The Initial Page
There may be a link to a schedule of meeting times on this page. And there should be a link to this help-file, or another help-file set up by the person who put the script up on the site.
Once you enter your name and password press the button that says "Enter Chat" (or something similar) and you will be taken to the room designated as the entry room by the person who set the script up on this site.
The Control Panel
There may be a link to this help-file here. The next link is called "Change Rooms:", this takes you to the part of the page that allows you to change rooms, I'll get into that in a minute. There is also a link called "Messages:" this links you to the part of the page where all the messages are. With most browsers you will be able to see the top of the messages from this point anyway, but people using Lynx won't be able to see them without selecting this link or scrolling down a couple screens.
Next is a big text entry field. This is where you type your message. The text will automatically wrap from one line to the next. If you want a line break when your message is displayed to everyone else press return, otherwise just let the text wrap by itself. HTML tags are not allowed because it would be too easy to mess the page up if they were. If someone started a table but posted before completing it the whole page would be messed up. If someone had an img tag to a large image everyone would have to wait for the image to load.
Next are a series of five buttons:
Post: press this button to send the message in the text area above. Your message will be added to the conversation and the page will reload showing you the latest conversation. If you press this button with an empty text area above the page will reload to show you the latest conversation, but it won't post anything.
Reload: press this button to see the conversation since the last time the page was loaded. New conversation will not be displayed automatically, so you need to press this to follow what is going on. If you press this button with text in the message field the page will reload and the text will remain in the unsent message area and will not be posted.
Clear: Press this button if you want to erase all the text in the message area without posting it. The page will not reload when you clear the text.
Leave: Press this button when you are done chatting and want to get back to the outside world. When you press leave a message will be displayed to everyone saying that you left, your name will be removed from the visitors list, and you will be taken to a page determined by the person who set the script up on this site.
Below these five buttons are a series of radio buttons where you decide how many messages you want displayed. The default is 20 messages, but you can change this to 10, 30, or 40. The number of messages you request will show up next time you reload the page and the script will remember how many messages you want displayed. Sometimes the script may not be able to display as many messages as you request. This may be the case if the script hasn't been used a lot recently because the script automatically deletes messages that have been around for a certain amount of time (determied by the person who set the script up).
The Visitors List
A person's name is added to the visitors list when they enter the room, and a message is displayed in the message area saying that person entered. Their name is removed when they click "Leave" on the control panel and a message is displayed saying they left. If a person does not reload for a given amount of time (determined by the person who set the script up) their name will be removed from the visitors list (but no message will be displayed saying they left).
The person setting up the script has the choice of whether or not to allow private rooms, so this paragraph may not apply to you. Below the public rooms changing area is a similar area for private rooms. Here instead of a menu listing the names is a text entry field. You must enter the name of the private room you want to enter and then click the button that says "Go There" (or something similar).
If there is any text in the private rooms field the script assumes you want to go to a private room, if the private room field is empty it assumes you want to go to the selected public room.
If the room you requested does not already exist it will be created automatically. When other people request a private room with that name they will be taken to the same room. So if you tell someone to meet you in a private room called "Wheeler" you will both end up in the same room when you enter "Wheeler" in the private room text area. The names of the private rooms will not be displayed anywhere, so people must know the name of a room to be able to enter it. (Room names ARE case sensitive, so you must capitalize identically)
One on One Messages
The script is available free of charge from http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~mwheeler/cgi
Questions or a problem with Chat? Please email our webmaster.
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