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AliChat -- Lesson 4: THE FORUMS

So, if you've been following along, you've got a profile and photos that don't make you seem like a child molester, a rapport with fellow OB members that doesn't make you seem creeptacular, and you're ready to go out and conquer the forums. To help you not fail miserably here, I've prepared a few a notes.
The best bit of advice I can offer anyone wishing to flourish on the OB forums is this: LURK. The importance of lurking can't be stressed enough. I came really close to just making the "article" nothing but the word 'LURK' in a font size large enough to penetrate even the thickest of skulls (the next idea was just the word 'lurk' repeated 1,000 times. I still can't remember why I decided on actually writing something... but it's already written, so...).
By lurking, not only will you gain a better understanding of each of the forums and the unspoken rules of conduct on the site, but you'll probably be pretty entertained. There are a whole lot of really smart and witty people on the site, and sometimes just letting them go at it uninterrupted is the recipe for hilarity. There's a whole lot of posting that you can read on the site, so don't ever feel like there's nothing to do BUT post. Which leads into one of my personal peeves:
"Create a New Thread" and "Submit Reply" are not commands.
I know it's tempting to add your two cents to every discussion, but if you can't bring anything new to the table or are just posting to make some imaginary quota or see your name and picture... you can probably not do that. Just try, please, to ask yourself "Will the discussion benefit in any way from my post?" If you can't come up with a 'Yes' and a reasonable explanation why (no Gorg logic), just don't post. No one's really expecting you to, anyway.
As far as creating threads goes... this is considerably harder. Try to remember that discussions are more productive and beneficial to the forums than "Post your favorite color" (or similar) threads. Again, lurking will help you figure out what really makes a good thread.

Anyone can jump into the forums and try to make the best of it, but most of the time, they end up looking like paraplegics in a swimming pool. Getting to know other posters and what to expect on the forums WITHOUT making yourself look ridiculous and totally blowing that "first impression" thing... why not, you know?

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