Private messages are a great way to communicate with other members and staff outside of chat. They are used frequently here, so it is good to learn your way around the PM (private message) system.
Step 1: How to Send a Private Message
The easiest way to get into the PM system is to click on the "new messages" icon on the home page. When you do that, the following PM screen will come up. Click on "Compose message" or "NEWPM" to start composing a new message to send:
On the "Compose message" screen, you can enter the subject of your PM, enter the text for your PM, and choose your recipient(s). You can add smilies, images, and URL's just as you would in chat (for more info on this, see Part 5: How to Insert Smilies, Pictures, & Links in Chat).
There are several ways to choose the recipient of your PM. If you know the exact user name, you can type it directly into the recipient box. Spelling and capitalization count! If your recipient is listed in your "Friends" box on the left side, you can click on "Add" to add the person into the recipient box. You can learn how to designate "Friends" in the upcoming "User Control Panel" topic.
If you are not sure of the exact spelling of the recipient's name, click on "Find a member" to go to member look-up.
You can click on the first letter of the user name for a list of members to choose from. You can also search for the name. In this first example, I am searching for all user names starting with "galah" by typing in "galah" and putting an asterisk (*) after the name as a wildcard. You can see that three user names starting with galah come up.
If you only know part of the user name, but not the beginning or end, you can add an asterisk before the part you know as well as after to broaden your search. You can see here that putting an asterisk both before and after "galah" now brings up six possible user names to choose from:
Once you have found the name you want, put a check next to the name on the left and click on "Select marked".
The name will now appear in the recipient box. To send the message, however, you still need to actually add the name by clicking the "Add" button:
Once you do, the name will appear above and to the right of the box.
You can delete a recipient by clicking on the "X" box next to the name.
You're ready to submit your message now. Just click on "Submit" on the bottom, and your PM will be sent.
The following screen will appear:
You can look at your message again or go to your Outbox folder. Until your message is picked up, you can delete it and in some cases still edit it.
Step 2: How to Receive a Private Message
When you are in chat, someone may tell you that they have sent you a PM.
If you look on top, you will see your message icon change to show you how many messages you have:
Note that you will need to refresh your browser screen to see the message indicator change. You will also get a regular email telling you that you have a private message waiting with a link to click on. Be aware, however, that sometimes the emails are quite delayed, so don't rely on the email to tell you when the PM has arrived. If someone has told you that they have sent you a PM, click on the message indicator even if it is still reading "0 new messages".
Your Inbox will appear showing you how many messages are waiting. Click on the message title to open.
You can delete the message from this screen or move it to a folder, if you prefer.
After reading the message, you can reply to sender, forward to another member, delete the message, or save it to a folder.
Congratulations! You are now an expert on private messaging! But before you go, here's a quick lesson on how to add folders to organize any PM's you might want to save.
Step 3: How to Create New Folders
From within the message system, click on "Rules, folders & settings" on the left side. Type in the new folder name and click "Add".
Each folder can hold a maximum of 80 messages, and there is a limit on the number of folders you can have. If you PM a lot, remember to clean out your folders periodically, including your "Sent messages" folder.
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