How can we make the forum MORE welcoming?

I’m not sure we can make the forum more welcoming.
I notice new members get a lot of welcome messages which is great.

There has been some mention here about the forum structure, and being in favor of evolution i think the forum has evolved in a way the users like.

Some people want to make long post/s, often with good reason as a subject/s covers a lot of ground.
Some threads have become long because of the on going nature of the thread, e.g. discussions about TV programs.
Nobody has to read them but for some this is just what they want, Both options are good.
Really, this forum is a success, there are so many people willing to be helpful with a vast range of knowledge/interests, thus i feel, just leave it to evolve may be the best option.

Cheers J.P.


Just a thought: I agree the importance of the Forum for new learners to ask questions regarding the lessons. I think the wider use is also important though especially those with a cultural theme as many of our learners are not based in Wales. It’s also great for raising awareness of activities / opportunities which might be helpful for learners. I particularly like the bilingual posts and photos such as in the ‘what’s outside’ thread. The variety of posts keeps the forum interesting. It is already very welcoming thanks to the SSiW team.I’m not sure that it is possible to improve on it!


As someone who doesn’t use the forum as often as I should … but the thing is here I don’t think it’s about being nice I for one enjoy listening to people’s opinions I may not agree with them but it comes down to respect other people’s opinions right or wrong … the reason why I don’t get involved so much with this forum is I find it quite complicated to use I never know if I have uploaded it or not I am not that good with techno stuff and I have tried to get involved but struggle to reply to people’s comments on here so for me I can’t get my head round it so much

That is the thread which got me interested in the Forum, thanks @ramblingjohn!
Now, as owner of a pseudonym which contains no ‘real’ name, I do actually hope to be able to keep it.
I started using pseudonyms when trying to get Science Fiction published which still working in research laboratories many years ago.
I did not want anyone to think that, perhaps, my real work was fiction too!
Then, well, so many stories of rip-offs and such on line… I just feel safer wrapped in a nice cosy dragon-skin and my face isn’t exactly in the class to launch a ship, never mind 1,000, so most of you would find my little old bookworm of a dragon a nicer sight!

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@Dunc if it helps (but I’ve written that too many times, so, sorry), here are many useful stuff about how to do something on the forum. They’re explained through browsing it with the PC, that’s true, but since forum doesn’t get its own app, more or less browsing it is the same though any browser of any device. In the same topic you can suggest me what to still put in, what to correct etc. i tried to give graphic explanation for more or less every thing I covered so the instructions shouldn’t be too complicated. And, at the end, you still can ask on here if anything isn’t clear enough.

Happy posting and exploring.


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I think I agree with @Dunc’s post above, the actual steps to create threads and so on are not always very intuitive. For example previously I created a thread but I took a long time before I was confident that it was going to appear in the right category - it did, but I had to think it over for a good long time. Sometimes posts seem to be displayed in “earliest first” order, which is counter-intuitive because normally you have the most recent stuff on top. I still haven’t dared to use the tiny questions area yet even though I often have questions - i just don’t know what to click to post something. Maybe if there was an icon you could hover over to give you simple instructions like “there’s only one topic in this thread, to ask a new question just click Reply” or whatever. Making it more obvious how to do simple stuff would be my suggestion for a quick win.


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First of all, don’t take me wrong as my intention isn’t to patronize anyone.

I’m not sure, but I find Discourse software much more simplier then old phpBB forums and I also think more simple then this at this software can’t actually go. Our tech stuff doesn’t own/code it, they just implement the updates provided by Discourse and do this and that bits (design/coloring and some functionality as categories etc) the rest is due to the software which SSiW uses (it’s payed software as much as I know) and rights on changing stuff and such things are limited.

In previous post of mine I’ve posted the link to some useful stuff about using this forum, however more then that and explain some things one more time in the thread itself, I can not do.

As for posting in Tiny question with quick answers thread you can just post a question in there and there will surely be someone who’d answer particularly your question. If you use search engine on the top of the forum and enter some words of what you’re lookiing for, you’ll also find exactly posts which contains such words. Findings give you little excepts from the posts so you can quickly determine if the post might answer your question or no. Also you can separately post your question in your own topic if you find that easier. All questions which are not related to Bootcamp, Online Eisteddfod and meetups/Events, must be posted under “Welsh” main category in sub category “General/Questions” (or of course if you are asking something about other languages in the main category “Other languages” or if about Spanish in main “Spanish” category).

It’s hard to do things easy and efficient enough (speaking of software thingys) at the same time though.

I hope it helps in a way.

Tatjana :slight_smile:

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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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