If you’ve ever ventured into the HubPages forums, you know that things can get a little hairy. This is by no means unique to our community; it’s an occupational hazard for any internet user. I can’t necessarily help you navigate the World Wide Web, but I can share my insights from a long history of successful forays into the forums, from which I’ve managed to emerge relatively unscathed.
- Know thyself. Before you enter the forums, it’s important to check in with yourself to see where you are mood-wise, and whether or not you’ll be able to handle whatever you might encounter–be it titillating or aggravating. Going into the forums already frustrated is a recipe for disaster. There are days you’ll be able to conduct yourself responsibly in a heated discussion on politics or religion, and there are days you won’t. Be realistic, and…
- Be prepared. I may not agree with all the teachings of the Boy Scouts of America, but they do have a good point with this one. Think about what you want to achieve in the forums. Are you looking to kill some time? Get some advice? Make new friends? Engage in educated debate? Once you’re clear in your mind about what you’re looking for, go find it… but try not to get side-tracked. If you find yourself straying from the path, refer to Tip #1, and know when to walk away.
- Plan an escape route. This is an extension of Tip #2, but in addition to having a plan of attack, you also need to meditate on your getaway, should the need arise. Everything might go well, but if something unforeseen should happen, and you find yourself getting hot under the collar, it’s important to have a plan. Whether it’s taking a half-hour break from the forums to research a new Hub, or shutting down the computer for the night, decide beforehand what you’re going to do to cool down, and follow through with it.
- Remember the human. I take this from Virginia Shea, who literally “wrote the book” on Netiquette. It’s the first of her 10 Core Rules, and the most important. Psychological studies show that most people have a lot of difficulty connecting online activities with offline consequences, so you’ve got to make a concerted effort to be the exception. Keep in mind that, just as you are an individual beyond a username, other Hubbers are too. There are human beings on the other end of that internet connection. (Yes, even I am a person, despite what you may have heard to the contrary.) Treat us all with human courtesy.
- Lighten up. Seriously, guys. Seriously. The forums are supposed to be fun! If you’re not having a good time (whatever that looks like for you… see #1), just don’t do it! HubPages is full of clever, inventive, hilarious Hubbers. We may not always agree, but that only means that we all have something unique to contribute to the larger community. And I think, on the whole, that’s a good thing. Hey, it certainly keeps things interesting. 😉