Help Using SO Forums

Welcome, Friend! Here are a few tips to help you participate in Shambhala Online Forums.

English: Using our resources and forums Español: Utilizando nuestros recursos y foros

Forum software overview

Shambhala Online uses BuddyPress for our discussion forums. Conversations in the forums are an essential element of most Shambhala Online classes — where you can ask questions, share your understanding and help each other expore the material.  In addition, the forums are where:

  • Q&A sessions, meetings with the teachers, etc. are announced,
  • Dyads are formed and meeting location and times are decided, or
  • Resources such links, readings, photos or videos from meetings with teachers, etc. are shared.

Forum structure

Here is a way to visualize the structure of the discussion space for a class where multiple topics can each contain multiple responses:

Topic 1

  • Response
  • Response
  • Response
  • ….

Topic 2 (week 3)
Topic 3

By browsing around your class forum, you can quickly get a sense of what’s up for discussion and where you can participate.  Some of the topics are set up at the beginning of the class and associated with a particular talk or reading but others are created later on.  The responses are contributed by students as they progress through the class material.  Introductions and socializing are welcome.

Contributing to the conversation

In your class forum you can 1) post a new topic, 2) respond to topics that others have posted or 3) respond to the responses that have already been posted.  In a response, you can add photos, links and control the appearance of your post in the post box:

Budddpress text box for contributing to a conversation.

When you paste text into the response box, there may be invisible characters that come along when you are in “Visual” mode that do not show up when you switch to “Text” mode above the input box. After a response has been posted, you will see a grey band above it with buttons that let you edit or delete your posts (or to reply to someone else’s post).  Some buttons will be greyed out if you do not have permission to use them.  The right-most link points exactly to a post, so that you can point to it from another post (even in another topic).BuddyPress link buttons for editing, deleting, or replying to a response.

Notice that the REPLY button on the right lets you nest a response under another response.  That makes it easy to give structure to a conversation, indicating that you are replying to a specific response.

Change your photo (avatar)

It helps people to relate to each other when their text is accompanied by a small photo of the author. If you have a favorite photo of yourself, BuddyPress makes it easy to upload it by clicking on your username (upper right hand corner of the page) to select “Edit profile”:

If your computer has video, BuddyPress will let you take a snapshot of yourself, too.

Mindfulness of speech

In addition to practicing mindfulness of speech in Shambhala Online forums, it’s helpful if responses are brief.  Organizing your thoughts into parts, by breaking them down into separate paragraphs or by writing them in more than one post can make it easier on others who are trying to read the discussion and find where they can contribute.