How do you use the forum?

Discourse (the software we use for this forum) has lots of different settings and possible tweaks. With all of those, plus over 40 new topics and 2000 posts everyday, it can feel a little overwhelming to navigate the forum at first… so I have this plan to write a little how-to “guide to the forum” that might help newbies find their way around and feel more confident stepping in here.

For that, I’d like to know a bit more about everyone’s workflow on your forum visits. What is the first thing you do when you come here? Do you go for a specific tab (Unread, Latest, New, Bookmarks, etc) or maybe a specific category? Have you customized your notifications for a certain part of the forum, or perhaps hid other parts entirely? What settings or tweaks do you feel have made a difference?

I’ll give an example:

  • I have made the Unread tab my default tab when entering the forum. That way, the first thing I see when I come are all the topics I’ve subscribed to that have new replies.
  • I also have activated the setting that automatically sets a topic to “Tracking” when I post in that topic — if I’m making a post, it’s usually because I’m interested in it.

Please share your experiences below! I hope to include some of these on an upcoming blog post. :slight_smile:


I go straight to bookmarks and check those forums first. Then I check New, where I will either visit topics I find interesting or mute the ones I don’t. And then I check the unread forum and grumble that so many are tracked that I don’t want to track. Honestly, I find that feature the most annoying. I don’t think tracking should be automatic and I wish there was a way to disable that feature (And maybe there is and I haven’t discovered it yet). When I tag someone in a topic, that doesn’t mean I want to track that topic. I bookmark those I want to track/watch. It seems to me, once I’ve checked a topic/post a few times, the tracking automatically turns on, even if I haven’t posted in it. I wish it didn’t. It clutters up my feed.

Thank you for sharing!

You should be able to configure these on your Notification Settings:

Screen Shot 2023-05-25 at 17.32.11

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I have bookmarked the forum in my browser.
I always look at “new” first. Every morning and during the day. (Unless I don’t have time).
Then I read the titles and see what I find interesting, I read that.
Then I click on “dismiss new” for the other topics.

Then I look at the new messages and responses to topics, the blue and / or green circle on my profile image.

I subscribe to some topics by email. I leave those emails unread (or mark them as unread again) until I have time to read and respond.

Very sometimes I really go to a specific board to read

On the forum I bookmark my own topics and topics that I find really interesting, to make them easy to find. I receive an email from the topics I started when someone posts a message. Very occasionally also from topics that I find interesting, but usually only temporarily.

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That’s how I have mine set… yet I always find some of them tracked even though I never touch that feature other than to turn it off. I haven’t been able to figure out the trigger yet. But it does appear to happen if I’ve gone into a particular topic more than once.

First of all I have changed some default settings. I don’t track any topic automatically, just because I read it or post there. That’s way too overwhelming for me. When I find a topic that I’m interested to follow in the future, I manually set it to tracking (or even watching for my favourite ones). And I have disabled all email notifications except for PMs when I’m not online.

I have muted all #communities except for the one in my own language, same for the #meetups category. I’ve also muted some sub-categories that don’t interest me at all (travelling notebooks, travelling toys, …). Some very active topics that aren’t of interest for me, went to my muted list, too. As they kept popping up in my latest list and I manually ignored them all the time. Better get rid of those :wink:

When I enter the forum, I always enter to my language community and start to check the unread topics there, afterwards the other unread topics that I track or watch, my notifications and PMs.

If I still feel like browsing a bit more I check the latest tab, which is always open when I’m at my computer. I read whatever catches my attention.

At last I have some tags set to watch, so whatever topic is tagged with that keyword is added to my tracking list (so I don’t miss those :sweat_smile:). I set them to normal after I checked them and either responded or found that they are not interesting to me.

I don’t use bookmarks a lot (except for topics I need to be reminded of at a specific time, e.g. when running a lottery).


I would say that when I open the Forum, the #1 Tab I open is my Bookmarks, followed by #2 “New.” Within the “Bookmarks,” I have a monthly Gratis offer. Whenever I run a Lottery, I will bookmark that too. But I set the Notifications setting to “Normal.”

I think I have to do a deep dive on notification settings. For some reason, a number of Lotteries by others (Chain, regular, etc) appear in the “New” section . I have zero interest in these.

That’s it so far…

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I start from the main page and look on this

Then I go to “new topics”, to “bookmarks” and to my language community.
Sometimes I subscribe to new discussion topics with email notifications.

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I usually start here:

and if I have more time, I will check also “Latest”. I never go to “New” - no idea what even lands there :grin:

I haven’t muted anything as I see all topics as potentially interesting, even if I will never look at most of them. I disabled notifications for likes (so I don’t know when/if anyone likes my posts - it’s not really interesting for me), I don’t automatically track anything, I have one category set to “Watched” but no topics (bookmarks are enough for me).

I tried to remove as many notifications as I could, it felt as too much noise. The one category that remains as “Watched” is not very active so I keep it like that (for now).

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I usually go first to Spanish and Anime - Manga subforums.
Then, if there is time, I check General forum.

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The first thing I look at is “unread.” There I have actually everything inside what interests me daily (Tags, Thank you for Tags, German Tags) Then I look at “new” or go into the main categories “Postcrossing” and “Postcards - Mail” and look at the first contributions and/or the newest comments. Finally I am in the German forum.

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Usually I first check my notifications (I tend to dismiss notifications about likes and only click on mentions and replies) and messages. Then I go to “Unread” and after that I generally check the Postcrossing category, which is the most interesting section of the forum for me.

Then I check “New”, open potentially interesting topics in another tab and dismiss the rest. I also check the Mail/stamps category occasionally, and even less often I click on “Latest”.

I’ve also muted a lot of categories, like all regional/language subforums except the German one, meetups, tags and I don’t even remember what else. :wink: I also mute threads that are very active but don’t interest me, so it’s easier to follow the ones that do.

Everywhere I post is automatically set to tracking, but sometimes I remove that after a while. I also set a thread to tracking if I want to keep up with it, even if I haven’t posted in it myself, rather than use bookmarks. I have a few, but rarely click on the tab. E-mail notifications were the first thing I turned off, they were much too much for me.

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How do I use the forum ?

Hmm, I firstly check if I have new private messages or responses to my posts, the little green circle one and blue circle one through my avatar.

And next I go check my own language Community, which is Japanese Community.

I used to check the General Topic posts a lot everyday but nowadays I do not have much time to follow all of them - it is quite a lot of reading online for me.

I check postcard tag games quite a lot. It does not move much everyday, quite easiy to follow. Round Robins games are quite overwhelming for me, I rarely check them.

I sometime check Help! section, which I think will help new members a lot with everything, pretty much. It helps me too sometimes.

Then, I quickly check Other section, Handmade and Mailart section, Postcard and Other items trade section, Lotteries and Postcard Chat section and Japan Meetup setion as I personally enjoy them.

I randomly browse different language communities, RAS and non-RAS, Suggestion section if I have time, once in a while.

Infinite threads move rather fast everyday for me, I only check what is going on there like once in several or a few days, but I rarely participate there.

Hmm, what else, for me ?
I guess that is about it as my time on Postcrossing forum is quite limited nowadays.

Since I was a forum newbie, I had been checking the above mentioned sections and by reading posts, creating threads and posting myself here and there casually, I slowly started to figure out how the forum works bit by bit.


i usually check first private messages and mentions, i get e-mail notification if i have mention or message, then i check new posts, then i look latest. i try´d bookmarks but it didn´t work as i expected ( or i didn´t know how to use it right)

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For me :

  • I set the forum as the first bookmark in my browser so I can open it first thing every day.
  • I muted the #meetups and #communities categories (except for my own country).
  • Before, the first thing I see when I came here is the bookmarked topics, but since we have the disappearing bookmarks problem, I changed it to “New”. So now I always read the new topics first.
  • If I have new private massages, I usually try to answer that first before everything else.
  • Then I will check the notifications. I prefer daily notifications but don’t want to receive e-mails (except for PMs).
  • After that, I will go to each categories. My favorite is the #postcard-mail category so usually I go there first, and then #postcrossing, #everything-else, etc. I check the “bookmarks” first, before see the “latest” topics. I open every topics that interest me if there are new replies. Sometimes I participate, sometimes I just read.
  • Sometimes I check the #games-activities category too but rarely participate. Round Robins, especially, are still a bit too much for me compared to the old forum.
  • I don’t set any topics to Tracking or Watching except for the topics I made myself. Too much notifications / numbers overwhelms me sometimes.

I go straight to the homepage to have a rough ideas what is currently happening by scanning through the topics that have new updates.

Then, check the Offers Postcards and Stamps section - - - > Lotteries - - - > General Discussions - - - > Click “New” tab - - - Check my notifications - - - > Anime & Manga fanclub the last because there is usually very little updates.

I prefer to click here and there to discover new topics & latest updates than rather keeping a list of bookmarks. I never track nor watch any topics including the ones that I have participated before. I don’t own a bookmark list as well.

I find the “New” tab is useful for knowing what is the latest happening right now at one glance.


I always check my notifications first. Then I read the replies and mentions, and after that I look into some tags and RRs I’m tracking to see if there’s anything of interest or if I would like to join again. Then I read new PMs, then the new topics and then, if there’s still time, I might browse some other sections of the forum.

In addition, I update the RR I host once or twice a week - it’s a rather small RR, so there’s not that much maintenance work to do.

:green_heart: :fox_face:

First I check my notifications, then the Anime & manga section to read the threads I don’t get notifications for. Then I read some threads in the “Everything else” category, the “Postcrossing” category, the “Postcards & mail” category and the French language section. Finally I go to browse the games and trades.

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I mostly read the forum without logging in. I read new posts in General Topics, Help and Suggestions via the links on the start page, and I read meetup threads in countries that interest me. I only log in when I specifically want to comment on something and I have all notifications off. :woman_shrugging:

This is exactly how I use the forum :smile: Sometimes I change from tracking to normal manually, when I am not interested in the topic anymore or in RR and tags (I don’t need to track every post, only when someone mentions me).