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Commonly used terms
A forum is a place for online discussion and information sharing. It allows you to post messages for everyone to read, and in turn read the messages of others. Forums are an excellent place to learn and share knowledge with other people from around the world.
In this forum, there are a number of major topic areas for discussion. These topics are listed on the forum's topic index page. In each of these topics are subtopics of different types, and it is within these subtopics that discussion takes place. While you can't create your own topics, you can create subtopics for other people to post in, and post messages in those subtopics created by others.
Moderators are special users tasked with keeping the forum in order. They patrol the forum for offensive material, inappropriate posts or heated arguments that need some mediation. They have various powers to edit and delete posts, lock and condemn subtopics to halt discussion, and move posts to more appropriate topics.
Moderators tend to be senior members of the forum who have contributed a lot, or who own and run the web site. Different forums have different policies on who is accepted as a moderator, but chances are that users are invited to become moderators rather than applying for such status. So no, you probably cannot become a moderator in a hurry, but you can get involved in the community, contribute relevant and interesting messages, and perhaps you'll make it one day!
You can post your own message in a subtopic by clicking one of the Post Reply links at the top or bottom of that page. Posting is as simple as filling in the form presented to you.
Of course, you're not just restricted to participating in other peoples' subtopics! If you wish to create your own, you can do so by clicking a Post Subtopic link on either a topic or subtopic page.
When posting a subtopic, you may be asked to select an icon for the subtopic. The idea of an icon is just to attach a small image to accompany your post. Your choice of icon is not all that important, but it's a good idea to convey a little about your post by selecting a relevant icon. For example, if you are asking a question, selecting a question mark icon will make it obvious that that's what you're doing. You do not have to select an icon if you do not wish to.
You may notice a few special icons on subtopics. These are reserved for use by moderators only. Again, there is no strict meaning behind each icon, but as a general guide, they usually mean the following:
|Commonly used terms|
There are many acronyms adopted on the Internet that mean different things. If you're new to Internet discussions, you'll probably pick these up fairly quickly. A few of the more common ones are below:
Forums are easily disrupted by people being a nuisance in one way or another. Trolling, flaming and spamming are all common, annoying and frustrating occurrences on forums. You should be aware of what they are and what you can do about it, and certainly do not involve yourself in such practices!
Trolling refers to a practice whereby a person will post an outrageous or controversial post just for attention's sake or to stir up trouble. The trolling reference refers to the fishing method, although its connotations of a nuisance troll creature are not out of place. The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them, report their post to a moderator and let them take further action if necessary.
Flaming, flames and flame wars are all about heated argument in an Internet discussion group. Such arguments are easy to begin and easy to get caught up in if you're not careful. If you do find yourself in the midst of flames, consider stating your point, without being insulting, and then withdrawing from the conversation. If things get too far out of hand, a moderator will likely lock or condemn the subtopic, or perhaps even delete it.
Spamming is rife in all forms on the Internet - mass unsolicited e-mail, search engine flooding and for forums, unwanted advertisements. Different forums have different guidelines on advertising. Some set aside an advertising forum specifically for the purpose, others allow relevant advertising in appropriate topics and others shun it completely. Make sure you read the rules of the forum for this particular forum's policies on advertising.
If you read something on the forum that you find offensive or that you think may be intended to stir up trouble, you should contact the moderators by e-mail and let them deal with it.
If you have any further questions, post a message on the board or e-mail one of the moderators.
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