Browsing through the cat forums, you will probably come across questions posted by new members asking for help and advice about their cats. Getting a quick friendly reply from other members of the community such as yourself can mean a faster solution for the cat and also goes a long way towards making new members feel at home.
Do you think you can't help because you're not "a real cat expert"? Don't let that stop you from replying! This tutorial will show a quick and effective way for you to help and provide useful answers to the most common questions asked on the boards.
The TCS articles section
If you haven't visited our cat articles section yet, now's a great time! We have hundreds of concise and detailed articles about cats and good cat care.
Just click on the "Articles" tab and then choose one of the categories:
Cat Care - From safety and environmental enrichment to grooming and caring for special-needs cats.
Cat Health - Feline nutrition as well as disease, injury and parasites.
Cat Behavior - Covering natural feline behaviors, as well as guides for dealing with specific behavioral challenges.
Cat Breeds - Cat breed guides and articles about breeding and showing.
Cat Snips - Cat fun and trivia, including funny photo lists, quizzes and general knowledge articles about cat lore and myths.
The articles section is like our own wikipedia of everything that's related to cats! You can find guides that deal with every common cat problem and question. Well worth getting acquainted with!
New members don't always see the articles section and even if they do, they may be intimidated by the sheer number of articles we have. This is where YOU - our valued established member - can help!
The good news is you don't have to remember all of the articles by title and you don't have to start looking for the right links whenever you want to help someone with their question. We have a great tool that saves you time and effort and makes linking to the right article a breeze! It's called "embedding", and I want to show you how easy it is to use!
How to embed an article in your reply
Let me start by saying embedding isn't just for articles. You can embed any article, thread or item from the reviews section. In this guide I want to focus on articles because they can provide a new member with an authoritative resource for dealing with common cat problems. The same process works for embedding threads or products from the reviews section, so feel free to use the embed tool for those as well!
Here's a quick illustrated walkthrough on the easy process of embedding. For the sake of this example, let's say a new member has asked about how to make the introductions between two cats.
First, find the embed icon in the editor toolbar. That's the toolbar that shows up above the space where you're typing your reply -
So, now that we know what the embed icon looks like, it's time to write a short welcoming post and then click on that embed button. It will bring up a pop-up that looks like this -
In this box you can type your query, or the topic you want to help that person with. In this case, I typed in "introducing cats" and clicked on "search".
Whoa! More than 15,000 results! Looks scary? Don't worry! Fortunately almost all of them are threads about introducing cats (and some are threads about other kinds of introductions).
Now is the time to filter the results down to "Articles" by clicking on the word "Articles" on the left. This will bring down the results to a tolerable 90 and should show you the most relevant ones first.
And this is what the search results look like once filtered down to articles -
Much better! It's easy to see that the first result is the one you need. You can also use the second one, or if the question is about someone who's thinking about whether or not they should even adopt a second cat, then the third result - Your Second Cat: How To Choose The Best Friend For Kitty - could be a good addition as well.
Let's say you want to embed the first result. Now is the time to click on that title then. It will bring up the following dialogue box -
Basically, you can choose one of two display methods. The first one has the article in a nice yellow box, along with the date of publication, the number of views and comments. The second one allows you to more naturally embed the article into a sentence, or just post it without any additional information or boxes. Choose the layout you like and click where it says "Select Block Layout" or "Select Inline Layout".
Your reply now has a link to the article. You never had to type in the exact title or bother with copying and pasting links! You've helped a new member, made her or him feel welcome and sent them in the right direction for finding the answers they need! Well done!
You can repeat the process to include even more links to articles, if you think they may be relevant. It's always nice to add a few words of support and suggest that the member add their questions to the thread after reading the article and overall have a friendly and supportive tone to the post (and not just post a link).
I hope you find this tool helpful. I use it all the time to direct people to our articles. I think we've covered at least 90% of the common questions. I'm going to embed a few of the more important guides here, just to show you how easy this is. Trust me, writing about how to embed is far more time consuming than actually embedding an article