How to Fix Notifications
I may be able to help with the notification problem. This system has so much more flexibility and capability than the vBulletin notification system. Go up to the white arrow by your name in the black bar at the top of any page. Select My Settings. When the page refreshes, select Notification Options from the left-hand nav bar. There's a huge list of things you can select to receive notifications for. You can set it to get notifications through our mobile app, through email, through an inline notice here when you're logged in to the forum, or even no notice at all.
If you don't want a picture avatar, you could use Microsoft Paint to make a little square with text on top of it that says: I hate avatars or No avatars for me or something else funny.
Some people love having the avatars show all over the place. Others don't like it at all. Unfortunately, there's only one group of people we're going to be able to please with this one.
Adding Photos and PDFs to a Thread
You can load PDFs to your regular threads, in exactly the same way you would add photos. Instead of adding the photos from within your icon tray in a post, just scroll down to the bottom of your browser page. (You may need to click the More Options button underneath your text entry screen.) There's a paper clip labeled Attach Files. Just select your PDF or any photos you want to upload. They'll all appear, and they'll have a little tag next to them labeled "Insert into Post" or something like that. Just position your cursor where you want whichever file (PDF or photo) to appear in the post, then click the appropriate Insert button.
Sshhhh, don't tell anyone, but over the next couple of days we hope to make an announcement for a much, much better way to add patterns that have PDFs. Everybody is going to love this option. It makes it so much easier to add patterns. (But it only works for patterns in PDF format.)
Unfortunately, we are just as disappointed as everyone else with the smilies. That is one thing that we don't think IPS does very well at all. We simply don't have a good way to organize them like we did back on vBulletin, where they appeared in nicely categorized areas. Donna is doing her best to reorganize them efficiently, where the most often used ones appear first in the little box at the bottom of the text entry box. But we have over 300 smilies, and it's a very clunky mechanism, so it's going to take her some time. We really don't need all 300 smilies, so we're going to do some major pruning. The good news is that if we get rid of a smilie that people are actually using, all you have to do is ask for it back, and we can quickly and easily put it back. The smilies will eventually be organized nicely, although instead of appearing in groups, it looks like all we're going to get is a long tall list of them, one by one.
IPS is much, much more than just forums, and they just don't seem to think smilies are a very important factor for the majority of their customers. So we'll do our best to make the smilies work for us.If you click on the smilie in a reply toolbar, you'll see that Donna's already done a good job of getting some of the most popular smilies to appear in the first display row. So it's getting better!