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10 Hidden Features in esoTalk

11 March 2013

One of the core philosophies behind esoTalk is to make it very simple and easy-to-use on the surface — to keep the interface uncluttered and the default feature-set limited to avoid bloat. However, there is a lot of unobtrusive hidden functionality which gives esoTalk a bit of power without breaking this philosophy.

Here are some of the cool things you can do:

1. Start A Private Conversation With Yourself

Want to jot down a few notes, save a draft for later, or just have a conversation with yourself? Starting a private conversation with yourself is the perfect way to do this! No one else will be able to see it — just you. (Unless, of course, you add others to the conversation at a later point in time.)

2. Start A Private Conversation With A Member Group

You can also start a private conversation with any number of member groups. Just type in "Members", "Administrators", or "Moderators" into the field when you're changing who can view a conversation and press enter. This works with custom-created member groups as well!

3. View Results From Specific Or Multiple Channels

The esoTalk search page is incredibly powerful with all the gambits available to use — but there is another hidden feature that make searching even more powerful. By default, clicking on a channel will show all conversations in that channel and any of its sub-channels. But what if you want to view conversations from just that specific parent channel, and none of the sub-channels?

Simply hold the Shift key and then click the parent channel, and your search will be narrowed down to conversations directly within that channel. And, if you continue to hold Shift and click on other channels, you can select multiple channels to show conversations from!

4. Find The Original Post That's Been Quoted

Hover over a quote and you'll see a little "magnifying glass" icon appear. Click this icon and you'll be taken to the original post that has been quoted in its original context. If the post is within the current conversation you're viewing, you'll just be scrolled up without having to reload the page. Nifty!

5. Quote Multiple Posts Or Part Of A Post

Usually when you click the "quote" icon on a post, you are scrolled down to the reply area with the quote automatically being added to your reply. But what if you want to quote multiple posts so you can respond to them all at the same time?

The Shift key comes to the rescue once again — hold down the Shift key and click the quote icon on a post and the quote code will be added to your reply, but you will not be scrolled down.

You can also quote only a specific part of a post by selecting that part and then clicking the quote icon.

6. Ctrl+Enter Shortcut To Post A Reply

Sick of having to lift your hands from the keyboard, move your arm rightward, grab hold of your mouse, move the cursor to the "Post a reply" button, and click? I am too. That's why you can simply press Ctrl+Enter in the reply area to post your reply — without the hassle.

7. Negated Gambits

If you prefix any gambit with an exclamation mark (!), its effects will be negated. (You can also replace the plus (+) with a minus (-), which will do the same thing.) So, the search phrase pictured above will show conversations that are NOT stickied, NOT locked, but ARE unread. You negate any gambit — even the "#order by" ones, where the effect will be to reverse the order.

Even cooler — you can quickly add negated gambits to your search by holding down the Shift key and clicking the gambit. And don't forget that you can double-click (or double-Shift-click) and gambit to search for it alone instantly!

8. Mute Conversations

Sometimes there are conversations which you just don't care about — conversations that you'd like to see disappear from your search results. esoTalk has you covered! On the conversation you'd like to hide, click the "Controls" button and then click "Mute conversation". The conversation will be marked as "muted" and will no longer show up in your search results — unless you search using the #muted gambit!

9. Mentions

Want to mention a specific member in a conversation? In your reply, type "@" and then start typing their name. Suggestions will come up as you type. Choose the member you want and press Enter. When your reply is submitted, their name will be linked to their profile, and they will receive a notification that they were mentioned with a link to your post!

The member name autocompletion also works when typing the #author:member and #contributor:member gambits. Try it!

10. Hide Channels

Last but not least, similar to how you can mute conversations — if there's a channel that you don't particularly care about, you can hide it too! Go to the channel list (click the three-lined icon in the top-left of the search page), click the controls button to the right of the channel you want to hide, and click "Hide". The channel will grey out and conversations within it will no longer appear in your search results. Easy!

Found a feature you love in esoTalk? Tell us about it on the support forum!