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General Science => General Science => Topic started by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:31:17

Title: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:31:17
One of the easiest things to do to figure out what someone else did is to hit "Quote", then read the original message to see how they formatted their message. 

In the following few posts, I'm going to try to explain some of the more common formatting methods on the TNS website (and many similar websites).

Posting Hyperlinks (
Posting Smileys (Emoticons) and special characters (
Posting Images and Pictures (
Searching for Information on The Naked Scientists Website (
Formatting Math Equations (TeX / LaTeX) (
Other Formatting Tricks and Notes (
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:32:12
Posting Hyperlinks

Generally it is easiest to type the hyperlink in by hand.  However, you can use the icon ( above the (full) editing box to get a start.  If you have the "Quick Reply" edit box, then click on "Preview", and you will get the more general message editing box.

There are a few basic parts.
So, to make it all work, you simply put in:
[url=http://Where_You_Want_To_Go.COM] Display This [/url]

Which results in the line:
 Display This  (http://Where_You_Want_To_Go.COM)

It is often easiest to cut and paste the hyperlink, so you don't get it incorrect.
Ctrl-C is a shortcut to copying hilighted text.
Ctrl-V is a shortcut to pasting hilighted text.

You will sometimes see characters substituted when you paste the hyperlinks.  For example, ( is often converted to %28, and ) is often converted to %28.  Don't worry about it.  This is to make it easier for some systems to display certain formatting characters.

One thing to note, as you are doing BB code is that in general, [...] starts a code block, and [/...] ends a code block.

A hyperlink to a specific message on TNS can be a bit tricky.
The easiest way to do it is to open the post in a new window/tab.
Hit "Quote"
Hit "Preview"
Click on the link in the quote, or Right-Click on it and select "Copy Link Location".
Copy & Paste the link into your message, and it should take you to the specific desired message.

The Quote function can be used much in the same manner as the URL function.  Often to just highlight some text, I will use:
[quote] Highlight This Text [/quote]

Highlight This Text

However, if you wish to link a source into the quote, you can expand it to:
[quote=http://The_Source_of_Your_Quote.COM] Highlight This Text [/quote]

Quote from: http://The_Source_of_Your_Quote.COM
Highlight This Text
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:32:43
Posting Smileys (Emoticons) and special characters

To avoid confusion with various text formats, it was chosen to force TNS smileys to be surrounded in brackets []

To post smileys, simply click on the link above, then surround the resulting characters in brackets (no spaces).

:)  ;)  :D  ;D  >:(  :(  :o  8D  ???  ::)  :P  :-[  :-X  :-\  :X  :-'(  :I  8  :o)  xx(  ^  :(!  V  |)  B)  8)  ?  O8)  :0
[:)]  [;)]  [:D]  [;D]  [>:(]  [:(]  [:o]  [8D]  [???]  [::)]  [:P]  [:-[[:-X]  [:-\]  [:X]  [:-'(]  [:I]  [8]  [:o)]  [xx(]  [^]  [:(!]  [V]  [|)]  [B)]  [8)]  [?]  [O8)]  [:0]
[:)] [;)] [:D] [;D] [>:(] [:(] [:o] [8D] [???] [::)] [:P] [:-[] [:-X] [:-\] [:X] [:-'(] [:I] [8] [:o)] [xx(] [^] [:(!] [V] [|)] [B)] [8)] [?] [O8)] [:0]

Unfortunately "embarrassed" ( uses a square bracket [ as part of the symbol,  :-[ and it does not currently come out right.  You can access the emoticon buy using the image processing.
[img] [/img]

Likewise, you may be able to access emoticons from other sites by inserting them as images.  But, use this function judicially.

Superscripts and Subscripts can easily be inserted by typing the symbol such as H2O for water.  Highlighting the character to be modified (2), and hitting the ( or ( buttons above (when in the full editing mode).
H[SUB]2[/SUB]O     H2O
3[SUP]2[/SUP]        32

I find it easiest to cut and paste to get other special symbols.  In Windows, I believe that you can hold down the alt key, and type in the ASCII code for the symbol using the numeric keypad (perhaps preceded by a zero), then release, and the special character may pop up.  Undoubtedly other people have other shortcuts to get these characters.
Three Quarters
Plus or Minus
≥ Greater than or equal to
≤ Less than or equal to
≠ Is  not equal to.
≈ is approximately equal to
≡ Is Defined As
∀ For All
∃ There Exists
∄ Does not exist
⊕ Exclusive Or
∪ Union
∩ Intersection
∧ Logical Conjunction
⊆ Is a subset of
⊂ Is a proper subset of
∅ Empty Set or Null
∴ Therefore
(often used exponential notation, smaller than an X or x).
E e ∃ ε ∈
∂ partial derivative. 
often used in function notation.
∇ Gradient
∞ Infinity - Alt 0236

⇒ ⇦ ← → ⇔ ↔ ↑↓↚ ↛

Α α    alpha
Β β    beta
Γ γ    gamma
Δ δ    delta
Ε ε    epsilon
Ζ ζ    zeta
Η η    eta
Θ θ    theta
Ι ι    iota
Κ κ    kappa
Λ λ    lambda
Μ μ    mu
Ν ν    nu
Ξ ξ    xi
Ο ο    omicron
Π π    pi
Ρ ρ    rho
Σ σς    sigma
Τ τ    tau
Υ υ    upsilon
Φ φ    phi
Χ χ    chi
Ψ ψ    psi
Ω ω    omega
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:33:02
Posting Images and Pictures

See Additonal notes on posting images here (

You can easily link to images on other websites, or even to images on other parts of (TNS) by simply putting in the name of the image surrounded by [img] [/img].  You can either type it in, or use the shortcut ( above the editing window.

For example, if you want to insert the Naked Scientists logo into your message, right click on the image, and click on copy image location, then paste it into your message and surround by [img] [/img]

[img] [/img]

Keep in mind that different websites  have varying policies about hyper-linking their images.  It is generally a good idea to reference the source of the image.  Some websites encourage hyperlinking because it creates links and traffic to their websites.  Others discourage it because hyperlink traffic is considered expensive and resource intensive. 

Wikipedia images are generally public domain, and the Wikipedia policy allows hyperlinking, as long as you refer to the source.  Other images often fall under Fair Use ( (the definition may vary by country), but the source still needs to be referenced.

See above notes on hyperlinking to make generally condensed quotations.  You can combine the hyperlinks and images if you wish, although it may note be quite as obvious to the reader as putting a separate notation in the text.  You can also use this to hyperlink from thumbnails.

[URL= ] [img] [/img] [/URL]
 (  (

Be careful that you do not hyperlink to an image on your local C: drive, or in a location that is password protected so that most users don't see it.

Adding your own images is a little more complicated, but it can be done easily enough.  You can choose a free image hosting site, but if the site is down or slow, the image becomes inaccessible.  And, they frequently purge older images, leaving broken links.  Some images are also frequently updated, so if you wish an archival copy of an image that you think might be changed, copy it to TNS (below), and reference the source.

To attach a personal image
While in the editing screen, click on "Attachments and other options".
You should see a line that says "Attach" and "Browse".  Click on the "Browse" button and select the image from your local hard drive.
Note the restrictions for uploading images to TNS:
Allowed file types: gif, jpg, pdf, png
Restrictions: 12 per post, maximum total size 192KB, maximum individual size 128KB
As a general rule, I will save images that are mainly drawings, text, and screen captures as GIFs.
I will save other photo images as JPGs or PNGs.  I usually set the size of the image to under 600x600 before attempting to upload.

You can select additional images by clicking on "more attachments".

By default the images don't get added to your message until you click "Post" or "Save".  The images are then added to your message as thumbnails at the end of the message.

You can make the images larger, and place them in an appropriate spot in your message by editing it after posting it.  Clicking on Attachments and other options.  Find your image.  Put your cursor where you wish the image to go, then click on "Insert Into Message".

Since this is a two-step process, I usually mark where I want the image to appear as I'm typing, then I can quickly scan to where I want the image and insert it.

(personal image, from my back porch winter, March 2012).
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:33:35
Searching for Information on The Naked Scientists Website

There are a couple of ways to search for information on The Naked Scientists Website (and many websites in general).

When in the Science Forum part of the website, you will find a link Search ( in the top bar of the page.

* SearchTNS.gif (42.19 kB . 934x514 - viewed 22615 times)

Specify as much information as you can.  You can search specific sub-forums by clicking on the (+) next to "Choose a board to search in"

You can tab between fields.  Simply hitting Enter on your keyboard will start the search, or click on the Search button at the bottom right.

The other method for searching that I prefer is to use Google (or your favorite WWW search engine).

Google allows one to specify the website to search.  So, for example, one can use Google to search TNS for the word FAQ

Simply open Google.

* GoogleTNS.gif (7.29 kB . 693x67 - viewed 22475 times)

For example, one can enter:

One of the results should be this topic.  If one knows one of the authors (such as myself), one can also specify the author as part of the search.

Other options for searching for documents would be selecting Recent Topics or My Posts. 

* RecentTopicsMyPosts.gif (14.65 kB . 933x150 - viewed 22438 times)

You can also click on another user's name and find recent posts by that specific user.
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:33:58
Formatting Math Equations (TeX / LaTeX)

One of the, perhaps more ominous formatting options is TeX / LaTex which is supported by TNS, as well as many other scientific websites.  It allows the formatting of mathematical arguments beyond what you can do with basic superscripts and subscripts, and text characters.  For example, one can use mathematical symbols to create fractions, sums, integrals, square roots, cubed roots, vectors, and etc.

Each implementation of TeX may have a few quirks, so I will add a few tricks that I have found useful for working with TeX on TNS, but would encourage each person to experiment to find formats they are comfortable with.

However, once you know a few basic commands and syntax, then it is easy to search on the web for additional, or more specific commands.

To start writing in TeX, you select the LaTex icon above the edit window.

This will create the basic BB code structure:


Most of the TeX commands will begin with a backslash "\", followed by a command such as frac, followed by one or more arguments in curly brackets {...}.  If it doesn't work, first check that your backslash is going in the right direction "\", which is opposite than the BB code [/tex]

Ok, say you want to start with a basic fraction, a4df4c5aaf8f092e03a00f7109e5de74.gif

You find the \frac TeX function takes two arguments {numerator}{denominator}.

Put it all together, [tex]\frac{x}{y}[/tex], and you have your first TeX function a4df4c5aaf8f092e03a00f7109e5de74.gif

Now, say you wish to do powers.  For example, using BB code, you can write X2m as X[sup]2m[/sup].

In TeX, the "^" symbol is used to denote superscripts, and the "_" symbol to denote subscripts.

So, you put it together, and you end up with: [tex]X^2m[/tex], and discover that you've failed, ending up with beb50359c75010546e0bdbe48ac7b764.gif, having lost the mth power.

To remedy this situation, add an extra set of curly brackets {} to denote the range that is superscripted.  [tex]X^{2m}[/tex], creating 3d83c30d0e863aec338ea031ff8510d0.gif.

Now, you can start combing TeX functions.  So, if you wanted to combine 3d83c30d0e863aec338ea031ff8510d0.gif with the fraction earlier, you just add it to the arguments.

[tex]\frac{X^{2m}}{Y}[/tex], creating bbdc76a408306f5c103d597235d01425.gif

Some of the common TeX functions you may use include (ignoring the BB code)  [tex]...[/tex]

\sqrtSquare Root\sqrt{xy}264c7e0dba1c58bada074e890aa6dc26.gif
\sqrtCubed Root\sqrt[3]{xy}cedcb93cb576299d12f47e49af07f41a.gif
\sumSum\sum\limits_{i=1}^n {3i}b24763214ea49e2653baff183f3016f0.gif
\intIntegral\int_1^\infty\frac{1}{x^2} dx72a92af8f55a58db76f0300f162209f9.gif

You may have noticed that all of the TeX characters are in script.  That may or may not be acceptable for your work.  There are a couple of solutions.  I often mix TeX and non-Tex script together to get the effect that I want.

For example, when writing Helium. 80e5430a95733f37561a2aae9d829215.gif, one might not desire the script, so rather one might choose to write it in mixed text formatting,  276783325d1cc694050a87c36dd6e84a.gifHe, Tex: [tex]^4_2[/tex]He.

The Functions, \mathrm, \textrm, & \text in TeX may also create a similar style.  However, they can be a bit quirky.  With helium, above, one gets [tex]\text{^4_2He}[/tex], displaying eac8a5f12038bb056c37722454aa8c8a.gif, but the vertical spacing is still sub-optimal.

Unfortunately, the \text (and related) functions can create odd results with spaces and repeated characters.  You may be able to work around it, but it may also be easier to combine the normal and TeX formatting.

For example, consider Water H2O, in TeX [tex]H_2O[/tex], giving  45e46989e3704bc2ba0899724acdca5c.gif.  To attempt to get rid of the script, one might try: [tex]\text{H_2O}[/tex], producing b15ae3a6e2142a15a886de3aec2ad5f2.gif, somehow producing a phantom O, and no subscript  [xx(].  In an attempt to remedy it, one might try using the \text command twice,  [tex]\text{H}_2\text{O}[/tex], producing 0497478f2c13bf3fe59628b0fa0510ea.gif, with a good subscript, but an extra space.  It does, in fact, produce the desired water molecule when one adds an extra pair of curly brackets [tex]\text{H{_2}O}[/tex], producing the desired be0160be75f16954abe98c02792cbc5e.gif

Anyway, it never hurts to check your work as you develop your own style.
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:34:23
Other Formatting Tricks and Notes

To modify or edit your existing posts click the ACTION button to the right of the message box. This is a dropdown. Select "Modify" to open the editor and alter your post. Click PREVIEW, below the message box, to see how your changes will alter your post, and click SAVE when you are happy with the edit.
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:34:49
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Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: CliffordK on 23/09/2012 07:34:58
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Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: Jajdj on 20/11/2017 17:15:41
These Tips are really Good and Useful to Us.!!!
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: Stella on 21/11/2017 07:25:31
Generally, it is easiest to type the link in through hand.  however, you could use the icon above the (full) editing container to get a start.  You may from time to time see characters substituted when you paste the links. To avoid confusion with various text codecs, it changed into chosen to force TNS smileys to be surrounded in brackets.
Web Source Link: <<<SPAM LINK REMOVED>>>
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: albertstanley on 24/05/2019 07:55:26
Sure it will helpful to new user like me :)
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: Colin2B on 24/05/2019 07:59:47
Sure it will helpful to new user like me :)
What would be helpful to us would be you not trying to spam us by putting a link in your signature.
No matter, weve changed it to ours.
Would give you a tip to not try it again, but you cant do that anyway when you are banned
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: Rasull on 19/06/2019 08:06:41
Thanks for the information!
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: RidaChat on 12/07/2019 02:51:03
Thanks, moderator for sharing these tips.
Title: Re: TNS Posting Tips & Tricks FAQ
Post by: Fractoggen on 25/02/2020 07:16:44
I am pretty much pleased with your good work.  ;D