Frequently Asked Questions - how to use babble

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Frequently Asked Questions - how to use babble

Welcome to babble!

In this thread, you'll find information about how to use babble, including tips, tricks, shortcuts, and tech support.

If you don't see the answer to a question you have about babble, please post your question in this thread and the moderators will do their best to answer it here as soon as possible.

This thread is closed to comments in order to keep it strictly for FAQs.  Feel free to post your comments, questions, and concerns about babble and rabble in other threads in the rabble reactions forum.


Q. How do I cut and paste text from other sites or documents onto babble without the babble software messing up the formatting?

A. Copy the text to your clipboard as usual.  In the babble comment window, click where you want to insert the text.  Then, click the "paste" icon beneath the comment window:   The text will be inserted with the formatting removed.


Q. How do I format my posts? What formatting options are available?

A. There are a number of formatting options available, and you can access them by clicking on the icons beneath your comment window. Here is a list of them, and how they work:

Bold - Highlight the text you wish to make bold, and click on this icon.

Italics - Highlight the text you wish to make italic, and click on this icon.

Underline - Highlight the text you wish to underline and click on this icon.  THIS ONE DOESN'T WORK, UNFORTUNATELY. 

Strikethrough - THIS ONE DOESN'T WORK, UNFORTUNATELY. Highlight the text you wish to cross out and click on this icon.

Insert a link/URL - Highlight the text in your comment window that you wish to make into a link to another web page. In the window that pops up, insert the link/URL into the "Link URL" field (including the http://). Choose "Open in a new window" from the drop-down menu. Ignore the final two fields and click on "insert".

Remove a link/URL - Highlight the entire text that has a link/URL attached to it. Click this icon, and the URL will be removed from the text.

Insert Image - Copy the online location of an image anywhere on the internet. (Not the web page, but the URL for the image itself - usually ends in .jpg or .gif or some other image file type.) Click inside the comment window where you want the image to be inserted. Click the Insert Image icon. In the window that pops up, paste the URL for the image in the first field (including the "http://"), and then click the "insert" button at the bottom of the window.

Text Colour - THIS ONE ALSO DOES NOT WORK. Highlight the text you wish to make a certain colour. Click the little triangle arrow next to the icon, then click on the desired colour from the options that pop up.

Edit HTML Source - Sorry folks, I'm not sure what this one does. I'll get back to you on this one at some point!

Insert Horizontal Ruler - click on the space where you want to insert a horizontal line across the entire width of your post. Then click the icon.

Insert Emoticon - click on this icon and then choose the emoticon you wish to insert into your post by clicking on it in the pop-up window.

Paste as Plain Text - Copy text from elsewhere (a document, or another web page) to your clipboard. Click in the comment window where you want to insert the text. Click the Paste as Plain Text icon, and the text will be inserted with the formatting removed.


Q. Why aren't my links visible in my posts?

A. At the moment, links are not automatically visible on babble for some reason.  We've brought this up with the people who do our tech work and it's under review (I think the hold-up is that they have to consult with the rest of the staff to come up with a common link style for across the site).

Until then, feel free to make your links visible manually through one extra step:

When you have your link text highlighted, instead of just inserting the link, perhaps also click the underline icon, and then your link text will be underlined as well.  (Or you can change the colour to red, or bold it, or whatever you like.)


Q. How do I put quotes inside a quote box if I'm not quoting someone's post?

A. Unfortunately, you have to write the tags yourself.  So, if you want to put "A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" in a quote box, you will need to use quote tags before and after the text you want to see in the quote box, like this:

[ quote ] A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. [ /quote ]

Please note: for the tags to take effect, you must remove the spaces between the square brackets and "quote" and "/quote".  I have put in the spaces so that the tags do not automatically format the text in the example.

We will apparently have an automatic quote feature added to our automatic editing icons at some point, but until then, we will have to do it ourselves.


Q. How do I quote someone's post so that it shows up in a quote box?

A. Click the button at the bottom of their post, and then the quote will come up.

Please be a courteous quoter! 

1. If the person's post is long, please delete everything except for the part that is relevant.  There is nothing more annoying than seeing someone quote a huge long post and then make a one-liner comment beneath it.

2. Be careful, when editing out text, not to delete the quote tags, or the quote will not show up properly.  The tags look like this: 

[ quote=Michelle ]  blah blah blah  [ /quote ]

3. Posting quote box within quote box within quote box within quote box is probably not necessary for any post, and it can be very annoying to other users.  But it can be tricky to get to the quote you want without messing up the formatting if you're not sure how the tags work.

Here is what the tags look like for a quote within quote within quote within quote.  Please note that the tags work BACKWARDS.  So if Michelle made the final comment, then Michelle will be the first tag (because her post is in the outermost box):

[ quote=Michelle ]  [ quote=Unionist ]  [ quote=Catchfire ]  [ quote=oldgoat ]  

Hi, I'm oldgoat.

[ /quote]

Hi, I'm Catchfire.

[ /quote]

Hi, I'm Unionist.

[ /quote]

I'm Michelle and I'm going to close this thread soon.

[ /quote]


So, if you only wanted to quote, say, Michelle's comment (in order to protest her authoritarian decision to close the thread soon), then you would delete all the tags at the top except for this one:

[ quote=Michelle ]

and you would delete all the [ /quote] tags except for the one AFTER Michelle's comment.

And, of course, you would also delete all the other people's comments as well except for Michelle's.



Unfortunately, the shortcut editing button for underlining doesn't work for babblers (only for moderators - don't ask me why, I have no idea).

But you can still underline if you type the tags in yourself manually, similar to the quote tags I mentioned above.

Before and after the text you wish to underline, type these tags (removing the spaces):

[ u] text you want underlined [/ u]  

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Q: What constitutes a 'personal attack' (that would get the attention and action of the moderators) and when should I use the 'flag as offensive' button?

A: My view on 'personal attacks' is that babblers should be able to handle a few written slings and arrows thrown at them. This is the nature of a discussion group that your ideas are going to be picked apart and dissected.

Personal attacks might include:

* a thread title remarking on the actions of a babbler in a negative manner
* posts referring to actions of a babbler in their 'real life' in a negative manner
* anything potentially slanderous
* anything racist, sexist, homophobic
* anything that reveals the identity of a babbler who does not post under his/her real name

I'm not inclined to get too upset when it's ideas that are attacked rather than personalities

I'll judge posts that call other babbler names on a case by case basis. I think there is a line somewhere and while 'dork' doesn't really cross it, harsher terms probably do. I can live with being called delisiounal, flaky, stalinist, too politically correct, and an apologist to Yankee imperialism, and other terms like that, and I expect others to do the same. If you can't fight back with words and stronger arguments, babble likely isn't for you. Sticks and stones and all...

And yes, ask yourself if you really, really, really need to hit the 'flag as offensive' button.

Again, these are my views only, but they are based on the babble policy. Other moderators likely have their own opinions


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