Many moons ago, I wrote a post called How to Write Posts and Influence People; it was actually written on the old forums, and posted in the BCS, back when I was a newly minted MOD (or it might have been before then... who can remember 5 years ago?). After some input from members and other members of the staff, we revised it and it became an official part of the CoC when the new site was born in 2009.
While most everything in there is still valid, it's time to expand what the thoughts of the staff and mods of the site here and try to make things even better. Rest assured, we're not trying to bring about the days of ruiling with an iron fist, when seeing a name in green or red means terror and death (I was overruled on that in a staff meeting... so enjoy it until I can gather more power). What we are trying to do is make this a place that's better than a chum bucket of every thought and quick post and thought, where people talk (or type, as it were) with one another. So, there will be a bit of expansion of our Guidelines on here, but hopefully, in ways that make sense.
Talking to yourself
This is a new one for us here. It really didn't come up all that much, other than people trying to "bump" a topic (which is always lame unless you find a very creative way to do it), but we've seen an increase in the number of people that tend to reply to themselves. We've even seem some people reply to their own topics, which is a fantastic new level of internetocity.
If you're the last person to respond to a topic, there's a lovely thing we've included called "Edit" on a post. You can go back in and change what you wrote, and it works great (we know, because sometimes the staff just edits random things in posts to make them funnier).
There can be some valid times to respond to a topic where you're the last post... typically when it's been awhile and you're coming back with some sort of update. But anytime you're just trying to extend out your thought, or have something more to add to what you posted, just go edit that sucker.
Vampires and Zombies may be big, but no one likes the Necro-bump
For those who have no idea what a necro-bump is, it's when you go find a post buried in the dusty and neglected archives of the forums and respond to it. For those who don't know what a zombie or vampire is... turn on a TV. They're everywhere. We get that this seems almost contradictory to some of our other guidelines... we don't want to see a whole bunch of duplicate threads, after all, so why not just resurrect the old thread and keep the conversation going?
Ever been out with friends for a night of fun, perhaps some beverages, and you're just BS'ing and talking about nonsense, maybe even some crazy stuff about 80s wrestlers and GI Joe figures (or as I call it, a typical Friday night with a couple cases of beer). Conversation goes in cycles, it goes in phases, and for 30 minutes, you made the case that Macho Man Randy Savage was the best wrestler of the 80s, not Hulk Hogan.
Everyone argued, gave their two cents, and it was all good fun. After awhile, that conversation just sort of dies down, and you move on to talking about how your buddy used to dress up as April O'Neill when you were all playing Ninja Turtles, so his career as a senator's aide seems all that much stranger now. And then you go on to something else, and something else, until, let's say, about three hours and a dozen beers later, someone comes in and says "Macho Man sucks, Ultimate Warrior was the greatest." Everyone sits there in stunned silence, because they'd forgotten all about the argument by this point, and you were just in the middle of talking about SI Swimsuit models from the early 90s.
In let's say 95% of the cases of necro-bumps, that's exactly what happens (I'd say check my math, but we tend to just delete necro-bump posts). Nothing was added to the conversation to bring it back. On a forum, it's not like someone was interrupted, it's just more jarring when you have to go back and look at an old conversation and figure out what the heck is going on.
That's not to say that bringing back an old thread is always frowned upon. Like I said in the post on "talking to yourself," if you have a legitimate update, feel free to bring it back. The same applies on an old thread when you just have something to actually add to a conversation. Let's carry our story above even farther... you decide to chime in with "oh yeah, I know, Cindy Crawford in her prime was amazing. But for some reason, I just have our earlier talk stuck in my head... and I just never liked Macho Man. I mean, this guy was basically known for what, Slim Jims and having an amazingly hot, and coked up, wife? He was loud and had a catch phrase. Now Ultimate Warrior..." etc etc etc.
You'll probably recognize that sort of thing from some of our the other guidelines, it's a "post with substance" as it were. I'm not saying that everyone here needs to be Oscar Wilde in their posts, or write novels for every thought (you know, like I do); sometimes, a simple statement is enough. But this isn't twitter, we're not interested in little snippets or seeing every thought that pops into someone's head. We want conversations with substance and thought. We want everyone to be part of that conversation, and add something to it.
We have a rich variety of posters out there, and we see plenty of threads that have a lot of stuff, and discussions, even arguing, are normal in any community. But no one likes seeing an old post float back to the surface with a post that says "I know, right!" at the end. Leave the dead posts in the ground unless you've really got something good coming up that's worth risking the zombie apocalypse.