Overwhelmed by the sheer number of posts and replies. What can I do?

One of the best thing about participating in fast.ai is that so many motivated students selflessly share their experience and advices with each other. I have learned a lot in the past reading through forum post and discussions.

This time, however, I was really overwhelmed by the sheer number of posts and replies, especially for some general topic like Lesson 1 chat. In addition to having thousands of posts, often there are several concurrent conversations that are difficult to tell apart. After reading a few hundred of posts, I am already exhausted.

I am well aware that some people are comfortable navigating situations like this. Would you kindly share any tip and advice on navigating gigantic topic like Lesson 1 chat and large forum in general?


One thing I think is helpful is to focus on the lectures and a project that is based off the lecture. The forums are a great resource, but they only help if you’re working through your own issues. It isn’t important to read every message in a long thread, but instead use the search functionality in the top-right to find the information that helps you. The other thing that may be useful if you are overwhelmed is to change what you are seeing to only Part1-v3 to get rid of all the other noise. Also if you are trying to keep up with a big thread, sometimes it isn’t a bad thing to leave it and go back and skim just to see if there is anything that seems useful.


Thanks a lot for the tip! To be honest, I am actually only reading through the posts related to Part1-v3; discussions from that category probably make up more than 90% of what is going on in this forum.

I used to be the type who work solo and did not care about what other people are talking about, until I one time tried looking through people’s discussion and learned a lot. I guess this time I have to balance the other way around.

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Yeah, it’s a balance for sure. There is a ton of information to learn on the forums and I love how much help is available on the forums, but it’s ok to miss some of the interactions.

I was going through lesson 8 and 9 of DL2 (I lost count how many times) recently and had a ton of questions. By chance I started reading Part 2 Lesson 9 wiki yesterday, and it has a surfeit of 455 posts, some dating back to Mar 18. But as I started reading them, I found that many of those questions had been asked by our predecessors, and also answered by others. I think I’ll probably go through the main threads of Lesson 10 - 14 too. At least that’s the plan.

Following the main lesson thread seems to have pretty good signal to noise ratio, at least for me. ( by noise i mean as in things less relevant to me, not that they do not contain valuable information)

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Maybe we can have a wiki digestion topic for large topic and have people post digestion along the way.

Don’t treat the forum like your ‘Facebook’ feed by routinely scroll through the posts and replies :smile:

In case anyone missed it, I think this question is almost similar as Radek’s post below:

My takeaway:

to devote to studying and what is probably even harder must figure out what to give my time to as I seem to have a tendency of going on fanciful tangents instead of spending time on the activities that really count.

I am not too sure if this is a symptom of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I think there are a few practices that can help us overcome with our FOMO.

I learn to navigate the forum from noise-to-signal. I think there are many redundant threads and threads that are supposed to be in a better category.

Maybe the Discourse “Summarize This Topic” feature will be useful?



Don’t worry, this week’s homework is to write a neural network to summarise each forum topic and automatically notify you of the ones you’re likely to find interesting :grin:


I did not even realize that this button exists. ORZ. Every time I enter the topics, the platform automatically brings me to the latest update. I have tried it out. Super helpful! Thanks, Cedric!

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I feel the same. :wink:
This doesn’t help very much, because as you said most of the trafic is from the main v3 threads, but in your user settings you can “mute” categories. So I muted all the study groups from most regions. You could also mute the machine learning topics if not interested in that, the part1 v1 etc. This at least reduces the number of things shown in “Categories” or “latest” a bit.
It only means this gets hidden in these “feeds”, the search for example still gives you relevant replies from those topics and also they don’t get really hidden, so you can still click on them if something is of interest.


Jeremy mentioned somewhere you can choose none category to mute study groups and focus on the rest from part 1 v3.


That is very helpful! Thank you!

That will surely help! Thank you!


Super helpful tips! Thanks man.

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It’s like going to a meetup full of interesting people, but you only have 2 hours before you have to go home. You don’t have time to meet everyone - but that’s OK! As long as you have a few good conversations, it’s been a good night :slight_smile:


Just take it easy. The real learning process is not like in the university, you can not cover all the topics, it is just impossible. So keeping well your mental heath, be satisfied with what you have now and move step by step. It is ok if you miss some posts or don’t understand stuffs. You just need to pick one topic you are interested in and working on it, focus on just the posts about it.

I recently found a quote that I like a lot: life is not a sprint or a marathon, it is a maze.

So just enjoy your life while exploring the world. You don’t have to compete anyone.


I also struggle with the same. My advice:

  1. Don’t read every post
  2. Sign up for an hourly (or daily) digest where you will be emailed the top posts (see attached visual)
  3. Focus on getting your notebooks running. When you encounter an error, visit the "official fastai :white_check_mark: " posts which are regularly being updated. If that does not solve your error, search the forums (upper right magnifying glass).
  4. As already mentioned, choose “none” for sub-categories related to time zones.


I only read the official thread and my country study group. Focus on doing stuff rather than being up to date with everyone.

I try to prioritize doing stuff and playing with notebooks, then lectures, then study group, then forums (besides the official updates).

This way after first week I’ve played a bit with lessons notebook, replicated 1st note book and run it on 2 separate datasets and only watched the lecture once, attended 1h study group and honestly think that’s time well spend.


Set time you want to spend online: forums, twitter, etc like half an hour a day and try to stick with it. good luck!

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Just remember, these forums will all be available to search when you do have a specific interest. Check a few threads that seems interesting, and then move on to the code for 95% of the time you have available for the course.