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JWTalk Community Forums - How Do We Stay Organized?
JWTalk is an internet forum, commonly called a discussion board. We're an online community where brothers and sisters can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. Discussion boards differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are permanently archived and available for reading.
A discussion board like JWTalk has a tree-like structure of forums and sub-forums that are designed to categorize various topics of discussion. Simply stated, a topic is a single conversation also referred to as a thread, and a forum is a folder or container for similar topics that fall within a certain category. Each new discussion someone starts is called a topic/thread and can be replied to by as many people as so wish. Participant have to register with JWTalk and subsequently log in to post messages. However, on most of our forums, users do not have to log in to read existing messages. Most of our forums are publicly visible, while just a few of them are members only.
Forums predate modern Social Media by decades. Modern social media is like micro-blogging, focusing on the individual, making small, usually impulsive comments, with no regard for or method to categorize the comments. Social Media also affords less privacy. It only takes a few clicks to discover your interests and leanings, which area you live in and more. Forums on the other hand allow you to be relatively anonymous. Forums are much better suited for richer, long form discussions. A typical forum thread it will include a number of participants and often incorporates rich media (e.g. videos, pictures, polls, and more), and has tools better suited for responding and replying to people.
The popularity of Social Media has impacted discussion boards in that new members to internet forums often don't think about how the various forums in the community act as categorizations for discussion topics. So in this post and the ones that follow, we hope to give some helpful explanation as to how we categorize threads here at JWTalk, so that when you decide to start a new topic for discussion, you will have a better understanding as to which forum you should post your topic.
Please continue reading to get a better idea of which topics belong in which forums...
Encouragement for the Worldwide Brotherhood
This forum description reads: "A public forum for items of interest to all of Jehovah's people who visit our site as guests, such as new audio & video content on JW.org, poetry, illustrations, and non-firsthand experiences that you feel compelled to share. (Publicly Visible)"
It's called "Encouragement for the Worldwide Brotherhood" for several reasons. This forum is publicly visible to unregistered guests visiting our community, so it is literally available to the whole association of brothers around the world. Therefore, it can be used to start topics of discussion when new audio and video material become available to the public on JW.org. In addition, some members like to share encouraging poetry and experiences that have been passed to them from other sources, and they in turn would like to share it here with their brothers and sisters.
What shouldn't be posted in Worldwide Brotherhood? If a field ministry experience is a personal one, then it should be shared to the Our Meetings, Our Ministry, and Our Life as a Christian forum which is visible to members only. Likewise, discussions about literature that we are currently considering at our meetings, such as the Watchtower lesson for the week, the weekly Bible reading, and the book we're considering at the Congregation Book Study should also go in the "Our Meetings" forum. Don't post news journalism from JW.org here, as we have a separate forum for JW News. Please check if another forum is a better fit for your topic of discussion.
Our Meetings, Our Ministry, and Our Life as a Christian
This forum description reads: "A private forum for registered members only to discuss anything related to our lives as Jehovah's people, including our meetings, the field ministry, personal achievements and experiences. (Members Only)"
The title of this forum is clear. Anything that has to do with our gatherings, whether it is at the local congregation or at an assembly, most likely should be discussed in this forum. Also anything related to our ministry, such as personal field ministry experiences, help with how to answer a Bible student's questions, pioneering, etc. Organizational arrangements, such as supporting the LDC, making donations, and theocratic appointments, are topics that would belong in this forum. Discussions about maintaining our integrity regarding medical challenges, political neutrality, and peace and unity in the congregation are also fitting for this forum.
What shouldn't be posted in Our Meetings & Ministry? Non-firsthand experiences that you cannot verify but are encouraging nonetheless should go in the "Encouragement for the Worldwide Brotherhood" forum. Personal struggles that are impacting your emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental health and well-being should get posted in "Comfort, Consolation, Support, & Recovery". Technical questions on how to use JW Library or Watchtower Library on your device should go in "Computers, Tablets, Mobile Devices, & Apps".
Bible Research, Personal Study, and Scriptural Discussion
This forum description reads: "A private forum for discussing the Bible, our literature and current understandings, and gems from your personal study and research. This is a theocratic forum for building faith in God's Word and trust in his faithful and discreet slave. (Members Only)"
This forum is for those who like to dig into the scriptures and share the fruits of their personal study or family worship with their brothers and sisters. It is also okay to ask for assistance in understanding difficult passages, Bible prophecy, or our current understandings and teachings. Your topic should start with the valuable information you have already covered, and not be just a means of asking silly questions or having other community members do your homework for you. Your purpose in starting a topic in this forum should be to share the results of your personal in-depth bible study and why you think it was beneficial to dig into that topic and why you think it's of value to others on JWTalk, or to request assistance on getting a satisfying answer to something you have been studying deeply but are still having difficulty in understanding fully.
What should not go in Deep Research? Do not post curious questions and elementary musings in Deep Research, especially regarding questions that the bible doesn't answer or speculations that we cannot prove scripturally. Please don't ask for help answering a question without FIRST visiting JW.org and the Watchtower Online Library and trying to find the answer yourself. Instead, start a discussion using what you've already learned, and then together we can appreciate and expand on that.
Comfort, Consolation, Support & Recovery
This forum description reads: "A private forum for discussing personal health issues. Talking about your problems can help you deal with your feelings. You are not alone. Discuss personal spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health issues in here. (Members Only)"
This forum is where we can discuss issues that we are struggling with that is negatively impacting our personal health and well-being. This could be a physical or mental condition, sickness, or disease. Personal health and well-being can also relate to how you are feeling emotionally over a situation that is perhaps taxing your spirituality, your meeting attendance, and the quality of your prayers. Since we discuss very personal sensitive issues in this forum, we only allow Full Access members to view these discussions, as well as an occasional Limited Access User if we see fit.
What should not go in Comfort & Support? Generally speaking, issues that are not your own, such as a difficulty your Bible student is having, which would be better suited for "Our Ministry, Our Meetings, and Life as a Christian", as would struggling to grasp a Bible teaching or Witness stance on matter. Any poetry should go in "Encouragement for the Worldwide Brotherhood". Remember that the Staff will move posts to the appropriate forum.
Introduce Yourself and Welcome One Another
The forum description reads: "A members only forum where you can introduce yourself to the rest of the community, as well as get to know your brothers and sisters from all around the world here on JWTalk Forums. (Members Only)"
This is fairly obvious. We love to get to know our brothers and sisters from all around the world, so when you join JWTalk, or shortly thereafter, take the time to introduce yourself to the community. We're eager to learn about you and why you have made the truth your own.
JW.org Press Releases & Other JW Related Articles
The forum description reads: "A public forum for sharing news about Jehovah's Witnesses from JW.org as well as other media sources who report POSITIVE information that we all love to hear and share with our brothers and sisters. (Publicly Visible)"
That should be descriptive enough. This forum is for sharing positive news reports from secular sources about Jehovah's organization and his people worldwide, especially those that give a good witness. Articles from the newsroom at JW.org should be shared and discussed here.
What should not be posted to JW News? We will not entertain apostate propaganda in the news media here, so negative journalism regarding Jehovah's people should not be shared.
Secular News in the Mainstream Media
The forum description reads: "A public forum for discussing secular news from around the world, whether the mainstream media is in the form of articles or videos. Please remember to link to the source. (Publicly Visible)"
This forum is for discussion current news and events from around the world that you obtained from reliable mainstream news outlets. Remember that our News forums are public, and so we want to be giving a good witness and maintaining our nuetrality in our comments in such topics.
What doesn't belong in Secular News? News from alternative sources, such as heavily biases outlets and not-so-trustworthy sources, "fake news" etc. Watch out for op-ed pieces and independent blogs that pass themselves off as news as well.
Alternative News from Offbeat Sources & Sensitive Topics
The forum description reads: "A private forum for unsubstantiated 'news' stories and opinion pieces from alternative journalistic-like articles and videos produced by bloggers and commentators that they promote on their 'alternative' media and 'independent' news sites. This is also where we might move more sensitive subjects. (Members Only)"
This forum is for discussing news topics that are not reported in mainstream outlets but can only be found at alternative "news" sources, and if you don't trust the mainstream media then you'll probably want to post your news here. This forum is private, and so in addition to having a place available for those who are disposed towards a conspiracy-theorist mentality, whether slightly or embarrassingly, we sometimes move topics for discussion that are very sensitive in nature here as well.
What does not go in the Alt.News forum? Mainstream news, or JW News that would be encouraging to a larger, worldwide audience. These other news categories have their own dedicated forums.
The following Hobbies & Special Interest forums are VERY self-explanatory (Publicly Visible):
Computers, Tablets, Mobile Devices, & Apps is a publicly visible forum for discussing computers and mobile technology of all sorts, including how to use our official JW apps & software.
Book, Movies, TV, YouTube, Music, & Theater is a forum for discussing Arts & Entertainment.
A Banquet of Well-Oiled Dishes is a forum for discussing food, beverages, diets, recipes, dining in, and dining out.
Forum Games, Riddles, & Trivia (Publicly Visible)
Forum Games, Riddles, & Trivia is for turn based forum games. Moderated Users cannot participate here because most of these games are turn-based games and played in real time, and by the time a Staff member gets around to approving a Limited Access Users post, several other Full Access Users may have already taken a turn.
What should not be posted in Forum Games? Jokes or anything that isn't a game/riddle/puzzle that is time sensitive or depends on players taking turns.
General Discussion & Everyday Chit Chat (Publicly Visible)
General Discussion & Everyday Chit Chat is a forum for anything that doesn't already have a forum. The forum description reads "The "everything else" hangout lounge - A public forum for discussing personal interests, ask questions, post jokes & silly stuff, or anything else that doesn't fit have a dedicated forum. This is our off-topic general discussion area here at JWTalk. (Publicly Visible)"
What shouldn't go in the General Discussion forum? Anything theocratic. All theocratic topics will be well suited for one of our Jehovah's Witness Discussion Forums. Also, don't flood this forum with several posts about the same subject matter. You may want to consider forming and moderating your own club if you have a particular passion for a certain topic.
(Visibility depends on Club creator)
Club Forums are created and moderated by the individual member who started the Club. While the Staff tries to keep an eye on Club content, the responsibility to approve and moderate Club discussions falls on the Club owner. If you find club content objectionable, please use the Report button on that post to alert the Staff about it for review. Please Note that you may not create theocratic-themed Clubs.
Community Organization & Site Development
Member Support & Community Feedback (Members Only) is for discussion site suggestions, ideas for new features, or to report bugs and other technical issues with using the site.
Confidential Talk with the Moderators (Private) is a forum where only you and the moderators can see the topic you start. We encourage you to use this to discuss concerns you have about the community that you want to bring to our attention. This is also where you would request account deactivation or reactivation if you should decide to return.