BTO provides a discussion forum for volunteers, through a platform called Discourse. The forum is intended to provide a place for volunteers to discuss topics informally, to ask for help or advice from the wider ringing and nest recording community, to provide updates on how the season is going, to advertise ringing opportunities and so on. It is important to note that this forum will not be used to disseminate essential updates from the Ringing & Nest Recording Team as we cannot ensure that all volunteers will access the platform regularly; these will continue to be disseminated via email.
Accessing the forum
To access the forum, go to www.bto.org/my-bto and log in with your surveys account details (the login you use for DemOn, BBS online, WeBS online etc.).
Once you have signed in, open a new window in the same browser that you are logged into MyBTO in and type https://forum.bto.org, which will take you to the forum landing page.
The assignment of members to Groups in Discourse happens on login to the BTO website. If you have been continuously logged into MyBTO for a while and cannot access the forum when you attempt to do so, please try logging out of MyBTO and logging back in again. If this still doesn’t work, please request access and a member of staff can manually validate your request.
Below is a brief guide to get you started, but more detailed guidance is given in the Discourse user guide, available here.
Finding your way around the forum
On the forum landing page, the discussion groups (called ‘Categories’ in Discourse) to which you have access will be displayed on the left hand side of the screen. The one relevant to ringing is called Ringing Scheme – Licensed Ringers (shown in the red box in screenshot below) and is only accessible to licensed ringers – no-one else will see this link or be able to access the forum. If you have the completed steps above but cannot see the name of this group listed, please contact webmaster [at] bto.org
Clicking on ‘Ringing Scheme – Licensed Ringers’ will take you to the general ringing category. At the top of the screen, a number of more specific categories (CES, RAS, DemOn, Training, Communications, Techniques and Recent Ringing Sessions) have been set up and you can move to each of these by clicking on the name.
Once you have selected a category, you will see a list of relevant posts (called ‘Topics’ in Discourse) and, just like an email inbox, clicking on each one will open it, allowing you to read it and reply, creating a discussion thread. The screenshot below shows what an opened post (‘Topic’) looks like.
If you want to start a new discussion, you can click on the highlighted ‘start a new conversation’ link at the bottom of the screen (red box on screenshot below) or click the ‘New Topic’ button at the top right of the screen (blue box below).
By default, you will not receive notifications about responses to your messages or new posts when you are not logged on to the forum. If you want to change this, you need to edit your preferences by i) selecting the account icon (furthest right of the grey icons at the top right of the forum screen, and then ii) selecting ‘Preferences’ (furthest right of the icons in the box that appears) to take you to the preferences menu.
A mobile app is also available that lets you keep track of posts to our Discourse forum:
After the Discourse app is installed you’ll need to add the BTO forum to get started. The forum name to enter is forum.bto.org