Online Community Rooms FAQ

How do I join the online community rooms?


The Easy Way

Take a look at our guide, and click on the link for the room you would like to join. Install the Zoom software when prompted, or if you have any difficulty with this, just select the link to "join the meeting in your browser".

The Best Way
If you feel confident doing so, a better alternative is to download and launch the "Zoom" app for your device and join the rooms directly from there. You do this by clicking "Join", and entering the nine digit code for the room. The software should remember rooms you've previously joined, so you don't need to take note of the number, or keep refering back to the link.

We suggested the easy way initially because it presents the lowest barrier to entry for the greatest number of people and devices.




I have another question. Can I suggest a question for this list?


Yes please!
Email your question to loz@thecommunitybrain.org




How do I see everyone in the room all at once?


In the Zoom app for the PC / Mac, you can toggle between the "Gallery View" and "Speaker View" using the button in the top-right corner. On the phone app, swiping left or right should toggle between these views. If you're using the browser-based version of Zoom, this functionality isn't available.




There's no one here! Where is everyone?


You can check our calendar to see when something is scheduled. Scheduled events usually take place in our Side Room. If you find the Grand Hall empty, think about staying around for a while. You can temporarily mute yourself, leave it running and listen out for people joining. Our natural behaviour when online is to move on immediately when there is nothing to see. However if we all do this we're very unlikely to bump into each other. Like in real life, grab a driink, have a rest and see who comes through the door. Feel free to pre-arrange to meet friends in the Grand Hall. It's open all day every day, and you don't need to book.




Can I see who is in the room before I join it?


No, sorry. It might seem awkward, but it's ok not to feel like you have to have a long conversation with whoever might be there. It's fine to say a quick hello, that you're just "popping in", or looking for someone in particular, just as you would in a real-life pub.

Do consider though, having a chat for a few minutes with a stranger could make a big difference to their day and yours.




How do I replicate this for my own community?


We set up two pro accounts in Zoom, and scheduled one meeting from each of those accounts to last from midnight to midnight, repeating every day for as long as the interface allowed. We changed the default settings so that anyone can join without a host being present, without a password, without an account being set up and accessible from a browser link (important for those with locked-down laptops, or security settings that are difficult to navigate).

We chose Zoom, because it seems to work well for large numbers of people, doesn't require a fiddly account set up, and is available across all platforms and devices. Other solutions, probably free ones, are available of course.
The calendar is a standard shared Google calendar. The mechanism by which other people's events appear in our calendar is a feature you can enable by setting "auto-accept invitations" to on. The tech is straightforward and replaceable by alternatives. The thing that makes this work is the people, and some thinking around how people want to use it - i.e. however they want to. Then publicise, get people involved, give clear instructions and support, but otherwise step back completely.

Get in touch if you'd like some help.