will be automatically deleted from the member database in 14 days. You will then have to re-register. Once you have responded to the confirmation e-mail, your membership must be approved by the board Administrator. Approval usually takes place in 12 hours or less, though it may take longer in a few specific circumstances.
Q: How do I get onto the PEP Forums?
A: Just follow the link in the PEP Program Notes to the Forums. If you are not a registered member or are logged out, you will see Log In and Register links about the forum summary display. If you click on the Register link, you'll be shown a short form to fill out (about 2 minutes to complete) and short version of the Board policies to read and agree to. Be sure to write down your password. In most cases, your computer will store the password in a special file ("cookie") on your computer, so that you won't have to remember it or type it in with each visit, but, as a security feature, you will occasionally be asked to input it manually.
Q: What if I don't log-in?
A: You can still view the Board as a "Guest", but your privileges to view and participate in all the many forums which make up the Board will be extremely limited. Many of the forums are not even displayed for Guests. Since it takes only a couple minutes to register and costs nothing, most people will want to get and log in with their own user name.
Q: I followed a link from the PEP home page to the Forums but
got a message to the effect "You are not logged in." What's wrong?
A: You probably got this message because you are not a member of the Board and the link you followed pointed to a forum not open to Guests. Just register for the Board and the problem should be resolved. In rare cases, a Member's computer may "lose" the cookies that the Board uses to identify Members. In that case, logging in should solve the problem.
Q: Are there any special policies with respect to use of the Board?
A: In addition to the short policy statement users must agree to when they register, they must agree to the following policy statement: All posts to the Board become the property of The Piano Education Page copyright holder. By their very nature, posts to a Forums become public information. The user assumes all risks for the use of the Board and the posting of any kind of personal information there. Posts must be in keeping with good taste and must not contain inappropriate language, libelous statements or personal attacks. Any post found to be not in keeping with these rules may be removed at any time without recourse for the poster. We do not warrant the accuracy of information or statements posted on the Board. We do not assume responsibility for the statements on the Forums of those individuals not affiliated with The Piano Education Page. Visitors to PEP can see most of the Board policies in detail by viewing the Acceptable uses policy and Piano Education Page Forums Policies in Board Help.
Q: What if I need help while on the Board?
A: Every page on the Board has a icon. Just click on it for immediate help. The Help page has both general information and specific answers to common questions.
Q: What is a forum?
A: The Board is divided into several areas like "Adult Students, "Piano Learning Tips," and so forth whose purpose is to organize posts on various topics to make them more easily accessible. Each of these areas is called a "forum." The forums themselves are organized into groups of related forums.
Q: How can I see all the topics in a forum? How can I read only the most
recently active one?
A: From the Board's opening screen, clicking on the forum name at the left will display all the topics in the forum. Clicking on the topic name at the right of the opening screen will show you only that topic's last post, the most recent in that forum, although you can always reach the other topics from that page. If there are multiple new posts in a forum, only the last one will be shown in the forum summary, though all the new posts can be read in the forum itself.
Q: Suppose I just want to read messages on one topic or just want to look at
the newest posts. How can I find them?
A: Near the top of each Board screen is a Search icon. Clicking on this and then filling in a few keywords will allow you to search the Board for posts on one particular topic. If you just want to see all the new posts, click on the "New Posts" link just to the left of the Search icon. This will show you all the newest posts, irrespective of topic.
Q: I'm registered and I want to post a reply to a message on the Board. How do
I do it?
A: The Board is divided into several "forums." Just click on the appropriate forum name to enter it. You can also click on the latest message summary in the right column of the forum listing to enter that forum. Once in the forum, you will see a number of grayish icons on the right hand side of the screen both above and below the listing of messages. To reply to an existing message, click the icon. You'll be presented with an editing screen in which you can type your reply, add "smiley faces" (emoticons) if you wish and so forth. Then you just click on the "Add Post" icon and you're done.
Q: I want to ask a new question or talk about a new topic. How do I do that?
A: Choose the forum the want to post to by clicking on its name on the left side of forums list. It's usually clear from the forum description which forum is appropriate for a given topic. Click the icon. You'll be presented with an editing screen in which you can type your reply, add "smiley faces" (emoticons) if you wish and so forth. Then you just click on the "Add Post" icon and you're done.
Q: What else can I do on the Forums?
A: As you use this Board, you'll find that the software is very powerful and allows you to do all kinds of interesting things. You can send private instant messages to anyone else on the board, or leave a private message via the "Messenger" feature. If there is something that about which you'd just like to get a sense of where other people stand without carrying on a correspondence on the Board, you can start a poll, much like those on other sites. Each member has a Control Panel where they can customize the "look and feel" of the Board to their own preferences. Members have a private notepad to jot reminders, etc. You can have the Board track topics for you, so that you can monitor those that particularly interest you.
Q: What is a Super Member?
A: Members who post more than 25 times to the Board are promoted to the Super Member group. Members of this group have numerous special privileges and tools not available to Members.
Q: What neat features can I use on the Board?
A: Members of the Piano Education Page Board can use a number of cool features offered by the software:
Avatars - Super Members and above can use these 64x64 pixel GIF format graphics to personalize their posts. You can create the GIF in just about any graphics program. Then just put it in an accessible directory on any Web server. Edit your Board profile to provide the URL of the graphic to the Board software and your posts will then all have an avatar! You can also use one of the ones we have created for the Board by choosing from the ones provided in the Control Panel.
Personal Profiles - Each Board member has a personal profile through which he can control the look of the Board and information supplied to the Board. This can be edited at any time the member chooses through the member's Control Panel.
Track Topics - If you're really interested in a specific topic and want the board software to notify you when you sign on of any additional posts in the topic, just click on the Track this Topic link. The Board software will then notify you of additional postings on that topic.
Send Private Messages - The Board provides two ways to communicate privately with other members, in addition to public posts. First, although the Board keeps e-mail addresses secret, you can send private e-mail to any Board member by clicking on that member's name and choosing Send an E-mail. Write your message and the Board software will take care of addressing it to the right person. You can also use your own personal private Messenger. This works the same way, except that the mail is only available to the addressee when they are on the Board. It works much like other instant messenger programs.
Choose Your Own Post Color - From your Control Panel, you can edit your personal profile to choose a special color for your posts. This draws more attention to them and helps other members identify your posts at a glance.
Links and Attributes in Your Posts - When you post, just above the message editing area is a series of buttons which allow you to add attributes like BOLD or ITALIC or even links to other Board topics or other sites. For the latter, just click the http: button and supply the URL and name of the page and your post will show that link.
Group Promotions - Members who post more than 25 times are promoted to the Super Member group. Super Members have many privileges on the Board that Members do not have.
Become a Moderator - Our most active members are given the opportunity to moderate forums in which they are most interested.
Event Calendar - The Board has an Event Calendar through which you can announce almost any piano-related event to others. There is also a forum for event announcements.