Internet Forum Tips

Basic operation:

Internet forums have their own set of rules and conventions, and not all forum rules and operation are the same. Be sure to read the forum rules, and all the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) posts. When you first join a forum, your first impression often lasts with the memebers. Don't be branded foolish, discourteous, self-centered, or dumb!

Forums usually have more than one "section". These are usually called forums themselves. Each forum is normally intended for a particular topic. Common courtesy says to keep to the general topic.

Within each forum, there are "threads" or "topics". This is a string of "postings" or "posts" by individuals, normally in chronological order. When you add a "post" to a "thread", your's normally goes at the end.

Because of this, when you post, make sure that it's clear what you are talking about. If your comments refer to the last post, then it's pretty clear what you are talking about. But if your comments refer to a much earlier post, then make it clear what you are referring to, normally by quoting PART of the post you are referring to.

Bottom line, make it clear what you are referring to.

Many forums have a mechanism for you to receive an email if someone "adds" or "replies" to a thread you have been "on". Some forums have a way to get a "daily digest" of ALL posts on the entire forum. 

There's normally a "settings" or "preferences" section somewhere on the forum, and they are ALL DIFFERENT and normally confusing. If you are new, ask for help.

Etiquitte:

Follow some simple rules. Many people get "bigger" and "braver" behind a keyboard. Try to imagine that you are face to face with a group of people instead of typing in a keyboard.

Avoid swear words, poor sentence construction, or looking like a 13 year old typing a text message. Many people cannot spell well, and if you are one of them, use a Internet browser like Firefox that has a built in spell checker. Many people will be at the very least distracted by poor spelling.

A wise moderator once told me about "Socrates' three filters":

 

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem.

One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Three Filter Test."

Three filter?"

That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the three filter test.

The first filter is TRUTH. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."

All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of GOODNESS. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"

No, on the contrary..."

So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of USEFULNESS. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"

No, not really."

Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

~Author Unknown~

Why did I put all that there? Because, like the "golden rule", if you follow that above alone, you will be head and shoulders ahead in posting etiquette.

Also, don't get into a fight with someone who wants to fight, remember "Never fight with a pig, you only get dirty and the pig loves it".

Egoless posting:

Don't post just for your ego:

  • Don't post just to increase your post count. Many forums show your "count" by your name, and also give you "levels" based on your total post count.
  • Don't post meaningless posts that have nothing to do with the topic.
  • Don't post "yeah, me too" posts unless someone is doing a poll.
Don't worry, if you are really helpful and have things to say, you will establish yourself.

Posting pictures:

This seems to be the hardest thing for people to do.

First, every forum seems to have different options. 

Some forums have the ability to upload a picture from your computer, save it on their "server" and show it on the post.

But, by and large, you need to have the picture somewhere "on the internet" first. Your computer hard drive is NOT accessible from the Internet, so the picture needs to be "uploaded" somewhere, and somewhere designed to allow you to reference it from the Internet.

Many places on the Internet provide this service. When you get the picture where you want it, you will also get an "address" for it, known as a URL... it will look something like: http://kodak.photoworks/yourname/picture.jpg

Things that start with http:// are "addresses" or URLs to a "location" on the Internet.

Once you have accomplished this, you normally paste this "address" into your post. 

Current MLS (mylargescale.com) Forum Software

Just a note for my reference.... 

Active Forums v3.7 / Published by: Active Modules Inc.

Is a plug-in Content Management System (CMS) module written for the DotNetNuke open source web application framework.

 DotNetNuke – Web Application Framework / Published by: DotNetNuke Corp.

Is written in Microsoft’s Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET) for Microsoft’s Active Server Pages .NET (ASP.NET).

FCKEditor v2.5.1 / Published by: Frederico Caldeira Knabben (FredCK.com)

Is a WYSIWYG HTML Rich-text editor, written in JavaScript, which outputs XHMTL v1.0 compliant code