This feature comes from the band of CIEP members who volunteer as forum moderators. Links to the forum threads will only work after you’ve registered for the forums and logged in.
If there is one place worth revisiting often, it’s the CIEP member forums. Some of us swear that access to the forums alone is worth the membership fee – and that’s only a slight exaggeration. In fact, about half the people who have joined the forums have never written a post, but I’m sure they’ve gained plenty from their lurking.
One member has written over 17,000 posts, but then they’ve been signed up for nine years and had plenty of official business to discuss. One per cent have contributed over 1,000 posts, but the majority contribute as and when the fancy takes them. And there’s plenty of variety to suit anybody’s fancy.
All CIEP members have the right to access the forums, but for the moment (until our new website is up and running) you do have to take the positive step of joining. It is a two-stage process, but simple. First you register via the main CIEP website, then your application is approved by a moderator (sometimes this happens in minutes, sometimes in hours; it depends whether the volunteer moderator is online at the time). This process ensures privacy on the forums, because this is a space to share and to vent as well as to pick up useful info. It’s the CIEP water cooler!
Frequent venting, constant support
Plenty of venting does go on: against low pay (Offer from [global company]); against rude clients (Rude email from publisher for asking MS to be in order); and against incomprehensible paperwork (HMRC self-assessment – reporting ‘foreign income’). But it is never allowed to get personal or vindictive. By all accounts, our forums are a much friendlier space than many online. If a thread looks as though it’s going that way, then any member can easily flag up their discomfort by emailing the moderators (firstname.lastname@example.org). Posts may be deleted, threads removed and, in the worst case, a member can have their access denied (temporarily or permanently). It does happen – but not often. Any vitriol is dealt with swiftly and fairly and in line with the CIEP Dignity Policy. But what usually happens is that a range of viewpoints emerges, putting things in perspective and offering a solution or two.
Many people use the word ‘supportive’ in relation to the forums. It goes without saying that much of that refers to sharing professional knowledge. Knowledge about words and their ‘correct’ use, knowledge about the business of editing/proofreading and acquiring clients, knowledge about hardware and software. But there is other, more nebulous, support that goes on throughout the forums.
On the forums during COVID-19
A case in point has been during the coronavirus lockdown, when the forums have come into their own. Discussions have ranged across:
- locating valid facts about the pandemic (Lies, damned lies and …)
- how to write the virus’s name and associated terms (Words for our time; CV-19 lexicon and the lighter Your new crisis lexicon)
- how to cope with a lack of income, and the eligibility for financial support and where to find it (govt help for self-employed; HMRC webinars to support the self-employed; Tool to check eligibility for government grant)
- keeping up with CPD and your business (16 free video courses from LinkedIn; Essential tools for an editor?; The coronavirus and our work)
- dealing with Zoom (Zoom/concentration fatigue; security in Zoom; Problems with Zoom video not working)
- sharing tips and tricks for dealing with lockdown and isolation (Online resources to help beat cabin fever; Free trials for online fitness platforms; Parenting and editing: managing normally, and managing now)
- and plenty of great videos, modified lyrics and hilarious cartoons to lift the locked-down spirits (from a Gilbert & Sullivan spoof to one of many reworkings of familiar tropes in Another Lockdown laugh to Typo of the day).
One great virtue of the forums is that the threads automatically become a huge archive, a fount of collective wisdom. The extraordinary thing is how much of this knowledge remains useful year on year, which makes the role of lurker even more valid!
Many questions come up over and over again, particularly from newbies, so the best first step is to use the Search function. Like all search facilities you need to play with the term(s) you input; if, at first, nothing comes up, then try again with a longer or a different word (it needs to be at least four characters long). But please don’t moan if you find you’re sucked into a distracting vortex of posts and you lose an afternoon! We guarantee the forums will distract, entertain and educate you, and it’ll be time well spent.
Photo credit: Kindness by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash
Proofread by Emma Easy, Intermediate Member.
Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.