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How to Use The User Control Panel (User CP)

What is the User Control Panel?
The CP is your own private panel that allows you to send and receive private messages, change your profile, add a signature to your posts, control your password, and much more. To access your user CP you must first log into From there you will click the link to the user CP found on the upper right hand corner of the screen shown in the picture: User CP link circled in red
Upon clicking the User CP link you will be taken to the Control Panel main menu: User CP main menu

Here you can see all of the features you have control over in the panel. Moving from left to right on the tool bar, the categories are the User CP main menu, profile, signature, avatar, options, password, user groups, buddy/ignore list, private messages, and subscriptions. We will go over what features each category offers.
CP Main Menu
The CP main menu will show you all the threads to which you are recently subscribed. Whenever you post in a thread you are automatically subscribed. This is to allow you an easy way to follow threads in which you have posted by checking your User CP. In the picture you can see what the main menu looks like. In the drop down menu circled in red you have the ability to change how the subscribed threads are viewed based on how recently you posted in them. Drop down menu used to change how subscribed threads are viewed
This category is where you can enter information about yourself to make available to moderators, administrators, and if you choose - other members. The profile section is pretty straightforward and a picture of the layout is included below. Sample User Profile showing the available fields that can be filled out
Perhaps you have seen other members that have information, either a picture or quote, below all of their posts? That is their custom signature and this is the category where you can create yours. When you click the signature category you are greeted with the same type of window as a standard post. Simply type whatever you wish in post format and click the save button at the bottom. Keep in mind that your signature must abide by the User Guidelines or else you may be contacted by a member of the AF moderating team concerning your signature. Edit Signature Window:

The Edit Signature Window
Again, maybe you have seen other members with animations or graphics underneath their username? Those are avatars and you can add you own in this category. When you click the avatar link you are presented with three options. You can opt for no avatar by clicking the box in the first segment of the window as is done below. You may either link to or upload a custom animation as your avatar or you may link to or upload a static image as your avatar. The possibilities are endless. The profile picture is a separate image that will be shown when other members view your user profile. Just remember that whatever you choose to include as your own personal avatar and profile picture, it must not be offensive to other members of the AF community or you will be contacted by a member of the AF moderating team. Avatar window showing 'no custom avatar' selected
This category provides you a great deal of control over how you wish to interact here at You can select to be contacted by email whenever someone replies to your posts or sends you a private message. You can set the time zone that you are in. You can adjust how you view post and thread order anywhere on the message board and much more. Choosing different options is as simple as clicking yes or using choosing your preference from drop down menus. Shown below is a sample of some of the options you have total control over. Options window
This category is as the name suggests where you control your password and email information. Here you can change your password whenever you wish. It is important to remember to keep your email address up to date and accurate simply because we use the email address provided here to contact you with a new password should you ever forget your existing one. The password tab is shown below:

Password window
User Groups
This category is where you can view the user groups you are currently a member of and join new public groups. However, currently here at we do not provide for segregated public user groups and subsequently the User Groups section of the User CP will be unused.
Buddy/Ignore List
In this category you can include your favorite members of AF onto your buddy list or add members that you do not wish to be in contact with on your ignore list. By placing a member on your ignore list, it will prevent them from Private Messaging your. This system is very similar to the buddy and block lists on Instant Messenger. The buddy/ignore window is show below. The Buddy/Ignore List window
Private Messages

This is the category where you can send and receive private messages to other members of In the picture below, the PM control bar is (circled in red below). By clicking on the links in the control bar you can cycle between checking your inbox, composing new messages, tracking your PMs, and editing folders to organize your PMs from other members. The 'Jump to Folder' drop down menu (circled in green below) allows you to easily view the contents of whichever one of your PM folders you wish to open. Figure 1: PM Main window
  • Inbox
    1. This is the window that opens by default when you enter the private message category and shows all of your most recently receive messages. See picture below.
    PM Inbox window
  • New Messages
    1. Clicking this link takes you to the composition window. Here you can write and send a private message to any other member of You have to fill out the recipient, title the message, and type the body in standard post format. When you are ready to send the message, click the 'Post Message' button found at the bottom of the window (circled in red).

      You may also send a private message to a member of by clicking the 'Send A Private Message' link in the private messaging section of your user control panel, or by clicking the PM' button in a member's posts. When you send a message, you have the option to save a copy of the message in your Sent Items folder.
    New Message window showing the location of the 'Post Message' button
  • Track Messages
    1. When you send a new private message, you may have the option to request a read-receipt for that message. This will allow you to check whether or not a message has been read by its recipient by viewing the Private Message Tracking page.

      This window will show you all of the messages you have sent that have either been confirmed or are waiting to be confirmed as received. This provides you a way to know whether or not another member has actually read your message. Message receipts are listed as shown:

      This page is divided into two sections: unread messages and read messages.

      The unread messages section shows all messages that you have sent with a read-receipt request, that have not yet been read by their recipient. The time of the last activity of the message recipient is also shown. Messages in this section can be cancelled if you decide that their contents are no longer relevant, or for any other reason.

      The read messages section shows all messages you have sent with a receipt request that have been read and acknowledged by their recipient. The time that the message was read is also shown. You may choose to end the tracking on any message you choose by selecting the message and clicking the [end tracking] button.

      When you receive a message with a read-receipt request, you may have the option to read the message while denying the read-receipt request. To do this, simply click the 'deny receipt' link rather than the title of the message, if it appears.
    Track Messages window
  • Edit Folders
    1. By utilizing the Folders option, you can organize all of your messages however you see fit. This allows you to unclutter your inbox by moving messages you want to keep into special folders. To add folders, just fill in the lines and click the 'Save Folders' button circled below.

      By default, you will have two folders in your private message area. These are the Inbox and the Sent Items folders.

      The Inbox folder contains any new messages you receive, and allows you to view all the messages you have received, along with the name of the person who sent the message to you, and the date and time the message was sent.

      The Sent Items folder contains a copy of any messages that you have sent, where you have specified that you wish to keep a copy of the message for future reference.

      You may create additional folders for your messages by clicking the 'Edit Folders' link.

      Each folder has a set of message controls which allow you to select messages, then either move them to one of your custom folders, or delete them completely. You may also have a button which allows you to forward multiple messages from a folder to another member of the board.

      You will need to periodically delete old messages, as the administration team has set a limit to the number of private messages you can have in your folders. If you exceed the number of messages specified by the administrator, you will not be able to send or receive new messages until you delete some old messages.

      Whenever you read a message, you will have the option to reply to the message, or forward that message to another member of the board. You may also have the ability to forward that message to multiple members of your buddy list.
    Edit Folders window showing the 'Save Folders' button

    The private messaging system is in essence your own email account to communicate within the world.
    This category reflects the same information found in the User CP main menu. However in the subscriptions section the information on your current and past thread subscriptions is much more in depth. The main benefit of using the subscriptions category is that you can select via drop down menus (circled in green below) how you wish to be notified of changes in the threads. The option circled in red in the first image below is a drop down menu that determines the age of the threads being currently displayed. The option circled in red in the second image is a link to the folders window, shown in the third figure. By utilizing the Folders option, you can more effectively organize your thread subscriptions. The last feature of the subscriptions category is the folder jump option (circled in blue in the first image). It is the same as the folder jump link found in the private message category. It will allow you to view the contents of the folder you select.
    Edit Folders window showing the 'Save Folders' button Edit Folders window showing the 'Save Folders' button Edit Folders window showing the 'Save Folders' button

    By taking advantage of all of the control provides you over your own account, you can tailor your user account to your needs and your own level of customization. Hopefully this FAQ has covered all the information you need to fully utilize all of the features of the User Control Panel. However, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact any member of the moderating team for additional help.