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Forums / Welcome and orientation / Newbies guide: 5 tips for getting the most out of the forums (UPDATED)

Topic: Newbies guide: 5 tips for getting the most out of the forums (UPDATED)

  1. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email: christopher.banks@beyondblue.org.au
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    13 August 2014

    Hey everyone,

    Here’s 5 tips for new and old members alike to help you get the most out of your forum experience. 

    1. A good title makes the difference

    Just like a headline in a newspaper, when scanning the dozens of threads to click into, it’s only natural that people will choose the ones that resonate with them most. A title that entices the reader, or asks a question, is likely to get a better result than something non-descriptive like “Depression” or “I don't know what to do”. If you think you’re not good at choosing titles, leave it till last. Spend time writing your post, then perhaps choose a sentence from what you’ve written as the title.

    2. Join in threads that have already been posted

    We all have our own unique stories, but part of the reason for joining a forum like this one is because you know that you will have a lot in common with others who are posting. Before starting a new thread, have a look through the current topics being discussed and see if there’s a conversation you can join in with. It can be quite common to have a handful of very similar threads happening at any one time, with members seemingly unaware that there are others right there who are going through the same thing.  Talking to other members on their threads is a great way of getting yourself known so that when you post a thread of your own, people may respond quicker because they recognise your name and feel they know you.

    3. Choose the most appropriate section for your post

    Many people browse the forums looking for stories specifically to do with pregnancy and parenting, employment, grief, loss, separation etc.  Going straight for the “Depression” section may seem like the easiest option, but this section is often the busiest, so your post is more likely to get lost among the threads. Making good use of the different forum sections not only helps keep the forum relevant, but you’re more likely to find others who are going through the same experiences as you.  Also, if you're wanting to discuss issues of trauma, abuse, suicidal thoughts or self-harm, it's really important you post in the designated section to avoid triggering others who may not wish to read about these topics.

    4. Try and keep it short!

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do. We have a forced 2,500 character limit on the submission form (about the size of one whole typed A4 page). Posts that go on for longer than one screen, where people have to scroll in order to read, run the risk of people skimming your post and not reading it. Break up your paragraphs as well - big blocks of text with no breaks are equally intimidating for others to read, as is txt language and abbreviations (It's like talking to someone in person and not taking breaths or pauses). Please don't try and cheat the limit by submitting multiple-part posts...it only creates more work for our moderators who have to clean the forum up. Forums are about dialogue, not monologue. You'll have plenty of time to tell your story if you're patient, stick around, and take the time to discuss, not broadcast! :P 

    5. Stick to one thread for support

    When seeking support on the forums, we really encourage members to use one thread rather than starting new ones all the time.  It's really difficult for the community to keep up with your story if you have a lot of threads going at once, and you may find yourself having to repeat information if your story is spread across the forum - sometimes our members will be repeating themselves as well if it's an issue you've had previously.  Help us to support you by keeping to one thread, even if you're returning here after a period of time.  There's a lot of value in seeing how someone's story evolves over time, and when facing a new crisis it's helpful to scroll back and see how you've coped previously.

    Please feel free to share your own tips below on how to get involved in the community and get the best out of your time online.





    482 people found this helpful
  2. Pixie15
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Pixie15 avatar
    721 posts
    13 August 2014 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Christopher,

    Thanks for these suggestions. I had a thought when I was reading them. In point (2) you suggest that there may be several posts going at the same time on very similar topics. Is can be very time consuming reading posts and may be useful to be able to have a way to link the posts that are similar.

    Cheerio,

    Grateful.

    32 people found this helpful
  3. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email: christopher.banks@beyondblue.org.au
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    13 August 2014 in reply to Pixie15

    Hi Grateful,

    I agree, unfortunately we don't have the ability to merge threads at the moment (hopefully in the future we will), so we have to rely on you good folk to point members in the right direction and encourage dialogue within threads. :) 

    14 people found this helpful
  4. AGrace
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    AGrace avatar
    1214 posts
    15 August 2014 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Everyone,

    The other tip that I would add here is:

    Before starting a new thread try entering your topic of discussion or some key words into the Search Function (in the top right of the screen). This will enable you to find other threads related to your topic. It might be more worthwhile sharing your story in one of these existing threads. You can then chat with others who can relate to your experience, and provide you with support.

    Happy posting:)

    AGrace

    49 people found this helpful
  5. AGrace
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    AGrace avatar
    1214 posts
    21 August 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi,

    I wanted to refresh this post, but I also wanted to say it's incredible to see that so many of our new and existing members are now joining in discussions on various existing threads.

    I think this is one of the first nights I have come onto the forums and I'm struggling to find a post that hasn't been responded to. It's comforting to know that the community is full of such compassionate and generous people. It seems even when we're struggling, we still want to reach out and support others:)

    AGrace

    26 people found this helpful
  6. Neil_1
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    22 August 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Dear Amber

    (oh and dear everyone else as well)

    Amber hit the nail on the head I reckon - with her line of:  "It seems even when we're struggling, we still want to reach out and support others".

    I've thought this for a long time now and really believe it IS true.  People on this site are just fantastic, helpful, knowledgeable, and above all else, so supportive of others.

    And along with Christopher from Beyond Blue who's creating such a great website for all of us to use and operate on, it IS really awesome to see (again as Amber points out) that there ARE so many others now who are chipping in with their own responses to other people.

    The more people who do this, I believe the better success this site will have.  I've been apart of this site on and off for around 4 years now - and pretty consistent since last November.  And during this latest period, I've noticed how the site has really gone ahead with new innovations but also with the amount of people posting.

    It's a wonderful community and I'll stop now for fear of you all nodding off at one of my extended looooooong posts.   Sorry about that;  I just get so excited in writing here.

    Neil

     

    24 people found this helpful
  7. Zoe <3
    Zoe <3 avatar
    31 posts
    27 August 2014 in reply to Neil_1

    Well said everyone!

    I'm relatively new to this site and I'm blown away by the numbers of helpful, caring people here in BB-Land (Can I move here?). It's fantastic to see so many people sharing their stories, helping others with simple words of comfort or support and I'm amazed at how much it helps me on my bad days. Without this forum, I'm not sure how I might've coped in the past few weeks. It's really helped me re-focus and at the same time, I can share my experiences in helping others, or just giving virtual hugs.

    Keep up the AWESOME work, peeps!

    Zoe x

    21 people found this helpful
  8. LouisaB
    LouisaB avatar
    1 posts
    8 September 2014

    I'm new here too. Thanks Christopher for your helpful advice. I will keep it in mind when I work my way around the posts.  I will share my story too and maybe it will resonate a bit with others. I am cheered by the positive vibes so far and pleased I decided to join up. 

    LouisaB

    10 people found this helpful
  9. Mares73
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Mares73 avatar
    748 posts
    17 October 2014
    Dear new friends, to each of you have put a message here about being new to the forums & sharing some of your experience-can I suggest that (unless you feel your story similar to anothers & want to add to it) that you start your own "page" called a "thread" which you can find by clicking on "new thread" on the right hand side of the page "depressuon";or other relevant forum. That way you have your own dedicated place to share your story & you will find many others will respond to you & share similar experiences. You have shown great courage in reaching out to Beyond Blue & my suggestion is put forward so that each of you have a place to share your own story & then I in turn others with similar feelings or experiences will reply & reach out to you.  I hope that's a helpful suggestion. Love Mares xx
    19 people found this helpful
  10. mj74
    mj74 avatar
    7 posts
    22 October 2014 in reply to Chris B
    Hi guys, was wondering how you find a post you have put up? Cheers
    2 people found this helpful
  11. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email: christopher.banks@beyondblue.org.au
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    23 October 2014 in reply to mj74
    Hi mj74, you can use the 'My posts' tab at the top of the screen to access all the threads you have either started or posted in.
    5 people found this helpful
  12. Taz2u
    Taz2u avatar
    5 posts
    12 November 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi AGrace,

    I'm new and posted once to introduce myself and also in the Depression forum. My posts have been visited , but I have had no reply yet. I could really do with some support. Thanks, 

    Taz

    5 people found this helpful
  13. Pixie15
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Pixie15 avatar
    721 posts
    12 November 2014 in reply to Taz2u

    Hi Taz2u,

    Welcome to the forum. You may have replies that have not been posted yet because the forum is moderated.

    If you need more immediate support you might like to try the chat.

    Grateful.

    2 people found this helpful
  14. Taz2u
    Taz2u avatar
    5 posts
    14 November 2014 in reply to Pixie15
    Thank you Grateful. I found a reply today and will continue reaching out.Cheers, Taz
    1 person found this helpful
  15. Trish M
    Trish M avatar
    29 posts
    29 September 2015

    Hi all,

    I found the Beyondblue Forums in March of this year. I was very low after suffering a major depressive episode. Among other symptoms, my depression manifests itself in extreme tiredness but frustratingly coupled with waking at around 3:00 in the morning and being unable to disengage my negative mind to return to sleep.

    Amongst all the darkness and negativity, there has always been a spark of hope or stubborness or resilience and persistence to survive. Somehow I remembered Beyondblue and jumped onto the computer, started exploring the site and I discovered the online forums.

    The forums have been a revelation to me and the first step in a journey of recovery but a recovery at my own pace. When  can't sleep and strategies to try and get myself back to sleep don't work, I visit the forums. it is surprising how many times I have found that perfect thread that seems to have been written "just for me" I identify so often and no longer feel so alone. Often I think to myself "that is my story, I am just like that, maybe I'm not so different, if they've tried these things and improved, so can I"

    The forums are a non threatening way to stay connected to other people when it's just too hard to do it in person. Depression is an exhausting condition, often misunderstood and still stigmatized despite more liberal community attitudes. The forums have been another tool for recovery for me, they've educated me, given me hope and they're available 24/7, whenever I have needed them. I am encouraged by replies, soothed by words of comfort and suggestions.

    The online forums are a valuable resource, they're a solace, an educative tool, a connection and a way forward to helping me understand and accept my complex condition. They are my friend when I am not my own best friend. 

    Trish M.

     

    26 people found this helpful
  16. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    16457 posts
    29 September 2015 in reply to Trish M

    dear Trish, thanks for posting your comment, obviously now you are having trouble sleeping, and not being able to sleep is horrible.

    I'm an early bird as I take a lot of medication that makes me want to sleep, so I go to bed early, am I lucky, well yes in some ways, but no, because I have no social life, but what sort of social life would I want, as I live alone, don't have anybody to go out with, so I stay at home with my little puppie.

    It's great that there are many other posts which you can relate to, so I'm asking if any results have also helped you. L Geoff. x

    7 people found this helpful
  17. Trish M
    Trish M avatar
    29 posts
    29 September 2015 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks for replying. For myself, simply reading about other's resilience gives and inspires me to keep trying and not to let this depression beat me. I have become more knowledgeable about the many facets of this complicated illness and therefore don't feel quite so alone. In addition, the hope I read about and some of the techniques others talk about give me new things to try. So far, I am finding that sometimes when I begin to spiral downwards, I am able to do an about face and struggle on. For me too, I have found it very helpful to set small but realistic goals each day and to develop a discipline about getting them done. Since joining the forums, initially just reading them but more recently sharing myself, the darker periods seem shorter and further apart. This is due to the Beyondblue forums but also medication which did take some time to get right and the help of a trusted psychologist.

    Thanks again Geoff for replying and sharing of yourself.

    Trish M.

     

    6 people found this helpful
  18. Goanna
    Goanna avatar
    6 posts
    4 November 2015 in reply to Chris B
    Thanks Chris B!  Your post is the first post i have read on here.  Good tips.  I will keep them in mind.  Take care.
    3 people found this helpful
  19. Banjofrog
    Banjofrog avatar
    1 posts
    17 November 2015
    Thank you Chris very good advice/tips. I think I'll quietly follow for awhile just not ready to chat just yet :-)
    3 people found this helpful
  20. Gentle Petal
    Gentle Petal avatar
    1 posts
    19 November 2015 in reply to Gentle Petal

    Hi,

    I have read through some of the previous post when I manage to have a good cry and then compose myself I now have realized perhaps I have not posted in the correct thread. May I point out there is a little confusion on my part as a new user as on the previous page where New users/orientation post invites you to introduce yourself and then when clicking on the title it takes you into this sub-thread page with other titles listed. The above titled post seemed somewhat appropriate but I was a bit iffy to say hi and share here but when scrolling down I saw that others had also. So when a new user comes along to introduce themselves should we start a whole new blog? Or is there something I missed on the first post page.. I read the rules but may have missed this. Thank You for your patience and understanding, Petal

    3 people found this helpful
  21. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email: christopher.banks@beyondblue.org.au
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    19 November 2015 in reply to Gentle Petal

    Hi Petal, welcome to the forums and sorry to hear you're struggling at the moment.

    We've sent your other post back to you by email so you can start a new thread with it.  This thread is for sharing tips on how best to use the forums.  If you would like to discuss any of your issues with the community, the best thing to do is to start a new thread in the appropriate section, eg. if your topic is about depression, post in the Depression section etc.

    Hope this helps.

    3 people found this helpful
  22. okanora
    okanora avatar
    1 posts
    20 November 2015

    confused

    I am trying to find blue voices. Have been accepted and registered/logged in to community but I do not know what to do now. Help

    1 person found this helpful
  23. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email: christopher.banks@beyondblue.org.au
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    22 November 2015 in reply to okanora

    Hi okanora, someone from our Blue Voices team will contact you offline about this.

    Best way to contact us about issues not relating to the forums is to use the Contact Us form here.

    3 people found this helpful
  24. Fingermark
    Fingermark avatar
    1 posts
    5 December 2015
    Hullo All, Just joined and  exploring this forum. There is immediate comfort in knowing there are people out there who share,  and will discuss problems. My hardest times are in the early am before getting out of bed. Later in the day things don't seem so bad but the thoughts are always present if in a diminished form.
    5 people found this helpful
  25. Danny Dolphin
    Danny Dolphin avatar
    5 posts
    10 December 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Missing post

    Its my first day on the web and I sent a couple to get started hoping to be of help. As  I had a quiet day here I thought I would post a third as it gave me some practice as well and hopefully be of some use to the recipient. After spending some time with my reply I duly sent it only for it to come up as a system error from the beyond blue web site. Have I done something wrong and can I retrieve the post.

     

     

     

     

    1 person found this helpful
  26. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email: christopher.banks@beyondblue.org.au
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    10 December 2015 in reply to Danny Dolphin

    Hi Danny, I'm sorry to hear you received the System Error message after posting. If you see that, it unfortunately means that the site has crashed and you have lost your post. This is an intermittent error that people sometimes get here on the forums and our developers are working to fix it.

    In the meantime, I would highly recommend writing up your posts in Word or Notepad first and copying them across to the site before posting, in case this happens again.  Apologies.

    10 people found this helpful
  27. Mjr
    Mjr  avatar
    7 posts
    11 March 2016 in reply to Fingermark

    Hi Fingermark 

    I'm new this month, reading ur post from way back in December, I find mine to be the same as you. I have these days nearly everyday and it is affecting my family life and work. Today I'm having a bad day where I just can't stop crying. But tomorrow's another day.

    Hope to chat more 

    have a great day 

    mjr 

  28. Rainbow_Faith
    Rainbow_Faith avatar
    2 posts
    15 March 2016

    Hi, 

    I have just signed up. Thank you for the tips above on how to use this community forum. 

    I'm having a pretty rubbish day, thought i should try and do something positive and found this site...here goes.

    I find trying to stay positive very difficult and it frustrates me when people say to me 'Just stay positive'...this just doesn't come naturally to me. I guess my brain is wired to think negatively and it is so hard to change. I keep trying, keep fighting, keep taking medication and seeking help. Its a slow, slow process and I'm starting to accept that i'll never be 'cured' and i'll have this fight all my life. It's just how to manage it.

    It would be nice to chat to people that I could maybe relate to. I feel like an alien among 'normal' people and find it hard to relate to people in social situations.

    X

     

     

    5 people found this helpful
  29. Missing user
    Missing user avatar
    15 March 2016 in reply to Rainbow_Faith

    Hi there Rainbow-Faith.

    Welcome to the Forums.  

    I would just like to point out that you have actually posted to one of the information threads.  And as such, people may not realise that you are a new member.  Subsequently you may not receive any responses.

    It really would be best to open a new thread with a suitable title for your specific concern.  Then reintroduce yourself again.  

    I just happened to notice that your name was not familiar to me and you posted 3-4 hours ago and nobody has replied back to you.  I didnt want you to get despondent about not getting any replies. 

    Good luck.

    Sherie 

    6 people found this helpful
  30. Rainbow_Faith
    Rainbow_Faith avatar
    2 posts
    20 March 2016 in reply to Missing user
    Thank you 😊 
    1 person found this helpful

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