Ok, So you're New
Everyone was new at one time or another, but that won't draw much mercy when you come into a new place and start stepping on people's toes instead of shaking their hands. Everyone has standards of respect; failing to meet these standards will draw contempt and ridicule, but there is hope. All you need to do is take a little time to show others respect by composing your messages seriously. I'm making this list because even though some of these should fall under the heading: Common Sense, the others are truly learned behaviors. If you've never seen a list like this before--rest assured--these rules will serve you well on any forum.
Etiquette for online forums
1. Always read at least 50 posts before posting!
- Nothing draws ridicule faster than asking a question right above someone else who asked the same question or correcting someone that's already been corrected. At the very least, read through an entire thread before posting to make sure someone else didn't already make your point. If you feel that the thread has too many pages to read them all, skip to the end and read the last 2 pages before posting on the thread.
- Posting a question answered in the FAQ will not make you friends. "Read before Posting" rules usually specify forum specific rules that often go beyond standard etiquette. Be sure to read it.
3. Write respectfully.
- This in not just modes of address but showing good grammar and spelling. Forums are not like a chat room with text wizzing by. Posters are expected to take the time to write well. Remember, if you respect your readers your readers will respect you. Learning a language means you take effective communication seriously. Prove it.
4. Don't spam.
- Make one post. Always give at least 24 hours before complaining no one answered your post. If you answer two or more people, edit all your responses into one post.
5. Before posting, google your question.
- If your question is answered in the top 5 google hits, people will consider you too lazy to bother helping.
6. Use the forum search function.
- If the forum has a search function, use it before posting.
7. Don't ask for help without showing that you did make an effort on your own.
- If you ask for help and show you made an effort, you automatically made friends who will extremely helpful.
8. Don't Necropost without cause.
- Necroposting is posting on a thread that was dead and buried and bringing it back to life. You avoid necroposting by looking at the Posted date. If the thread was controversial let it stay buried; if the thread seems pertinent then it should be ok to necropost. The important point is not to chime in on a heated discussion that ended years ago.
9. Be brief.
- The more concise your post the more people that will read it and potentially reply.
10. Use white space.
- Big blocks of text are difficult to read. If you break up your paragraphs with a full blank line, more people will read them.
11. Don't post big pictures in the text.
- Big pictures tend to ruin the forum formatting. Always post big pictures as a link, thumbnail links are ok.
12. Avoid posting long URLs.
- Long URLs can also ruin the page formatting and just look bad. Some members use tinyurl.com but I suggest just making a link. Type the text you want to link then highlight it. On the composition window there will be a button for URL. Click it with the text highlighted and the text will now be surrounded by [url]your text[/url] after the first url type = then paste the URL. so it will look like this. [url=http://www.google.com]Google[/url] If you post like this, the readers will just see the link for Google with the rest hidden.
13. Don't hijack threads.
- Making a post that does not even relate to a previous post on the thread is considered hijacking. Another form of hijacking is to transform someone else's thread into your own by asking a new question on someone else's thread. The standard rule for posting is one thread one question. It's best to start a new thread if you have a new question. Be warned, hijacking a tread is a form of contempt. If regular members start hijacking your thread, then it's usually a sign you broke one of the rules of etiquette.
14. Don't insult the mods.
- This is one of those common sense things I mentioned.
15. Don't troll.
- Trolling is deliberately stirring controversy. There are different types of Trolls, but all like to stir up trouble.
16. Don't feed the trolls.
- Now that you know what a troll is, you know how to fight them. Trolls feed on attention. If you ignore them they die the slow painful death they deserve.
17. Don't flame.
- If you have a problem with a post, only address your problems with the post. Never insult the poster. Flaming is dedicating an entire post, or series of posts, to insulting another poster.
18. Never ask another poster to break the rules of Internet Safety.
- Asking for personal information, such as e-mail addresses, on a public forum is a Bad Thing. If you are unfamiliar with basic internet safety then go learn that, then come back. Internet Safety first.
19. Take the time to say thank you.
- Don't ask a question and never post again on the thread. Then other members will believe you don't value their help.