This post is all about how we write posts and present ourselves on the forum. A sure-fire way to make yourself look like a twit online is to have an idea you get across and write like a three-year-old with a drinking problem. Please realize that this section is not meant as a license to poke fun at other people's spelling/writing. Fact is, no one is perfect, and writing is something most people struggle with. We can be verbose when speaking, but trying to translate from brain to fingers is always a tough skill.
We have a variety of members, and not everyone (a sizable portion, in fact), have English as a second (or third) language. That's usually easy to tell. No, this post is aimed squarely at people who are way too lazy to spend a few extra seconds to make their posts look nice. Because everyone I know that speaks/writes in another language natively already does that when they post in English over here.
Why is this important? Because, nothing, absolutely nothing, is as damaging to persuasion as a bonehead typo or misspelled word. You can write something akin to the Gettysburg Address in a post, and if you keep putting teh and theyre in your posts, it will lose all of it's impact. Yes, it happens. But everyone is better served if you take a few moments before you hit that submit button and look over what you've written.
If you struggle with spelling, I'd suggest nabbing Firefox, with it's absolutely beautiful spell-checker. If you use IE, look up a spelling plug-in, like the one on the Google Toolbar.
No one expects people to spell things like verisimilitude correctly in one shot, but taking the time to check what you've written is just courtesy. It's not a lost art, and it's something that will assist you later in life. For those younger members, let me give a piece of advice: Poor Spelling will hinder you in your adult life. It will. You will not get away from writing. Even if you don't excel at spelling, learn to use a spell checker. Otherwise, people like me will circumvent you in this world, and it's a tough place to be.
Now on to the actual content. Because having everything spelled correctly doesn't help if you don't make any sense. Here's a few common sense points:
First... there is a time and place for most responses. Obviously, follow the Code of Conduct for the forums. Don't flame back and forth. Don't insult other members. Don't bait trolls and spammers. You don't win, you can't win, and the rest of us don't want to see it. If you're a passionate person, just get in the habit of taking a few minutes between your response and your post.
Here's what I do... because I can get my ire up now and again. If it's something charged, or something that annoyed me, I write my post and hit preview. Then, I go do something else. It might be browse the forum (in another window) or I might play a quick game of FreeCell. But I've waited to post. I come back, re-read my post, and if I still feel passionate about it, I'll hit submit. If not, I'll scale it back. If you're in doubt that content might be acceptable, it's probably not. If you have a question, why not ask someone on the staff? We're a helpful bunch.
Now as for responses, there's a time and a place for things. Generally, responses like L O L or a smiley and that's it aren't helpful. Sometimes, there's a place for those, like a good joke or a funny statement. However, they don't add anything. And in a community, it's always better to add something than it is to add nothing. Think to yourself... is what you're about to post going to add anything to the conversation? If not, don't post it.
Another point when you're writing is to avoid netspeak and anything associated with "1337." Trust me when I say you'll win no friends from such activities. Another thing on this topic is to avoid abbreviations that aren't common. Things like "r u" and the like may have just saved you one-third of a second, but they drive people like me up a wall. Take the time to write what you mean and you'll find you get more quality responses and feedback.
Lastly, form your idea before you post. If you can't articulate what you want to say to yourself, you probably shouldn't put it on the forum quite yet. Sure, it's great to get involved, but if you leave everyone scratching their heads over a post, something won't fit.
Response/Quote etiquette. You don't want a quote to over-shadow what you have to say. Generally, you want to cut out things that don't pertain to your response. In this post for example, you don't want to quote the eleventy pages of my ranting if the only thing you're looking to respond to is:
Rocko is certifiably insane and should probably be forced to carry a sign to warn the rest of us.
On that same note... if you're responding to a post right above you... a quote isn't necessary. We'll figure it out. And that makes Don happy. It's also not necessary to include images in your quotes... it takes up space and doesn't add much. We can all scroll up and find the image in question.
Creating Posts. Before you create a post, you need to think about how you're going to present yourself. This is a discussion board, so everything we create should keep that in mind. Let's look at a couple of examples.
I think Star Wars is the best thing ever.
I loved the last Star Wars movie. My favorite scene is the lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin, since it ties together the movies nicely. But I hated when they gave away the name of the kids at the end. It really ruined a lot of the surprises that come later in the movie. What does everyone else think of it?
Which one will start discussion? Discussion doesn't start with a statement, arguments do. On that same note, if you have a short question, take the time to look for an answer. We have a search box, or try Google and see what comes up. We're not a lazy-mans search engine. We love answering questions, but not ones that we can tell you just didn't feel like looking for.
And please, when you're creating links, make sure you wrap them in
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