The user control panel is a blanket term for all of the actions that you as a user can perform. It controls all of your board preferences, what is in your signature, what your avatar is, and even what is written below your avatar. In this guide I am going to be showing you the ins and outs of this control panel, so that you avoid the common pitfalls that many members fall into on a day to day basis. A command of the user control panel may not be essential if you want to get on here at GTAF but it undoubtedly helps.
Where can I find it then?
The control panel is accessible from all pages on the board. The following screenshots tell you where to click.
Clicking on the "My Controls" link will bring you to a summary of your account, but more of that later. There are also other links there which take you to your message inbox, help you view all new posts since your last visit, and there is also a link to something called "My Assistant." This opens a new popup, much like clicking on your warn log link in your profile. Contained inside are the following helpful links:
- The moderating team
- Today's active topics
- Today's top 10 posters
- Overall top 10 posters
- My last 10 posts
Your assistant also tells you how many posts have been made since your last visit and, perhaps more importantly, how many of those were direct replies to a topic which you have created. You can also access your control panel from your own user profile:
Clicking on the "Edit my profile" link will bring you to your control panel. While you can also edit your signature and avatar, search through your own posts, and edit your contact list from the comfort of your own profile.
And now lets get down to the nitty gritty:
Click on a link below to go to the relevant part of the post.
Your account summary
Table of all board skins, with example pics
Your account summary:
|Your registered email address.||Displays the email address which is currently associated with your account. Useful if you want to change emails, or if you just have multiple accounts and want to know which one is in use here.|
|Total posts to date.||Displays the number of posts that you have made since.|
|You registered on.||Tells you exactly when you registered, date and time.|
|Average no. of posts per day.||Displays the average no. of posts that you have made since joining the forums.|
|Total messages.||Shows you how many messages you have in all PM folders as a percentage of the total allowed.|
|Message space left.||Shows you how many more messages you can store.|
|Notepad.||"You may store post snippets, or any other information you need to hand here." You can choose between a small medium or large sized pad. I personally don't use it but I know people who do.|
|Compose new message||Makes a new blank message form. You need to enter the recipients name, a brief title and then just type your message like you would a post. Afterwards you can choose to check the length, which displays a popup showing how many characters you have used. Then you can either choose to add a copy to your sent message folder, track the message, send the message, preview it, or save it for sending later.|
|Go to inbox||Provides a shortcut to your inbox folder.|
|Sent items||Provides a shortcut to your sent items folder.|
|Empty PM folders||To remove your stored personal messages - simply choose which folders you wish to empty and click on the continue button. Although there is no undo button so be careful. By default all unread PMs are set to be kept.|
|Edit storage folders||Allows you to change the names of your existing folders, e.g: inbox and sent items folders, and to add your own separate folders. Useful for archiving selected messages only. Just type in your changes and press "submit changes".|
|PM buddies/block list||Add members to your contacts. Enter a member name, a short description and choose if you want them to message you or not. Then click the big button underneath and Bob's your uncle! Job done.|
|Archive messages||Allows you to select messages from a variety of criteria to be downloaded as either an importable MS Excel datafile or as html documents. Select the folder you want to archive from, how many you want to archive, what timeframe you want to archive them from, and if you want them to be deleted afterwards. Click process, and download the created file when it pops up.|
|Saved messages||Shows you all of the messages that you saved, but haven't got around to sending yet.|
|Message tracker||If you selected message tracking in the PM compiler, this is where they end up. Shows you if the messages that you have sent have been read by the recipient, and lets you end tracking. Also allows you to delete messages which you have sent that haven't been read by their receiver yet.|
|View Topic||Allows you to manage your topic subscriptions. Shows all of the topic info that you would find on the main forum page. Think of it as your own private forum, but with only topics that you care about! Plus if you get bored, you can easily prune them off using the "unsubscribe" button.|
|View Forums||Exactly the same as above. Provides alerts of the latest posts in forums which you have chosen to subscribe to. Like a forum index of your favourite places on the forums. An "unsubscribe" button is also present.|
|Custom member title||As you may have noticed your member title changes in stages as your post count rises. The full list can be found here but did you also know that you can change your title? You need over 10 posts to do so, but just type whatever in here and it will change.|
|Date of birth||Choose your date of birth from the drop downs provided. In the DD/MM/YYYY format.|
|Website URL||If you have a site and want to advertise it on your profile, put the URL in here. Some people post log out links disguised by tinyurl in here. That is not very funny at all to be honest.|
|IRC nickname||If you want others to know your IRC nickname. Post it here.|
|ICQ UIN||Your ICQ identification number goes here if you have one.|
|AOL Identity||Post your AOL address here.|
|Yahoo! Identity||Post your Yahoo! identity here.|
|Windows Live ID||Windows Live ID should be typed in here. |
NB: All of these things regarding IDs and UINs should only be posted if you want them to be known. These are available beneath your signature and other users can see and access them. Don't feel obliged to share them.
|Xbox Live Gamertag||Your XBL gamertag fits in here.|
|Playstation Network ID||Again, your PSN ID goes here.|
|Location||Type your location in here. 80000 characters are allowed although I don't know anyone who has come close to that really.|
|Flag||Select the flag of your country, or just any flag which looks nice, here. Look at the bottom of the list for the miscellaneous flags which some users have. They are: Pirate; Gay Pride; Anarchist; Mars and Gadsden.|
|Interests||Here you have 80000 characters to let anyone who wants to know all about whatever you do in your time off this site.|
|Gender||Choose your gender, or if you would rather this remained private, select the "Not Telling" option.|
|Favourite GTA||Select your favourite Grand Theft Auto series game.|
|Respect list||If you want to let everyone know who you respect, or disrespect, then enter it here!|
Click "Amend my profile" to save the changes that you have made.
Your signature is your own space, displayed beneath your posts it is a prime site to talk bullsh*t, link to outside sources and other sites that you like, plug stuff or display your pips if you are in an official forum gang. Follow the rules above your signature box and you will be fine.
HERE are the signature size rules.
HERE is the sig reenable request thread.
And if you need help with bbcode which you may have to type out manually in your sig, look to these two threads made by GTA3ROCKSTAR and flicko respectively.
Avatars must be no larger than 64x64 pixels. 4 file extensions are allowed, they are: .gif; .jpeg; .jpg and .png. You have a choice between using a pre-installed avatar from one of the GTAF base galleries, or using one of your choice. The base galleries currently are:
- Base Gallery
- GTA III
- GTA IV
- GTA San Andreas
- GTA Vice City
- GTA Liberty City Stories
- GTA Vice City Stories
- Invision Power Board community pack
- Rockstar Games
When you are choosing an avatar to upload, make sure that the URL of the image ends in the file extension. So /image is disallowed, but /image.png is perfectly fine.
The forums will by default resize your image if it is too large, however I would recommend doing it yourself or getting one of the GFX wizards over here to do it for you. As sometimes the image quality can be compromised by this automatic resizing. Update your avatar, or remove your existing one, by clicking the relevant buttons.
To change your displayed personal photo, simply upload to an imagehosting site like photobucket, tinypic or imageshack and copy and paste the direct link into te given box, click "update photo" and it's done. Once again, image scale is on by default and will resize your pic if it is bigger than 250x250 pixels in size. To remove your picture click the "remove picture" button.
|Email settings||Here, through checkboxes, you can choose to hide your email address from other users, or to add yourself to the admin mailing list so that admins can email you info about forum updates. |
You can also choose to receive an email when someone posts in one of your subscribed topics, with or without a copy of their post, or whenever you get a new private message.
Finally you can choose to "Enable 'Email Notification' by default." This basically autosubscribes you to all topics which you create or reply to.
|Board Settings||General board setting are located here. You can |
|Skin and Language Options||Select a language from the following:|
•English (That was easy )
Select a skin from the dropdown interface, the default is GTANet 2k4. Many of the official gangs have their own skin which their members use, and there are also a variety of interesting skins created by various members for various purposes. A "preview this skin" function is available which opens a new window with the selected skin. When you click: "Change my account options" you will be redirected and following this your change of skin will be in effect.
|Change email address||To change your email address, simply follow the instructions here. You will be sent an email outlining what you need to do to. If you can't remember your password this isn't really a good idea as it log you out.|
|Change password||To change password, simply type your old password and your new password into the boxes provided and click the "Change my password" button. |
NB: If you experience difficulties and have tried logging out and then logging back in, contact a staff member to help resolve the problem.
Table of skins:
|GTA3.com (Original default)||HERE|
|GTANET 2k4 Lite||HERE|
|GTANET 2k4 xmas||HERE|
|Invision Power Board||HERE|
|$outh $ide Hoodz||HERE|
Thanks for reading the guide...