The Quick Guide to The D-Word

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Joining the D-Word

Register here. Membership is free and open to all who are interested in documentary filmmaking as long as you abide by our Terms of Service and Code of Conduct.

At The D-Word, there are three types of users:

Guests: These are people who have not registered or are not logged in. They can read our Public Topics, but that is all.

Fans: These are folks who have registered and will be automatically approved as long as they agree to the Terms of Service and Code of Conduct. This is the appropriate level for documentary film fans, aspiring documentary filmmakers, and film students. They can read and post in Public Topics and publicly-accessible archived topics only.

Professionals: These are folks who have registered and have requested access as a documentary professional. Since this status must be reviewed and approved by The D-Word Hosts before being activated, you must complete some biographic information when you register. This is the appropriate level for documentary directors, producers, cinematographers, audio professionals, editors, composers, film festival staff, media funders, broadcasters, and other industry professionals. Professionals can post in all Public and Professionals-Only Topics, and they can read all Archived Topics.

Yes there is.

Code of Conduct on The D-Word

The D-Word is committed to allowing freedom of expression, including maintaining a safe online space for people with opposing views to express themselves. Like the real world, the people who participate in our online forums are diverse -- and their views reflect that diversity.

That being said, everyone who contributes to these conversations should be able to express their views and beliefs in a safe environment, without feeling attacked. In order to foster a safe space for intelligent and respectful dialogue, everyone who participates in The D-Word must agree to and abide by the following Code of Conduct:

Debate is encouraged, but it must remain civil and respectful. We do not tolerate disrespect, extreme vulgarity, or threats of violence on our online forums.

All discussions contained within the professional topics are considered as if copyrighted to their respective posters. Any quoting of posts outside of The D-Word can only be made with written permission of that person.

The Hosts reserve the right to remove all posts and comments that:

  • contain threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content;
  • disrupt dialogue. We do not allow users to repeatedly post the same information to our online forums in a deliberate attempt to "spam", clog or otherwise inhibit open discussion;
  • engage in ad hominem attacks (i.e. attack a fellow user, rather than the content of the comment itself), stalking or otherwise harassing others on our forums;
  • invade a fellow user's privacy;
  • attempt to impersonate or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent another user, person or entity;
  • promote unsolicited or unauthorized commercial advertising, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation whether in The D-Word itself or by using the user directory to farm contact information;
  • endanger or harm a minor in any way.

Please note: If a user violates our Code of Conduct, we reserve the right to ban them from further participation on The D-Word.

Using the master navigation on the homepage left hand column, click on “My D-Word” and follow the drop down to “My profile”. You’ll see a large blue bar at the top of your page with a link to “edit your profile”. When you’re done editing, remember to click “save” at the bottom!

Note: If you already had a profile set, you may want to check your links and photos. Some may have not survived the change to the new site. In particular, characters like apostrophes, quotation marks, and dashes may not have made it.

Using the master navigation on the homepage left hand column, click on “My D-Word” and follow the drop down to “My profile”. Click on the photo and follow the prompts to upload your picture.

Note: If you already had a profile, your photos may not have survived the change to the new site. So you’ll have to upload them again.

 

Participating in the D-Word

Topics are the main dish of The D-Word. This is where the conversation happens. You can always access the Topics list using the left hand navigation from the homepage. Just click on “Topics” and, voila, you can see all the different topics.  If you are seeing only a few Public Topics, that means you are either not logged in or are a Fan. If you are logged in as a Professional, you should be seeing about 40 different topics -- everything ranging from festivals to funding to distribution to research to technical topics on cinematography, editing, and more.

Using the tabs at the top of the Topics section, you can choose to display them by category, by posting date, or by topic name. It’s important to keep conversations organized in the correct topic, so that they can be found again later. You’ll find a handy topic description at the top of each topic, to let you know whether you’re in the right place.

Click into any topic to start reading. You’ll be able to use the continuous scroll function using the toolbar at the bottom of the page to jump back and forward in time. Just click on the drop down menu to navigate and dive into years worth of D-Wisdom that awaits.

Posts you have not read will appear with a white background, and there will be a few posts with a grey background above, to give you context. You can set how many “context” posts you want to see in your settings.

If you’re a power-user, you can use the yellow bar at the top of your homepage view to read new posts in all unread topics or just read new posts in your favorite topics. If you use this option, the blue bar at the top of the screen inside a topic will give you a click through to the next topic with unread posts, and you can easily skip forward and see everything you’ve missed. As you scroll down the page, the blue bar stays with you, so it’s always easy to access.

Easy peasy. Once you’re in any topic you’ll see a teal bar at the bottom even as you scroll down the page. Click on “New Post” at the right of the bar (look for the + sign next to it). Start typing in the white box. On a computer, you can also use the formatting tools to add bold, italics, underline, strike-throughs, bullets, links, and add a Page Break (what we used to think of as the “Hidden Content” since it requires a second click to read all of it). In most topics, you can also add photos and video links. When you are ready to post, just click “Post.” Your post will be the next listed. You can always see your own posts but they will have  yellow background.

Easier peasier. Just click on the arrow pointing left above the post you wish to reply to (it’s the middle of three icons). Once you put your cursor over the arrow you’ll see text that reads: “Write a reply.”

The D-Word is about conversation and discussion, which is the beating heart of any community. Threads are about questions and answers, which certainly has its place (just go to most any other discussion board).  If you’re looking for an answer, ask a question in any topic and you’ll get it soon enough. You can also seek it out in our new, improved search engine.  Think of The D-Word as one big, ongoing conversation that’s been going on for well over 15 years.

As with any online community, it is good to check out the lay of the land before posting, but we really encourage you to dive in and make The D-Word work for you. We encourage you to start by introducing yourself in the (surprise! surprise!) “Introduce Yourself” topic. Then head over to other topics of interest, expertise, or questions. Most of the topics are pretty self-explanatory, but you can also click on them and see a description at the top of the page.

We don’t have many rules at The D-Word other than the golden rule and don’t be a jerk. That said, we do have what we’d call good practices:

  • Introduce yourself: When you first register, we’d love you to drop by the (surprise! surprise!) “Introduce Yourself” topic and do exactly that, even if briefly. We like to know who our new members are.
  • Smile for the camera: Ah filmmakers, we like to be behind the camera rather than in front of it. But we strongly encourage everyone to put up a photo of themselves in their member profile.
  • We don’t bite. While the chattiness of The D-Word may make it seem like the active users all know each other, the truth is some of us have never even met each other in person. And we all started out as first-time posters at one point or another. This is a community which aims to be supportive. So feel free to jump right in to the conversation. We’d like to get to know you.
  • Assume good will. We welcome debates, disagreements and even the occasional flame, but we discourage unnecessary rudeness.  
  • Do not use The D-Word only to pitch your product, service, event, or film. Feel free to recommend products, services, and events in the course of conversation and do tell us if you have any news on your film, but do not offend other users by coming in only to sell something.
  • No need to sign your posts. The D-Word isn’t email. There’s no need to sign your posts at the end as your name and photo appears automatically above every one.
  • Do not double post. If what you’re writing seems to belong in more than one topic, choose the best one. The one exception we make is for the two Classifieds topics (public and professional).
  • Be ready to give as much as you get. Yes it is fine to ask questions, but you will get much more out of the community if you are ready to help others with questions as much as you may have a lot of questions of your own. Also you will probably engage more people if you stay part of the conversation for a while rather than just popping in with a question infrequently.
  • Stay on topic.  It’s mostly a matter of being able to find information in the right place. If you talk about that great new camera in the Bar & Grill, it’s not going to get found later. Not to worry too much, though.  The hosts take on the role of “traffic cops” if the conversations begin to stray too far off topic.
  • Have a film coming out into the world and want to tell us about it? Yay! Even though we do pooh-pooh too much pitching of products, services, and films all over our topics, there are a few where you can feel free to put yourself out there. Want feedback on a trailer or a sequence? “Works-in-Progress” is the place to go. Want to know what folks think of your website? “Member Websites” is for you to share. Crowdfunding for your latest opus? Hey, there’s a topic called “Crowdfunding” where you can announce that and get advice on your campaign from other D-Worders. Anything else self-promotional? There’s a catch-all topic called “Shameless Self Promotion.”
  • Like someone else’s post? That’s great. But you don’t need to post that you agree or that you like a post unless you have something more to add to the conversation. Just want to show someone how awesome or helpful you think her post is? Click that fire icon at the top right of each post to “Light it Up.” The more clicks a post gets, the further it moves up to the Hot Posts. (Yup, the one time that a “flame” in the online world  is actually a positive thing).
  • What’s said in The D-Word stays in The D-Word. In the tradition of other virtual communities, we have a copyright policy in effect here. Which means you own your own words. If you write something here, consider it copyrighted. If you take someone else’s writings or material from here without their permission, consider it stealing. That said...
  • ...Don’t post something you wouldn’t feel comfortable being seen in a newspaper. The public topics are, as you would expect, public. They can show up in search engines. The professional topics on The D-Word are as private as anything online is ever going to be. They do not show up in general search engines. That said, there are nearly 6000 professional members. Things you post may be read by those who respond to the post, but may also be read by many more professional members, potentially including funders, distributors, festival staff, and others beyond filmmakers.
  • With long posts... If you want to include a longer piece of writing from an outside source (a print article, for instance or a long job posting), feel free to post it but put the bulk of the text in the “hidden” area of your post by using the “Page break” feature (the right icon in the formatting icons in the Post box).  And kindly attribute the writing to its author.  Feel free to post a shorter quote from an outside source in the body of your post.

If you are coming to The D-Word to find out about others’ experiences with a film festival or a distributor, for example, you might first want to do a search on one or more keywords by clicking the Search Button (on the left bar on a computer or in the Dropdown menu on a phone). The search will bring up all prior posts (with the most recent one first).

You have up to an hour to delete a post. Just click on the gear wheel icon and you should see an “X” option to delete your post. Why an hour? Because, after that, deleting a post could destroy the flow of a conversation if others have already responded to it.

 

Personalizing the D-Word for how you want to use it

Whether you are checking The D-Word several times a day, once every couple of weeks or twice a year, the best part of the new interface is that it is easier than ever to personalize. New tools make it easier to stay abreast of posts however (in)frequently you check in. 

Sometimes, you may need a quick fix to get caught up after time away from The D-Word. Fear not. We have a few helpful ways to help.

The quickest way to know what you’ve missed is to look at the ‘Hot Posts” box on your homepage view. Here you can quickly scan what your fellow users are finding most interesting.

Using the yellow bar at the top of your homepage view, you can simply click on “Reset Counter to Zero” and—hey presto!—all the topics zero out and you can move forward with a clear conscience.

You can also choose to zero out the counters in any topic category. To do this, navigate to the topics list using the left hand navigation on the homepage, then group the topic by category and use the “Reset Counters” button in each category to wipe away the guilt.

You asked, we listened. It won’t be a “favorite” or a “like” button, but in the new D-Word we will be lighting posts up! At the top of each post, there is a fire icon which you can press when you like a post or think it is worth highlighting for other users. It’s a great way to highlight insightful posts about films, festivals, gear, distribution or other serious and helpful information for the whole community to see. The more users clicking the flames on a particular post, the hotter it gets. The hottest posts get featured on the ever-changing Hot Posts list on our Home Page.

When you click a Topic name in the new D-Word, the topic page will open, revealing a star on the top right of your screen. By clicking this star you favorite this topic. This means that whenever you visit The D-Word, you will see these favorite topics at the very top of your home page.

If you wish to “unfavorite” a topic at any given time, all you have to do is click the same star again and confirm your wish.

The “save posts” feature on the new D-Word can be accessed by clicking on the “Show more tools” icon at the top of each post. When you click that, a text box appears on pop down toolbar where you can enter any tags or notes of your choice.

Posts you save will appear on your profile under the “Favorite Posts” section. You can either browse your favorite posts or you may also search through them by going to the left menu and selecting “My D-Word” then clicking “My Favorite Posts” from the sliding menu.  The search box appears automatically on the top of the next page with your favorite posts listed underneath.

The new design is responsive, meaning that whether you’re looking at it on a tablet, a desktop, or a phone, the layout will adapt to offer you the best experience.

There are two main differences to posting from the mobile platform versus the desktop platform.

On the mobile platform, you click on icons to take actions. To write a post, open up the posting box by clicking on the speech bubble icon in the bottom right hand corner. Once the posting interface is opened, you’ll use the other icons to upload a photo, a video, or to update your location.  To make the best use of limited screen real estate, you won’t have any additional text styling tools (or the ability to hide part of your post) when posting from the mobile interface.

Once you’re in a topic on the mobile platform, clicking the “i” button underneath the topic title will reveal the topic description and the tool for receiving email digests.

On the mobile platform, the main site navigation lives at the top right hand side of your screen in the red bar—click on the three stacked lines to open up the full navigation set of tools.

Searching by topic: Search on one or more keywords by clicking the Search Button (on the left bar on a computer or in the Dropdown menu on a phone). The search will bring up all prior posts (with the most recent one first).

Searching for people (including advanced search functions):  To search for a specific User and find out more about them, you need to visit the “People” tab from the menu on the left side of your screen. Search gives you many options to look up users including searching by names, locations and skills. To perform a simple search for “D-Word User”, all you have to do is type their name in the search box and hit the “Search People” button. If you need to perform a more in-depth search for an editor in New York for example, you may use the “Advanced Search” function to the right of the page. Select the Location from the “Company and Address” section, and check the skill you are looking for under the “Work/Skills” section. You can combine one or more search criteria to make your results more general or more specific.