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Welcome! A lot of smiths here on IFI; you're in good company.

A few pointers for making IFI a rewarding experience:

1. Put your location in your profile settings You might be surprised how many other smiths are in your area or how some questions of resource availability are affected by your geographic location. Go to Settings to change this.

2. Respect the old-timers. The self-proclaimed curmudgeons of IFI are some of the most generous folks you will ever meet, ready to help anyone and everyone who asks, BUT have little to no patience with people who won't take advice or who expect to have everything handed to them on a silver platter. This leads me to my next point:

3. DO YOUR RESEARCH. I cannot emphasize this one enough. IFI has a huge amount of information scattered through its hundreds of discussions, and just about every question you can think of has already been addressed. If you have a question, go looking for the answer -- you'll pick up a lot of other good information on the way, and if you can't find the information you need, you will at very least be able to ask a better-informed question. In other words, the more you read, the less time you will need to spend to get started.

3a. Pro tip #1: When doing your research, don't bother with the Search box up at the top of the page; it's pretty worthless. Go to google and include "site:iforgeiron.com" as one of your search terms. 

3b. Pro tip #2: Take some time to familiarize yourself with the sections and subsections of the forum. Even if you don't read everything right away, it's good to know what's out there and where to find it. The Table of Contents is a great resource for this. 

3c. Pro tip #3: A change in the forum software a few years back led to the loss of most of the photos in many of the older threads. Read the threads anyway, and try to puzzle out from the comments what people are talking about. It's frustrating, but there's still a lot of good material; it's also a good mental exercise. Blacksmithing can make you smart.

4. Ask detailed questions. There are very few absolute rules in blacksmithing, and almost every question can be answered in different ways, depending on context and circumstances. It is much better to give too much detail when asking your question than too little. If you give too little, don't be surprised or offended when people ask for more.

4a. Don't be upset if folks correct your terminology. Blacksmithing has its own jargon and a basic function of jargon it for a group of people to be able to make *precise* descriptions of what they are trying to do and what they are doing it with.  Example: a common mistake is using the term smelting, (making metal from ore), instead of melting, making metal liquid for casting.  We have folks here who do both and there are very different requirements for equipment and techniques!

4b. We want you to succeed, and we want to be a part of your success. When asking a question, give us all the information you have, with photos, so we can immediately jump in at your level and answer your question. If you are provided references, read the reference and redefine your question to make it more specific. The depth is knowledge on the site is amazing, we just need to know where to start.

5. Post in proper area.  For example, posting a heat treating question should be in one of the heat treating areas, not in the tailgating section which is for sales items. (Regarding the latter, please see  Advertising and editing on IForgeIron.)

6. Forum navigation:  Can't view multiple pages of thread? To move forward and back from page to page in a long thread, you can reload or refresh to get the next page when you get the infinite loading message. (NOTE: This issue appears to have been fixed with the August 17, 2020 forum software update.)

Bonus tip #1: When using the "Quote" feature, it's a good idea to edit out of the quote everything except what you're commenting on or asking about. Also, make sure to delete all images from the quote, unless there's something extremely specific that you need the image to ask about. Pictures take up a lot of bandwidth, and it's a courtesy to Glenn (forum owner and curmudgeon emeritus) to keep that to a minimum. This is discussed in The Quote Feature.

Bonus tip #1a: Don't quote the comment immediately preceding yours, as this also clogs up the forum and makes it hard to read. The only exception is if you are replying to one specific thing within a longer post; in that case, highlight those words, click "Quote selection", and then type your response.

Bonus tip #2:  Tagging other members using the "@" symbol (for example @Glenn) is frowned upon. Don't take prior examples of people doing this as an indication that it's currently okay.

Bonus tip #3:  Resize your photos.  The forum software doesn't like huge files, so resize them before you upload them. Some smartphones will allow you to choose the size while uploading. Once you have uploaded your photos, resize them again for easier viewing: click "edit" at the bottom of your post and double click on a photo. A window will pop up to allow you to change the number of pixels in the width; I usually go with 500 for a horizontal photo and 350 for a vertical.

Bonus tip #4: If you are new to blacksmithing, please read the Common Basic Mistakes That Beginners Should Avoid post.

Bonus tip #5 The forum is a family friendly site  Improper language is strictly monitored/moderated. No language you would have to explain to a 5 year old.

Bonus tip #6 Do not add links to commercial sites, mentioning the name is allowed but an off site link is not.

And finally: here's an incomplete list of Acronyms and Abbreviations

No reason to quote what we just read.  The quote feature explains using quotes. 

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  • Mod42 unpinned and pinned this topic
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YOUR content needed to be moderated because YOU evidently ignored the rules and warnings. Everybody gets edited occasionally but you have to TRY to get yourself moderated. The rules you agreed to follow when you subscribed are simple enough. Did you read them?

Frosty The Lucky.

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