Questions, Locations, Conversations, and Activities
Most community members first visit the forums to find help with adjusting to a new operating system, with understanding how things work and the underlying principles involved, or to ask specific questions regarding hardware or software configurations or problems.
Those first questions are often quite simple, and that is okay. The Ubuntu Forums welcome beginners and beginner-level questions. There is even a special location in the forums called Absolute Beginner Talk that is dedicated to inviting beginners to ask any questions they may have, in whatever way they are able to ask them. This is also a location where the more experienced users work to give their answers in the least technical language possible and to give the most detail in their answers, trying not to assume any prior knowledge while giving the steps necessary to complete a task.
As time goes on and community members learn more of the foundational information they need, they become more confident and tend to gravitate to areas of specific interest, both to learn and often to assist other users with fun and useful items that have been discovered. This is when the Main Support categories start to receive more and more use.
It is also around this time in a member's entry into the community that she may discover a new trick that she hasn't read about anywhere on the forums, and many enjoy sharing those in Tutorials & Tips. Members often discover that those who "hang out" regularly in the forums are fun and friendly people with whom they would like to interact in a less formal style. The Community Cafe, which is kind of like the water cooler at work, exists for just that purpose. People drop in to discuss things that are unrelated to tech support, and the topics are often silly and playful—but still safe for workplace and school.
There is a lot more to explore in the forums. There are sections on gaming, art and design, education and science, running a server, security, multimedia production, and a whole lot more. There are even localized forums for groups based on physical location, called LoCo Teams, most of whom hold regular meetings in the real world as well as conduct some of their business in our forums.