I dont know how to use the forums and at this point im too afraid to ask


#1

Hi, im really bad at navigating forums, in general…
But since a lot of people use them i kind of feel like i should get better at using them.

My main problem is readability (i dont know if i should respond to a post,or just read a thing, or should it be serious etc) and getting overwhelmed easily by the number of topics and replies

Are forums just not a place for me?
What are some tips and tricks for getting around the forums without getting lost or confused/overwhelmed etc.

Thank you,
-Pinky


#2

Hello, welcome to the forums! I am sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed!

Online forums can be overwhelming especially in popular threads where the pace of conversation can feel really frantic. I deal with this issue a lot myself when using twitter or here, when there’s a particularly active thread with a lot of people replying at once. When I started using these forums, there was a mental barrier that I needed to get over to feel comfortable posting. Even still I have anxiety over posting (“am I replying too much? Is this useful?”)

But to answer your question, if you feel that you have something to say on a topic, or to someone, you should feel free to write a response! You have more insight into something than you probably think! I found that the open threads posted every weekday by the staff were a great place for me to start posting, because they are an open question to everyone and are generally pretty broad.

In terms of “should it be serious?” etc, it’s always good to read the room so to speak but sometimes some levity can bring ease to a conversation. But hey, lurking is fine too and was my default way of using any forum up until these.

I hope that helps a little bit!


#3

my easy 1 step guide to improving your forum experience 100 fold -

step 1: mute the jokes category

(top right circle next to new topic)


#4

i just post a relentless stream of hot nonsense and i’m still here, so you probably won’t do worse than that. if you’re not an actively malicious poster (which seems unlikely) then honestly just post however and whatever you want and anyone who’s an asshole will face consequences for it - the mod team are very good about this.

it’s true there are a lot of posts, and you likely have only so much time. what use are you making of the Tracking function? if you’re watching/tracking a lot of threads then getting overwhelmed is natural, but it’s useful if you just use it on the threads you’re particularly interested in.


#5

Hey, Pinky! I hope you find this engaging. Forums can be a place for everyone, but it’s totally natural to feel overwhelmed.

One of the things I’d personally really recommend is turning your default view to the Categories page if you haven’t already. This lets you go into the individual subcategory views so you can look for what you’re interested in; if there’s no topic, feel free to make one!

In terms of balancing out response, reading, and seriousness, that’s totally up to you. There’s nothing wrong with letting a topic sit or actively deciding to pass on putting your two cents in (and it’s actively good at times – just reading an in-depth and nuanced conversation is a pleasure in itself & weighing in doesn’t always help the situation).

With that said, if you do have a point to make, feel free to drop a thought in. I’d personally lean towards taking things seriously outside of threads with an immediately light air, but that’s just my inclination as a person. Find your own medium and play from there, but avoid making light of other people’s sufferings or passions, as a general rule – it’s rarely a good look.

My only pro-tip for the forum (and my pitch for why it’s worth sticking out with it), you can’t go wrong if you read our Rules & Code of Conduct. We feel that the Code of Conduct, in particular, forms a good barometer for what we expect from users and what we feel makes a fun and enlightening posting environment. If you see folks falling short of those standards, you can feel free to get in touch with the mods about it through the flagging system.

Finally, if all else fails, feel free to reach out to the member of the mod team if you have any questions or want to know about a feature. If you’re curious about is a certain feature, ask on #site-feedback – someone might be able to guide it to you or, all else fails, we’ll look into implementing it if it’s feasible (no promises on this – we’re only volunteers!).


#6

Just keep in mind that if you don’t express an opinion on every single thread at least once the mods ban you for inactivity

Seriously though this is the only forum I’ve ever been on and it’s super chill and there’s no right or wrong way to use it. There’s some wonderful long stream of consciousness-type posts I’ve seen on here that offer really cool insight (I’m sure this happens on other forums but the amount of times people apologize for writing in-depth 8 paragraph posts about something just shows how polite everyone is). I just generally stay away from posting in certain threads where people with more personal experience and a more relevant perspective are articulating something because those voices should be at the forefront and not get lost in a sea of others giving their 2 cents.

And if you just come to read that’s fine too! I used to feel really guilty that I would rarely post on like twitter and stuff because I felt like I needed to be contributing in some way, but it’s really nbd. Some days you want to launch into a defense of your favorite obscure Dreamcast game and some days you just want be a spectator, it’s all good.


#7

i didnt even know that theres a tracking feature


#8

You can find it here on each topic (see picture below, just to the right of my cursor). Any thread you reply to gets auto-followed (although you can toggle this feature off), but you can choose to follow whatever you like.


#9

Something that really helped me when I first joined this forum is realizing that I can consume and engage with it at whatever pace I like. No one is checking to make sure I’m always reading every post or adding only the most insightful of commentary. This forum is something I mostly just read when I have downtime at my job.

Ultimately, as long as you respect the rules are the other forum users, you can use the forum as you like. Maybe that means only lurking on threads you care about, or maybe that means making your own threads and commenting on the threads of others. Or maybe like me you’re bored at work and just reading any thread that will offer reprieve.


#10

The forum platform used here, called Discord, is extremely capable and dynamic. Older forum platforms query a database on pageload, and only show you new stuff when you refresh the page. Discord brings a lot of that stuff to you, the reader, in real-time, which gives it a sort of chatroom vibe in some cases. At the bottom of threads, you can see who is currently writing a reply to the thread you’re in, ‘likes’ to posts pop in and count up as people react, and replies load in as they are posted, without you having to refresh the page. All this to say that yeah, it can feel like there is more that ‘needs’ to be tracked at any given time!

Really though if you’re feeling like there are too many topics or replies, feel free to step out or ignore those threads (topics). I’m an active poster, usually keeping a browser tab open for this forum for between 4 and 8 hours a day while doing work, but I only really read or engage with between 3 and 5 topics a day. 80% of the threads here don’t spark anything in me, and that’s fine. If you feel unsure about whether or not you need to engage with something you’re reading, the answer is you probably don’t.

There have been some super interesting threads here that I have completely devoured, but said nothing in, simply because I either have nothing to say, someone else has already said what I feel (so I give them a lil’ :heart:), or it’s not my place to say anything (threads about black experience, queer experience, etc.)

Just take it at your own pace. Nobody’s demanding anything of you, and we’re all here for the same reason: to learn and have some chitchats and sometimes be goofs hehe ya