I've been inviting folks who've just joined Atheist Nexus, and haven't had time to figure out how it works. This discussion is intended to ease that learning curve.


The most common confusion I've encountered is that the boxes for adding comments and replies to discussions are easy to see, but how to start a discussion is almost hidden.

Look for a plus sign and blue words "add a discussion" above the bar setting off the comment wall.

 You don't have to be new to leave a question here. Anyone who is experienced, and confident of an answer can post one. You don't have to wait for me to respond.

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Ruth, I thought I did everything you suggested but continue to not have my site getting discussions on a response track.  I've read what has been written but still am not doing something right. Can you guide me further?  Sorry to be a pest.  

Thankyou for the group invitation Ruth Anthony-Gardner and for the newbie hints.

Ruth, is it possible to include a "Like" button?  I want the author to know I agree and don't want to clutter up the string with little affirmations.  

As far as I know (which isn't a lot) the like button is programmed by Ning. Maybe where they're placed is something Atheist Nexus administrators can control. The only direct powers group moderators have are located in their options button, just to the left of "+ Add" which is in the upper right corner.

Question:Comment by sk8eycat on Saturday

Why can't I Paste an image in here? I tried several different versions, and nada.

Answer: In order to "paste" an image into a comment, first locate the "Image" button in the light grey bar above the comment field. If this grey bar doesn't show up, you have a browser problem.

After you hit the Image button, you'll see this window.

If the image is in your computer, use the browse button. If it's on the web, use the "From a URL" tab.

Recently a member posted a very long reply. I sent this message to him, then realized it might also be helpful to lots of others who aren't used to social network sites.

Long Discussions or Replies

I'd like to suggest that you consider making several shorter posts in a Hang With Friends discussions, rather than one really really long one.


In my experience, even people who are perfectly happy reading a long magazine article or book have difficulty digesting this much text at once in a social network medium.


Perhaps it has something to

do with the narrow column

or reading on a screen.


One member let me know he would have participated in a discussion, but your long reply discouraged him. He called it a high signal to noise ratio.


Somehow we seem to do more mental work to digest the meaning of bare text in this medium.

To adapt to the limitations of the medium, you will observe that I keep my posts fairly short. You will also note that I use pictures

and animated gifs whenever possible, to appeal to emotion.

  • It also helps to use bold to help people understand the most critical point at first glance.
  • I use italics for emphasis, and
  • rarely underline or strikethrough.
  • Paragraph breaks and bullet points can also help.

The point is that people need short chunks with visual relief, for understanding your meaning to be pleasant and easy.

As soon as they see a column of text that goes from the top of their screen to the bottom, eyes roll up and brains shut off.

It's human nature, not something worthy of blame.

If you are not convinced, try this. Copy this message, open a new tab in AN, and past it into a comment in The Sandbox. Strip out all of my format bells and whistles so the text if formatted exactly the way yours was in your reply. Then open the two tabs side by side and compare their effect on you, as you reread them.

Thanks for your attention.

Ruth, thanks for the great tips. 

Hi Ruth,

I joined AN about a year ago, you were the first to contact me and invited me to join your group, I joined today, and tomorrow (or maybe the day after tomorrow) I'm going to stop procrastinating.

I offer my belated thanks for your hospitality and your words of welcome to me in November 2011,


Nice to have you, Michael.


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