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How To Get The Best From Forums

Updated on September 13, 2014

Enjoy And Profit From Forums

Forums are amongst the best features of the internet. Forums allow you to publicise your work, let off steam, find help, give help, offer praise and support to friends and strangers or just post the link to a great Youtube clip.

The Hubpages site is supported by Hubpages official forums and there's a thriving independent forum, started by Squidoo writers, on Yuku.

Even if you're not a writer on sites like Hubpages, perhaps you're just looking for information on forums generally, read on for some useful tips on how to enjoy and benefit from your time on forums.

“Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself”

Mark Twain

Can I Really Just Start Posting On SquidU?

You can indeed but if you want to get the best out of posting and you're not too familiar with forums, read on.

Different forums have different styles and allow different behaviours. Some are like bear gardens; we at SquidU aim for a polite and friendly forum. If you've been put off by shouting, swearing and insults at other forums, fear not - we're all civilised and well mannered. Of course, that means you have to be well mannered as well - the first rule to remember is that your posts should fit the tone of the forum. Ever been in a social group when a brash newcomer arrives and shouts at all and sundry?

So, read a few posts before starting to post yourself. You'll notice, apart from the lack of swearing, we don't use txt spk and we don't speak harshly to anyone. We're all lensmasters after all, we're in the communication business. We write lenses to appeal to a broad church and so we write posts to appeal to a wide range of lensmasters.

Individual Forums

When you go to SquidU you'll notice that there are several separate forums (it's a weakness of the jargon that individual forums within forums are usually called forums as well) . with each having a separate broad purpose. We do this as otherwise everything would be a hodgepodge of posts, a sort of Tower Of Babel with just one language. It's best to look at each forum and judge which suits your post best; that helps order and makes sure you're more likely to get a quick and helpful reply.

What forums do we have?

New? Introduce Yourself!: This will probably be where you post first. Think of it as the shallow end.

Chatter Box: General Squidoo-related conversation - all sorts of topics with the one proviso that they're somehow related to Squidoo.

Critique Me... Free advice on your early lenses - a bit more about Critique below.

Help, Please: More advice on general Squidoo issues - when do I get paid, is it just me or is everything slow today, how do I add xxx to my lens?

Tricks of the Trade: Experienced lensmasters let us in on their tricks and secrets.

Lens Spotlight: Got a good lens? Advertise it to the community.

Shopkeeper Talk: For the many who have online shops at Zazzle or CafePress or wherever, a place to discuss those and get help,

Squids Gone Wild (Randominity): Non-Squidoo posts - these can be serious or silly - we really don't mind.

"What if I post in the wrong forum?" you're asking. Don't worry, a moderator (more below on mods as well) will move the post to a better place.

Forums are a great facility

What do you think of forums in general and SquidU in particular?

The Critique Forum

One of my favourite forums and one that blows the socks off many newcomers: post a lens here and people will tell you how to improve it or help you correct errors.

"But we're all in competition for customers" you cry. Yes and no - there are plenty of people out there to entice to our lenses, plenty to go round. I had great help when I started on Squidoo, now I try to pay back some of that, and I'll still post lenses there if I want some advice - we all need help sometimes.

Venerate The Mods

Moderators

Moderators are the people who control the day to day running of the forums - putting posts in the right areas, making sure rules are obeyed and so on. I'm a mod and there are, at present, five of us. We're picked for our intelligence, wisdom, sense of humour, virility, animal magnetism and various other characteristics. Most importantly, we're all posters and lensmasters - back to the communication thing - we talk to everyone and to each other so that people get what they want from forums.

Read The Stickies

Sticky Threads

And Search

At the top of several of the individual forums you'll see Sticky threads, so called because they stick up at the top of the page. They contain guidelines for success in the individual forum - so Critique has a thread advising you on how to prepare for a Crit and get the most out of it. Help forum has a few stickies answering very common questions - that saves many duplicate threads.

There's also a link "Search" on every page - you can use that to find information in existing posts - it's worth doing this rather than immediately starting a thread to ask - it'll often save you time and get interesting extra info.

Too Good To Be True So Far?

What Can't You Do?

Well, I've already mentioned swearing and txt spk. In general, avoid flaming. Flaming is being very rude to people. That doesn't mean you can't disagree but there's a right way and a wrong way.

"Don't be so stupid, you steaming pile of wombat droppings, it's spelled with an 'a' " is a no-no. "Is that an American spelling? I've always used an 'a' in the UK" is a bit better.

Spamming: overly promotional activities in inappropriate places - more below.

Thread hijacking: Don't interject a post on an unrelated subject into an existing thread. Start your own - don't be shy. However, if you see a thread and you think your issue might be related, do reply in that thread (you might even be adding helpful extra information for the problem solver).

Resurrecting threads: Don't reply to very old threads - start a new thread in preference.

Bumping your own threads Bumping means replying to a thread just to get it back to the top of the forum. If you haven't had a response it's tempting but it is frowned upon.

Shouting: TYPING IN CAPITALS. Everybody hates it and it rots your brain faster than a mobile phone next to a microwave. Please don't do it.

Silly Characters: iT's VeRy HaRd To ReAd when p~eo~p~l~e +u+s+e odd mixes of characters. Some do it on thread titles - it usually doesn't work!

The Curse Of The Internet

Spamming Forums

Spam - nasty over-commercial, over-promotional worthless garbage. The curse of forums especially as people try to drop links thinking they're great for search engines.

Gross spam - posts that just advertise knock-off Nike and Rolexes that turn your wrist green - instant and permanent ban. No decent lensmaster would dream of doing it.

Subtle spam - dropping the odd link here and there. We try to keep this out as well, else it would take over the forums. Links can go in Critique and Lens Spotlight, rarely in other forums. Persistent offenders get short bans, repeat offenders get longer bans, incorrigible recidivists get permanent bans.

Reporting Bad Posts

People do break the rules sometimes so under every post is a link to Report. If you think a post is against the rules, please hit Report so it gets flagged to mods. Nobody but mods sees the reports and we don't discuss them with anyone but other mods.

Using the Report helps everyone - it can stop threads getting out of control and it gets spam removed quicker.

Signatures

Signatures, or sigs as they're often called, are the bits that are automatically put under each of your posts. Most of us use these to add links to lenses we want to highlight. The occasional non-Squidoo link is allowed as long as it's not a SquidDon't.

Change your sig by clicking on the Profile link near the top of each forums page, then select Personality. Sigs use BBCode, not HTML, so you might see something like:

[url=http://www.squidoo.com/squiddont]SquidDon't[/url]

There's a link to info on BBCode on most pages, especially on the posting form.

Are sig links good for search engine juice? Yes, to an extent. Not on most forums these days but okay on SquidU. (Another reason we keep out spam.) Make sure you use your keywords in the link text (on any backlink).

Come Into My Parlour

Starting Good Threads

Title and post

Unless you're just letting off steam you will want people to respond to your opening post. The best way to do this is with a meaningful title (not clever, not arch or witty). Which of the following would get you to respond?

Hurricane Irene: we're in its path

or

Crikey

Post content is most important when asking for help. Don't just say "Squidoo isn't working right" or "I can't publish". Give enough info to let people know exactly what the problem is - "When I hit Publish the screen darkens and the cat cries and vomits in the fishbowl. This only happens on Wednesdays."

In something like Chatter you'll get a better response if you make a bit more effort with the OP:

"What do you think of cats?"

or

"My cat has just vomited in the fishbowl after reading my new lens. Does anyone else's pet like to criticise lenses?"

So, type a bit more and be polite?

That's All There Is To It

Not so bad, was it?

We're delighted to see new people coming into the forums and we're delighted when they start posting regularly. That may be once a week or it may be (cough, looks at own total) a bit more often - it's entirely up to you. Get over to SquidU, read a few threads, read the stickies, say hello in the Intro forum and away you go.

Some Common Questions

100% Complete?

Lenses have a progress bar that shows a notion of completeness. Only you can see the bar on your lenses and you can't see anyone else's. To expand the information click on "See your progress" below the bar.

Most of the items that make up the list are sensible and you'll usually do them without thinking. Two however stick out like sore thumbs: 20 Likes and a Giant Squid Like, These are beyond your control - you just have to wait and see if you get the Likes, Don't waste time hunting for them. Important thing to note is that your lens is complete even if you don't have these two ticked off.

Many very experienced lensmasters have loads of lenses without 20 Likes, many of which earn money. Getting the Likes doesn't make any great difference to a lens - any Like gives a brief rise in rank, that's all.

Daftest product

 

My Lens Isn't Featured, Still WIP

Published a lens and it's still red on your dashboard? There's a sticky thread on the Help forum to explain this:

My lens is still Work In Progress?

Lensrank, Tiers And Payments

Lenses earn money through rank and through sales. Read up on the basics on the sticky thread Questions - and Answers - about Squidoo Payday.

I'm Still Baffled

Don't worry - if the threads and lenses you've seen haven't helped then just post in the Help forum to ask for more explanation. Please don't be shy - one thing I believe is that there are no stupid questions and 99% of our forums members agree.

Thank You For The Music

One other benefit of forums: I was tearing my hair out trying to find images - quick search of help and I found a link to lenses by Lensmaster artbymichelle. She has created a huge amount of free clipart - many thanks to her for the images used on this lens. And thanks to the person whose post pointed me in her direction.

Will you be posting in five minutes?

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      Lots of your usual good advice. Thanks.

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 4 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      Thank you for such a helpful lens! I'm screwing up my courage to participate in the forums more. I've bookmarked this lens for future reference.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I was actually just heading over to check out the forums. Excellent advise for posting on forums Paul.

    • profile image

      candy47 5 years ago

      Thanks for the insight into getting the best from forums :)

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 5 years ago

      Thank you for the information. Sundae ;-)

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 5 years ago

      good info

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 5 years ago

      Snerk. "Temporary". I think I'm going to go promote this lens somewhere.

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 5 years ago from Cyprus

      So sad it's gone, still mightily depressed about it...

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 5 years ago

      Good info. Thanks.

    • Paul Ward profile image
      Author

      Paul 5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @squidoopets: It is unfortunate that past animosities continue to be rehearsed by a few in forums - usually cleverly so rules aren't infracted.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I go to Squidu to post and follow out links but I stay away from conversations about squidoo lenses now because responses I've gotten in my threads are downright nasty - the place should be closed down in my opinion and folks can continue to make their own groups with like minded people.

    • wedpittsburgh lm profile image

      wedpittsburgh lm 5 years ago

      I came here through a post you made on the forum. I noticed that if you are nice to people and offer advice and comments they come to visit your lenses which is another great reason to visit the forum (besides just getting great advice).

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 5 years ago from United States

      I actually came from the forum and found your name on another lensmasters comments. This is a very useful lens, and I want to commend you on the job you do in the forum. Appreciate your help.

    • WorldVisionary3 profile image

      WorldVisionary3 5 years ago

      Squidoo is fantastic, as most people would agree, but forums are an interesting way to learn a bit more about Squidoo.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Squidu is much better now that it is well moderated. I love the funny mods comment when they remove spammers links and posts. Maybe do a top ten list of ''mods most funny comment'' :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks for useful info!

    • profile image

      Aboutlowercholesterol 5 years ago

      Thanx for the info Paul. I realise I have quite a bit to learn, oh my goodness .....

    • profile image

      rysth13 5 years ago

      Good lens for new member for understanding squidu forum properly.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Excellent lens - as I would expect from someone so knowledgeable about Squidoo. I am just getting on to the forums, and I regret taking so long. Angel Blessed for general helpfulness.

    • profile image

      Tamara14 5 years ago

      Straight to the point(s) and I'd make it a mandatory in order for a newby to be allowed to register to SquidU. Thanks Paul.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi this lens helped me to get a better understanding of squidu forum.Thanks for the info.

    • victoriuh profile image

      victoriuh 5 years ago

      Good explanations!

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Great forum intro...should be required reading!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi Paul a great lens to get a better understand ing the SquidU forum. I think it is a valuable resource

    • jejoju profile image

      jejoju 5 years ago

      Hi Hello Paul

      Thank you for your help! I added to my favorites bar so I can look at it again. I would like to have another try but not today. Thank you!

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 5 years ago from London

      Thank you Paul...will try harder to contribute more

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      Great lens! I sure will :-) thank you for reminding me, I should come out of my shell and be much more active on squidu.

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      Great lens! I sure will :-) thank you for reminding me, I should come out of my shell and be much more active on squidu.

    • Image Girl profile image

      Image Girl 5 years ago

      I realized I'd never thanked you for this lens. I'm fairly familiar with Forums, and find the SquidU one to be well run, and more polite then many others. I love your witty writing style!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I've just started to work up the courage to post replies in the forum, though I must say I have learned a great deal by reading the discussions there. Thank you for a very helpful lens.

    • EvelynIrene profile image

      EvelynIrene 5 years ago

      Wow, this lens is very helpful. As a noob, I get most of my traffic from the forum. :)

    • profile image

      nsixx99 6 years ago

      I am actually visiting this lens after clicking on your signature in the Squid U Forum, heading back now!

    • profile image

      chamanto 6 years ago

      I have learnt about the forum only recently. This lens will give more visibility to SquidU.com. Thanks.

    • profile image

      MorningShine 6 years ago

      Thank you for some really helpful info.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 6 years ago from USA

      I have found that visiting the forum has been very helpful. The people have shown me things that could benefit my lens in a polite manner. No one like to be scolded, and they always give a word of encouragement.

    • WayneDave LM profile image

      WayneDave LM 6 years ago

      Thanks for this, I've used the information on signatures, I was struggling with that stuff.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Again, nicely done. Well covered.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 6 years ago from Gloucester

      Great information here - I really do think it's vital for anyone wanting to succeed in any social media platform, like Squidoo, to take a look at the forums and ask for help. And SquidU is one of the friendliest forums I've come across! :)

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 6 years ago from California

      Excellent guide to the forums Paul :) So, we have to be "nice" huh....and you might add that if someone types like they talk the flilters will come along and change words like sh*t to sugar :) *Blessed*

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 6 years ago from Albany New York

      Very nice, informative lens.

      You have helped me on the forums with critiques, and I know I'll be back with more questions.

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 6 years ago from Texas

      I go to Squidu almost every day. I am trying to learn more and I usually find a similiar question being discussed.there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great pointers on forum etiquette. Very apt lens from the forum's favorite mod! Keep up your great work Paul. :)

    • rozalex lm profile image

      rozalex lm 6 years ago

      I love different forums! nice lens

    • LNAngel profile image

      Lauren 6 years ago from Florida

      It's always on the agenda...!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Not really as it is now sleep time for us but I will be back tomorrow.

    • Anime-e profile image

      Anime-e 6 years ago

      I love going to forums they are always fun to talk to people and learn stuff. I just really hate asking all those dumb questions ... but If I have to I do! I try to man up and just get it over with at times.

      I feel like people on forums are so nice to work with and help. If I need help they come rushing in! its an amazing feeling and thats why I like to help others on the forums just as much.

      Even if I just say congrats or good luck I feel like I am putting a smile on someone`s face for doing so! Just my opinion!

    • Surfer83 profile image

      Surfer83 6 years ago

      Yup I try to do it on daily basis sometime more =)

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 6 years ago from UK

      I always visit the forums and do try to post once or twice per visit but depends if I have something to add

      Nice lens by the way, very useful intro and description of how a forum should work

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 6 years ago

      Yes, I will. Nice lens, and good information on the sig!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      I don't post much but I read quite a bit in SquidU and must say I like your style :) Thanks for putting together such a helpful lens which is bound to benefit many, and especially our newest lensmasters.

    • Paul Ward profile image
      Author

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @cdcraftee: Can you have a worm in drag, seeing as they're hermaphrodites?

      twitcud - they're getting worse!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for this lens. Not only am I new to Squidoo, I am also new to participating in forums...so, this lens was helpful to me. I have just started sticking my toe in the forum pool a little bit and I'm finding out that the water is fine!

    • cdcraftee profile image

      Christine Larsen 6 years ago from South Australia

      Maybe - but I have been there already a couple of times today - so maybe not!

      Christine

      Security - dragonworm or drag on worm ???

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks, I must be dreaming because I feel like I've read this before. It's always good to go back over things. Maybe some of it will stick now that I'm learning my way around Squidoo a little more each day.

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 6 years ago from McLaughlin

      Thanks for this explanation about forums on Squidoo--each forum has its own flavor and etiquette. Thanks for explaining.

    • hysongdesigns profile image

      hysongdesigns 6 years ago

      I always look for the forums whenever I join a site like Squidoo, so I've been on there from the beginning of my time on S. I too really appreciate all the people who answer questions and give advice on lenses.

    • profile image

      inspirationz 6 years ago

      i'm very new to squidoo and havent yet visited squidu forums so i found this very interesting and informative - thank you!

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 6 years ago

      Very informative and useful lens for everyone on Squidoo - not just for newbies.

    • JillY88 profile image

      JillY88 6 years ago

      Great information and a must read for everyone in squidoo. You can never know enough. Thanks for a great lens.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 6 years ago

      Excellent advice. I agree, it should be required reading for newbies.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you, Paul, for a highly useful and informative lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for this Paul - I think it spells it out Forum Etiquette very nicely.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great discussion Paul. When joining any forum I make sure I complete my profile, so that when I post anything, my avatar, web site (my blog or my lensmaster profile usually) and other details all show up. Leaving your identity when you reply to blog posts generated backlinks to your sites. Nicely done Paul, Blessed.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      ooohhh can I put this in my forum sig too! Bravo Paul and you do all a great job on SquidU - I know we are all apreciateive of the hard work that we dont know, goes into keeping it a great place!

    • MamaKris profile image

      Kristin 6 years ago from Long Beach, CA

      Thanks for the info. I've been on Squidoo for a few months now, but I haven't managed to make it over to the SquidU forums very much. I think I need to start posting.

    • sidther lm profile image

      sidther lm 6 years ago

      I will head over there right now! I love the way you describe the forum- you have made reading the rules a fun experience! It is so important and for some of us, the social rules need to be spelled out in detail (I am always scared that I will break a rule)!

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 6 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Thanks a bunch. Very helpful, I was wondering how you got those sigs on.

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 6 years ago from London

      Very helpful Paul

    • Shoputopian profile image

      Karnel 6 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      Great information here, a place that all newbies joining the forum at Squidoo should read...Well written thanks for sharing...

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      Thanks for this wonderful lens. You did a very thorough job explaining everything.

    • fireblazzer profile image

      fireblazzer 6 years ago

      nice page!

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I don't get to the forums very often. I'm afraid I do go to the Squidoo Facebook Community more often, since I'm already on FB. In fact, that's where I got the link to come and read this.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 6 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Possibly...as long as I'm signed into the right account :)

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Possibly. Possibly so. :)