posted 07-14-03 01:14 PM EDT (US)   

Advancing as a Forumer - How to find one's way in the Forums


Throughout Heavengames you will probably find many articles on 'How to be a good forumer.' However, almost all of them state that in every forum there are 'good' and 'bad' forumers. This is true, afterall, there are going to be 'bad' or 'good' forumers no matter if they read this article or not. Although that may be the case, I hope that this article may act as a guide, so to speak, where you can understand these forums better as well as become a great and successful member of the forums here at Empires Heaven.

Creating Threads and Posts

Entering the Forums
As you enter the Forums here at EH, you'll notice quite clearly that you can view the many threads and posts which are being created; although you can not post yourself. What you first must do is Register. Registration is an easy process which requires you to follow the rules in which Heavengames has created. These rules state that you are respected, and you must respect others as well. Nonetheless, the forums are also designated.

Upon entering the forums once again after you register, you'll probably notice several interesting threads filled with intriguing people. Then, you decide that maybe you'd like to post a "Hi, I'm new" thread and introduce yourself. Though, to some forumers these threads are rather annoying, if you must post a "Hi, I'm new" thread, then it is advised that you may follow the acronym "POST"(Properly Organized and Studious Topics) when creating this type of thread. The acronym "POST" is an easy way to remember how to write good and successful threads and posts within the forum. 'Properly Organized' means that the thread is organized, good gramatically and is legible to the other forumers. For example, an idea of a bad "Hi, I'm new" thread is this:

"Hi, I'm new here...LOL....what r u all up to?Empires rul3z 0wnxOz"? Do u like ma gramma r? Ma name is Empires_Rules...cuz it rulez. Whut do u think of da king TIgerz,did I say I wuz knew?"

As you can see, it is not really organized and lacks proper grammar. Though don't worry, you don't have to have perfect grammar to be a good forumer, but when it's illegible and is hard for any person to read, then it would be a good idea to have some sophisticated grammar in your "Hi, I'm new" post. Also, short forms of words such as "U" for "You" or "cuz" for "because" can cause people to think of you as annoying. The next part of the "POST" acronym is "Studious topics." Studious means that you are putting thought into your posts and possibly doing research on the topic you are writing about. Now lets say you are new to the forum and have no clue what Empires is about. A bad idea for a "Hi, I'm new" thread would be something like this:

"Hi, I'd like to say hello. My name here is "Empires rocks," because it does. I know lots about the game....The Romans rock,....I love how you can pick Mars and he flings his sword and kills people and then does the Irish Jig. Or how you can use Giants to step on PEOPLE! Age of Mythology rocks. Big Huge Games did a great job at creating this game!!!!!"

This type of thread can easily cause forumers to look upon you as though you are inappropriate to the forum environment or someone mocking Empires. Some forumers may look at this post and be annoyed or find you funny. And, frankly, this type of post makes you look like you are only at EH to seek attention. So, as you can see, boasting about something you may have no clue about, can actually cause forumers to look upon you badly. If you boasted because you would be embarrased about asking what the game was about, don't be. If you would politely ask what the game is about, then I am sure forumers would be glad to help you and welcome you into EH's Forum community. : )

So as you have read, if you must create a "Hi, I'm New" thread, then it would be great to have it Properly Organized and well thought out. As well, if you have any questions about anything related to the forum you are posting in, then it is also a good idea to ask them in your "Hi, I'm new" thread. I'll explain why it is recommended that you do so in a moment. But first I'd like to state that you do not always need a "Hi, I'm new" thread to introduce yourself. As time will go on, people will probably end up recognizing you and welcoming you into the EH Forum Community, even without a "Hi, I'm new," thread.

Asking Questions.
As I stated before, it is recommended that if you intend to create a "Hi, I'm New" thread, then you should also post questions that you may have about the forum you are visiting, or the game the forum is based on. This is due to the fact that if you create a thread for a question that has already been answered dozens of times in the forum already, people may be annoyed by it. It is highly recommended that you use the Search feature at the bottom of the Forum to see if the question you want to ask has already been answered. If you can still not find the answer after using the search feature, then you should check if the forum you are in is a proper place to ask this question. For example, asking "Can I work at Heavengames?" in a forum meant for the game Empires isn't a good thing to do. For example, this question would be a good question to ask in the "Website Comments Forum," at EH.

After you've done some research to see if the question you wish to ask has already been answered previously; you should proceed with creating a thread to ask the question. It is recommended that this thread use the "POST" (Properly Organized Studious Topics) acronym as well (as explained earlier) and if, for example, your question comes from a recent strategy you've read, you should post a link to the strategy in the question thread as well.

Once you have posted the question, it is highly recommended that you read the answers that the forumers have responded to your question, and consider their opinions. This does not mean that you ignore them, and keep asking the question. The fact of ignoring a reasonable answer to your question can cause forumers to look badly on you and get frustrated in trying to answer the question when you won't acknowledge that it has been answered by them.

Off-Topic Threads
There will come a time when you may see the need to post an off-topic thread, not pertaining to Empires. If you must, then please feel free to do so in the 'Community Forum' at EH. Keep in mind that although it is a community forum, it is not entirely off-topic. If you want to go to an off-topic forum at Heavengames, there is one called "Outside Discussions" located here. Though the OD forum is for off-topic threads, it does not mean you can insult everyone you wish, or flood the forum with countless threads in a short period of time. The Outside Discussions forum in some ways has it's own style of writing. You'll see debates, arguments, funny threads......You name it, Outside Discussions will likely have it. So if you wish to visit OD, it is highly recommended that you respect the forumers there, and follow the rules of that forum.

Insulting & Criticism

"What is flaming?," you may ask. 'Flaming' is an internet term which sums up all the insulting and prejudiced gestures someone may make to another forumer. This includes, but is not limited to the following: Descrimination, Insulting, Prejudiced, Racism, Sexism, Mocking, and so on. Usually when people flame eachother in EH, it is easily dealt with and is looked down upon. Not only does Flaming make people look down on you, but you can also be banned. Not only that, but it is an absurd way of insulting someone. It is highly unlikely that flaming makes the person who is reading it 'cry' and 'weep.' Most likely it just makes them aggravated and tempted to flame back. Thus, an argument called a "Flame War" pursues. 'Flame Wars' can occur between 2 or more people, and can cause people to be angry with eachother as they insult one another until the whole forum is filled with flames.

So, if you ever get flamed, it is advised that you stop the flame war before it starts, by not giving what the flamer wants, which is for you to get aggravated and flame back at him/her. Not only does it show that you are a mature and strong person to stop the temptations of 'fighting back,' even though you believe you're correct and he/she is wrong; But it also makes the flamer look like a fool when he/she is the only one doing the flaming.

Another type of flaming is known as 'Trolling' and it is usually specified for one thread created for the sole purpose of flaming another person or thing. People who are 'trolls' purposely try to rile people up, by insulting something or someone. Not only do 'trolls' do nothing to add to the Empires community, but they also could easily be banned without a warning by the Forum's Administrator.

Occasionally there will also be people who get very angry at other forums and want to start "Forum Wars," with those forums. Forum Wars are when people from one Forum (In this Case Forum A) decided to 'invade' another Forum (In this Case Forum B) and flame and insult the participants of that forum. Not only is this a bad idea, but the participants of this forum war are highly eligible for a ban. Not only that, yet the participants of a Forum war are making their forum community look bad.

Another form of flaming is subtle and is somewhat accepted. This form of flaming, known as "Owning" is when someone makes a comment to your post which adds on to your post and makes your post look 'incomplete.' For example, imagine there are two people, named Jane Doe and John Doe:

Jane Doe: "There is no such thing as an Invisibility God Power in Ancient Mythology"
John Doe: "Ms. Doe, I am sorry to say but Hades supposedly had an invisibility helmet he got from the Cyclopes and gave to Perseus. So yes, there is a possibility of an Invisibility God Power in Ancient Mythology."

So in this case, Jane Doe got 'owned' by John Doe, because Ms. Doe stated something as a fact when it was in truth, not a fact, but an assumption. It is not often that 'owning' occurs, however, when it does occur it is not necessary to provoke or flame that person afterwards saying "I OWN U." Afterall, this person could 'own' you sometime in the future as well. For people who get owned, don't take it as an offence, and start flaming the 'owner' to timbuktu. It is not needed, and as mentioned earlier, flaming is against the rules, and is quite an absurd idea.

Smart and Dumb Criticism
There are 2 forms of Criticism, Smart and Dumb Criticism. Dumb Criticism often makes you appear bad, and can result in flaming. Smart Criticism makes you appear intelligent and mature, and can cause people to think of you highly.

Dumb Criticism is often represented with swear words such as "Suckz" and "F*ck" and is often negative and associated with flaming of some sort. Dumb Criticism, as mentioned above, makes you appear badly and looked down upon. Forumers at EH do not enjoy dumb criticism, and often find the person who is doing dumb criticism as looking for attention or is idiotic. For example, let's say Jane Doe just posted a wonderfully long article on something that is very meaningful to the forum and John Doe decides to respond to it:

John Doe: "Empires is unbalanced. I hate Empires because its unbalanced. It Suckz....hahahaha."

As you can see, this Dumb Criticism uses cussing and flaming to prove a point. However, it lacks a basis. Mr. Doe clearly stated that he didn't like how Empires is balanced, but didn't add any reasons why he believes this, or give suggestions on how to make it better. Therefore, this criticism is pointless and has no suggestions for Empires patches, so it may be suitable for Mr. Doe. Not only is this pointless criticism, but it also makes you appear as though you didn't put any thought into the post.

Smart Criticism, however, makes you appear intelligent and mature and has some constructive basis to it. Now, let's say John Doe decides to make some smart Criticism on why he believes Empires is unbalanced. He could do something such as this for example:

John Doe: "Dear SSS, First of all, I'd like to say that, in my opinion, Empires is unbalanced and I'd like to state some suggestions on future patches to possibly fix these unbalanced problems which I have observed. In my opinion, the so and so are way too overpowered. The advantage over their military being able to build buildings often makes it hard to win against the so and so. The speed at which the so and so forward is astounding. Could I make a suggestion to possibly lower the amount of advantages the so and so have in these fields of gameplay? Thank you, it would be much appreciated. Would anyone care to make any comments on my opinions?"

Sure it takes longer to write, but it adds something to the post and allows SSS to make changes if they wish. Not only does this criticism appear more constructive and has a basis, but it is also polite and respectful of Stainless Steel Studios. Therefore, this criticism isn't necessarily flaming SSS.

Forum Smurfing and Spamming
Forum Smurfing is when you create a different nickname, on the forums in particular, for reasons which may include the fact that you are embarrased or ashamed of posting in your other nickname on a certain issue, or that you wish to Troll and flame people with it. When you flame another person with a 'smurf' then both you and your smurf are banned. There are some tips for Smurfing. If you absolutely must smurf under another nickname, then pick a nickname which won't warrant someone to immediatly figure you out, unless that is what you wish. People do not like to be fooled by others unless they are in a thread for that sole purpose only. So say your name is "John Doe," something that would not be appropriate for non-humourous incidents is something like "John Doe's Girlfriend." It is also noted that having a billion smurfs does not make you any more popular or well-liked by the forumers. Talking to one or two of you is fine, but when a whole forum is filled with your smurfs, then it is highly likely you will be flamed, insulted, and possibly banned.

Spamming is the rather annoying and tedious process of posting non-constructive posts or threads, over and over again in the same forum. If you must spam, please do it elsewhere. EH's forum community does not like spamming, and neither does Heavengames.

Tips & Hints

When you enter the EH Forums you'll probably notice that everything is mostly written in English. However, even if things are written in English, it does not mean that you can't ask a question in the forums in another language. We have a large amount of forumers who come from all around the world, and if you write in French for example, they may be able to understand and help you with whatever you need help with. However, please keep in mind that is against the rules of the forum to post in another language, without a translation. Though EH's Forums are mostly English, there are countless other websites meant for different languages. If there are no other places that support your language, and you have the ability to create a website for that langauge, then please do so. There are probably countless other people of your language who are looking for a site for Empires, in that langauge as well.

Efficient Ways of using the Search Feature.
You've probably noticed by now the Search Feature at the bottom of the Forum. This search feature is a great reference in case you have a question and wish to know if it has been answered before. However, there are tips you can use to be more efficient in the use of the Search Feature.

Now let's say you want to find a topic on the "German Sergeants." You go to the subject box and put in German Sergeants and press enter on your keyboard. Now let's say it comes back with no results, what should you do? The next thing you should is get rid of the Adjectives (describing words) used on the topic you wish to look for. In this case, you'd get rid of "German" and just look for "Sergeant." Upon looking up Sergeant let's say you end up with three pages of results. The next question you probably have is, "Do I have to look through all these threads?"

The answer to that depends on the question. However, it is highly recommended that you start looking in the threads which have the most amount of posts or you look for a thread with a subject title that hints to an answer to your question. If you have not been able to find the answer you are looking for, then feel free to create a new thread on that topic. However, make sure you are in the correct forum.

Now, lets say you have found what you wanted to find, and wish to go back to that thread, however, you lost the link; although you know the name of the thread and the author. All you have to do is go to the bottom of the forum, put the name of the author and the title of the thread in the correct spots, and press enter. Shortly afterwards you should come upon the thread you are looking for.

In conclusion, the Search feature is a good feature and can be very useful. However, it is advised that you keep the search enquiries simple. Therefore, you will end up with the most threads as possible for the issue you wish to look up.

ICQ/AIM and other Instant Messengers
If you haven't already noticed, there are things on the internet known as 'Instant Messengers' (IM's). IM's come in all shapes and sizes. There will be IM's filled with many forumers and have many options (such as ICQ) and IM's created from a certain world-wide business (American Online Instant Messenger, Aka. AIM). There is even an IM which contains the 4 major Instant Messengers, Trillian. These 4 major Instant Messengers, MSN, ICQ, AIM and Y! are rather popular with the forums at Heavengames and Empires Heaven. In this short article I will explain how each one works.

  • ICQ - ICQ or "I Seek You" was created by ICQ Inc in 1996. ICQ is an alright Instant Messenger, and has an extensive search feature. However, it has been known to have bugs, and have rather large amounts of Spam as well. ICQ comes with many different features, including Voice messaging and Wireless ICQ. When you register with ICQ you are given a number. The lower the number, the longer you've been using ICQ. For example, a person with a 6 digit number has probably used ICQ for many years, or recently revived one of his old accounts on ICQ. Though ICQ is alright, it usually makes you press the send button, instead of pressing enter; However, by pressing Alt-S or Ctrl-Enter, it does the same thing.

  • AIM - AIM or Aol Instant Messenger was created by American Online (Now, Aol - Time Warner). AIM is a very versatile IM, and allows you to send messages quicker then most IM's. AIM allows you to register a specific name (Which is complex, due to the fact of the many users on AIM by now).

  • Y! - run by Yahoo is very similar to AIM, though not as many forumers use it.

  • MSN - MSN or Microsoft Instant Messenger was created by Microsoft. MSN requires you to register an account at Hotmail, or create a "Passport" at, and after that, all you have to do is download MSN. MSN allows you to add other Hotmail or Passport users onto your Instant Messenger by putting down their MSN e-mails or MSN passport accounts Though their search function is limited due to privacy agreements, they still have a system similar to AIM.

    Lastly, I wish to talk about Trillian. Trillian takes all of the above 4 Instant Messengers and allows you to use them in one Instant Messenger. Though Trillian is very efficient and versatile, it also has a tendency to have bugs and other Instant Messengers do not enjoy the fact that Trillian is being used for their IM's. These are yet only a few of the Instant Messengers available upon the net.

    Tips on Good Subject Lines.
    If you wish to have more people come into your threads, then you must make the title appropriate and as factual to the thread's topic as you can. This means that if you want to create a thread about how Meso-Americans would be great in the Expansion Pack, you don't put down just Expansion Pack. This is a misleading title and can cause people to think you mean something else... when in truth, you mean something entirely different. A good thread title, on that issue, would be "My Ideas on Meso-Americans in the Expansion Pack."

    Another tip for good subject lines is to have it not too short, and not too long. For example, let's say John Doe wants to create a thread about why he believes Empires Rocks. Here is an example of a title way too long, and a title way too short.

    Long: "Empires Rocks, because it does, and.....I'd like to prove to you that it does....because it does....oh did I say Empires Rocks, because it does....."
    Short: "It Rocks"

    Though either one can be created on the forums, to create an effective and good title, you should try to put a satisfactory amount of information into a few words. For example "The Reasons why I believe Empires Rocks" would be a good title.

    Another tip for creating good subject lines is to use as proper and grammatical words as possible. Writing "This is stupid" won't make you look good to the other forumers. Or Even writing, "LoL, 3|-| |R0Xe|Rs" will probably make you appear like a bad forumer to the rest of the forum.

    The final tip that I wish to give you is that having catchy titles makes a thread interesting once and a while. For example "Eaters of the Dead!" is a catchy title and you want to look into the thread to see what it is about. However, overdoing the 'catchy title' could take away from the original meaning of the thread.

    How to make a good Signature
    You've probably noticed that there are countless signatures out there. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some with tiny print, some with large print. Some with Fading Colors, others which are bland. To create a good signature it depends on what you want in the signature. You can have anything the can fit 500 characters, and you can not have images or HTML in your signatures. If you look at all of Heavengames' websites, you'll probably notice subtle differences. For example, in Citybuilders they usually have quotes and simple signatures that are bland and have small print in them. However, in EH you notice signatures which have color fading, are small, and usually tell about the forumer or a favourite quote of that forumer.

    However you want to make a signature, simple or complex, consider a few tips. My first tip is to consider where you'll be visiting in Heavengames. As you've probably noticed, different websites in Heavengames have different color schemes with their forums. So if you intend to have a yellow and white fading signature; it'll not appear well in bright colored forums and may end up straining different forumers' eyes. However, in dark forums, such as Dungeon Siege Heaven's Forums, yellow and white would do well there.

    Another hint is the fact that if you have lots to put into your signature, then use small print and do it neatly. Messed up sigs only use up more bandwidth and are hard to read. However, don't forget you also have an area in your profile to talk about yourself. Posting about every detail of your life is not necessary in signatures.

    The one thing you must remember about making signatures is to have fun. A signature is supposed to be unique to yourself, and reflect something about yourself. May it be your favourite websites, a favourite quote, a humerous chichè, et cetera, just remember to respect others and respect the rules of Heavengames.

    Nicknames for forumers.
    Occasionally you'll probably come upon a name you've never heard about before, such as Gorak, and wonder who that is. Once and a while on the forums a member who has been visiting for quite a while, may get an adopted nickname may they like it or not. These nicknames could occur anywhere. For example, TheShadowDawn is often called Gorak because of a discussion between a few forumers about how his name was similar to other forumers names. It is appreciated that you don't flame people for giving you a nickname. If it is an insult, then please tell the forum moderators, they will handle the issue. Please, do not flame that person who gave you the nickname, or the moderators. However, don't be surprised that while you're here that you may recieve a nickname.

    Becoming a Better Forumer

    Maturity, Forum Status, Attitude and Popularity.
    In this article I'll explain Forum Maturity, Forum Status, Attitude, Popularity and how you can advance as a forumer. In the past three chapters, I have stated some things which will make you appear like a better forumer and will make you appear as though you have Forum Maturity. But what is Forum Maturity?

    Forum Maturity is the level of respect forumers give to eachother in EH, as well as the effort you put into your posts, so that they are polite, respectful, thought-out and express your opinion clearly and impressively. You may be immature at Heavengames off-topic forums. However, being immature can make you appear badly with the forumers if you act immature in a serious discussion. If you respect others, write thoughtful & intricate posts which express your point, and are polite, then you have clearly grown a high level of Forum Maturity at EH. However, Forum Maturity is not limited to just those things. Helping others, welcoming new comers, among other things make your Forum Maturity very high. And the higher the Forum Maturity, the more respect other forumers have for you.

    The next issue I want to deal with is Forum Status. When you enter the forums, you are a newbie, or new comer. Don't expect to suddenly become the center of attention. Through time you become an older forumer of the Empires community, and the Staff may ask you to do a job at HG as an HG staff member, then they either give you Angel or Cherub status. An Angel is a volunteer who has FTP access to the website's server. This means that they can post articles onto the website, and modify changes to the webpages. A Cherub is a person who doesen't have FTP access and usually writes articles for Heavengames and sometimes moderates. Some special HG Members become Seraphs (Or webmasters) of HG websites. They have control on who becomes a staff member on that website and they are the 'boss' on that website. Finally, there are Halos (Though they go under the title of "Angel") who control all basic operations of Heavengames. These include, but are not limited to, Administrating the forums, Finances of Heavengames, Creating Websites, and so on.

    The next issue has to deal with Attitude, in this case the Attitude of the forumers and yourself in the forum. In EH, you'll notice it's a very friendly place where forumers like to discuss the game and have fun. So, if your sole purpose is to be angry and strictly discussing off-topic or insulting threads, then it is recommended you go to OD or change to become a better EH forumer. As well, if you are new and believe that the forumers at Empires will 'bite your head off,' don't be. A majority of forumers welcome all new members and are very friendly and helpful towards them.

    Finally, I am going to discuss "Popularity" and some tips on becoming popular. First, you will not become popular when you first enter the forums. You'll probably not be known as much as other forumers. To gain popularity, you should be a good member, as explained earlier, and have a high level of forum maturity. Not only that, but please don't flame, and instead show your strength in ending arguments and treating others with respect. You can show your "Popularity" by making good comments to people when they post something very long, helping them, or giving them constructive criticism. One of the most basic things about becoming Popular includes the fact that you should be patient. Popularity takes a while to set in, and it is highly unlikely that you'll become popular within your first week of posting at EH. Lastly, it is up to you to decide what you want to do on the forums. If you want to be a bad forumer, then be one. If you want to be a good forumer, then be one. But it is your decision, I can't make you be something you don't want to be. But expect the consequences of your actions if you choose a way which is unliked by the forumers and staff at EH.

    Tournaments & Ladders
    After a while, you may notice that EH holds Tournaments and contains a Ladder. It is not required for you to do this to become a better forumer, though, if you want to get to know some more Empires players and have a competitive urge while playing Empires, then it is recommended that you should join a Tournament or the EH Ladder. You are always welcome to join, no matter how good or bad you may believe your Empire skills to be.

    Respecting VIP's
    Once and a while, you'll see forumers who have a 'blue' nickname. These forumers are actually the developers of Empires or a developer of another game. These people come on their own will, and it is up to you to respect them. This means that you treat them with respect. Even if you hate the game they created, they do not need you to nag at them for that reason. Heavengames has a privilege of having these members visit here.

    What you also must realize is that VIP's are not "Dieties." They do not have superhuman strength (though they are really good at making games!), so they are still people, and you should treat them as though they have feelings. You also have to remember that these VIP's have very busy lives. So by saying "Why didn't you do this? Why didn't you do that?" to them over and over again will just irritate them even more. Overall, just treat them with respect and kindness. Not only is is respectful to the VIP's, but it also makes you appear as a good member of the EH community.

    Welcoming New Comers
    As time will go on, people will come into the forum just as you had a long time ago. Therefore, you might be able to teach them something and help them in the forum. To be a better forumer, you should treat these new comers the way you'd like to feel if you were entering EH for the first time. Treat them respectfully and politely. If they wish for more help with Empires, feel free to help them.

    Goodbye Threads
    There will come a time when you will have no more interest in the game or Heavengames, and you will decide to leave the forum or Heavengames in general. Though this time may come soon or well into the future, it'll come one day. If you've been foruming for a while, then feel free to make a goodbye thread. However, if you have only been here a day and create a 'goodbye thread', then don't expect any fond farewells.

    Also take note that if there is another goodbye thread currently up, it would be suitable enough for you to post in that goodbye saying your going. Therefore, less Bandwidth would be taken up, and the forum won't be covered in "Goodbye Threads." Like "Hi, I'm new" threads, keep it polite and thoughtful. Do not post something like "I hate you all. You all are N00bs." If you feel that way, we are sorry you feel that way, but please refrain from flaming harshly. There is no point in creating a thread which will just rile forumers up (aka. Trolling).

    Written by Angel Sunshine

    [This message has been edited by AzN (edited 08-18-2003 @ 09:03 PM).]