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Contractors Group
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Q

What is the Discussion Forum?

A

The PCG relies on intelligence information from its members. The forums allow web browser-based discussions and reporting that is available to the entire membership. This tool has proved to be invaluable in both the fighting of campaigns and in the rapid dissemination of information to members. It allows online discussion of factors affecting the membership and allows this discussion to be carried out over extended periods of time as well as in an almost “real-time” fashion.

Q

Why a browser based discussion forum?

A The use of a browser based discussion forum allows easy access to the widest variety of members including those who have limited Internet experience. The discussions are stored on a central database and so provide a useful reference material for new members and for research of our “intelligence gathering” activities.
Q What software does it use?
A The original software was a shareware product called WWWThreads. This has been altered and amended over time to better reflect the needs of the members and is currently undergoing an incremental improvement program.
Q How have they been useful?
A The discussion forum has been central to the ethos of the PCG. It has enabled us to react extremely quickly to events and has enabled members to share information and experience in a variety of ways. Members share information about good and bad Agencies and Clients and of market conditions as they evolve. The motto of the forums is very much “Share what you know, learn what you don’t” and has evolved into a lively and robust community. Discussion is sometimes outspoken, sometimes irreverent but always fascinating. It is the major tool that we use in creating our very real democracy.
Q Will it be replaced in the future?
A Almost certainly. However the database contains the history of the PCG and a wealth of information and experience. Any replacement will have to ensure that we don’t lose this and will have to have richer functionality than any product that we have currently researched. The PCG is keeping a close eye on technological developments in this area and is investigating alternatives. To date nothing currently available matches our requirements as well as the current software. This will inevitably change over time.
Q Why is the response so slow?
A

This should no longer be a problem. The system has been re-tuned to better reflect the size of our membership and the current number of discussion topic boards. This has greatly improved the response of the server. Before you contact the PCG about this please ensure that other websites are responding normally as many reports of slow response turn out to be a members ISP that is performing poorly. If you are still having problems please use our contact form

In addition we are investigating ways of improving the server capacity to cope with increased membership over the coming year.

Q I can only see the area marked Notice Board and Public, how do I see the other boards?
A You have not “logged in” to the forums. Use the “login” link at the top right of the forum index screen . Enter your PCG username and password. If you have forgotten your password there is a facility on the login screen to have it privately emailed to you.
Q Why doesn’t the send private function work?
A There is a software bug in this function. Try sending the mail by entering the recipients username manually via the send private function at the top RHS of the screen, rather than clicking on the username. This workaround usually solves the problem.
Q Why doesn’t the search engine always work?
A Again there is a software fault. Try reducing your search time downwards. Try “less than 6 months”. We are looking at fixing this bug by rewriting the search code but this is not a trivial job. In addition try reducing the number of forum boards searched (this also lightens the server load).
Q What does ‘NT’ or ‘nt’ mean in a message title header?
A This means that the poster has not included any text in his message. The full meaning of the post can be gleaned from the title. However, we do ask that posters refrain from posting messages such as “I agree (nt)” or “Here, Here (NT)” as this just clutters up the database and index entries.
Q There is so much information on the forums, can I read the posts offline?
A Try subscribing to the email digests. This will mean that once a day you will get an email containing all the posts for any boards you have subscribed to. You can do this by clicking on “edit profile” at the top RHS of the screen (you must be logged on) and at the bottom of the screen you will see a list of boards that can be subscribed to. Click on the subscribe “radio button” receive a daily digest of the posts for that board. We recommend that all members subscribe to the Notice Board and that infrequent visitors subscribe to the forum Summaries board to get a flavour of the content of the forums from time to time.
Q How do I add “emoticons” and do other clever stuff in my posts?
A Please see the forum FAQ on the top RHS of the main forum page for information on this and other more technical information.