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Electricians forums

We were recently sent an email from the team at Merton Electricians (http://www.mertonelectrician.com/), asking what the best forums are for electricians in the UK. While we don’t have any experience with them, we do like a good challenge here at forums lair! While a simple Google search will show all the different forums for UK electricians, it’s not a guarantee that any of them will be any good, popular or well-frequented. So we’ve done some research to sniff out what the best forums would be!

electriciansforums.co.uk

The is the first result for a Google search. At first glance this forum seems fairly good. Its members seem fairly active, it has a range of discussions and membership is free unlike some trades forums. one criticism we have of it is that it isn’t very well laid out, and looks like the design hasn’t been updated in quite a few years, this can make it difficult to find your way around the site and makes everything look a bit samey. One very big pro for this community however is just how deeply specialised the boards are; there are boards for very specific and specialised topics such as Underfloor heating, hydroelectric power, broadband maintenance and electrician’s training, as well as off-topic discussion.

Talk Electrician Forum

Talk Electrician Forum is the next hit. Again, this forum is free to join, though it does ask you for some details about your training and skills. While this forum is better designed than electriciansfrums.co.uk, it is not anywhere near as active. It seems that most discussion is localised to a few certain boards. It doesn’t have as many specialised boards, but it is much easier to navigate the site to find which topic you want. It also looks cleaner and natural to use.

The Screwfix Electricians Community

While this one isn’t a specific electrician’s board, strictly speaking; it is a great resource. It is very active, and while it doesn’t break down into separate areas of discussion for electricians, it does have very value and content-filled threads. Because the community is also part of the wider screwfix forums, it also means you can get advice from another profession if you ever need it, without having to find another community to join and participate in. Signing up is very easy, and you can even do it with your Facebook account.

Electricians Chat

Moving back to electrician specific sites, this one seems fantastic. Again sign-up is free, but this board really focuses on developing the community in the forum. Not only does it have an active community, with almost all boards having a post within the past 2 weeks, but there are also events and meet-ups organised by the community and the board moderators. Finally, there is a forum called The College, specifically for use by trainees currently in education for the electrical trade. the design of the board also works very well, it’s easy to follow, very clean and easy-to-use.

IET forums (The Institution of Engineering and Technology)

These forums are unique in that you can only access them if you are a current member of the IET, but this means that only the most professional, correct advice would be given to you if you have questions or a request. It also seems like the most active community of all those we’ve looked at, from the looks of the boards that are publicly available. Of course restricting who can join means that if you aren’t a registered electrician, then you can’t access a lot of the discussions, and while this isn’t always needed for a layman, for those electricians still in training or education, not being able to access this information is a great loss.

We hope this post has been useful for you guys at Merton Electricians, and if you’re in another sector or want us to investigate certain forums, then contact us here to let us know!

Reddit

Reddit is another forum that has links with Something Awful. Its founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian were very infrequent posters at the Something Awful forums and decided they wanted to create a site that was similar to Digg, but had greater functionality and engagement with users.

The site was created in June 2005, and expanded, as well as the team behind the site, within the next few months as the site grew exponentially. At the end of 2005, Redit merged with Aaron Swartz’ company infogami, which created a new company Not A Bug, which Swartz became the owner of. In October 2006, Conde Nast publications bought the site and the team was moved to San Francisco, which is where it now resides.

Reddit’s first claim to fame is its use of the Karma system, in which you can upvote or downvote other users posts and comments, which would then change the order in which they are shown. This means that if a user was to post a useful comment underneath an original post, other users could highlight how good this comment is, which would move it to the top of the comments. Vice Versa, if there is a useless comment or troll, other users could downvote it enough that it drops down in the rankings, or eventually can disappear from sight.

Many of the memes on the internet that don’t originate at Something Awful originate from Reddit, this is especially true as Reddit comes into the public consciousness more and more, through appearing on the news, having AMAs with famous people and celebrities and being a source of information for documentaries and editorials.

AMAs are another thing that Reddit has become famous for. This stands for “Ask Me Anything”, in which the Reddit team will ask celebrities, people of the moment, or experts in their field to come onto Reddit and allow the userbase to ask this person anything they wish. The guest would then reply in real time to these questions and provide value to the community in any way they can. It’s very similar to a press conference, only online and unmoderated (apart from overly offensive comments). An offshoot of this event is a subreddit called IAmA – “I Am A”, in which posters invite users to ask them anything regarding their job or profession, usually with some very interesting conversations coming about.

Due to the free registration – unlike Something Awful and 4chan, and the success of the karma system, reddit has become the largest non social-media online community of all, with 542 Million monthly users. It has become the 7th most visited site in the US, and 22nd most visited in the world. Its interest base has also grown a great deal, with there now being 11,400 active subreddits all dealing with a different specific interest, such as Books, IAmA, EarthPorn, Futurology, NoSleep, TodayILearned, DIY and many more.

Because Reddit is such a large site (it calls itself, probably aptly, “The internet’s Frontpage”, there are obstacles that have to be overcome with its userbase. One of these are the so-called Reddit Effect. When a site is linked from Reddit and it goes onto the frontpage, or even linked in a popular subreddit, the sheer volume of traffic that comes through that link can very easily crash smaller websites and servers, therefore Reddit’s editors have created several bots that take snapshots of websites when a link is posted, so users can still see the site when it is flooded with traffic.

Reddit has also had/caused its fair share of controversies, being on national news several times. This has caused Reddit to change its site-wide editorial rules a few times, including banning suggestive content featuring minors, banning doxxing fellow users, which can reach the point of entire subreddits being deleted, and banning certain types of discussion on certain boards. I.E. opinion pieces on the News subreddit and climate change denialism on the Science subreddit.

With Reddit’s Editors constantly attempting to improve the site to make it more accessible to outsiders, trying to keep the userbase from getting to dangerous and allowing debate without allowing hate speech, it seems like Reddit is showing no signs of slowing down to become the biggest site in the US, greater even than Facebook and Twitter!

4Chan

As we wrote in our previous blog post on the Something Awful Forums, most of the Internets’ largest discussion boards are offshoots of the forums or users moving from there to create their own communities. 4Chan is one such community.

A user on the Somethingawful Forums named “Moot”, was one of the users that frequented a board that discussed anime. However, the board came under fire from the rest of the community when users started to post questionable images of anime characters that were children or looked like it. The argument reached the point where forums owner Lowtax was forced to close the board. It was at this point Moot decided he wanted to create his own community that was generally lacking any rules whatsoever.

The inspiration for 4chan specifically came from another Japan based board that he frequented named 2chan. This was primarily an image based website, where images were organised by category into different boards and users could then comment on those photos anonymously. he downloaded the software used to create 2chan (Futabally), translated it into English, hosted it on a webserver and invited some friends he had made on the Something Awful forums to start posting there instead. This was successful and eventually, everyone on the board was invited and started to participate in 4chan.

The boards were originally used mainly for the posting of photos, mainly manga and anime, and discussing these images/topics. Howveer, as the board grew, 4chan started to develop new subset boards. While there are now many boards on 4chan, just as there are on Reddit or Something Awful, one in particular is responsible for 4chan’s infamy. That is the /b/ board. this board is one in which users attempt to create meta-humour through use of satire and irony, often causing the humour to become impenetrable to those not regular users of the board.

This board is responsible for raids (planned and executed attacks) on various places on the internet. Most famously, Mastercard, PayPal, Scientology and the Australian government. 4chan will DDoS these sites which brings them offline while the webhosts ban all the incoming IPs attacking the site and bring the server back online.

It is also strongly thought that Anonymous, the group known for trolling much of the internet, as well as organisations, businesses and governments was created by various members of /b/, or spawned from some of /b/’s raids and has strong connections to it. In fact, in 2011, when Sabu, one of the chief members of Anonymous gave names of his fellow Anonymous members to the FBI, it was soon found that many of the top members of the collective were frequent posters in 4chan and specifically /b/.

While in the beginnings of Anonymous, it was used primarily as a trolling vehicle, after the events of 2011, Anonymous was greatly weakened and started to only target what it thought were immoral causes. It is increasingly thought that those original members of anonymous that were pushed out during this time, went on to form the alt-right, which was one of the largest campaigning bodies for Donald Trump’s election to US President.

As for 4chans’ responsibility in the formation of memes, most of them begin in Something awful, make their way to 4chan and from there spread out throughout enough of the internet, (through Twitter and Facebook groups) that these memes come into the public consciousness. The most famous of these are lolcats, Chocolate Rain, Pedobear and Rickrolling.

Probably the definition of 4chan was made by the Guardian in 2008: “[The 4chan community is] lunatic, juvenile […] brilliant, ridiculous and alarming”.

Something Awful Forums

What better forum to start off this blog with than the Something Awful Forums? it’s often thought that these are where almost all the now largest internet communities stem from for one reason or another, and where their humour originates from.

Much of internet culture can be traced back to Something Awful, with 4chan and Reddit being created by long-time members of the Something Awful forums as a way to fix what their creators saw as problems with Something Awful’s format. Something Awful is also where memes first started to become created and shared on the internet, with many of the internet’s earliest and most well-known memes originated from.

The Somethingawful Forums were started as the forums for the Something Awful website; a comedy website built by Richard “Lowtax” Kyanka in 1999. This website largely started as Lowtax’s personal website for his various humorous articles and soon became popular enough that he created a forum for discussion of his posts on the front page and he started to gain more contributors and content.

In 2001, Lowtax introduced a paywall on the forums of $10 in order to both monetize his writing and only allow people into the forums that he believed would be a benefit to the community. This paywall is still in effect, though some forums are periodically open for public viewing in order to entice possible members. People that are members of the Something Awful forums are called “Goons”.

Some of the internet’s earliest & most famous memes were originated in Something Awful;

  • Happycat, which depicts a happy-looking Grey Moggy
  • All Your Base Are Belong To Us, A .gif of a poorly translated cutscene from the game Zero Wing
  • Goatse, Tubgirl and Lemonparty, which are all images intended for shock value – often they would be disguised under innocent looking anchor text in order to troll anyone clicking the link.
  • Chuck Norris facts, which are all ironic “facts” about Chuck Norris
  • How is Babby Formed, a video in which various Yahoo Questions regarding pregnancy are misspelled are voiced by a “Goon”.
  • Slender Man – While this one is newer (2009), it may be the most famous meme created by the Something Awful forums. In a thread entitled “Create Paranormal Images”, a poster named Victor Surge created the tale of a character called Slenderman who abducts and kills young children

The Let’s Play phenomenon also begun at Something Awful. Various threads started to appear with screenshots of various games in which the player would post an update to their game and ask the people following the thread how they should proceed with a choice/choices. Michael Sawyer under the nickname “slowbeef” then created a video playthrough of The Immortal in which he would explain what was happening as he went through the game.

Many on the forums then started to create threads following this process, and the forums made changes to allow them to be created easily. These Let’s Plays then became popular off the site and have now developed into what is commonly known throughout the internet as Lets’ Plays.

The forums have also been home to many controversies in which the mods started to ban users who would watch anime, engaged in furry culture and otherwise were causing problems with the forums community.

This is what caused 4Chan and Reddit to be created, which we will cover in future blog posts.

Welcome to our new blog!

Welcome to the new Forum Lair blog! This blog will be all about informing you about important forums around the internet. We hope to grow into a large enough resource that we become the wikipedia of forums, but we’ll see how things go! If you ever want to contact us, then click here!