This is one of the primary components of this site, so it's a good idea to understand how it works. Threads, Messages, News and Features are all stored here. But you cannot access them directly, you need to move down the hierarchy.
You can, however, view the most recent Messages and Threads for the entire Message Store by clicking on Recent Activity in the top navigation bar. This is a very good place to lurk if you're awaiting a reply, or just plain bored.
The Message Store is organised in Levels, this provides a common theme for the Sectors described below. Current Levels include Knowledge Base, Discussion Floor, Assembly Line and System Basement. They provide a place to mention AI Theory, Discussions, Applications, and the site respectively.
Within these Levels, there are many sectors. The number of these will grow as the site increases its span and popularity. Select the most appropriate Sector within the Level for your post, so that it has a better chance of targetting the right people. There is one general Sector per level where you can post messages that don't belong elsewhere. Use the Artificial Dump if nothing else is appropriate.
Main Sector Index
The daily activity takes place here. Each and every message can be read, and where new posts are made. You can start a new thread.
Some Messages, Threads and Forums have a little light coloured dot near them. This indicates thay they were modified since the last time you clicked Mark Read. This is a very good way of keeping track of what you have already viewed. Mark Read works on a global basis, so if you mark messages in one Sector, it will mark them all as read.
The important part of posting a new thread is selecting an appropriate subject. Choose it wisely, as it will attract attention of the people who are familiar with the subject. Don't use subjects like "Please Help!". They're practically useless. A description will help you refine the meaning of your subject, and will make a valuable eye catcher in the main Sector View.
The system is based on threaded discussion, which means that you can reply to every message, and not only to a global thread. Try to reply to the most appropriate message. The point of this system is to allow a better organisation of the messages, for easier searching. The threads are displayed indented, so you can easily pick out which posts are replies. This method has also all the advantages of a flattened display.
There is NO default subject. Don't request me to implement a "Re: Subject"... it won't happen. There's little point having an entire thread of the same subject: that's what the thread description is for. Messages without a subject will not have their subjects displayed, and will be vonlontarily less enticing to read. Choose a subject that describes your message best.
Try to keep it clean. We're trying to run a nice and friendly community here! Avoid l33t talk, it doesn't get you any respect from other readers. Flaming or insulting posts will be actively moderated, and action may be taken.
There are a few basic HTML tags you can use. These are <i><b><u><s>. You can format your HTTP links yourself using the <a> tag, or let the auto URL formatting do the trick.
They have the power to move, edit, delete messages and threads. Try to do your best to reduce the amount of work they have to do.
Your profile stores your information. You can customise it at will. Everything except the private email address will be displayed on request.
Your private email will not be displayed to other people. The only place it will be visible is inside the Account Manager. It will be used for auto-responding at your request, and basic administrative functions (like username and password problems).