Frequently Asked Questions

Why do users have "points" associated with them?

The point-rating assigned to user profiles is a broad reflection of how active that person is on the site. Points are given automatically according to a fairly arcane set of rules; for example, uploading a file will add points to your profile. If other people really like that file, then still more points will be added, and so on. The point system is not a reward mechanism, it's simply a rough way to identify especially active users (you can say, for example, that someone with 400 points is significantly more active than someone with 100 points, but they may not be four times as active in an absolute sense).

What types of 'ground rules' are there for posting files?

All files that are to be posted in the Resource Library should be accurate and in context, pertaining to the design and construction industry.  Every 'tool' must have text descriptions stating the exact code/specification and year that was used in the formulation of the tool.  The goal of the site is 'ease of use' for the user.  It is always important for users to be able to quickly navigate to a file or files of their particular topic of choice.  When possible, users should combine tools to make good concise tools, rather than tools that are fragmented and focus on only one or two equations of the specifcation.  If at any time you have questions about how to best post various types of 'tools', please Contact Us before you post.  We reserve the right at anytime to remove files that hamper the usability and purpose of the site. 

What is the maximum file size I can upload?

The maximum file size is 40 MB.  If you wish to upload larger video files, you can post them on a video hosting site, such as youtube, and then embed the url location into your file posting.  One can also try compressing a file via a .zip file to help get the file below the size limitation.

What do the "stars" and "score" mean, next to a file title?

The stars are a representation of user opinions regarding that item; users can rank individual tools according to how useful they think it is (five stars = very useful; to place your vote, simply click on the star representing your opinion [farther right = higher]). Files also have a "score", listed next to the star rating. Score is slightly different; it's based on a number of factors and is assigned by software (based on a number of factors, like how many people download the file etc.)

Long story short: stars are assigned by users, and score is assigned by machine. More stars = more users think the file is awesome. Higher score = the computer thinks people like the file.

How to upload files

Before we start note that you cannot upload files without creating an account, and you must be logged in to your account.
  1. Once you're logged in, the "Latest Documents" box on the home page will have a new link in the lower right ("Add Document"). Click that link [screenshot].

  2. You're taken to the "Add a New Entry" page, where you can give people a bit of information about your file(s). First, give your upload a title and a brief description. Next, select what Library you want the file to be stored in, and tell the computer what type of item you're uploading [screenshot]. Generally speaking, you should always upload to the steelTOOLS Library. Once you're done, click the Next button at the bottom of the page.

  3. Now you're taken to the page where you actually upload your files [screenshot]. Basically, on this page you'll identify the file(s) you want to upload and, once they've all been found, click the big "Upload File(s)" button. To identify a file and get it ready to upload, click one of the Browse buttons. By default the system is ready to accept up to three files, but you can add more entries by clicking the "Add another file" link. The system will upload all of your files at once, which is why you need to Browse for each of them first.

  4. Once you've uploaded a file, the page reloads, showing you what you've done [screenshot]. If you're done uploading, click the Next button at the bottom of the page.

  5. Now that your files have been uploaded, you're given a chance to provide additional details [screenshot]. (Notice that, in this screenshot, we just uploaded a document named "filetest5.txt". This is not a very descriptive filename, so we can clarify things a bit by putting "This is a test file" in the Title field.) You don't have to do anything on this page if you don't want to; these are optional. Once you're done, click the Next button at the bottom of the page.

  6. Next, you're given a chance to "tag" your submission [screenshot]. Tags help people find your files by identifying particular areas of interest, by categorizing the type of files, and so on. We've provided a bunch of tags you can choose from, but if you want to add your own simply type them in the "User Tags" box and click Add. Note that you don't have to add tags if you don't want to -- they're helpful, but not mandatory. Once you're done, click the Finish button at the bottom of the page.

  7. ...and now you're done! You're taken to the new page that describes your submission [screenshot] -- notice how the Title we gave in Step 5 above is displayed rather than the actual filename. This is so that we can make things more human-readable, rather than cryptic filenames, so that people know what they're downloading beforehand. Remember that adding a file Title & Description (again, back on Step 5) was optional!

  8. Now that you've uploaded your stuff, it will be held in "moderation" for a while, so that one of the administrators behind the scenes can check your submission and make sure you haven't uploaded anything unpleasant or otherwise inappropriate. It may take the administrators time to check your submittal, so until your submission is approved you may see a big yellow warning box on your file entry page, saying that moderators need to check first. This lets you know that other users can't see your submission yet; once it's been approved that warning box will disappear, and your submission will be visible to everyone.