The Forums are where HASA members can discuss, debate, critique, and just hang out. Some of the forums are also available to the general public for reading.
There are seven forums at HASA:
A forum, also referred to as a discussion, is a set of discussion threads. The threads in a forum are organized around something - an author, a story, a topic, an event, etc.
For example, in the Stories Forums, there is a forum called Dwarvish Haven, which is all about Dwarves. In that forum, you'll find discussion threads on Dwarvish names, the fate of Moria, fanfic stories about Dwarves, and other items.
Some forums are started by admins, but many more belong to individual members. Most forums are created by authors to discuss their stories.
Read-only forums are similar to closed forums, except that they allow anyone to read the topics without being able to post. They are often used when someone wants to inform others of activities but does not want questions, comments or replies.
Read-only forums permit anyone to read the threads, but will not allow others to post.
For instance, most of the site announcements are posted in read-only forums; only the site admins may post to these.
If you would like to comment or reply on a read-only forum, either request posting privileges from the forum owner or start your own open forum for the topic.
They are exclusive discussions, in which only authorized persons can post.
A forum may be closed for several reasons: it could be about an adult story or discuss mature themes not suitable for all ages/beliefs, or it could be a place for a couple of members to talk in private.
Many new members are initially reluctant to create a forum because they feel they are 'too new' or 'not a good enough writer' or 'too shy' or some similar reason. There is no obligation to create one, but all members are encouraged to start a forum. If you are writing and want to improve your writing, this is a good tool to help that process along.
Which is not to say that you have to be a writer at all to create your own forum - there are lots of interesting forums here that aren't focused on stories. The busiest forums tend to be in the Resources Forums because people are always looking for help with research and picking each others' brains on obscure Tolkien facts.
The key to getting a forum going is post a lot in that discussion yourself. Forums that look active attract more activity. If no one posts a reply to you right away, post something new - a new chapter, a new idea, a note about something you saw and thought was interesting, etc.
- Click on the forum you would like to participate in. If it is an open discussion, you will see 'You are not a participant in this discussion,' followed by a 'Sign Me Up!' link in the "Participation" box in the navigation column.
- Click on 'Sign Me Up.'
- That section will now read 'You are a full participant in this discussion.'
- You are now a member of this forum and may read or post at any time.
- For any forum you wish to participate in, either by reading or posting, you must first join the forum as mentioned above in the previous FAQ.
- Click on the forum you want to post in. If you are not already a participant, click on 'Sign me up!'
- Find the thread that you would like to post to and click on it.
- If you find a post you would like to reply to, click the 'Reply to Post' button in the message information box.
- Type your response into the message form. Don't forget to spell check!
- Click 'Post Reply.'
- Now, look over your post. If you want to change anything, click on the 'Edit Message' button in the message information box, and edit the post as you like.
- Go to the forum you are interested in. If you have already joined the discussion, you will see a button 'Add a New Topic Thread' in the Participation box in the navigation coumn.
- Click the button.
- Type in the subject for the topic. This is what will appear in the topic list when that forum is opened.
- Make it clear what the topic is about. Starting a topic in Jane Doe's forum such as 'About your story' might be fine now when Jane only has one story; when she has written eight it will be confusing.
- Locate an "Add Forum" link or button. These are located:
- In the main Forums navigation drop down menu
- In the top title bar on a Conference list of forums (See example in Stories Forums)
- On the main "My Forums" page.
- Click the link or button.
- You will see the Add a Forum form.
- Type in the forum name; short names are preferred and display better. There is a 50 character maximum for titles.
- If this forum is in the Stories Forums, you might choose to title it by your name: 'Anglachel - Stories,' by the name of the story itself: 'A Kind of Valediction,' or whatever descriptive name you want to use. If it is in Members, you may also use your name 'Anglachel's Discussion,' or choose another title that you like.
Note that if you title a story discussion by the name of one story, it may confuse members as to where to comment on your other stories. In this case you may need to add another discussion or change the name of the existing one when you post other stories. Many members now use a general name for their discussion, and post a list of stories in their introduction, editing as they add stories.
- Choose which conferences you want the forum to appear in. Available conferences are:
- Workshop (Note: you can only add to this conference when you are in a workshop)
- Write your introduction. This serves the same function that a summary does for a story; it is a way to inform members about what's inside, and interest them in entering. It can be as simple as 'This is a place to discuss my stories,' or as long and detailed as you like. If it is very long, it will mean that visitors have to scroll repeatedly to get to the threads, which some frequent visitors may find annoying.
- Choose whether you want other members to be able to link their stories to your forum, or whether only you may link to the forum.
- Decide whether you want to receive emails when there is a new post in your forum. You can always change your mind later. We recommend saying "Yes".
- Select whether your forum is for general or adult audiences.
- Select who may participate in your forum. Unless you have a reason to keep people out, you should choose "Open to all HASA Members, General Public may read"
- Click "Add Forum".
Note that both the story and the forum must already exist before they can be linked.
From the Story:
- Go to My Stuff/My Stories
- Locate the story you want to link.
- Click the story title so you are on its overview page
- In the toolbox at the top of the page, click "Link to Forum".
From the Forum:
- Go to Forums/My Forums
- On the overview page, look for the menu link "Link my Stories to Forums"
Once on the linking page:
- Select the story you want to link from the first drop-down menu
- Select the forum to link it to from the second drop-down menu
- Click "Link Story"
All of your linked stories appear below this form, grouped by forum. To unlink a story from a forum, click the "Remove Link" button next to the story's name.
If you click on a forum that is closed, you will see 'We're sorry, this is a closed discussion' and a link: 'Contact the owner for entry.'
To gain entry to a closed forum, you must click the 'Request Forum entry' button. An email will be sent to the discussion owner who may give or deny access, and you will receive confirmation of the result by email. Be patient; it may take a while for the forum owner to get the email and respond.
- Create a forum.
- In the forum creation form, in the "Who May Read?" field, select "Closed - Only invited HASA Members."
- Provide all other required information.
- Click "Add Forum".
- Go to My Forums.
- You will see a list of the forums you own.
- Locate the forum you wish to close.
- Click the "Manage Forum" button for that forum.
- When you are on the overview page for that forum, look for the "Thread Info" box in the navigation column.
- Click the "Edit Forum" button.
- You should now see the forum editing form.
- Scroll to the bottom of the form until you get to the last form field, "Who may read? Choose your reading audience".
- Select "Closed - Only invited HASA Members".
- Click "Edit Forum" button.
If it's your own post, simply edit the message and select the option for mature content.
If it's a message or discussion created by another member, drop them a polite note (by members e-mail) or post a reply to the message raising your concerns.
The admins can edit posts to flag them as "Mature Content" or "Adult" but would prefer the members of the HASA community to police content themselves.
When you create or edit a forum, add a new topic thread, or post a reply, you will need to choose whether the forum, thread or message is for a general audience or contains mature content. You may always change your mind later.
Forums will be flagged as mature in the introduction.
Flagging the message used to start a new thread will mark the thread as Adult in the table holding the list of topics.
Flagging any reply as containing mature content will just flag that message in the box in the top right hand corner of the message.
Flagging a forum, thread or message as adult affects how messages display in certain parts of the site, to ensure members do not encounter adult material accidentally.
You can't. You may set a forum to Inactive and send a note to the Forums Admin that you would like the forum deleted.
Just about anything you like. Many members include a list of their stories, or what they might be interested in hearing from other members. Your introduction may be brief or lengthy, but remember that a very long introduction will make for a lot of scrolling for your visitors.
Some authors put links to their stories in the introduction to make it easy for readers to find their stories.
Most members create their initial forum in either the Stories or Members conference. If you later want a forum in another section, you may create additional forums.
Stories Forums is a good place for members to get feedback about their stories.
The Members Forums is a free-for-all of ideas, chatting, story info, personal musings and who knows what.
Challenges should be reserved for forums relating to challenges in general or a specific challenge. If you want to propose a challenge, it is best to start a new topic in the existing Prospective Challenges forum.
Resources should be used for resource related issues. If you want to talk about the facts of Middle-earth, or real life information that applies, by all means start a forum here if the appropriate one doesn't exist already. This section is also good for forums on writing, beta reading, and fanfic in general (as opposed to specific stories.)
If you have questions about Arda, crafts, skills, etc. there is a Research Questions forum where you may request information. If you have expertise or information to share, please do!
General is used mostly for site administrative issues. There are some broad-based forums created here, and you may start new topics within them.
The Review Forums is the place to discuss anything to do with reviewing in general. Elaboration on reviews of specific stories may be requested in the Request for Review Decisions thread in this forum, but the forum of the review should take place in the forum for that specific author or story, or by email. No specific stories should be discussed in the Review Forums.
Yes, you may link a story to as many forums as you like, and you can link as many stories to a single forum as you like. No limitations on either.
No, there is no way to do that. The system recognizes any logged-in member and automatically attaches your member name.
No, you may pretty much anything in your forum.
Each forum can be rated for a general audience or for an adult audience. In addition each discussion thread and even each message can be flagged for mature content. Please clearly mark forum posts that contain mature content.
When possible, also put warnings in either the forum introduction or the thread title if the bulk of the discussion would be rated R or above. As an example, see the introduction to the 'Sexuality in Middle-earth' discussion in the Resources Forum.
Of course, readers who might be offended should realize that an Adult rated story may generate Adult rated discussion.
Sure! It is your forum, after all. You may discuss whatever you like.
Yes, many people have more than one forum. Feel free to create another forum for another purpose, but do be considerate of others in the process. It is better to have multiple topics within one or two forums rather than to have many separate forums.
For a start, post in other people's forums - that's how other members get to know you. If you like someone's stories, that person may have similar interests and may like yours, and the conversation may interest them in your forum or your stories.
If you want feedback on a story, make it easy for those inclined to comment. Do this by:
- Linking your story to your forum
- Asking specific questions in your forum introduction, the first message of your topic thread, or at the beginning or end of your story.
It is always easier for someone to give you a specific rather than general comment. Answering 'What did you think of it?' is much harder than 'Did Gandalf's motivations make sense?' or 'Is the Rohan scene too choppy?'
Yes, in an open forum anyone may start a new topic.
You may approach it differently if you are starting a topic in a general interest forum like Prospective Challenges or Research Questions rather than in a forum belonging to a specific member. If it is a general interest forum, just be sure you are posting something pertinent to the topic. If you are posting in someone's story forum, you should be there to talk about her stories.
It is considered poor manners to "hijack" threads to try to drive traffic to your own site or forum.