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Explanations and instructions of all things Writing.Com.
#699753 added July 7, 2010 at 7:59am
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Using Message Forums
Writing.Com Message Forums are a great way to meet like-minded individuals who share your particular interest. These forums can range from meeting places for writers who love poetry to members who enjoy movies. They can be used for fun events like auctions and raffles to celebrating a fellow member's accomplishment or mourning the loss of another. There is simply no limit to what kind of discussions or activities they can be used for, as evidenced by over 1,000+ message forums created by members just like you. And each time you post in a forum, you place yourself in front of other authors, readers and fans. This may bring more awareness of your presence and, hopefully, more traffic to your own portfolio!

Where Do I Start?
So you have just signed on to the site and you are not quite sure of where to go first. Well, you're in luck. One of the first message forums recommended to newbies is the "Noticing Newbies forum. You're likely to meet other authors introducing themselves and old members welcoming you with offered assistance on making your stay a productive and rewarding one. It is a great kick off forum to begin your Writing.Com experience.

However, you signed up for help with your writing and have particular questions about certain topics, so where do you go for help with that? The message forum you just might be looking for is "Writing.Com General Discussion As the name states, this is for general writing questions or topics and by posting there, you are likely to have other members help out as best they can.

How to Post in a Forum
Posting in a forum is easy and one of the first things you should learn on Writing.Com. Not only does it give you the opportunity to communicate with other members by introduction, but you might also need to post in "Technical Support Forum or "Non-Technical Support Forum for help on something in particular. Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to communicating with everyone else on the forums:

*Bullet* Read the instructions and/or rules written at the top of the forum. Each forum requires you follow certain guidelines so you do not go off-topic or keep the discussion within a certain rating limit. This is especially recommended if the forum is for a writing contest or challenge. Some forums may delete your post if you do not follow the owner's guidelines, so be sure you read these before posting.

*Bullet* When you are ready to post, scroll a little further down the page, and right before the messages/posts in the forum begin you should see these two links: Post a New Message | Threaded View.. Click on Post a New Message and you'll be taken to a page where you are able to write in whatever you want by simply following the instructions.

Helpful tools like the WritingML Icons and Writing ML Help | Emoticons are available to make your posts more creative or interesting. Click on the links to see what they can do!

At the bottom of the message box, you will notice the option to send GPs ("Gift Points) with your message. Whatever amount you type in the box is automatically sent to the creator of the forum, especially if you are typing a new message. The same option works if you are replying to another member's post in the same forum. Attaching Gift Points to your response will be sent directly to the original writer of that particular post. This is a great way to thank them for their help, if they responded to a query to your satisfaction.

*Bullet*Clicking on Threaded View allows you to see the posts in the forum in 'thread' form. It lets you see particular topics and all responses given to that topic in table form. It is also a quick way to see those responses without having to scroll through so many pages. By clicking on threaded view for one forum, it applies the same setting to any other forum you visit on the site. To undo this, simply click on Un-Threaded View and all settings revert to normal.

How to Find a Forum
To find a comprehensive list of all the forums Writing.Com has to offer, click on the link 'Reading' on the left side of your screen. On the page that comes up, scroll down and click on Message Forums. A page listing all the forums will show up, and you can scroll through the pages at your leisure to see which catches your attention or fits what you're looking for.

If you do not want to scroll through every single page, there are different options available to narrow down your search. You have the option to 'narrow listings by specific sub-types', or make use of the drop down menu next to the word 'sort' in the menu bar and selecting an option from there, or simply typing in a keyword in the 'search box' and clicking 'Go' to produce results.

How to Create a Forum
While everyone can post in a message forum that is accessible to him or her, only Basic Members and above may create their own. Before setting up your forum, be sure to have a definite plan on what it's going to be used for and how it's going to be used. If you hope to get a lot of attention or members interested in what you have to say, then self-promotion by visiting other similar forums or joining groups with like-minded individuals is the way to go.1 For complete information on how to set up your own forum, please see: "Create/Edit a Message Forum.

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1  Written by iKïyå§ama and The StoryMistress .

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