What is a forum?

Forums have grown into one of the most popular forms of communication on the internet. Internet forums date back to the early 90s, but have become more popular as technology has improved. From a technological standpoint, forums or boards are web applications managing user-generated content. There are many different topics that can be discussed within a forum, which are known as threads. A thread may be about dogs, fishing, cooking, fashion and many other things. Anyone can create a thread that they are interested in and then other users may join into that conversation or topic and voice their opinion. Depending on the forum’s settings, users may not have to create an account in order to post in the forum. On most forums, users are encouraged to create an account but there are also guest logins.

Throughout this article, you will learn how to set up your own account on the popular forum site Reddit.com, and also acquire helpful tips to get you started posting.

Navigation and Signing Up


The first thing to do is read through the forum's rules. Nothing could be worse than starting a new hobby and then being accidentally banned from the forum site by breaking one of the rules. Within each forum there are moderators that check over all of the things being posted to make sure they are appropriate. A good example to share would be the rules listed within a thread on Reddit.com. Reddit is a popular forum used by many people and each thread that is posted has a moderator that looks over what is being said in that specific thread.

The rules from Reddit are as follows:

  1. “Any post that isn't requesting or giving advice will be removed. “Giving advice" is interpreted broadly to include inspiration albums, discussion topics, and some new product announcements, but does not include posts about an item you just bought or an outfit you're wearing unless you have a specific question about it.”
  2. “Personal attacks, insults and demeaning comments based on sexual orientation, race, gender, body type or other social profile are strictly prohibited. Comments will be removed and repeated offenses will result in being banned.”
  3. Users are asked to not post any sale/coupon announcements and to not post any type of joke images, memes, or comics.
  4. Users need to know that they should ask the moderators questions at any time instead of just assuming what they post will be appropriate. These are just examples of what the rules could be within a forum.

Rules 1 and 2 are examples from the subreddit r/fashion, from Reddit. Rules 3 & 4 are just general rules for most forums.


After reading through the forum’s rules, you will need to fill out the registration form. This includes


providing information about you in order to become a member of the forum. Not all forums require you to become a member before posting within a thread, but if you plan to revisit this forum often it would only make since to make an account.When registering you will make a username password and use an email as a method of account recovery in case you forget your password. Making an account does not require giving out your name, age, race, gender or any other personal information. Posting within a forum is meant to give or receive information about a topic anonymously. The image above is an example of what the registration process looks like on Reddit.

Personal Interests


Typically on the front page you can see a list of sections, usually called forums. These forums should lead you to a list of relevant topics and possibly even more sub-forums. Within one of these "forums", you should see a list of forum topics, each with a thread name and sometimes with a description and "icon". The image to the left shows an example of how to search for forums. In some forums, such as Reddit, you can search the specific forum you are looking to view, instead of scrolling through all of the forum titles. Then if the search is too large and you want to narrow it down to a more specific topic within that forum, you can view the sub-forums. On most forums you are able to make a preferred list of forums or sub-forums that you show a particular interest in or plan to visit frequently that way you can access them easily every time you log in to your account. The picture below is an example of what comes up as search results. Here you can see that there are different forums but then you can also see where it says you can narrow done your search with subreddits.


Forum Etiquette

Sometimes it is good to start a "Hi, I'm new" topic if there is a section for doing so. This is a good way to introduce yourself. If there is not a section for this then you can just begin looking at topics that interest you and then begin posting. When you first begin to post you must remember to be polite. If you are respectful to older members, you will earn some respect for yourself. Sometimes new users can feel intimidated by older users at first but this is normal. Just remember that there is no need to feel intimidated because even the older users were once new users. Try not to voice your opinions too loudly as a new user, especially when topics are sensitive such as politics and abortion. Highly opinionated posts on controversial or sensitive subjects should only be brought into the equation if it directly serves the content of the forum. Be very thoughtful in the things that you posts and make sure that you follow all of the rules. By doing this you will you can advance in rankings and better your reputation as a user. Try to make sure all of your spelling and grammar is correct before posting within a thread. Also reconsider using slang terms because not all users may understand the definition of a certain word. We all know that spam is annoying and can be very frustrating so do not post spam within the forum. The most important thing though is to always have a good time. Enjoy the new friends you have made within the forum.

Things to Consider When Posting

How many times you post is not important so don’t become obsessed with your post count or your forum ranking. If you constantly post random meaningless posts, which will make your ranking go down because you aren’t helping anyone. Only make posts when you have good information or helpful advice to give to other users. Those are the posts that matter and will help your forum ranking. Before you automatically join into a forum you should read some of the other posts within that forum first. If you read through a few and you aren’t seeing anything you like, then just don’t join into that forum. When a user is a good member for some time they can be upgraded to a moderator or get a better ranking. Being a moderator is a person that looks over the things being posted within the forums to make sure they are appropriate. Having a ranking is determined by how many clicks and visitors you have to each of your posts. That’s why it is so important to say good things. Users don’t want to look at meaningless posts. I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow the rules of the forum. You don’t want to find yourself in any trouble for breaking the rules. Not all users will follow the rules and may say mean things but the best thing to do is ignore it. The last tip is do not share any of your personal information, for safety reasons of course. Like I said when creating an account you don’t have to give any personal information so don’t give it out across any forum.


  • "Reddit Is a Platform for Internet Communities." Reddit. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2013.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License