So you've arrived at this Simple Machines Forum (SMF)! Perhaps you've been looking at the board index or a screen telling you that you need to register before you can read it and you're wondering what to do next?
Well, some forums permit guests to read and post, some permit guests to read only and some are restricted to registered members. We'd recommend registering at any forum that you see yourself using regularly because many of the most useful features will only become available to you when you do so. Since SMF, however, is such a flexible system that few forums are likely to be identical, we will start by describing four key areas that we'd normally expect to be there for you:
Supposing you've arrived here as a guest (or have registered but are currently logged out), the main menu (which appears on every page) should normally comprise five or six buttons (or text links):
Once you've registered and logged in, however, the main menu should look a little different:
Forum administrators should also note the presence of an additional Admin button.
While the board index (forum home page) is packed with all kinds of information and links, the core of the interface (at least in the SMF default theme) normally looks something like this:
Like the board index, the message index interface is quite straightforward when reduced to its essential components:
Sometimes referred to as threads, topics are where you find the actual messages: