How can we make the forum MORE welcoming?

This may be related to pinned posts?

Those show up right at the top no matter how old they are.

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Sorry to be late with this. Here are a few thoughts. I remember being quite unsure about joining the forum and there’s been a lot of dipping my toe in, then out again. I do get nervous posting. I’m afraid I might upset someone. I’m not a natural forum user and worry I might unintentionally upset someone. Anyway,
Things I really like

  • the forum is very, very friendly
    -posts in English, because after two years I’m only just learning some written forms. Given the big encouragement of SSIW is to learn to speak first I did find it intimidating if I came across written Welsh in quantity. It made me feel that grasping the language was even more impossible! ( I appreciate that’s probably just me!)
    Having said that, I am beginning to enjoy the bi lingual posts more, now I’m much further on with the lessons. And, from the start, I have always loved the ‘what’s outside’ thread.
  • Any and all encouragement to keep going. I realise lots of people go to additional classes, but for some, especially newcomers, this is their first and only port of call to begin learning.
  • The positive attitude to encourage new learners has been very important in keeping me motivated.
  • tiny questions. Often glean an insight into something that’s been bugging me!
  • general good humour of people here.
  • cultural info
  • the fact that Aran keeps an eye on things to ensure nothing gets out of hand and everyone feels welcome.
    Any changes?
  • threads better organised? More Main Categories, maybe? E.g. New learners. Tiny questions sub-sectioned into lessons. Written Welsh. Culture. Into the Wild - that all important moment when you speak real Welsh in Wales to Welsh speakers!) Bootcamps and Holidays. Classes.p and Meet-ups. Skype partners.
    I do appreciate a huge amount of work goes into making this forum work so well, so I’d like to finish with a huge thank you to you all.

Partly true.

The other part is that topics are organized by what is more “fresh”. Let’s say if I’d post into very old topic it would all of a sudden appear at the top because it contains new posts. Posts in threads are organized from oldest to newest because some didn’t visit the topic yet and Discourse is more like Messenger software where you get the whole “conversations”. If you’d visit one particular topic once you’d notice that when you come to it next time the system will put you exactly where you’ve finished before so you don’t need to read old, already read posts.

When you get used to the software all really gets to be really smooth and comfortable really.

When there’s something new in the topic you’ve already have read you’ll see the little blue circle besides the topic title with the number in it which tells you how many new unread posts there is for you. If the little circle is grey with the number in it it tells you you’ve seen some of old posts but not all. If you do not want to read all old posts you can just grab the little tinny “ribbon” besides the posts (with the number of the posts at the end) and pull it down to come to the last post. Windows system command CTRL+END also helps sometimes if thread isn’t too long.

I thought about something like that too, but it might be quite of amount of work to re-organize the look and feel and functionality of now set categories/threads/topics and our system guys have so much to do with the SSiBorg software and courses production just right now …

And the bootcamps … and party … and bootcamps again :smile: (don’t take me sirious on this though)

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Or even faster, click on the timestamp underneath that little ribbon (e.g. “4h ago” or whatever) – that also takes you right to the end, no matter how many posts there are in the thread.


Right - first up, thank you VERY, VERY MUCH indeed for all the comments in here. Lots and lots of food for thought in here (and if you haven’t commented yet, I’d love to hear from you).

As a first step towards taking some action on this, I’m going to try and summarise - let me know if you think I’ve missed anything!


The forum couldn’t be much more welcoming.
Politics is tricky stuff.
Meeting people in real life is important.
The forum can be too nice.
The internet is still in its infancy.
Any changes need to be careful.
It’s not as structured as the old forum.
The ‘What’s Outside’ thread is brilliant.
The element of ‘giving back’ is hugely important.
It’s not clear what the purpose of the forum is.
The ‘safe and friendly’ feel is vital.
Names and photos are not a good idea.
Long posts in Welsh can be off-putting for beginners.


A separate area for political discussion
A separate area for ‘lounge’ conversations
A separate area for ‘Nursery Slopes’
Encouraging people to use real names and upload photos
Posts to spark conversation
Flagging up guidelines more
Ability to block people
Welsh idiom or proverb of the week.
The forum could be split into ‘Wales’ and ‘Welsh’.
Limiting size of posts and length of threads.
Lessons specific topics would be good.
Recognising and rewarding welcoming behaviour.


What are the stats like?

So, some of my initial thoughts at this stage:

We do have the ability to set up extra ‘areas’ - but I’m generally against that, because they caused a number of complications on the old forum (most often, people not noticing a particular area, surprisingly enough). I think I’d only really want to revisit that if we grow large enough to make it impossible to look more than a day or two back by scrolling down the topic list. I like the idea of lesson specific posts, but I wonder about how easily people would find them if we don’t go to the ‘new area’ route - unless we can figure out how to embed them on the lesson download pages, which might be technically possible.

But we do have the ‘pinned’ posts - and I’ve only just noticed that we don’t have a ‘Say Hello’ post there, which would be one way to encourage new users to say hello.

I’m a big fan of real names - I think we have some stuff encouraging them in the sign-up process, which is the only place it really makes sense - maybe we could add a recommendation in there to use real first names plus something else rather than completely anonymous stuff - RamblingJohn is a great example there. But we won’t go in the direction of banning pseudonyms - that wouldn’t be very friendly, or very easy to implement.

I love the idea of an idiom or proverb of the week post - but it’s true that I’d be a little wary about taking it on myself, not so much for the time implications, but for the whole ‘remembering to do it’ thing - I don’t operate well when I have too many different things on the list…:wink:

I strongly agree with the people who felt that we shouldn’t go overboard - this thread is about trying to develop a culture of improvement for the community, rather than a precursor to sweeping changes…:slight_smile:


Set up and pin a ‘Saying hello’ post.
Asking for volunteers for a weekly idiom/proverb post.
Double-check what nudges we give for names on sign up.

If you’re happy with those, you don’t need to say anything - I’ll implement them next week.

If you think any of them would be a mistake, sing out!.. :slight_smile:


Recognising and rewarding welcoming behaviour.

I think this is a hugely important point. Can we build a list of what sort of contributions we really value?

And can we think of good ways to reward those sort of contributions?


Personally, I’m not too bothered about pseudonyms vs real names but I do like seeing photos of people if only because if I am meeting up with someone visiting Caernarfon I’ll have a rough idea who I’m looking out for (without resorting to the old red-carnation-in-the-button-hole scenario!), but I completely understand that some members aren’t keen on that. I guess swapping photos in a PM if necessary would be a way around that anyway.

I may be up for posting a weekly idiom/proverb although I too would worry about the whole ‘remembering to do it’ thing :slight_smile:

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I’ve been watching this thread since joining - I didn’t think it made sense for me to contribute before because I was new here, but now I will.

The forum is very welcoming, which is great.

I’m not a fan of the structure at all (I’ve never used a discourse-powered forum and really enjoyed using it (different to enjoying the actual conversation)) - I much prefer a more traditional forum structure, but that is a matter of personal taste and you can’t please everyone.

But the main reason I decided to chime in at this point is real names…

There are few places on the internet I use my real name, and even then I feel very uncomfortable about doing so and do so only because it was necessary to market myself when I was working more. It is quite unusual that I used my real email address to sign up here.

I would never have joined the forum if I had had to use my real name, or even anything similar, and anything that made me feel pressured to do so would have sent me away. I would probably have continued using the course, but I’d have missed out on the community here.


(Post can’t be empty)

How would you have felt about using something more name-ish? MikeThisYear, for (quick, not brilliant) example? I agree with whoever said that letters/numbers make it very difficult to remember who someone is (in terms of what else they’ve posted) and therefore tougher to build real connections with…

Because we’re looking for some clues about why you’re quoting what you’re quoting…:wink:

I was only highlighting a conflict between those two points. I was going for succinct.

Smiley-face, letters and numbers

(Might not even be called dave in real life, let alone dave_5)

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Ah, right, with you now - yes, those two points are in disagreement. I think that controlling length of posts/threads is probably not an ideal solution at this point, as it happens… :slight_smile:

Although Dave_5 is what you’d have to be now if you came to an SSi party…:wink:

I’d have no problem with using something that is a word rather than a combination of letters and numbers. I can see the point about letter/number combinations. So while I wouldn’t have been ok with using something like MikeThisYear, I would have been absolutely fine with calling myself e.g. Mothball or Umbrella_head.

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Yes, lenght of the posts/threads are not good to be controlled. And, unfortunatelly, I’ve seen some time ago when this thread was set up, that some members who complained the most about the lenght of the posts, wrote quite long ones elswhere just after the complaint.

Entirely welsh posts ban is also quite often overrided exactly by those who should care for, that posts wouldn’t appear only in Cymraeg (except in Be’ ‘dach chi’n gwneud rwan? A phethau arall yn Gymraeg - A topic to practice Welsh, open to all! ). We all should remember that there are totally new users of the forum who maybe didn’t even start to learn properly and they might not understand a thing posted totally in Welsh and we should also be aware that too many such posts might put them off reading, posting or even visiting the forum.

I hope I didn’t insult anyone here, but I’m just posting my observations, nothing more. I like Welsh language too and I’m writing quite a lot from time to time, but when posting to the forum more then just “Diolch”, “Dal ati” or similar stuff I’m aware I shouldn’t post.

Oh, and @M2017, as I’ve said once elswhere on here, the software (maybe unfortunately for you) doesn’t offer the good old phpBB look and feel of the forums but rather feeling of kind of conversations going on in more or less real time. So, there’s not much to do on this side of things I believe. :slight_smile: Hope you’ll enjoy being on here and participate in conversations more in time. Pob lwc

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New user here. I’ve never been a part of any forum on the internet and I love this forum for a lot of reasons:

  • Most importantly, I have taken away very helpful advice on how to approach learning with the SSiW method.
  • It makes me feel connected to other Welsh learners, regardless of how advanced.
  • I vote nay on using Welsh ONLY on the forum (if I understood that correctly), beginners are encouraged to not even think about vocabulary, reading, writing. I skip over posts in Welsh entirely at this point but I know I will get a lot out of the posts in Welsh in the future.
  • I personally like reading threads if the subject is something that relates to my journey and I don’t care how long they are.
  • I have seen a lot of talk about unfriendliness on the forum, yet I haven’t run into it anywhere. I realize these were probably in reaction to conversations I wasn’t around for, but I notice a lot of people trying very hard to be friendly even with strong feelings on a subject.
  • I love the “What’s Outside” thread! I love nature and I live in a very rural natural setting that is so different from that in Wales. I don’t identify plants well and I love to see those discussions. I almost posted a photo of the almost three feet of snow where I live just a week and a half ago but I’m not sure if that’s the point of the thread.
  • Names and photos are lovely but I understand the reluctance to do that on the crazy internet and I’m sure it would keep good participants away if mandated.
  • I try to determine if a question that I have has been answered somewhere before I post. That has worked a lot of the time but often answers are about the previous “Courses” so I have gotten confused. Nonetheless, I haven’t felt like asking it again is a bother to anyone - so thank you for that.
  • I vote nay on limiting words/characters. I despise the "getting all one’s thoughts on a subject into a “tweet” sized post " mentality. The internet is impersonal enough and limiting discourse hasn’t done anyone any favors. If the subject doesn’t interest me I don’t read it. If I need to skim a post, I skim it.

Thanks for a lively community!


I agree with the tweet size posts - very limiting!

I also feel that @ramblingjohn deserves an “OMB” (A Tweeter post nominal started by Tudor Owen - it means Oh Mam Bach. It’s his version of the honours list).

EDIT: (That should say Twitter…I quite like tweeter…:smile:)


For all the contributors that keep it fresh.
Cheers J.P.


I believe I’ve said “Welcome to the forum” to you already but better more times then never. :slight_smile:

Further on.

If the question is regarding language and (a bit of) grammar,then it isn’t too different answer of “old course” to the new one (except for the shortenings for the very beginners) so you could pull out something useful from those questions/answers too. On the other hand - if you think your question was not answered or not entirely answered, you are welcome to go ahead and ask. There are many threads with more or less the same questions and no on has been bitten. :slight_smile: There is always someone who has exactly the same questions/problems as you so don’t feel “guilty” if you post it once again especially if you didn’t get it answered in threads you’ve read before.

Why you didn’t? If you scroll quite amount of posts back you’ll see I’ve posted some snow in there too. Not everyone everywhere gets snow so it’s always intresting. I understand the thread as “what’s outside” literally so I believe everything outside is fine to post. I’m sure @ramblingjohn feels the same about the subject, but, yes, he’s in love with nature so birds, insects, butterflies and similar stuff are his subjects of posting his high quality photos.

Tatjana :slight_smile:


OooOoh, I would have loved to have seen that! Pippa


Thank you for the welcome! I’ll try to post the snow photo. It really was amazing. [quote=“pippapritchard, post:85, topic:7867”]
OooOoh, I would have loved to have seen that! Pippa

I posted that photo for you. :slight_smile:

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Diolch o galon. Thank you. It’s a great photo.