• Health Warning

    Forums can be highly addictive, even worse than drugs and alcohol.
People will sell their souls to the Devil to be on a forum.
You can be banned without warning and you’ll have to go cold turkey.
Forums are full of narcissists with big egos. Cross them at your peril.
Thou Shall Not Criticize forums or their owners, ever.
The fallout from foral wars can be as dangerous as nuclear fallout.
Getting involved in forums can seriously affect your well-being.
    You have been warned!

    Not only can forums be full of misinformation and outdated, irrelevant or inaccurate information, they also house many other perils.

    BAD ADVICE AND MISINFORMATION

    Forums can be full of misinformation and the advice can vary wildly, even within the same site, depending on who posts it. Even the same people can, sometimes, completely change their tune between posts, for whatever reason. The advice found on forums can range from useful to downright dangerous and everything in between.

    ADDICTION

    Forums can be extremely addictive and it can be very hard to stay away. Forum addicts can miss out on other activities and their addiction can even affect their work, business, family and home life. Despite people's best intentions, it can be very hard to stop posting, no matter how many times they say they won't post, forum addicts just can't resist another post or ten, day or night. Unlike drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and gambling, posting is free, making this addiction even harder to beat.

    Even when not posting or after being banned, foral addicts cannot stay away. They will monitor the forum(s) in question day and night, at home and away, on their work computers, laptops and mobile phones.

    Banned users will often sign up again and again under different names. The addiction is such they can't give up. They will set up endless email addresses, spoof their IP addresses and go to great lengths to conceal their identities as forum rejects.

    BEWARE OF POWER HUNGRY CONTROL FREAKS

    Those who run forums tend to have big egos and the power of being at the top of the foral pyramid goes to their heads very quickly. Some set up forums to feed their natural narcissism, knowing forums are an ideal medium to receive adulation and have power over others by moderating, editing, deleting and moving their posts as well as exercising their Right To Ban.

    Forum admins and owners will ban for whatever reason, often just because they can. Those who question or disagree with them, or with those they consider worthy of a privileged position will end up banned, no matter how much help they may need or provide to others.

    While banning a user should be the end of admin power, it often doesn't end there. Many forum owners are control freaks and want to make sure you don't go elsewhere and tell your story.

    FEEDBACK WELCOME, AS LONG AS IT'S POSITIVE

    Forums may well be supposed to be discussion platforms but one thing you can't do is criticise them, or those who own and run them, or anyone they consider worthy of a special place on their sites. Forum owners will go to great lengths to stamp out any criticism. Critics will be banned but it doesn't end there, any attempts at criticism off the site will be met with anything from abuse to legal action. Forum owners are true believers in free speech, as long as it's not against them.

    BREEDING GROUND FOR ODBALLS

    In the early days of the internet, it was often said that it was the domain of loonies and weirdos. This was 20 years ago and it has, since, become so mainstream, we are all forced to do a lot of things online. However, the foral world is still inhabited by lots of strange characters you wouldn't find anywhere else. Some can be amusing but others are also highly dangerous, and it's far from obvious who falls into what category. It can take years to really get to know who the biggest foral fiends are.

    HIDDEN DANGERS

    Forums can be full of hidden dangers that are far from obvious when you look at their public face. Beneath the surface lies a hotbed of betrayal, lies, manipulation, sinister plots and back stabbing.

    Foral involvement can go well beyond the confines of the sites themselves and have a profound effect in people's personal and professional lives. As an example, you could find a job through the forums, but you could also lose your current one if you're not careful.

    HOW STAY SAFE ON THE FORUMS - FOR FULLY GROWN ADULTS

    If you still want to be a part of an online community, feel free to do so, just watch out for traitors, know how to spot the warning signs and stay alert. Don't take advice from forums, just share your own experiences and do your own homework.

    If in doubt, Forum Wars discussion is a good place to start. Start a thread here: Forum Wars Discussion Area.

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