Getting started: how to use this forum

Getting started: how to use this forum

Welcome to the Restarters community! This topic is short guide on how to use this forum in a technical sense (how to post, change settings and so on).

See separate topics for our community values & guidelines and forum organisation/structure


:bulb: For guidance on more advanced features, browse our other Help topics

Change the language

:translate: This forum is available in most common languages. To change the language and translate topics, follow the instructions here.

Try our tutorials

You can access a basic tutorial that covers the basic functions of this software in your inbox. Just find the message from HelperBot called ‘Greetings!’ and follow the instructions.

You can also ask HelperBot to take you through an advanced tutorial by replying to its message with the following:
@HelperBot start advanced user


Finding your way around

Talk is a forum where people from across the network can have conversations about anything related to community repair events, repair advice and repair in the wider world (such as our campaign for the right to repair).

The homepage of the forum shows you a list of categories on the left and a feed of the latest topics on the right. You can click on any category to see a list of the latest topics in that category. You can click on any topic to read that conversation and reply if you want. Return to the homepage at any time by clicking the logo :restart: in the top left.

What's a topic? (click to show/hide)

Topics are individual conversations, like an email chain. Anyone who can see the topic can join in, but they tend to have a very specific focus. For example, the Introduce yourself topic is a place for new members to say hi to everyone.

:nerd_face: Pro-tip: very long topics will include an automatically generated summary feature. Just click the ‘summerize topic’ button at the bottom of the first post, e.g. here: OpenDataDay

What's a category? (click to show/hide)

Categories are areas of the forum dedicated to topics about a certain topic. For example, the #community-repair category is dedicated to topics about how to run local, electronics/electrical repair events in your community.

When reading a topic, you’ll see a ‘breadcrumb’ below the title that tells you exactly where you are in the forum. For example, here’s the breadcrumb for this topic:

This tells us we’re in the Help & feedback category and the User guides subcategory. You can click on either of these to go ‘up’ to the subcategory or category level.

When you are browsing a category, you’ll see a similar breadcrumb at the top:

In this case, clicking on the category, subcategory or tag will open a menu where you can select the category, subcategory or tag you’re interested in. Doing so will filter all topics on the forum by that category, subcategory or tag.

Topics above the red line are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, its title will be grey instead of black.

All topics less than two days old are considered new, and will show a new indicator.

:nerd_face: Pro-tip: Selecting a topic title will always take you to your last read post in the topic. To enter at the top ↑ or bottom ↓ instead, select the reply count or last reply date/time.



Any topic you’ve actively participated in — by creating it, replying to it, or reading it for an extended period — will be automatically tracked on your behalf, and will show an unread post count indicator.

When someone is talking directly to you — by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your @username , or even linking to your post, a number will immediately appear over your profile picture docked at the top right. Select it to access your notifications.

Don’t worry about missing a reply – you’ll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away.

You can change your notification level for any topic via the notification control at the bottom, and right hand side, of each topic.

Notification level can also be set per category. To change any of these defaults, see your user preferences.

For search, the menu, or your user page, use the icon buttons at the upper right.

While reading a topic, use the timeline on the right side to jump to the top, bottom, or your last read position. On smaller screens, select the bottom progress bar to expand it.

(If you have a physical keyboard, you can also press ? for a list of keyboard shortcuts.)

More detail about notifications & how to adjust your settings can be found here:


Starting a topic and replying

Starting a new topic

To start a new topic, simply press the ‘New Topic’ button in the top right:

A composer window will appear at the bottom of the page where you can begin writing. Type on the left and see a preview of your post on the right.

You will need to select a category to post in. Click the ‘category…’ menu and select the most relevant category from the list that appears.

You can continue reading (and even navigate to different topics) while you write; minimize the composer window for more room or maximise it to full screen for convenience. Drafts will automatically be saved as you write.

To notify someone, mention their name. Type @ to begin selecting a username.

To use standard Emoji, just type : to match by name, or traditional smileys :wink: You can also use the emoji button in the editor panel.

To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself with no other text. To start a topic with a link, paste the link into the title field.

Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or Markdown:

This is <b>bold</b>.
This is [b]bold[/b].
This is **bold**.

For more formatting tips, try this Markdown tutorial.

Replying to a topic

Press any Reply button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser.

Click/tap here for more details

The Reply button highlighted in the screenshot above and the Reply button at the bottom of each topic allow you to reply to the topic as a whole. The Reply button at the bottom of each post enables you to reply to that post specifically. Your reply will appear at the bottom of the topic as normal, but it will be linked to the post you replied to.

To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. Repeat for multiple quotes.



There are action buttons at the bottom of each post:

  • To let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post, use the like button. Share the love!
  • Grab a copy-pasteable link to any reply or topic via the link button.
  • Use the button to reveal more actions. Flag to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem. Bookmark to find this post later on your profile page.


Your account

You can manage your account by clicking on your profile picture at the top right (on desktop) and then selecting the cog icon. This takes you to your user preferences where you can change your username, name, password, profile picture and title.

What is a Title? (press to show/hide)

Titles appear next to member’s usernames and are defined by a group that person is a member of or a badge that someone has earned. @Janet is a member of the Restart team, and so has ‘Restart team’ as her user title. If you are a member of one or more groups or have multiple eligible badges, you can choose to use a title associated with one of those groups or badges in your account preferences.

In your user settings, you can also update your public profile, change your email and notification settings and access a number of interface options (including changing the interface language and switching themes).

If you want to delete your account, there’s a “delete” option in user preferences that’s visible for 60 days after your first post. If you’re a more established member, contact me (@james) and depending on what you prefer, I can either “anonymise” your posts or delete them entirely.


Have a question that’s not answered here? Just reply to this topic and we’ll help you out :slight_smile: