If you’ve never used a Forum or Discussion Board, this How to Forum is for you.
A few months ago when the MHF Forum launched, I was thrilled. It had been a lot of work, but even more, it’s a milestone to taking back health policy. Growing conversation and understanding is necessary to bridge the divisions among Michigan people, healthcare, and policy-makers. Plus, leaving Facebook suppression behind!
Forums (also called discussion boards) pre-date modern social media, and 20% of Americans persisted in regular use into 2015. Forums work especially well for focused subject areas – and they’re even linked to higher civic engagement. Let’s do this!
But then … I realized I had no idea how. And MHF Members shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel or feel lost in the new place.
So after lots of trial and error, a good web builder, and super-smart friends – here’s what I learned.
How to Navigate to/from the Forum
There are three ways to get to the MHF Community Forum:
- This link: https://mihealthfreedom.org/community/
(Bookmarking works great!)
- Type in MiHealthFreedom.org/community
- Click on the white “Community Forum” button on the MHF Home Page
To return to the Home Page, click the MHF logo in the upper left corner above the Forum title:
How to do Forum Basics
Inside the Forum, you’ll want to do 3 things:
1. See what the Forum has to offer!
Scroll down to view the Forum subject areas (highlighted in green).
To the left of the subject line, conversation balloons will show green if there are posts here that you haven’t seen, or grey if there’s nothing new. Posts are listed with the newest at the top.
To the right of the subject line, a counter shows how many posts and topics are in that subject area.
Below each subject area are listed all the Topic Starter posts and any subforums. Click on any of them to see the full content and reply thread.
Below the thread and comment box, you can navigate to the next thread, or jump to any other subject area in the Forum.
You can learn a lot from the Icon left of each post:
The orange pin indicates a pinned post, usually reference resources on the topic. New posts will be below.
An open square indicates no comments; lines appear when comments are added.
To search for a particular subject, click the magnifying glass in the right upper corner below the Forum title. (If you’re on a cellphone, it may be inside a “hamburger” – just click on the three horizontal lines to see it.)
When you’re registered, the little bell lights up with notifications you’ve requested.
2. How to Register as a Forum Member.
To join, click on registration – it will be the fourth space in the bar below the Forum name. (Where it says My Profile below.)
If you like, get creative with your User Name – once you’re registered, you’ll be able to edit your Profile to add an image as well.
You will get an email response. An admin will approve your registration within a day or two.
Once your registration is approved, you will get a confirmation link. When you log in, you will see a “Howdy” greeting you in the top right corner.
3. How to use your Forum Membership privileges
Membership lets you get notifications, react, reply to Topic Starters, and Post new ones, including questions.
Your activity and others’ responses to you will generate stars and accolades for your profile. (How cool is that?!)
First, note the chevron bar. This extends to show the section and post you’re in. You can click on the previous title to navigate back.
While you’re on the Forum home page, find the “Subscribe” button under the chevron bar. This option for email notifications is offered in each topic area. It’s a great way to follow Forum posts, especially if you don’t like to bookmark and check back on your own.
To get your feet wet, you can start by reacting. Find the thumb between the Topic starter and the Comment block, to the left of the Topic Tags. Hover over the thumb and click the reaction you want.
Next, the basics of how to reply:
Typing your comment is straightforward. To quote, you can copy and paste text within the Quote codes as shown here. This will set your quote off in a box.
Finally, adding a post is almost the same as making a comment, with these added steps:
- Before starting a new Topic, please search to be sure you don’t duplicate an existing thread.
- The “Add Topic” button is on the right inside each subject area.
- To post published material, use the title and source in the subject line.
- Enter topic tags to make your post searchable.
- Questions are great!