SMF has a powerful system of managing personal messages. Personal messages (or PMs for short) are like posts, but instead of being posted in a topic they are sent to one or more members. Typically, personal messages are private correspondence and they are viewable only by the sender and intended recipients – administrators cannot view these personal messages except through the database.
Personal messages cannot be sent by guests or to guests. However, if the sender is deleted sometime after they send the message, they will appear as a guest.
By default, 4,294,967,296 personal messages may be sent on a forum. Since this is a much larger number than the members you can have, it’s unlikely you will ever reach it. The number of messages which can be stored by a forum member may be restricted by the administrator, who can change this setting by modifying individual membergroups.
Upon clicking the My Messages link on the Main menu you will be lead to a page that lists all of the personal messages sent to you. This is your inbox as you can see from the navigation at the top, the default page loaded for personal messages.
At the top of the page you will see something that looks similar to what you would see on the message index of a board. You will see a listing of your personal messages. The first column where you see a speech bubble lets you know if you have replied to the PM. An arrow on the image means that you have replied to the PM; no arrow means that you have not. The second column is for the date the personal message was sent. Next to that is the subject of the message. To the right of that is the display name of the member that sent it. The final column has check boxes where you can select the ones you want to delete and then push the Delete Selected button located under the list of messages. You can sort personal messages by date, subject, or sender.
Upon clicking on a personal message, the page scrolls down to the actual written message. This will look just like a typical post in a topic. Next to each message you will see links on the top right to: quote the message in a reply by clicking Quote, reply to the message by clicking Reply, and delete the message by clicking Remove. Also, you can report abusive personal messages to the administrator by clicking the Report to Admin link at the bottom right of the message, providing that this function has been enabled by the administrator. The checkboxes located farthest to the top right are also used to delete messages upon clicking the Delete Selected button below the messages.
To view sent messages, select “Sent Items” under “Messages” in the button menu or left side panel. A message is saved to “Sent Items” only if the option Save a copy in my outbox is selected when sending a message. This option can be set as default in the Personal Message Options section of the Profile.
See the Personal Message Options section of the Profile.
Within the default interface of the SMF software there is no way an administrator or anyone else can read your personal messages. Only you and the person you sent it to are able to read what you wrote. However, if a person has access to the database itself, then it is possible for such a person to read personal messages by searching for them in the database with an SQL command. For this reason, it is advised to not send personal messages that contain private information that you do not wish for anyone else to read.
Sending a Personal Message
- In the “To” box enter the name(s) of the person(s) you are sending a personal message to. If you want to send a message to multiple users, either use commas (for example: user1, user2), or start typing the username of each recipient and then select their username from the drop down menu.
- if you want to send a Blind Carbon Copy to certain users, click on “Add BCC” beside the “To” field. The recipients in the BCC field will not see who else has received the message.
- Enter suitable text in the “Subject” box.
- Write your message in the main input box below “Subject”. Basic BBCodes work in the same way for Personal Messages as they do for posting in topics.
- When you have finished writing your message, you can see how the message will be displayed to the recipient(s) by clicking on “Preview” below the message input field. To actually send the message, click on the button “Send Message”.
You can also reply to messages using the same method.
To keep better control and organization of your personal messages, SMF introduced a method for you to apply labels to your messages. When you apply a label you will then be able to view just the personal messages with that label. All of your labels will be listed under the category “Labels”. To create, edit and delete labels select “Preferences” in the Personal Messages section and in the drop down menu select “Manage Labels”.
Personal Messages Categories
There are three categories on the Personal Messages page, each of which incorporates a number of different functions.
- New Message – Select this if you want to create a new message to send to another user as explained above.
- Inbox – Shows all the messages currently in your inbox. The options for this can be changed as explained in the Personal Messaging section of the Profile page.
- Sent Items – Shows all the messages which you have sent to other members of the forum. Sent messages are saved automatically only if you select the option “Save a copy of each personal message in my sent items by default” in the profile options. Otherwise, it is necessary to select “Save a copy in my outbox” each time when sending a message.
- Search – Selecting this allows you to search your received messages in a similar way as using the advanced search function. You cannot search your sent messages.
- Prune Messages – This allows you to delete all messages that are older than the specified number of days.
- Manage Labels – Selecting this allows you to add, edit and delete any labels which you have applied to your messages.