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Joined: 04/24/2014
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Greetings Folders! This condensed FAQ is to help clean up the number of stickies roaming around the forum.

FAQ (09/2015)

  • The Basics
  • How do I get started?
  • Help!
  • Community Resources
  • Names and General Advice
  • Asking the Best Chat Questions Ever
Joined: 04/24/2014
Groups: None
The Basics of Foldit

What is Foldit?

Foldit is a revolutionary computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research and was created by the UW Center for Game Science.

You can learn more about the specific science of Foldit here:The Science Behind Foldit

A very good 40 minute video by Firas Khatib (Beta_Helix), describing Foldit, the basics of the science of protein folding, scoring, CASP, and answering many other questions about protein folding.

No time to listen to a 40 minute talk? Here's a shorter talk from TEDx.

You can also learn about the basics of proteins, through this excellent post from community member dmw.

Joined: 04/24/2014
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Getting Started

What do I need?

I am an educator. How do I use Foldit in my classroom?

We have put together a set of instructions to assist you in setting up your students to play Foldit. For any and all questions regarding the EdX version of Foldit, please refer to your class materials oredx.org/help. You will be able to find assistance there along with answers to any questions you may have about the course itself.

Where do I find the terms of service?

You can find that here.

What are the community rules?

Glad you asked, they are found right this way.

How do I install Foldit?

Detailed instructions are available here.

Joined: 04/24/2014
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I’m having technical trouble running the game.

We want to help you out and get you folding as soon as possible, so we suggest you start in the troubleshooting here.

How do I solve (this tutorial puzzle)?

Often the answers to the tutorial puzzles are found within the instructions and tooltips that accompany each one. Reset the puzzle and move slowly through it if you find yourself at a loss for your next move.

I did that, but I’m really stuck.

We hear you. Try the wiki or ask in live chat.

How do I create helpful feedback?

Start with this post. To search feedback given already or leave new feedback, go this way.

Joined: 04/24/2014
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Community Resources

Social Channels: Even though the front page news is your best source,  you can find us on the “usual” social media channels posting smaller items of interest.

Live Chat: Our community is the best resource for help playing foldit. You can meet others, get hints, or join a team.

The chat is actually an IRC server running on irc.fold.it. You can join the global chat (#global) without registering for now, but group chats are restricted. To join them, create a new account (such as myname_irc), join the group with it, and use the IRC nick and IRC key given on your user page. You can find the group channel name on the group page.

To authenticate to the IRC server, once you have joined, send a message to NickServ with the format: identify <irc-key>


/msg NickServ identify <irc-key>

Wiki: For even more information, be sure to check out the wiki. There is a lot of great info there, tips, tricks, info about structures, as well as videos for an entire biochemistry class if you want to learn more!

Foldit Gear: If you want to show your Foldit pride (or insider status), auntdeen has crafted some gear for everyone!

Joined: 04/24/2014
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Excellent General Advice

Names are hard! What should I use as a login name?
Pick a good name but remember it is visible to everyone! Remember it should fit within the community guidelines, but more importantly, should reflect you - but not to the point where you’re using your email address as a login ID. That is just a bad idea for internet safety in general, so please don’t do this. Keep your name PG and something you’d be proud to see on top the leaderboards. If it’s too late and you think you've chosen badly with your username already - I can help you fix that. We all veer off into “thought it was funny at the time” land on occasion.

Good names:
clever word combos (like inkycatz! :)
names that indicate your favorite hobbies
cool obscure science references
names that identify you to your friends without being 'personally identifiable' (internet safety!)

Bad ideas:
Names of other CGS titles (sorry)
Your email address! Remember your login name is your user name and is shown to the world on the leader boards.
Body functions or other "gross" humor. (C'mon, really?)
gf9a7f97d (gibberish)

We know picking names is a tough business the older a game gets, and if your name of choice is taken, but you have your heart dead set on it and you can make a solid case for it (aka the player hasn't logged in for 7+ years AND hasn't completed any puzzles), PM me. I'll listen and determine if it's a reasonable request. I'd still have a backup name if I were you. :)

Any other tips?
Be patient! Foldit has an amazingly steep learning curve. A lot of our players are helpful, but being a global community, they may not always be watching the chat channel to answer questions. Have you checked our wiki? Did you try resetting, rereading the tutorial and trying again? Were you aware of the vast range of videos available you could watch? These are all great first steps but if they don’t get you what you need to know, then ask!

Check out the FAQ, it's pretty useful.

If you are having technical issues with a puzzle, please post them in the puzzle thread that goes with the puzzle you're having trouble with! This is the best way for our scientists and developers to find your issue. If you want to join in on some great learning threads, head to the forums!

We’re so glad you could join us and hope to see you around the community soon.

Joined: 04/24/2014
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Asking the Best Chat Questions Ever

I found a great article about asking good questions and it reminded me I wanted to share what I’ve learned over my years as a community person, but also make them apply here with Foldit specific issues. So here are some thoughts on “making good questions for chat”.

1. Try to limit the actual question to one sentence. Feel free to state the problem or issue in detail, but limit your question to one sentence. "How does the team decide what puzzles to run?" "How can we improve quality of designs?" Sticking to one sentence helps ensure your questions are open ended.
2. When sticking to one sentence, avoid yes/no questions. Sure, it makes chat go fast, but doesn’t actually provide a lot of information.
3. Provide options in the question only if those truly are the only options. But keep in mind those rarely are the only options! Keep in mind that can also create a situation that puts the team on the spot to promise things that may not be easily deliverable (due to programming issues, emergency priorities), on a timetable that is far different what you had in mind when posting the question, or even be the optimal way of solving the problem. (Small team, but very clever minds.)
4. Don't influence the question. You may think you already know the answer but if you make your questions answer-neutral, or if you remove your opinion and just ask the question - the answer may end up surprising you in good ways! :)
5. Dev chats are less common than science chats, and while our scientists do a little bit of developing in the process of working with Foldit, pay attention to which type of chat we’re having and adjust your questions accordingly. Science chats are great to help untangle thorny science issues, regardless of your personal knowledge level! Developer chats are more feature based.
6. Chats are generally an hour, maybe a little longer (never a guarantee). Remember that if your question isn’t asked, it may be for a variety of reasons (upvotes will not guarantee a question gets asked during chat)! Questions that are posted the day before chat or earlier have a better chance of being answered, as questions get sent over in advance to help plan what we have time for.

Thanks! See you in chat!


Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Boehringer Ingelheim, RosettaCommons