For more information, check out the:
There are two types of conferences in COW:
We will discuss the "standard" conference first, then differentiate the simple conference from the standard version.
COW is organized into three main levels (see Figure 1):
Figure 1. Conference organization
The fair witness is responsible for determining the security level of a conference, determining the topics for a conference, subscribing participants to restricted and unlisted conferences, and taking care of the general conference administration.
As the name implies, a simple conferences is a "streamlined" conference. Simple conferences contain one -- and only one -- topic (see Figure 2). In effect, the conference is the topic. Simple conferences can contain several conversations. This simplified structure allows for easier participation and administration. A fair witness can change a simple conference into a "regular" conference using the Conference Manager.
Figure 2.Simple Conference organization
|Displays this help page.||Displays your HotList, which is where you started when you logged in to COW. Whenever you are hopelessly lost, click this button.|
|Lets you edit your password, real name, or profile (with respect to the COW system).||Takes you to the HotList Editor, where you can add or remove conferences from your HotList.|
|Terminates your connection to the COW web server. Log out when you're done conferencing.|
|Creates a summary report of conversation activity for all or some of the conferences in your HotList.||Searches for conversations by key word(s).|
|On a topic page, allows you to mark all new posts and replies as "read."||On a topic page, starts a new conversation.|
|On a topic page, displays the ten most recent conversations (if there are that many).||On a topic page, lists all conversations ever posted to that topic (could be a really big listing).|
|On a topic page, displays the twenty most recent conversations (if there are that many).|
|On a conversation page, displays responses that are up to one day older than the responses already displayed.||On a conversation page, ignores the conversation, so that COW doesn't list any new responses.|
|On a conversation page, displays responses that are up to one week older than the responses already displayed.||On a conversation page, leaves the conversation as "new," displaying all of the responses next time you view the conversation.|
|On a conversation page, displays responses that are up to one month older than the responses already displayed.||On a conversation page, finds the next new set of responses, and displays them (not necessarily in the same topic).|
|On a conversation page, brings up the entire conversation.|
Your HotList displays the list of conferences or simple conferences in which you currently participate. The HotList is displayed when you log in to COW, and the numbers beside each conference name indicate the number of new posts or replies (if any) to each conference.To change your HotList, click on the Edit HotList button to bring up the HotList Editor.
The HotList Editor page displays a list of public conferences that you are permitted to join. Each conference in the list is displayed next to a box, which is checked if you are subscribed to the conference and not checked otherwise. To add a new conference to your HotList, check the corresponding box. Remove conferences by unchecking the corresponding box. When you are satisfied with your choices, click the Save New HotList button (at the top of the public conference list) to effect your changes. Note: If you don't click the Save New HotList button, your HotList will not be updated after you leave the HotList Editor.
At the bottom of the HotList Editor page, you can click on the "View Restricted Conferences" link to display the list of restricted conferences. In the list of restricted conferences, each conference name is linked to an information page containing an e-mail link to the fair witness and a short description of the conference. To join a restricted conference, you must obtain the permission of the fair witness, which you can request by e-mail.
Unlisted conferences do not appear anywhere in the HotList Editor unless you have been subscribed by a fair witness.
number new name
where number is the number of the topic, new is the number of new postings since the last time you checked that topic, and name is the name of the topic.
Number Total New Conversation 8 11 4 JAVA JIVE 9 3 2 TCW has a NEW CATEGORY!!! 7 4 1 First Post here 6 4 1 The future of the Web
The listing is divided up into several columns:
To summarize: The numbers in the Total Column are linked to all the posts and replies. The numbers in the New column and the conversation name links are linked only to the posts and replies since you last read the corresponding conversation. Decide whether you want to read all the replies, or just the ones since you last checked the conversation, and click the appropriate link.
Note: if you are a new to the conference, the number of unread replies to a topic's conversations may be a bit larger than your appetite for reading. In that case, you may want to click the Mark All As Read button at the bottom of the topic page, which will "zero" the numbers in the New column.
You can also selectively read a conversation from a certain date using the little form under the conversation list. Enter the number of the conversation, the number of preceeding days for which you want to retrieve responses, and click Read.
If you've lost interest in a conversation and you want to take a break from it temporarily, click on the Ignore Conversation button to prevent COW from notifying you of new postings for this conversation.COW will still display the conversation on the topic page but will no longer tally the new responses. To "remember" a conversation, simply click on the conversation to view it.
You can create a summary report of conversation activity for all or some of the conferences in your HotList by first going to your HotList, and then clicking on the Find Recent Activity button. The resultant page displays a listing of the conferences in your HotList and a box for you to enter the number of days back for which you want a report. Click the checkboxes of the conferences in which you are interested, and then enter a number from 1 to 99 in the entry fields. Finally, click Continue to generate the report. COW will generate a page with a list of links to active conversations that you can click on to read the conversations.
The conversation page contains a listing of posts and replies, and at the bottom of the page, you can post a response in the text-entry box. Enter your response in this box and click submit response. To format the text of your response with HTML tags, check the box labeled "Check here to have your post interpreted as HTML". When the HTML box is checked, whatever you type in the box will be interpreted as HTML formatting and text (see the section Posting and Replying in HTML). If you don't know HTML, don't worry about this option.
COW will automatically spell-check your response for you when you click preview response below the text-entry field. To correct any flagged errors, click your browser's Back button, make your changes over your previously entered text, and click preview response again (or submit response if you're satisfied).
You can also post anonymously by checking the "Check here to post an anonymous response" checkbox.)
Note that you must click the submit response button in order for your reply to be posted. Simply typing in the box and leaving the page for elsewhere puts your response in the "bit bucket. "
When starting a conversation, you have the option of starting a poll -- a conversation in which each participant can respond only once. Polls are useful for voting, or any other forum in which you would like to limit each individual to only one response.
COW will also check for any HTML mistakes in your post. If you press the preview or submit buttons (with the HTML checkbox checked), and if COW finds an error in your HTML code, COW displays the errors. Click your browser's BACK button to fix the error the previous conversation page, then resubmit the form.
COW checks for three kinds of errors in your HTML code. COW will:
To change your real name and/or edit your user profile, click on the Change Profile button (located at the bottom of most COW pages) to invoke the Profile Editor. Enter your personal description in the text-entry box, change your real name (if you don't like the X.500 default) in the box just below your description, and click the Preview Profile (to proofread your profile page) or Change Profile button.
Note that nothing will be changed when you preview your profile or when you leave the page without clicking the Change Profile button.
By checking the "Check here to have your profile interpreted as HTML" checkbox, you can use HTML tags to format your description, add pictures to your profile, etc. Using HTML, you can personalize your profile to a high degree. See the section Posting and Replying in HTML for more information. Unlike your posts and replies in a conversation, COW does not check for HTML errors in your profile.
If you want search for conversations by key word(s), click on the yellow Search button on the HotList, conference, or topic pages. Specify an upper limit for the number of conversations returned (the default is 25). You can also specify a case-sensitive match and logical OR and AND matches. Using logical OR returns a match if any search term is found, and logical AND returns a match if all terms are found (e.g., "junior and high"). After you submit a search request, COW displays a list of links to the topic/conversation(s) containing the search terms you specified.
Copyright 1996 by Eric Klavins and
San Francisco State University
portions Copyright 1996-1998 by the Regents of the University of Michigan