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As is the yearly tradition here at T-ShirtForums.com, August is the official "Member Appreciation" month! (However, since I got sidetracked by trying to get this year's EXTRAVAGANZA t-shirts out faster than ever before, Member Appreciation Month will be in September for 2010 :)
Member Appreciation Month is a celebration of both new members to the forums and our great existing community of experts and t-shirt enthusiasts who take time out of their day to offer help to their peers.
In April of 2005, I started T-ShirtForums.com as a way to share some of the things I've learned in the t-shirt world over the years. My goal was to create a friendly and welcoming community that encouraged others to share what they've learned.

Back in 2005, when the site launched, it was a much different landscape. Information on the industry was
much harder to find, and online forums were not usually taken seriously.

I remember attending my first ISS Show in 2006 to learn more about all the different aspects of the t-shirt business. As I walked the aisles, I would sometimes talk with one of the many vendors there and mention off hand that I was starting an online community forum for the t-shirt industry. Most of the suppliers there either didn't know or didn't care what an online forum was

A lot has changed since those early days.
Much more than I ever imagined was possible. I am very grateful to each and every member who asks a question, shares an answer, or just reads the wealth of information that has been posted to T-ShirtForums.com over the years.

This is my chance to say THANKS to all of you who help to make T-ShirtForums a great place to share and learn about the t-shirt industry!

The number of members here who take time out of their days to help others out with problems is simply amazing.
Member Appreciate Month is one of the ways I try to say thank you for all of your help.
This is also the time where we vote for our new "Most Helpful Member"

Our first winner, badalou, has served his title well. He has logged over 4,000 extremely helpful posts here at T-Shirt Forums!

Our second winner, Richard (Fluid), has contributed over 4,000 posts in the forums, many of which go in depth on advanced screen printing and graphic design techniques. Richard has recently become active again on the forum and just from reading his posts you can see why members voted him as a MHM.

Our third year brought our first TIE for the Most Helpful Member title.

With over 5,600 helpful posts, Kelly (Girlzndollz) has contributed with the true spirit of a forum. First registering for the forum to learn and post questions and then taking the time to share what she's learned with other members who are new to the processes. Her patient, friendly and thought out responses truly help make the forum a welcoming place to visit.

Recently Lewis (Solmu) tripped the postometer with a whopping 10,000 helpful posts! Whether it's sharing the fruits of his research in the t-shirt tag and relabeling forum or passing online tips about screen printing or intellectual property, Lewis has been a valued member of the forum from our first year online. Big thanks to him for being the first to volunteer for the thankless job of being a forum moderator :)

Last year BobbieLee (@sunnydayz) was voted Most Helpful Member and was recognized for her ongoing efforts to offer friendly help and advice in many areas of the forum. BobbieLee shared her experiences buying and using her DTG Kiosk machine and is always quick to help out other DTG machine owners with questions and tips about running their machines. Her thread "Which DTG machine do you own..." serves as a guide that continues to help those interested in the DTG industry learn from the first hand experience of other machine owners. She's also gone above and beyond the call of duty to volunteer to help moderate the forums and help them continue to be a friendly place where everyone is welcome to ask questions and get answers.

With so many helpful members of our community, I know it's going to be fun challenge to vote in a new MHM (Most Helpful Member)

The member (with more than 100 posts) that is voted "Most Helpful Member" for the month of September 2010 will win a $100 Gift Certificate to eBay or Amazon.com (or $100 via PayPal)

You also get a cool "most helpful member" t-shirt avatar background (instead of a white or black t-shirt background). Lou's is a cool tan color, Fluid's is graphite gray, Kelly's is a regal purple color and Lewis's is a smooth gray, BobbieLee's is a happy pink...what color will you choose?

Q: What do you mean by "most helpful"?

A: Everyone here is already pretty darn helpful, so this will be hard to judge. For the purpose of this contest, it means things like:
  • Seeing if you have an answer for some of our "Unanwered Topics". There's also a link to unanwered questions in the left hand area once you're logged in.
  • Refraining from referring new members to "use the search function" :)

    Don't get me wrong, the search IS very helpful for finding answers that may have already been posted. It should definitely be the first stop when trying to find an answer to a question.

    However, not everyone knows how to navigate an online forum.

    Also, it can be a challenge sometimes know which terms to search for since they weren't part of those older topics. It can also get frustrating sometimes to search and search through 1000's of topics, when you aren't sure if the answer is there or under what post title.

    "Use the search" also doesn't come off as very helpful or friendly to someone that is new to the whole process.

    Some alternatives to "Use the Search" would be:
    • take a second to repost an answer if you know it
    • just skip that topic and wait for another member to get a chance to answer the question (it may be their first time getting to answer a question and contribute).
    • link them to a specific popular search tag keyword that would give them an answer to their question
    • link them to a specific thread so they don't have to try dozens of search terms. You can also let them know what search terms you used to find the answer to help guide them in the right direction.
    Not to worry, I'm definitely guilty of this too :) But let's all try to make an effort this month to avoid pushing that UTS button (U.se T.he S.earch)
  • Take a second to welcome some of our new members in our Member Introductions forum.
  • Give some helpful suggestions and reviews in the "Site Reviews - Design Reviews" forum.
  • Keep posting helpful tips, information, suggestions, videos, articles & answers in the forums!

Q: Who will decide who the "Most Helpful Member" is?

A: You do! You can send your nominations to me privately via the Forum Feedback section, or PM or Email. Only these 3 methods of voting will be accepted.

Any member with more than 100 posts is eligible to be voted for!

You know what they say once an MHM, always a MHM, so no votes for past Members please;it's time to pass the torch on to another deserving member :D

I will tally the votes at the end of the month and announce the winner!

While we always encourage new members to register and post their questions in the forums, for the month of September 2010, we're offering a bit of incentive :D
The new member that starts the "most interesting" topic in the month of September wins a free, supercool, highly coveted ;) T-ShirtForums 5th Anniversary EXTRAVAGANZA t-shirt and a Birds of a Feather t-shirt from last year's t-shirt design contest!

Q: What is a new member?

A: Someone who has registered for the T-ShirtForums and has a total of anywhere from 1-99 posts during the month of September 2010

Q: What constitutes the "most interesting" topic?

A: Good question. It could be a simple question that gets a lot of response from other members. It could be an interesting observation/tip that members can use.

The winner will be decided by a combination of number of replies to the topic, the "thread rating" of the topic (members can rate each thread on a 5 star rating scale), overall member response to the topic, etc. The final decision will be made by yours truly :)
If you've been watching and reading the forum posts for a while, waiting for a chance to register and introduce yourself and get involved, this is a great time to join our t-shirt community.:) You know who you are
So that's it :) September 2010 should prove to be an exciting month here at T-ShirtForums.com!

Any questions, please feel free to send me a Private Message, an eMail or post in the Feedback section of the forum.
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