How to Use the Message Boards
The dummies guide to using the gapyear.com message boards
As we keep on saying, gapyear.com is a social network, but what exactly does that mean? Well, it means you guys come to the site for your travel advice and information - you may or may not know this but you're a part of one of the biggest gap year communities in the world, so welcome to the site!
At gapyear.com we really want you to post blogs, upload photos, find travel mates, and most importantly use the message boards. We're a site built by backpackers for backpackers - that means you're the ones that make the site as cool as it is (yeah, I went there).
If you've just signed up to the site, you're probably quite keen to dive into the deep end start posting. However, be careful, you might get shot down. That's why we thought we'd present to you an article on how to use the message boards - it's to ensure you get the best experience out of your time on the site!
Lexi joined the site in 2007 and she's got over 3,500 posts to her name. She famed as being one of the most useful posters and moderators on the site and there's rarely a subject that she can't help with. She also works in the travel industry so she actually knows what she's talking about!
Warrick joined the site all the way back in 2005 and he's got over 6,000 posts to his name. It's safe to say that he's been there and done it - that's one of the reasons why he's a gapyear.com moderator. He also takes no shit. You have been warned...
Anyway, these two champions of gapyear.com have come up with some dos and don'ts on how to use the message boards. Read. Digest. Post. Enjoy.
DO - research your topic before you post
Lexi says: "Do your own research. Before starting a new thread check if you can find the answer by looking around online, on the gapyear.com website or checking the message boards to see if the question has already been asked. Moderators and members get tired of answering the same questions again and again. Doing your own research about your own trip is part of the fun of planning!
"Also, if you post a new thread, you only need to do this in one section of the forum; the most relevant one. If you post the same thing on multiple sections of the message boards you'll attract the wrath of the moderators."
Warrick says: "The boards of gapyear.com are an Aladdin's Cave of information. A veritable feast for the new backpacker to devour, and a welcome snack to keep the seasoned traveller sated. Thousands of topics are covered in hundreds of sub-forums. People have been active members of the site for over a decade and have thousands of posts under their belt. Some of the most obscure queries have been resolved, like crossing borders via Brazilian rainforest or kayaking alone down remote Bolivian rivers.
"Keeping this in mind, what do you think the odds are that your question about Thai Visas hasn't been asked before? Pretty remote, right?
"So, before we go any further, the first thing you should do is use the search function."
DON'T - troll
Lexi says: "If your intention of joining gapyear.com is trolling (winding people up by posting outrageous, offensive or over the top statements intended to cause arguments and heated discussions), you should leave now. Yes, right now."
Warrick says: "Travelling is one of those subjects which will always divide opinion. The boards are a great place for healthy debate, and you'll find no end of back-and-forth arguments going on which you're more than welcome to add your opinion to. Just try and stop things getting personal; we don't like personal attacks here, we're all family after all. I realise that from time to time it's difficult to refrain from resorting to personal insults, particularly when Lunny is being a proper cu... wanker (see, even we struggle with the rules sometimes - see below). That said, if you do feel someone is being particularly viscous then let a Moderator know; we'll do our best to get Lunny back in his cage."
DO - chillax
Lexi says: "Chill out, don't take things personally and remember that everyone has their own opinions and ways of doing things. If someone wants to travel in a certain way and you don't agree with it, (assuming it's not illegal or immoral - in which case report the post) live and let live, you might find your eyes are opened.
DON'T - drop the C-bomb (you know which one)
Warrick says: "I know, I know, it's a brilliant word. One of my personal favourites, in fact. Unfortunately it's not accepted on the forums, as certain people get offended by it. It's also frowned upon to use it as an adjective (my Jeremy Hunting flight has been delayed). If in doubt, leave it out."
DO - use the entire site
Warrick says: "Gapyear.com is packed full of useful information for planning your trip. The ‘Countries' section includes a wealth of information about travelling in specific countries, including visa information, getting around, money, etc. so check those out if you're interested in a specific destination. You'll find guides to most countries in those sections which have been written by users of gapyear.com as well, so they're handy to get first-hand information from actual backpackers."
DON'T - advertise
Lexi says: "Don't advertise or promote your company on the message boards. If you want to advertise, contact the gapyear.com marketing team. However, this doesn't mean you can't provide useful advice and include a link to your company in your public profile so people can find out about your company if they want. If you provide useful information on the message boards you will be trusted. Blatant spam, linking and advertising will be removed and you will be put on the naughty step."
The gapyear.com member code:
I am someone who has been travelling, is interested in travelling or is planning to go travelling (or otherwise has some connection to travel). I will ask good questions that have not been answered before and/or are difficult to find answers to online. I will play nicely with the other members, interacting on various threads and offering advice or insight where possible. I will complete my public profile as much as possible so people can get to know a little about me. I will remember that people have different backgrounds, interests, hobbies, budgets and travel styles and while I might disagree with their opinions I will respect them and not ostracise them for their choices. I will keep an eye out for potential spammers and will report them accordingly to ensure gapyear.com message boards continue to be a wicked place to learn about gap years, procrastinate during study hours, and skive off at work.
So there we have it, how to use the message boards. Now that you know what you're doing, go forth and post...
We've got some wicked articles that tie-in to how to use the message boards:
Firstly, what exactly is gapyear.com - find out more!
Secondly, how do you write that perfect blog post - don't worry, we tell you how!
Lastly, we've got a guide for those naughty kids out there on social network conduct - if we have to refer you to this you've done something wrong...
About the Author: Lexi Quinton
Lexi Quinton works for Different Travel, a charity challenge organisation based in the UK and part of her job includes leading charity challenge expeditions overseas.
Lexi is a gapyear.com moderator, and a very experienced traveller. She's visited more than 40 countries since she started travelling in 2000. Lexi's favourite trip to date is her first gap year, aged 18, when she spent three months living and working in Kenya and is where she fell in love with Africa.
About the Author: Warrick Howard
Warrick Howard joined the site in 2005. Since then he's visited every continent with the exception of Antartica, and is planning on ticking that box very soon. His main area of expertise is South America, but can offer advice on travel pretty much anywhere; particularly making the most of short trips.
He's also your go-to-guy if you're in the market for a sarcastic comment or thinly veiled innuendo. Off-site Warrick works for an oil company.
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