This section explains the tools portion of the extranet: what they're for, and how to best use them, as well as a few tricks you won't find mentioned in the extranet help.
Edit & Reply to Comments
This section was originally listed only under tools, but since it has become a more popular feature, it is now accessible directly in the side menu, as well as individually by each of your images or stories on the "Your Pictures" or "Your Stories" page. The Comments page lists all of your items by filename, with the title beside the filename and the number of comments the item has received beside the title. If you click on the filename of a piece, you'll be taken to its comment listing, where you can edit or delete the comment. Ideally only offensive or extremely garbled comments should be removed, but any you wish to can be - but one thing you cannot ever do is change a comment so that the meaning is altered. You can edit someone's comment to remove profanity if you don't wish to delete the entire comment, or fix problems, such as an attempt by the commenter to use HTML, but the meaning absolutely must remain intact.
In Edit, there's also an easy way to reply to comments. You're under no obligation to ever do so, but many artists and writers find it nice. In the reply method you can select your own color to use, pick out a smiley face, and pick a certain style of reply - all things to help distinguish your reply from the original comment. Since the reply will be placed into the same box as the comment, remember to make sure whatever color you select is legible on the background of the area you're in - generally, black and other dark shades are bad for the Zone and Lothlorien, and light shades are bad for FanQuarter and the Library. Remember your reply does no good if no one can read it!
Also keep in mind that comment replies and edits are one of the few things you can do in the Extranet which will immediately show up - you don't have to go through any publishing process, as things will simply update as soon as you hit save.
Tools & Utilities
This area has a bunch of little and useful, but not strictly speaking necessary, tools and areas.
This allows you to subscribe, or unsubscribe, to a feature which will directly send your comments to you at the email address provided in your information. The email is sent at most daily, and only if comments have been made that day. It's useful in more ways than one - you needn't keep checking your page to know when someone comments, it rounds up new comments neatly, and it can provide a backup of your comments in case they somehow get lost, as is possible with file-renaming or the occasional extremely rare Elfwood error.
Another good comments tool, one which you'll find mentioned in very few other places, is the Today's Harvest page. This page allows you to check up on your comments before the daily email is sent: just find your UID in the alphabetical listing and click on it to see the comments, which can date back as far as the last mailing or as recently as just before you clicked. If your UID isn't listed, that means you haven't gotten any comments that day, and comments get flushed out of this temporary storage whenever the comment emails are sent out for this day. Consequently, there is no guarantee you'll always see all of your comments using this method.
Edit and Reply to Comments
This is merely an extra link to the feature described above.
The worldmap works on two levels: a version with just your location shows up on your gallery/shelf page as "World Location", and your position is added to a much larger worldmap showing where all the Elfwood members who have filled in such information are, available on the Odds'n'Ends page. To select your position, simply click on the map where you are located. It's not extremely precise, but it's not meant to be. If you want to give your exact location, your bio is the place for that; the worldmap is to give more of a general idea.
This is where you upload your personal photo to go in your bio, if you have any. As soon as you click on the link you're taken to a page that gives you a quick review on the rules of the matter; however, these rules may not always be completely up-to-date. If anything on this page contradicts anything on the Elfwood Rules Page, go by what is on the Rules Page. Currently the Rules page says this:
Use either a real photo (optionally modified) or a self-portrait of yourself drawn by you (not how you look as a dragon or similar flights of fancy). Photos/pictures of movie stars, comic book characters, or modified porn photos are not allowed for your self-portrait. Please limit the size to 200 x 200 pixels or smaller. This personal photo/portrait must be named me.jpg and uploaded into the Extranet.
This does allow a certain small leeway; while the photo or self-portrait must be of yourself, it doesn't mean it can't be yourself with, say, elf-ears.
This feature is primarily useful for older members who need to transfer pictures from an area where they are now unacceptable to an area where they are, but it's not limited to that. If, for example, you have some old art with modern elements in Lothlorien, from the days before the areas became as strictly segregated, this would be the easiest way to move it to a Zone 47 account. The transfer method works by moving to rather than from, so that you need to be logged in to the account you want the picture moved into. You then input the UID and password of the other account, select what you wish to move from the generated list, and do so. Note that in order for the image to now show up as part of your new gallery, and no longer appear in the old, you'll need to do a publish for both galleries.
Join another Elfwood area
When you first join Elfwood you have to go through a process which includes a test, in order to get a key and create your first account. After that, however, you can make more accounts in other areas simply with this tool. In fact, this is the only way you can create a FanQuarter gallery, since you must have a regular Lothlorien or Zone 47 account first. The page lists all the areas of Elfwood with brief descriptions; you simply pick which one you wish to join, select a UID or use the one provided by the system. Usually a variation on your first UID works best, as it makes it easy to remember for you, as well as fairly tidy looking: for example, UID for your original account, UID2 for your next, and so on.
Before you create a new account, be sure to read or review the rules unique to that area. Just because you don't have to take a test doesn't mean you can afford not to know these things!
This is how you permanently leave the 'woods, or at least delete the account you are working in. Clicking the link doesn't actually delete you, just to be on the safe side; you have to click the 'Yes' button on the page the link brings you to complete the leaving process. There's always an opportunity to cancel. If you are leaving or at least deleting one account, there's also an area for you to explain why, if you feel so inclined. Don't do this lightly, though - the action is non-reversible; once you're deleted, nothing can be recovered.
If you do go through with it, your entire gallery or library - that's all your pages and everything in them - gets zipped up and stored in a backup folder at Elfwood. You'll receive a leaving email telling you where you can find this file to download it, but if you intend to, don't delay - the file will only be stored for about a week.
Trace Tickets allows you to do just that: look up the location of a ticket in the moderator queue. Since all tickets show their position on the info page of their account, this can be a little redundant - unless you want to check the progress of a ticket from another account of yours and don't want to bother logging into it.
Of course, all ticket tracing has certain built-in flaws. The queue isn't divided into separate areas - all the tickets in front of you come from all sorts of different areas. The moderators are divided into different areas, so tickets get processed at different speeds. It's possible to have over one hundred tickets in front of you in the queue and still get processed next, simply because all the tickets in front of you are from slower-moving areas.
This is the final stage to getting your stuff up on Elfwood. Pressing this button begins the process of getting your stuff published; nothing you do (well, very little you do) will be applied until you go through the process. Naturally, this means that until you're ready to have all your additions and changes publicly displayed, you shouldn't hit publish.
Publishing is a process, not simply a convenient one-step thing. You first get to a Terms of Service (TOS) page, which you should read at least once, and skim quickly for changes whenever you publish. The reason for this is simple: by hitting the agreement button and moving to the next stage of the process, you are legally registering your agreement to be bound by those terms of service. It's a good idea always to check to see what you're getting into-if nothing else, the minor scandal involving Geocities and copyright a few years ago should be a lesson to that effect. While Elfwood is unlikely to do such a thing as that, if you violate anything in the TOS, that gives Elfwood the right to remove your account, no questions asked.
After that you get to an automatic quality control page. This is fairly straightforward - the extranet checks to see if there are any obvious problems, such as having too few images for a first publish, or missing some piece of information, like a description (this happens sometimes by sheer accident). If there is something wrong, it will note the nature of the problem, and you can go back, fix it, and hit publish again; if everything is fine, it will say so and you can move on to the next page.
The next page clearly shows what changes and additions you are making, so you can double-check that these are the changes you wish to make. It's another way to prevent accidents, such as deleting the wrong thing, or uploading the wrong file. If everything looks fine, you push yes on this page, and...
... you're done! It's in the hands of the moderators now.