Upon entering a particular board a message index is displayed with a list of topics. A board with a large number of topics may split them up across pages. A member can choose the number of topics to be displayed per page from their profile.
A message index usually looks something like this:
Tab menus are displayed along the top and bottom of each page, making posting easy. The tab menu may contain the following, depending on the forum's configuration.
- New Topic - The new topic button enables a member to post new topics in the current board.
- New Poll - The new poll button enables a member to create new polls in the current board.
- Notify - The notify button enables a member to receive email notification when new posts or topics are made within the current board.
- Mark Read - The mark read button enables a member to mark all topics inside the current board as read.
Each topic in the message index is displayed as a single row. Most of the information relevant to a topic is displayed within its row.
- Topic Icon - The topic icon gives information about the topic, and a legend along the bottom of the message index shows what each icon means. If enabled, participation icons also show in which topics a member has replied.
- Message Icon - The message icon is unique to the first post of a topic, and the member that starts the topic has the ability to select it. It is displayed between the topic icon and the topic subject on the message index.
- Subject / Started By - The subject of a topic usually gives a general idea of what is being discussed within it. Underneath the subject, the name of the member that started the topic is displayed. An icon to the right of the subject will also show whether a topic is stickied or locked.
- New Indicator - When a topic contains posts that a member has not yet read, a new indicator will be displayed immediately following the topic subject. Selecting it will take the member to the first unread post in that topic.
- Replies / Views - The replies and views area shows how many times each topic has been replied to or viewed.
- Last Post - The last post area displays the date and time of the latest post in the topic, as well as the member that posted last. The icon to the right provides access directly to that post.
There are three different kinds of topics that may be displayed on the message index - normal, sticky, and locked. Most topics are usually normal topics. Sticky topics are so called because they stick to the top of the message index at all times. Locked topics are closed to further posting by anyone except moderators and administrators. Some forums may be configured to allow other groups to post to locked topics, as well. Both sticky and locked topics are usually shown in a different color on the message index to distinguish them from normal topics.
The default sort order for the topics on the message index is by the date and time of the last post. This can be changed by simply selecting any of the other column headings.