We are very excited you are here and hope this will be a timely source of support and motivation as you work toward your goals. Did you know that SparkPeople members who use the Message Boards are more likely to lose weight than those who do not? In fact, in a recent survey, message board users lost more weight and stuck with the program longer than non-posters.
As effective as they are, Message Boards can be intimidating to a new user. Just take your time looking through the different forums and support groups. Everyone here is welcoming and wants to help each other, so feel free to pop in to any of the threads and say hello!
Here are some other tips to help you get started and make the best of your experience:
A Quick Reminder About Online Community Etiquette
- Start a new thread on the Message Boards (the "Introduce Yourself" forum is a great place to start). You’ll soon receive responses of people who are welcoming you!
- Not sure how to make a post? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions which explain how to use some of the features on the site.
- Personalize your experience! Set up your SparkPage to help people get to know you. Your pictures and text could be of you or anything else that represents who you are.
- Use the Message Board "Search" function to look for answers to common questions such as "What are some snacks I can take to work?" Check the dates of threads before you reply; if the most recent post is more than a few weeks old, start a new thread for your question.
- Try your best to post questions in the proper forum. For example, questions about your workout should be posted in the "Fitness and Exercise" forum.
- Make the topic of your thread specific. Rather than "I need advice," it is more helpful for other members if the title relates to your question or comment, such as "Any advice for healthy breakfasts?"
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! The SparkPeople "Resident Experts" can answer any questions you might have, and other members are always willing to help too!
- It’s always a good idea to read over your posts before you send them. This gives you a chance to clarify anything that might be misunderstood. What sounds great in your head may come across differently in print.
- You’ll see a lot of abbreviations on the boards that can be confusing. Here are some of the most common:
((( )))- hugs
J/K- just kidding
IOW- in other words
IMHO- in my humble opinion
BBL- be back later
BTW- by the way
LOL- laugh out loud
DH- dear husband
OMG- oh my goodness
TIA- thanks in advance
WDYT- what do you think
Online communities are just like real-world communities in many ways. Occasionally you will disagree with someone or find people who have different views or beliefs. That's okay as long as we keep the tone of messages as supportive and positive as possible.
Communication experts say that the "tone" of communication is more important than what is actually said. This means that there are positive and negative ways to give feedback to each other. You always have a choice in how to respond to any post. If someone happens to make a mistake or uses a negative tone in a post, you can prevent a negative cycle by choosing to respond in a positive tone. We work hard to keep SparkPeople a positive community. If you see anything that is a violation of our Community Guidelines, please click the "Report Inappropriate Post" link at the bottom of any thread and our staff will be notified of the problem via email.
Lastly, SparkPeople takes the safety of its members very seriously. Please keep in mind that other Internet users can see your posts. Also, be very cautious about giving out personal contact information on the Message Boards (or via e-mail) to other members.
We’re glad you are here and hope to see you on the Message Boards soon! If you have any questions or if there is anything we can do to help make your experience better, just let us know!
Once again, welcome!
The SparkPeople Team