Online discussion forums are usually interesting and engaging because of the people who make up the membership base. However for anyone completely new to the scene, online communities can sometimes seem like a daunting mix of acronyms and inside jokes. With this post we hope to be able to give anyone new to forums or may be not as tech-inclined the basics on how get started off on the right foot. So if you’ve always wanted to take your hobbies and passions to the next level by joining an online forum but were always afraid of the pitfalls, here are some quick and easy tips:
- It’s OK to lurk, in fact use this time after making a screen name to look around and familiarize yourself with all the areas a forum offers.
- Find and read the forum’s posted rules, sometimes they are presented during registration, other times they may be posted in a sticky.
- If you have a burning question it’s OK to start off by posting it, but also look for an area for “introductions” if there is one available, introduce yourself and usually you will be met with welcomes. You may find that your questions may be met with more answers and engagement after introducing yourself as well.
- Remember the point above about familiarizing yourself with the forums various areas? They’re split up that way for a reason, make sure you are posting your topics and questions in the appropriate areas.
- Don’t sweat the inside jokes and shorthand that other members may have with each other, that kind of camaraderie comes naturally as you engage the community more over time.
- A forum isn’t a YouTube comments section, if you intend to be a member of the community it’s probably best to not attack anyone needlessly. Diplomatic, intelligent responses usually prevail.
- Help other newbies! Even if you joined a few weeks ago you probably have more experience than someone that joined yesterday. If you see a newbie not being helped with some basic stuff, and you know the answer, helping them out is a good way to promote a healthier forum.