The users of the forum are NAWCC dues paying members and those who have registered but have not joined the NAWCC. Guests who usually find their way here by using a search site and following a result that leads them here, can view most of the content, but may not post messages on the site.
Our Registered Users (NAWCC members and visitors) are both authorized to post questions, comments and other material they feel is appropriate for pursuing their horological interests or helping others. Their discussions are organized into topical forums with subtopics on specific interests such a wooden works clocks or complicated watches.
Viewing the Forum List provides the view of all the available topics. Each user sees only those areas that they are authorized to see. For example, discussions of the operations of the NAWCC are restricted to NAWCC members. There are other forums about the NAWCC that describe and allow discussion of available materials and are open to everyone.
The NAWCC Board of Directors and other committees use private forums for the internal discussions of those groups. One of those private areas is the space used by the Administrators and Moderators to manage features and deal with conflicts and misunderstandings within the on-line community.
The forums are organized into categories and subcategories so that users can find or post information in a particular area of interest to watch & clock collectors. At the very top level there are categories that relate to operating the forums and the NAWCC that sponsors them.
The most important category for visitors is the Horological Education category. That category contains all the discussions on watches and clocks.
The major sub-categories of the Educational Category are Clocks and Watches. Clock Repair is aslo a separate main category because there are many craft areas involved and relatively little overlap between the craft areas. I.e. clock case work uses furniture skills while clock movement work is mechanical. This structure is what you see in the grid on the Forum Listing Page.
The Clock category, as an example, contains the clock forums. These are broken down into topical areas for kinds of clocks which include:
When the contents of a forum such as General Clock discussion contain many clocks from different makers and different countries, the "prefix" mechanism is provided to allow the reader to focus in on a particular maker or country. When they are used, the prefix appears in front of the title of the discussion. If the reader is only interested at the moment in French clocks, they may click on the France prefix to any discussion that has it and only discussions with that prefix will be shown. The filter will be shown above the list of titles with a check box to clear it to restore the full list of titles.
Tags are similar in concept to prefixes, but they provide a means to identify discussions in many forums that have a common concept in the Tag name. If you see a Tag in the tag list at the top of the discussion, you may click on it to get a quick search and display of all the discussions that carry that tag.
There are additional sub-categories of education for public discussions of the NAWCC activities such as Chapter, Regional and National Meetings and other topics of a more personal nature to members of our community.
Another sub-category provides for communicationg about the forum software with our users and providing a practice area where they can study how the software works so they may compose messages to start and reply to discussions.
There is also a sub-category for discussions of horological museums including our own National Watch and Clock Museum. Our museum has its own area on the web site as do the Publications, Membership, Library and Archives which may be found in the Navigation Bar.
The Forums also provide associated services such as the Media Gallery and the Encyclopedia (wiki) for the development of formal collaborative articles on horology. Personal profiles provide a space for individuals to chart their own journey through horology with the ability to allow and manage feedback from others.
The Encyclopedia allows you to present an outline of a research area you want to document and employ strong formatting tools to organize chapters and sections with full control over images including size and placement on the page with captions. The default of the Encyclopedia is to allow any authorized user to make edits and provide additional material for the article being developed just as it does on Wikipedia. The Encyclopedia allows for more integration with our forums and the images are held as common resources usable in other articles by other authors. You may also request that an article be restricted to your use for editing which effectively makes it into your personal blog with more visibility than your personal profile page and distinct blog topics.
The Media Gallery is organized into Categories and Albums to assist in the navigation of the contents. Viewers may comment on the content. Individuals may create multiple Albums and control how the contents are shared with others. This is useful to develop a story line while trying to plan which images, videos or audio content is needed. When you feel your story is ready for prime time, it may be displayed to all your friends.
Your profile provides for personalization of your presence on the Forums with your history and back story as well as a profile comment page where you may post your thoughts and feelings in a relatively informal context. You can also allow friends to participate in your profile or you can close it to only your own thoughts and comments. If you are adventurous enough, you may also open your profile to comments from all Registered Users or even the general anonymous public.
When public discussions are not appropriate to whatever you want to discuss, you may initiate private conversations with other members that are only seen by participants. On occasion posts made in the public discussions may be moved by the Moderators of the site to private conversations as part of maintaining decorum.
Our search facility organizes the contents of all textual information on the site, including our Watch & Clock Bulletins dating back to 1943 and our over 1.5 million posts dating back to 2000. Some of the material returned by the search facility may have restricted distribution to NAWCC members or, in some cases, members of other organizations that own the rights to the material. In such cases you may be asked to log in with your membership credentials or perhaps join the sponsoring organization that owns the material. This site has the goal to provide search access to all horological resources in the world.