2007 News - Many Updates and New Features!

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Admin - Webmaster
UPDATE 7/17/2007:

As our forums are non-profit and volunteer-operated, they are not for public use to sell or trade mechandise. Commercial posts are now strictly limited to the sponsor forum and require a donation at the sponsor level. Personal for sale and trade posts are strictly limited to the Carseat Swap forum and require a free Senior Community Membership (see below) or a donation at any level. For more information on how to become a sponsor or to to donate to support our forum costs, please see Support Car-Seat.Org.

Thank you!


UPDATED 1/7/2007

Happy New Year to All!

There have been a number of great changes made in the last few weeks for the benefit of our community:

The forum home page has a somewhat less cluttered look now. The Reviews forum has been made a subforum of the Car Seats forum, saving space to accomdate three new forums. First is the new safety topic News forum for official press releases such as recalls, product information and published reports. Please feel free to add announcements to this news forum as you find them, but please include a link and reference to the original source of the material. This forum also has a new subforum for Safety Articles that are written by our members. These articles may include detailed information on a wide range of traffic safety issues. This subforum is moderated. The last forum is a semi-private Carseat Swap forum, allowing senior community members to post for sale, for trade and wanted ads. Registered Users may read this forum.

A Google(tm) site search utility is now at the bottom of all Car-Seat.Org pages. Another is included on the Car-Safety.Org home page. You can choose to search either website or a general World Wide Web search.

A new blog feature has been added to the forum navigation bar. You can also access it at blog.car-seat.org or www.carseatblog.com. Check back for future updates and blog entries!

Users may now select different styles/skins to change the default forum color scheme. Please note that the choices other than the Car-Seat.Org default style may be missing some icons or images and could have other minor bugs also. You can change the appearance of the forums in your User CP control panel or with the Quick Chooser menu in the bottom bar.

Some new features have enabled for registered users. Specifically, you can now see who else is online and access a memberlist of users. If you do not wish to be included in the "Who's Online" sections, you may set yourself to "Invisible". To do this, go to the User CP control panel and choose the Edit Options link on the left side. An option to Use Invisible Mode is listed in the top section about Login & Privacy. Thread ratings have now been enabled for the Car Seats, Car Safety, Safety Articles and Carseat Reviews forum. Users should now be able rate threads from 1 to 5 stars. The ratings will not appear until at least 5 members have rated a thread. If a thread contains one or more posts with excellent and detailed information, please consider giving it 5-stars to flag it for other members. Finally, a User Reputation system is also now enabled. This allows users to praise other users with repuation points for good posts (no negative points can be given). Reputation points give you a small colored icon in the banner of your posts and user profile as well as a reputation title. All members may opt-out of the User Reputation system in the same section they can set themselves to invisible for the Who's Online system. See http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=8944 . Most members also now have slightly larger limits for avatars, profile pictures and private messages. Last, but not least, some additional user profile fields have been added so you can list your kids, carseats, favorite songs and other personal information if you like.

Also, there are some new guidelines about the size of member signatures that appear at the end of your posts. Please limit any images and tickers in your signature to a reasonable size, especially if you use multiple images. Please limit the combined height of all your photos, tickers and images to 240 pixels tall as an absolute maximum. The combined width should be no more than 640 pixels wide. The combined file size should be no more than 100kb. We don't want our forum threads to be cluttered like they are on some other websites, with the large majority of a thead being comprised of signatures and advertisements with little actual content. Please feel free to personalize your posts within reason, but the shorter you can make your signature including all text and images, the better. Individual users can turn off Avatars, Signatures and Images if they prefer uncluttered, text-only forum reading. To do this, go to the User CP control panel and choose the Edit Options link on the left side. These options can be disabled in the Thread Display Options section.

Finally, there have been some changes with user titles and user groups. Community members can now aspire to be a "Senior Community Member" or a "CPS Guru". Registered users who have been registered at least 6 months, have at least 100 posts and a reputation of 50 points (subject to change) will be able to choose the Senior Community Member title in the Group Memberships area of their User CP as an option. They will also have access to a special forum, live chat room, increased size for their profile picture and some other minor enhancements. Senior community members and donors may also post new threads to sell personal items on the Carseat Swap forum. To join the exclusive CPS Guru usergroup, you must have been a Registered User for at least 1000 days, made at least 5000 posts (edit: and have a high reputation). Your hard work will be rewarded with a few more trivial goodies, such as slightly larger limits and animations in avatars and signatures, read-only access to the Technical Professionals forum plus increased storage space for images, attachments and private messages. Our other user titles may have also changed slightly and this may affect some existing users. For example, the "Senior Member" title was replaced with "Community Member" for all users in that category.

It is now easier for certified Child Passenger Safety technicians to request access to the Technical Professionals usergroup. Please see the welcome announcement in this forum for details. A series of moderated Q&A sessions is planned for the coming months and some of these events will earn CEU credit for technician re-certification.

After 5 years of open, public access, we were forced to require registration and email confirmation a few months ago, due to recent spam attacks. Unfortunately, this meant parents could no longer post a quick question as a guest. It is sad the spammers have ruined this resource and could be responsible for injury to a child because a parent did not have the time or desire to register first. As of now, on a trial basis, members who have not yet registered, confirmed their email or had their accounts approved to Registered Users may again be able to post in the Car Seats forum, but their posts will be moderated. These posts can take a up to a day to appear to the public, so please do not repost if your message does not appear immediately. This restriction is removed once they are approved as a full access Registered User. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you have any problems registering an account or posting a message, please Contact Us . Please keep in mind we are a non-profit organization operated by volunteers. So, it can take a day for for responses to website and registration issues. Car-Seat.Org forums continue to run without advertisements or pop-ups of any kind. In lieu of donations, we appreciate links to Car-Seat.Org from your websites! Many accounts that had not verified their email address or had been inactive for over a year were purged recently. Please feel free to create a new account if you believe yours was purged. If you have lost your username/password, please contact us before making another account.

Even with the new restrictions, our forums have grown significantly this year. Thank you to all of our members for participating and to all the parents and caregivers who visit seeking advice.
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