Apologies to the creators of that great line Jack Nicolson delivers in “A Few Good Men”. Where do you go to get answers for almost anything. Internet forums can be a valuable piece of your solution set. When it comes to music, I now go to the Woodwind Forum where I am an administrator. It isn’t as large a place as say the Sax on the Web (where I used to be the chief admin), but I know the people on the Woodwind Forum and I get very good response to my various music-based questions. I also try to provide support to the group so that this forum is a friendly and useful place.
I really like the mix of professionals, teachers, and amateurs on the Woodwind forum. There are also a number of music instrument historians and collectors who frequent the discussions. Because we are not the big dawg on the street (size-wise), we get fewer of the really annoying questions like:
1.What is the best sax for me to buy?
2. How can I sound like Kenny G?
3. Is there a way that I can learn music without taking lessons?
4. I just found an old, POC instrument; how much is it worth?
Arriving at any new forum can be very intimidating as you stare into the huge collection of information. So here are four quick and dirty guidelines to get you started in any forum. My examples will be drawn from the Woodwind Forum.
Tips and Tricks
1. Find and read the rules before you join. If you get a bad vibe, look for another forum. Here is an example of our rules:
The end-all, be-all of our rules is “be nice to each other.” There are some specific things that we want to mention, though:
- Be respectful of each other. Remember, one has to “take offense”. If you take offense to something, ask politely for clarification. Someone might have “misspoken”. If you have a real problem and can’t settle it via PM, talk to a staff member.
- Post in English. This isn’t because we’re English snobs, it’s because we can’t read anything else. (Well, mostly.)
- Make an effort to use good spelling and grammar (see the above note). If you can’t read English and you’re using Google Translate or something similar, the translation will be hideous if the spelling and/or grammar is bad.
- We recommend that you use Firefox, IE7 Pro (or better), Google Chrome or the Iron browser. All these have built in spell-checkers. You could also type your message in your favorite text processor, check it and then copy and paste it into the forum.
- Please limit your use of slang. I’ve worked with people from all over the world and it is sometimes amusing to see the looks on their faces when I use slang, but you can’t see people here, so there’s no amusement value.
2. If you join fill out enough of your profile so that people on that forum can answer your questions and great you appropriately. Suggesting you check out a store in the US may not be especially helpful to someone in France. Here is my profile as an example:
3. View this humorous but enlightening video:
4. Find the Welcome topic and introduce yourself. Start slow and try to be a person who does more than just ask for help and questions.
Good luck and practice safe foruming. (Is that a word?)