What is the purpose of this technical platform that Heddate is? It's not that obvious for a newbie to see when a Heddate-site should be used, and when other things are better. This page tries to explain that.
Generally a Heddate site has a theme and even if the users engage in other things on the site, the theme is always there in the background. On a site about cats you can write about that you got married and how this affect your cat, even if the later is not something one would write about on a general networking site.
Heddate messages don't really have any big advantages over email or instant messaging. You can use Heddate's pseudo HTML (See pseudo HTML) to make messages a little nicer and you can use your local letters, Russian, Chinese and any other kinds of letters without problems. The messages are also "threaded" which means that you always know what a message is a comment on.
But if you want to SPAM people, send viruses or other files, email is better. If you just want to talk, instant messaging is better.
The first goal for Heddate was to make it possible to search for people with similar interests or some particular feature. If you need an expert in termodynamics who lives in Belgium, it should be possible to search for that. Of course it's nice to be found sometimes too.
The problem here is that not everyone is a member of the site.
The forums are made to be something between a very complex conference-system and a fast-to-learn message-board. If you want to have a discussion or talk with many people, the forums are a quick way to do that. Unlike normal stupid message-boards, the Heddate forums keep track of what you have read, so if you're a member of the private forum "Me and my friends", you don't have to check that forum every time you log into the Heddate site, because the Heddate-site shows when you have unread messages (called "postings") in the forums.
The forums can be used for three different things. These things are best kept in different forums:
1) To announce things to a group that is interested in that subject.
2) To discuss some subject with many people.
3) To just talk and try to make new contacts. A forum is better than one-to-one messaging because in the forum you don't have to come with a reply to every posting you read to make the messages keep coming.
Note: Some forums are used as a place where you can find information. That works pretty bad even in forums made for that, and even if you can search in the Heddate forums, the wiki is the right place to sum up the knowledge.
The wiki is a set of pages that anyone can edit. You can also put passwords on pages that you only want a small group to be able to edit (which makes it impossible for people to correct your spelling ).
The main feature of the wiki is that you can edit texts together with other people and you get a history of what is done. If you watch a wiki-page you'll be informed as soon as it's updated and can even view what has changed. The page you're reading right now is a wiki-page, but you're not allowed to edit it, but we who can are helped with history and the pseudo HTML.
Another thing is that you can easily link different pages to each other, and therefore divide the information easily.
And if you want to share the pages you have created, you can export them to a URL that even people not logged into the site can see (Some sites export by default and some don't). The Heddate wiki also allows you to write pure HTML and CSS and export the pages.
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