Frequently Asked Questions and their occasionally answered answers, below. In order to add any kind of post or reply to Wordlab, you must first be a member. Sign-up for your free membership here.

Groups vs. Forums
Mentions and Inter-communications
Post Ratings, User Karma, and Favorites
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Groups vs. Forums

What is the difference between ‘group activity’ and ‘group forum’?

If you click on any group and post something in the box at the top of the tabbed ‘Home’ page of that groups (just below where it says ‘What’s new in [group name], [user name]?‘), that is a Group activity stream post. This will also show up on the site-wide Activity stream (accessed by the Activity button in the main navigation at the top of each page). In addition to posting from the Groups pages, you can also add an activity stream post on your user profile page or directly to the site-wide activity stream, where there is a drop-down menu to choose where to put your post in addition to the site-wide Activity stream.

If you click on the “Forum” tab within a Group, or from a hyperlinked topic title on the ‘Forums‘ page, and either create a new topic or post a reply to an existing one, this is a Forum post. A forum postĀ  can be viewed in at least four places: on the site-wide Forums page, in the Forum for a particular group, on the activity stream for that particular group, and on the site-wide activity stream. (The linked title will also be displayed on other pages, such as user profile pages.)

When should I post to an Activity stream and when as a topic in a Group Forum?

Activity stream posts are like Facebook status updates or Twitter tweets — great for more informal discussions or “meta conversations” about the topic of a particular Group, or personal observations, or anything you want. They are more transitory, like a conversation, and will fairly quickly get bumped lower and finally off the first page of display, and there’s no way to easily browse and find them again later.

Forum posts are more permanent, indexed, structured and easily retrieved than activity stream posts, and this is where members should post their particular naming needs or replies of suggested names for others in need. As an analogy, Forum posts are more like email, while activity stream posts are more like instant messaging. Both have some similarities, some differences, and particular strengths and weaknesses that make them each best suited for different tasks.

To start a new thread (actually called a “topic” here), you click on the group you want to put it in, then click on the “Forum” tab for that group, then click the “New Topic” button, fill in the fields, and hit “Post Topic”. Go ahead and give it a try.

Where/how do I create or reply to a Forum topic?

Create and reply to Topics by clicking on the Forum button from within a particular Group. You do not need to be a member of a Group, however, to create or reply to topics, but once you do, you will automatically be joined to that Group. You can also create a topic by clicking the “New Topic” button at the top of the Forums page — a New Topic form will be revealed, which includes a drop-down menu offering you a choice of which Group forum to add the new topic to.

Mentions and Inter-communications

What are ‘@mentions’ and how do I use them?

When you want to directly address or indirectly refer to another member in a post, put the ‘@’ symbol directly in front of their user name — it will be automatically linked to that user’s profile and a link back to your referring post will be added to the ‘@ mentions’ tab in that user’s profile. For example, if you want to mention the Wordlab founders in a post, you would namedrop @snark and @quark. IMPORTANT: you can’t have any other characters, like a comma, touching the @ username (and no space between either), or, while it may be linked to the profile correctly, it won’t show up in that user’s profile ‘@mentions’ tab.

Post Ratings, User Karma, and Favorites

What are Post Ratings and how do I use them?

rate posts

Click to rate posts

Post Ratings are a simple “thumbs up”/”thumbs down” way of rating any Forum topic or topic reply post. The rating “thumbs” buttons, along with the current total votes for a post (see image at right), can be found on the upper right of each Topic or topic reply post. Every user gets one vote per post — if you really like a particular topic or post, click the “up” thumb; if you really hate a particular topic or post, click the “down” thumb; if you have neutral feelings about a particular topic or post, don’t click either. If somebody post an offensive, way off-topic, or blatant spam post, everyone who encounters it should simply give it a down vote — once a post has 3 negative votes, it gets grayed-out, and once a post has 6 negative votes, it becomes hidden, and you have to click to view it (these numbers could change in the future, but that is how it is currently set). This gives Wordlab users the power to self-moderate the site. See this practice in action in this example post. If there are issues or concerns, the site admin will step in to resolve them.

What are User Karma Points?

Uer Karma Points

User Karma Points color scale

Every time a Forum topic or topic reply post gets rated up or down, the user who posted that particular post receives either +1 or -1 User Karma Point. A user’s User Karma Points total is shown below their name on their Member Profile page, as well as next to theirĀ  name within Forum topics. If you vote +1 on a given topic or topic reply post, you will need to refresh the page to see that user’s Karma increase by one point, or decrease by one point if you voted thumbs down. As certain levels of positive karma points are achieved, the box containing them will change to a brighter shade of yellow (see chart at right showing user levels). We encourage all Wordlab members to write good, helpful posts, and the more you do, the more positive votes you will get, which will make your Karma Points total increase.

I saw a ‘Favorites’ button next to an Activity stream post but not a Forum post. How do I ‘favorite’ a topic or reply in the Forum?

Other members can reply to and mark as a ‘Favorite’ any Activity stream post. However, you cannot yet ‘favorite’ Forum topics or replies — that function will likely be coming at some point in the future, but it’s not ready yet. Until then, if you like a Forum topic or reply, and you want to keep a record of it in your Profile ‘Favorites’ tab, find the Activity stream item for that post and click ‘Favorite’ there.

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