How to Use Large Forums

Sometimes it can be hard getting to know everyone on forums with a large user base. Making friends at the forum for your favorite topic is great, because everyone at that forum shares similar likes with you. This article outlines some ways to make it easier to get noticed and make friends at an internet forum.

Steps

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    Post your hobbies and interests when you first join, if there is a meet and greet forum. If the forum in question has an Introduction sub-forum, introduce yourself, include your hobbies and interests in the post.
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    Always be polite to everyone. Being polite is not only for the admins or popular users of the forum, it includes everyone. If you appear to be a polite person, people will think of you as mature and kind.
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    Be helpful. Work hard to help people solve problems, if that's what the forum is for. People really appreciate it when someone goes out of their way to help them, and will remember it for a long time.
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    Avoid huge forum wars. Do not become involved in huge wars. When a bunch of users are arguing about, for example, the best Linux distro, and the debate has gone past being rational and is at the point where everyone is just attacking each others comments, do not take sides. You will likely lose the respect of the users on the side you didn't take.
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    Make each post well thought and have a clear meaning. Don't make posts that are vague and have no real point to them.
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    Use impeccable spelling. People who frequently make posts riddled with spelling mistakes will be viewed as juvenile by other members of the forum.
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    Don't make unneeded replies. Slang makes more sense with live chatting, such as IRC or Windows Live Messenger. When posting in forums, people don't expect you to respond instantly, so there is not point in posting "brb" (Be right back) when you need a bathroom break. Just go and come back and no one will realize you left.
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    Limit your use of internet slang. Its fine to have the occasional "LOL" or "OMG", but making posts that are comprised largely of acronyms will make you look juvenile.
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    Respond to private messages quickly. When a user takes the time to talk to you specifically, don't let them down, respond right away, especially if you told them to PM you.
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    Do not boast. People universally dislike a show-off, on the internet or off. People will be more impressed of your achievements if you are modest about them.
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    Do not threaten people who anger you. Not only will people laugh at you, but you will lose the respect of the person you threatened, and likely others as well.
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    Learn advanced syntax for posts if your forum supports it. You can make your posts look more professional if you can use the styling syntax your forum supports. An example of this is the "code" tag some forums support. It usually is used to surround text that is a computer programming language (i.e Flash or C++) in a box and give it a separate font and color than ordinary text. Some forums simply allow posts to be made in HTML to allow full customization of posts, but many turn this feature off due to abuse.
    • Do not however, abuse the BBCode/HTML post features to draw attention to your posts. An example of an annoying habit that is unfortunately common is users constantly coloring their entire posts a different color than the forum's template, just to seek attention.
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    Read the TOS (Terms of Service) for the forum. Some forums have out of the ordinary rules, or are stricter in certain areas than others. It's best to know what kind of posts are considered annoying or inappropriate to prevent your account from being banned in the even you make an unknowing mistake.
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    Do not abuse the signature feature some forums allow. Some forums allow the user to set a 'signature' in the control panel. The user can enter some text and sometimes pictures that will appear beneath every post they make. Forums that do allow this feature usually have limitations on its use, the most common being:
    • No ridiculously large images.
    • Some forums do not allow links in the signature.
    • Nothing should be put in the signature that wouldn't be allowed in a standard forum post.
    • If the forum has HTML enabled for posts, do not insert text and use HTML tags to make it huge or in an annoying color.
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    Do not encourage the ridicule of other users, even if they make a stupid mistake. This will make you appear petty and mean.
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    If the forum is a DYI site, or has a "Guides" section, contribute to this by making guides. If you make a few useful tutorials, you will gain many peoples respect and notice.
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    Apologize when you lose your temper or make a mistake. A person who can recognize their mistakes and apologize for them is infinitely more deserving of respect than someone who holds a grudge.
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    Learn your forum's focus. If the forum is centered around a single topic or group of topics, know them well.
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    Contribute to conversations, don't just agree with everyone.
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    Do not constantly complain about your life. Despite how interesting it may seem to you, most people will likely bore of hearing how much your boss sucks, or how annoying your ex is.

Tips

  • Don't try to hard. If you look to eager to make friends with everyone, you will look like you're insecure and compensating for something.
  • Don't join a forum centered around a topic you know little of, as everyone on that forum goes on to talk about that topic, so you will have little to contribute without knowing the topic well.
  • Only people who play an active part in the community will be noticed by people. If you only go on once a week, people will forget you very fast.

Warnings

  • Sometimes forums can be full of nasty, hypocritical and generally unlikeable people. Avoid these forums as you will resent all the users general ungratefulness/nastiness.

Article Info

Categories: Internet Forums and Message Boards