How do we help folks that don't know how to use a forum?

I get several emails every week from people that don’t know how to use the forum. That is they don’t seem to get the registration process or if they get in they can’t figure out how to post or start a new thread. It seems that knowing how to participate on a forum is a lost art of sorts.

I am too close to this to have a good understanding of the difficulties. Here are a few of the emails I get (no names used, I am not trying to embarrass any one).

it has been long time since been on site . I am registered but forgot
everything . when trying to change things I get no where . help . help .
help help . very frustrating !!!

having terrible time with registrating . have not been here in long time
and forgot everything but site is not helping to fix problem !!!
eeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr !!! I am trying to respond to ad
for XXXXXXXX wanted because I have one to sell !!! VERY

Hello, I forgot my password and User name to boot. Sorry about that. Can
you assist.

I just tried to set up a account. It’s saying my email is in your system
can you help looking to sale a view things. Thanks for your time.

No where on my screen do I see “New Topic” yet it says I’m registered and
logged in

reset password a number of times still can log in since 3/29/18 is the
wed site down

Good a.m. and yesterday I tried to register for your forum. It
replied…" you have not correctly answered the question". I have not
received an email confirmation in 18 hours. I doubled checked my address.
What have I done wrong?

how do I post a question to the forum ?

As an owner/administrator of a forum myself I understand your difficulties. While my site is much less active these days I still get these type of e-mails.

One thing you could try would be a chat window. Some chat window will even allow guest to post, but this requires constant monitoring. And chat windows have a large con of that those chats will be lost eventually.

I hope you find an answer I would be interested myself.

I see that one recurring problem listed in your sample emails is when someone has forgotten their log in information. I believe that a lot of sites have a button saying something along the lines I HAVE FORGOTTEN MY USER NAME or I HAVE FORGOTTEN MY PASSWORD. Do we have that here? I know that I was away from the site for a good year and I had no problem logging in with my same information. Of course it helps that I knew my log in information. I cannot say the same thing for the other site, I still have not been able to get logged in over there.

As for some of the other problems, and at the risk of sounding judgemental, based on their use of the English language it might be difficult to get some people to understand how a forum works. Something though that might help would be if a new section were to be added to the board index. You already have one on how to post photos to the forum so perhaps you could add one on how to navigate and use the forum. You could have separate threads on topics such as how to register for the forum, how to send and respond to a PM, how to start a new thread, how to respond to a thread, and any other topic that would be helpful.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Randy those are very good ideas! We do have the “i forgot my…” links. Yet it seems to not be working for some.

It’s not perfect, but there’s always the FAQ. Of course, judging by the emails you’ve received, the users in question may not know what a FAQ is, or don’t notice the link to it in the navigation menu.

Judging by the quotes, maybe change “FAQ” to “Frequently Asked Questions” to get better visibility/intuition? Just a thought…

Maybe a pop up for unregistered viewers that says " new to forums? click here for instructions" Kind of like the ones that ask for you to join their email lists.

Or maybe just change “FAQ” to “Help.”

You must really be getting fed up with all those emails to suggest a pop-up. :slight_smile:

I know that I am taking it far to personally… They are just so frustrated by their own lack of understanding.

“help” is what we know will work, click here for those who need help using this site would help me on a site I am having a issue using.

Where should “Help” be located?

Perhaps as Jay has suggested simply change FAQ to HELP. I would further that suggestion by saying perhaps it would be good to place the word HELP inside a bright yellow box like you have the word DONATE so that it stands out more. It seems that some people really do need to be lead by the hand the whole way through a process.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95