How can we make the forum MORE welcoming?

This has been on my mind for a while now.

In the last year, we’ve had two incidents that have ended up in banning.

In the seven years before that, we only had about 3.

I don’t think the forum is getting less welcoming - but I do wonder if we’re falling into a pattern of pottering along, with everyone getting along, until something goes wrong - and then needing to take action.

Maybe it’s inevitable…

But I wonder…

What would happen if we decided to stop saying ‘SSiW is a wonderful, welcoming community’ and start saying ‘We’re going to try and make SSiW a little more wonderful and a little more welcoming every single day’…

What would we need to do?

What ideas could we generate?

Shall we set our sights higher?.. :slight_smile:

What do you think?

How can we make this forum a little more wonderful and welcoming every day?

[I’m going to try and talk very little in this thread. I think this one is really up to the community - up to you…:slight_smile: ]


To be honest, I’m not sure how one goes about making a community more welcoming than this. One thing worth pointing out is that this has been a very emotional year for a lot of people, which whether they like it or not is going to affect their behaviour even in apparently unrelated areas. There’s a reason why many communities just outright ban political discussion in their online spaces.

That said, given that it’s almost impossible to separate politics from the Welsh language, I would be tempted to suggest having a separate area specifically for political discourse. Things may get a little heated in there from time to time, but so long as it comes with the usual caveat of “debate is fine, even if it’s heated, but insults are not”, it may serve to help keep tempers from flaring on the language areas of the board.


That’s a really interesting suggestion, Hector - diolch yn fawr! :star2:

I think one of the reasons this forum is so welcoming is because it’s more than just names on a screen for a lot of us. It’s people we’ve met in real life or shared difficulties and received aid when learning Welsh. I think both these humanise the feel of the place.

What about encouraging (but not insisting) people to upload a picture of themselves for the avatars and using real names as user names?



“One thing worth pointing out is that this has been a very emotional year for a lot of people, which whether they like it or not is going to affect their behaviour even in apparently unrelated areas.”

I can vouch for this. I’ve had a pretty crappy couple of years and as much as I’ve tried to not let it affect my Facebook posting, it has.


This bit is already in place, I think, at least for the user names – I seem to recall that, when I signed up, the forum suggested to me that usernames be based on real names.


Things you (and other members) have already done:

The diolch thread
The what do you do for a living
The breakthroughs
The Seren yr Wythnos
The continual (and I think very reasonable) monitoring
@CatrinLliarJones’s threads similar to pump am y penwythnos

I agree, just because things are going well doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to improve. I agree with the avatars/real names but appreciate that some do not. However, possibly encouraging signing off with real names occasionally? Just so we’re more than just a pseudonym?

The Welsh only thread is good, but doesn’t seem to evolve into conversation all that often. Although that may change. I like it being there because it is nice to practice writing in Welsh. Maybe we could think of posts to aim to spark convo, similar to @CatrinLliarJones?


I’ve seen “the political corner” on boards which try to contain such discussion spill over rather often, so am uncertain abt that approach - plus many people use the “view all” rather than browse by section.

I’ve a fan of evidence over anecdotes and recent reasons says “norms” have greater impact than absence or otherwise of anonymous posting so while it is nice to have real names it may or may mot work for tone overall.’re_a_Dog

One thing real names WOULD do is remove up the slight sense of otherness new users may feel when lots of the community already know real names for esch other even when usernames are not their real names, as a result of bootcamps, parties etc.


Just one angle on the discussion (thinking out loud)-

I can appreciate that we have tended to ease off regarding house rules, but I can’t see that any reasonable person would be offended by a few gentle pointers, just to set the tone. Even some of the most polite forums and social media groups display some basic guidelines. I have found that this tends to result in self moderation by the members, with little need for input by the official moderators, other than general oversight.

Rather than frightening members off, this has tended to encourage new members to post items, in the knowledge that they won’t be mocked or insulted in any way.

As an aside -
I once listened to an advisory talk on responsible social media etiquette. I found it to be very informative and I don’t recall that I noticed anyone walking out of the meeting.

Edit - talking of etiquette -
Sorry, Anthony, this wasn’t directed at you. I clicked on the wrong colour “reply” button :frowning:


I agree with real names (and like someone else, when I joined up (in a previous version of the forum) I got the distinct impression that real names were kind of expected, although not rigidly enforced).

However, interestingly, I’ve recently joined another forum which uses the same software (Discourse?) as this one, and they have it set that people can optionally post certainly posts anonymously if they wish. I haven’t seen it used much, but I can see that it might be useful sometimes. (i.e. the default is that your post shows up under your username (whatever it is), but if you decide to post something sensitive (however you define it) you can choose to post it without your username.

I assume this is something the forum admin can enable, or not.


My professional body uses anonymous posters…I’m not a fan. I understand why it’s an option, I feel it gives more distance from
Responsibility and results in less tact. I think forums require overt gestures to maintain a sense of calm.


I don’t think the forum has become less friendly, but I have to admit to hesitating to post these days for fear of starting a long debate…

If I recall correctly, on the old form there was a separate members lounge where the more ‘in depth’ discussion, political etc was conducted.

This left the ‘front door’, if you want to call it that, stuffed full of:

Introductions and people falling over themselves to be the first to say Croeso!
Loads of questions
A thread for each challenge where you could look up previous questions or post your own
Loads of of stuff like Friday Five.
Welsh Music Thread
Nearly everyone seemed to have personal Progress thread
What’s Outside
Inspiring pictures and stories

These threads were always there, at the top, when you logged in, you didn’t have to search, or scroll down. Therefore, if you had a second you could add a quick one liner… It just felt lighter hearted and somehow more spontaneous … and less worrying to ask a question without triggering an interminable debate.

Perhaps I should say it this way round instead… does a newcomer who wants to ask, "Why is there no 'n when you say ‘Dw i eisiau’ feel put off asking a basic question like that amongst all the other debates etc?

One last point which I feel a bit sad to mention; I posted a question last week asking if the language of the iPad Facebook app could be change to Welsh. First time since 2010 that I have not had an answer, not even a, “sorry don’t know”.

No criticism of anyone, I think it IS a friendly forum and the Fab Four are just that! But, the forum does feel a different place to the one I joined back in 2010.

Perhaps what newcomers need to see is the Nursery Slopes where they can be encouraged, have fun and be nurtured?


Yes A-Jay, yes, yes, yes. I do miss the old format. This one is brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something missing that the old one used to have.

I don’t wish to mock anyone but the amount of repeated questions on this “new” format is far, far greater than “back in the day”. Also I understand your point about a reluctance to post in fear of starting a long drawn out debate.

I know that I asked a question about religion a while back but any conversations about religion or politics is a ticking time bomb imho.

Also, I think (here goes, controversy, but I’m going there) that a forum can be too nice. I have my reasons for saying this but it’s maybe a conversation best left till there’s an open fire, soft music and a pint to sup on.

Anyway, I think this forum works well as it is, there’s no need to fix it because it isn’t broke. There are always disagreements but it’s how they are dealt with that counts and I haven’t seen anything on here that would make me think they aren’t dealt with.

I triggered a disagreement on here last week, everyone else followed my post without realising but the fact is I started it. I apologised, my apology was accepted and that should have been the end. It wasn’t. A more personal apology will be given face to face at the end of the month but that’s between me and the other person involved, nothing to do with anyone else.

Anyway, in a nut shell, I love you all … :two_hearts::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Damn - sorry, I missed that - I hate when that happens, and I find it a bit harder to make sure that I see everything without any answer in Discourse. I think that’s more a software thing than a community thing, but maybe it’s something that we could put some specific focus.

Just a quick answer - got to go and do bed-time - but diolch yn fawr IAWN to everyone who’s posted in here - every post triggers ideas and thoughts and discussions, and it already seems to me that LOTS of good things are going to come out of this… :star2: :dizzy:


We don’t have any particular type of discussion off-limits, so this is okay too… :slight_smile:

Having said that, the single most common refrain since the forum started in 2009 is that the ‘play nicely’ rule is unrealistic because it’s trying to make the forum ‘too nice’.

I disagree…:wink: I don’t think there IS such a thing as too nice. But let’s run an experiment - let’s push the forum as far towards ‘perfect nice’ as possible, and when it gets to the point where you feel it’s ‘too nice’, let’s have that conversation… :slight_smile:


I agree that over friendliness can let people get away with some comments, however, I agree with the mediation.

I once took offence to a demand for evidence about something I’d said, when no one else had. Aran correctly steered me away from the argument.

However, debates can drag. I agree there wholeheartedly. I think some enjoy that, and that will always be the challenge with a forum. Some enjoy stirring a pot. (Remember, some have joined this forum for the forum, not the language). Therefore, the level of mediation we have is key.


I’m really going to regret this but, personally, sometimes, only now and then mind, I think we missed that point. Sorry. :cry:


Yes, I agree, religion and politics are a ticking time bomb, and I only answered your question because you have been on the forum a long time and I knew you were genuinely interested and would respect all the answers you received.


That discussion went really well I thought, and I’m glad of the outcome. It could have gone a whole lot worse though. My replies were always carefully worded and, if I can say it, throttled back a wee bit for fear of offending. So, no, I agree. :blush:


No apology required @aran, I very nearly didn’t mention because I knew how you would feel, I don’t think anyone expects you to respond to every thread! I just thought someone else might have done. :slight_smile: