|Admin||Date: Wednesday, 2011-05-25, 8:49 AM | Message # 1|
|I'd like to first welcome all new members. It is great to see the forum so active, but with such activity and with growing numbers comes the responsibility to see that the interactions run smoothly. |
To this end I have some guidelines to recommend for effective forum communication; call it an etiquette lesson if you like.
Titles should be informative so a potential reader may have an idea what to expect. Some of us do read all new posts; others may not want to. I hope the title I have chosen here serves as a good example. Other recently active threads that have good titles are "Are quakers overly aggressive parrots?", "What parrot should I get?", or "DIY toy making supplies". The initial post will elaborate on specifics but upon reading the title one will have a good idea what topics are being discussed.
The worst title I have seen was on three separate threads active at the same time covering completely different topics - that title was simply "HELP". Such a title borders on offensive in its presumption. Not only is it completely uninformative it also implies that this user thinks they are more deserving of attention than many other users who are also asking questions or looking for help of some sort or another. I am often tempted to ignore such threads, but as a moderator I still do check to see that there is nothing inappropriate posted there. Would anyone frustrated that their watch stopped or cell phone quit working suddenly start yelling "HELP" in public? I should hope not, and if they do they should hope I am not the one to respond.
There are options for bold, italics, and underlined fonts. Feel free to use them, however making an entire post bold and/or increasing the font size drastically above normal is not needed and can be disruptive or just offensive to the senses.
Spelling and grammar
I find great irony in the fact that I would have to comment on this. My spelling is atrocious and my grammar is rarely much better. I am quite capable of writing well, but often when having a discussion on a forum I simply write what I think. This often comes out as a collection of fragments or run on sentences, but just the same I make sure that it would be easily comprehensible. Others it seems do not use such a standard.
Internet-speak for better or worse is often informal and often does bend traditional language rules. I am no prescriptivist grammarian, but when your language decays to the point of meaninglessness you should neither expect a response nor for anyone to take you seriously.
There are cases where if I took a good bit of time I could decode what a member meant to say - but I find it offensive that they would expect all of the readers of their post to spend time decoding it rather than taking the time themselves to write it well in the first place. Your time may or may not be more valuable than mine, but it is not wise to imply it is while you are asking for advice.
On occasion posts are so horribly written that I get a headache while trying to read them. Quite recently we had a post that went on for nearly a page without a single punctuation mark. From now on I will not read such trash.
I would be much more willing to work hard in reading the posts of people who are learning English as a second language, but sadly their writing is often nearly flawless. No one butchers the English language more than native speakers.
There are many ways one may be disrespectful or offensive on a forum. Simply because you have used no 'four-letter' words nor derogatory names does not mean you can treat others poorly with your manner of posting.
I try to be quite conservative with the moderator tools that I have at my disposal. I rarely see a need to formally punish abrupt or inappropriate attitudes, but neither will I cater to them. If you post like a fool you will be treated like a fool. If you make an effort to communicate well I (and likely others) will make a greater effort to respond to your posts.