How to Find Your Way Around HubPages' Online Forum
Forum Navigation, Real-World-Style
Typeface or Font?
Technically, a font and a typeface are not the same thing, but most of us nowadays use the terms interchange-ably. If you are interested in the specifics of the differences, check out this explanation.
Whenever you start participating in the forums at HubPages, you begin to notice that some posters find ways of expressing themselves with more than simply words on a computer screen.
Some posters add photos and charts or other graphics and cartoons to illustrate the words in their forum posts (maybe even instead of words). Many simply change the font or add smilies to provide various kinds of emphases. But then, there are also hyperlinks and quotations in various stages. Where do they all come from?
One Hubber has provided a detailed explanation of how to use the various available buttons in making forum posts. If you are a total newbie or fairly new in the HubPages forum life, read her article here. But if you have been around awhile and are ready for some newer ways of learning what others have written and expressing yourself in the forums – or, if you could just benefit from reading it all explained slightly differently – then check out the suggestions below and in my companion article.
If you find any inaccuracies here....
You should by now be aware that policies and features change frequently on HP. If you find that something in this article has changed since the time I wrote it, please drop me a line through my contact link, and I will update it ASAP.
Accessing the Forums from Your Feed, with Title and Time Link Underlined
Speaking of Forums: Confusing Terminology
Some of our words are used to mean quite different things. (In this article I have tried to use consistent and specific terminology, even though they may not be the most commonly used terms.) For example, in everyday use:
Forum or Forums – could mean all of the various topics, threads, and posts in the Forums section of HP, collec-tively; sometimes one of these words could refer to one specific topical conversation. In the screenshot example, some people might refer to "Wildlife Encounters: Any in Your Neighborhood?" as a "forum."
Thread – could refer to one "forum" like "Wildlife Encounters: Any in Your Neighborhood?" or it could refer to one sequential conversation within a Forum, including one specific post, all of the replies to that specific post, and the posts that have replied to the replies (ad infinitum).
Above/Below - When people reply to posts, they may refer to another post that is "above" or "below" their own. When the reply is actually posted, in Chronological View a new post will always appear below a previous one (or on the following page). In Threaded View, the position above or below will depend on whether the post is a reply to a specific post or to the Forum Thread as a whole.
However, in Chronological View if the poster chooses to look at a Preview of the post first, then the Preview will appear at the top of the page, therefore above all other posts. In addition, while the reply is being prepared (input into the Reply box) – in Chronological View – the remaining posts appear in reverse chronological order (that is, with the most recent post at the top of the page).
Are we confused yet?
After numerous Hubbers requested the ability to hide certain threads, since they disliked having to wade through threads that didn't interest them or perhaps because they had difficulty exercising self-control, one super-techy Hubber created a plug-in for that purpose. Many people were ecstatic about it. But according to the most recent information I've been able to find, that plug-in no longer works due to changes in coding at HubPages, and there are no plans to create a new plug-in.
Where Do You Read the Forums?
The first thing to point out is that there are several different places where you can read what has been written in the forums.
Even before signing in, you can read the forums (in Threaded View only) – and this includes everyone, not just Hubbers. You can't reply back, but you can read the threads. If you find that you get sucked-in to forum discussions more than you think is good for you, you could try reading threads before signing in. But I have to warn you, this may merely slow down the process of interacting in the forums, not stop it altogether.
Once you are signed in, you can read and reply to some forum posts from your Homepage Feed, depending on which options you have selected. Since I almost never use the feed myself, I am very limited in what I can explain about that method of forum interaction.
If you find a Topic or Thread you wish to pursue, you can click on the Thread Title to get to the first post; or you can click on the time link to get to the post that is referenced there. (See underlines in the photo.)
A few other techniques for discovering what someone has said in the forums will be pointed out below. The most obvious way to interact in the forums is by clicking on Explore (in the black band at the top of the page, just right of center) and then Forums in the drop-down menu. But once again, after making this selection, you'll find several different paths you could follow, depending on your interests and preferences.
Which Path Do You Choose?
If, so far, you have followed the path Explore > Forums, then you have arrived on the page of Latest Activity in All Forums. On the far left is a listing of forum categories, covering roughly 40% of the screen. The most dominant portion of the page, though, is the 60% in the center and on the right, showing the currently most active threads, ranked in order from the most recent to the least recent post. The first threads at the top are usually sticky threads started by the HubPages staff (or, in some cases, Elite) for official announcements and updates, or for notifications about HubNuggets and similar matters. The sticky threads remain in place to be sure everyone has an opportunity to see and notice them, while the other threads change position depending on the most recent posts.
When you are perusing the Forums as a signed-in Hubber, you can choose to view a forum thread either in Threaded View or in Chronological View. Personally, I dislike Threaded View so much that I had to do some added research in order to provide the information here. But some people may like to see individual threads (i.e. conversations within a thread) from the first post to the most recent one. There are significant differences in the way these two views appear, including the appearance of a reply to a post. Keep reading....
On the many pages showing "Latest Activity in All Forums," you can go either
- to the first post of a forum thread or "topic" (by clicking on the title/subject of the thread, listed as a blue link) or
- to the most recent post (by clicking on the linked name of the Hubber who posted most recently).
Also in the "Latest Activity in All Forums" section, you can choose to view those forum threads in which you have posted most recently, and you will access them by clicking on Your at the top of the list. The appearance of the resulting list has changed very recently. In the past, the list of Your "Latest Activity in All Forums" displayed titles of forum threads in which you have recently posted in the order of your posting - with your most recent post's thread at the top.
Now, following a change requested by several Hubbers (including me), the titles are displayed in the order of the most recent posting by anyone, period. It creates an interesting change, which may or may not be exactly what those who requested it had hoped for. Time will tell.
Navigating Forums by Category
Other Ways to Navigate
You may be more interested in a particular Category of Forum Threads, such as Animals and Pets or Automotive, than you are in knowing the most recent things everyone has said in every single forum thread. In that case, you could choose to browse the Forums using the Category section of the Forum Home Page (left 40% of the page). If you wish to know about Animals and Pets, for example, you can access all of the Forum threads in that category, arranged in order of most recent post, by clicking on the Category link.
Of course, you may have discovered that a particular Hubber has offered unique and helpful wisdom in certain topics, and you may wish to know more about what they have said in the Forums concerning other topics. In that case, you could find any of their posts (in any thread), locate the profile picture, avatar, or generic gray outline to the left of the post, and then click on the linked number of posts next to the picture. That will take you to a page showing (truncated) Forum posts by the Hubber you have selected, with the most recent first.
You can also access these posts, or your own, from the Hubtivity section of a profile page.
Other Methods of Finding Posts
What About Posts from the Past?
Sometimes you may remember a post you read days, weeks, or even months ago, and you may want to track it down either for your own information, to mention in one of your posts, or to send as a link in an e-mail – or for other reasons too. How do you find those posts? There are several ways, each with its own benefits and disadvantages.
- You could try to use the HP search box, narrowing your search to Forums. First run a search for a specific search term and then "Scope Your Search," using the links on the right; or you can use the Advanced Search (tiny lettering at the bottom of the Scope column) – but I've had less success with that method.
- If you remember who wrote the post, you could go to their profile page and use the Search Box beneath their Profile picture. Once you have searched for a specific term (searching only the content by that Hub Author), you can narrow the results further, using the Forum link on the right side of the results page.
A Lot of Forum Talk Focuses on Online Earning, So...
Remember the Posts You Like
Once you have found a post you like, you can use the Permalink button below it to find the post number. (The information wlil show up in your browser's address bar.) Copy and paste it for future reference into a file of your own if you wish, with posts adequately labelled so that you can remember why you wanted to remember them!
Forum threads are numbered sequentially. The Topic that is posted immediately after yours will receive the number immediately after the number of your Topic. Posts are also numbered sequentially, even though they occur in different Topics.
This little bit of information was useful to me once when I wanted to know whether I might have borrowed an idea from another Hubber or whether he might have borrowed it from me. The number of his post (in a different Forum Topic) was a higher number, therefore later than mine, so it was logical to assume that he had read my post without commenting and then had made a similar comment in a different Forum Topic thread.
Of course, it could also have been one of those fun synchronous situations when each of us had the same idea independently, completely without knowledge of what the other had posted; but for me it was a sort of fun exercise to see who wrote about it first.
Now, if you want to know about how to quote other Hubbers and include references to those posts that you have looked up, read this companion article.