Forums are a great resource for stay at home and work at home parents. They’re a place to meet other parents in more or less the same situation as you are in. You get to make a variety of friends without leaving the house or trying to get a break from the kids.

But a forum can also be a place where you feel ignored. Sometimes the questions you ask just don’t get answered for some reason.

A forum can be rather like a room full of people talking all at once, except that you can break into any conversation that interests you and ask just about anything. You’re just about anonymous. This makes it easier to ask some questions and often get a wide range of responses, but not always.

The first thing you want to do is make sure your topic is very clear. If your topic is vague people are less likely to click on it. Try to make the topic a general form of the question you want answered and use the post to give additional information.

As you give more information, keep things clear. Don’t just say “What’s a legitimate home business?” as that will just get a lot of responses that aren’t all that helpful. Tell people about the kinds of things you would be interested in doing. People love to be helpful on forums, but they need more information. If you’re vague, the only answers you will get will be vague or irrelevant.

Don’t make your post too long either if you can avoid it. If you ramble on and on about a problem, people are going to stop reading. If the problem is really detailed, break it up into shorter paragraphs. Extremely long paragraphs are very hard to read online.

Read other people’s posts and replies and add your own opinions. People love to help those who have helped them too, and it’s a great feeling when someone tells you that you gave them the solution to their problem.

If you have a home business, do more than just blatantly post ads. Not every post you reply to should have something to do with your business. Use your signature line to advertise your business and stick to sharing information relevant to the posts in your replies. You’ll build trust this way.

Remember that people cannot always tell when you’re joking, angry, serious, etc. on a forum. Smilies can help to show what you’re feeling, but they are not sufficient. Try to remember that if someone seems to be taking a post personally or be making snide comments that you may be misinterpreting things because you can’t hear their tone of voice as you would in a face to face conversation. Try not to get to upset with people on forums.

On the other hand, forum trolls try everything they can to get people upset on forums. Don’t feed the trolls. Just ignore them or even report the posts to the moderators.

Forums are a lot of fun. Most will get dramatic every once in a while, but you can really enjoy yourself on them. If things are getting too intense, take a step back or even a quiet break from the forum. It’s not going anywhere.

[tags]forums, posting on forums, work at home resources[/tags]