Forum Netiquette

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Forum Netiquette

Post  Admin on Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:27 am

Whilst it is generally left to forum posters to work out how to behave on MarketingLangProgs Forum the following offer a guideline for appropriate behaviour.

The Core Rules of Netiquette

General Principles

Show respect to other cultures and traditions, and their points of view. Yours are not necessarily any more 'right' than someone else's - just different.
Treat others as you'd like to be treated yourself. That means, treat them with tolerance, civility and respect. Always try to give people the benefit of the doubt in ambiguous situations - they hardly ever intend to be unpleasant, and usually make it more obvious if they do.
Unless you're in a general Conversation thread, try to stay on-topic. For example, if you're in a Conversation that is intended as a continuing storyline, don't post saying 'Hi there everyone!'. 'Appropriate' is the watch-word.
Remember that Researchers are from all over the world, so some things you mention (say, a TV channel) might be completely unknown to them.
Always try to make it clear who you're replying to, especially if there are intervening posts from other people on the Conversation. If you say something like 'I agree' in your post, it could look like you're agreeing with something you haven't even read yet.
Simulposts (postings occurring at roughly the same time, where both parties miss the other's post) can happen at any time. After you post, make sure you look back a bit along the thread, just to make sure no one said anything before you made your point, and changed the course of the conversation.
Don't spam. It's not nice, and you probably won't get any useful replies because people will just ignore it. It's also against the House Rules.
Remember this while posting: unless it's an extreme case, a post is for life, not just for [insert appropriate cultural/religious festival here]. Whatever you say will be put into a database for all eternity, and you will always be accountable for it! Things do get forgotten in time, though, and most reasonable people will not hold grudges for long.
Don't try to write too much in one post - people are very unlikely to read everything in a long posting. Rants and raves are best kept to your Journal, but constructive writing on your chosen subject is always welcome. In fact, if you have a lot to say about something, why not write an Entry on it?

Using Smileys

Because we're only using text to interact with each other on h2g2, there is a lot of valuable information that doesn't get carried over in conversations - namely that normally communicated by body language and facial expression. Smileys are used instead, to add emotion and intention to plain words (hence the term 'emoticon'), and they are invaluable for indicating the manner in which you're posting.

If you're being sarcastic, make sure you use an appropriate smiley, like <winkeye>. If you don't, the plain text might look harsh, and be misunderstood by the reader. Of course, this doesn't give you carte blanche to be rude and put a smiley afterwards, any more than if you insulted someone in real life, then said 'Only joking', with a still-serious expression on your face.
Try to smile! It always brightens up the mood of the place, and makes you look friendly.
Try not to use too many smileys on one post. Remember that they're only there to help people understand your text, and maybe to symbolise a certain object, so don't fill your post with them for no reason.

Before Posting

If you're in a Conversation about the entry attached to it, read the entire entry before you post. You may look underinformed if you raise a point that's already been addressed or dismissed.
Read as much of the Conversation as possible. Try to read the last couple of days' backlog at least.
Make sure that the point you're about to raise hasn't already been covered, and don't open a thread about one subject if there's already one open.
Think before posting. Take your time to post, and make sure you've made your point clear, or it may be misunderstood.
Always preview your posting. This doesn't just help with getting smileys right, but allows you to check for silly typos, and poorly structured, easily misinterpreted sentences.
To avoid multiple postings of the same thing, only ever click the 'Post Message' button once, even if it's taking a long time. If you're certain it's not worked, copy the text you wrote in the box, click your browser's Back button until you get the thread, and refresh the page - you may find your post got there alright. If it didn't, press the 'Reply' button again and paste the text you typed.

Spelling and Grammar

Do try to capitalise your words correctly. It looks far clearer, and gives the reader a better impression of you.
The same goes for correct spelling. You're certainly going to make some mistakes, but stupid ones can be removed by previewing your post. Whether we like it or not, some people pre-judge us by the way we speak, in real life as well as on (virtual) paper.
If you don't know the correct spelling of a word, you can easily look it up at any of the dictionary websites available, or type (sp?) at the end of it.
Some people may either misinterpret acronyms or not understand them at all. LOL can mean 'lots of love', not simply 'laughs out loud'.
Never ever use all-capitals because it's commonly interpreted to mean that you're shouting LIKE THIS! IT LOOKS TERRIBLY RUDE, AND GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT THE POSTER CANNOT EVEN CONTROL THEIR OWN CAPS LOCK KEY!
Try to punctuate your posts properly, especially when asking questions. Some phrases could mean both a statement and a question, and the reader wouldn't know which. Correct punctuation also makes it easier to read.

What to Do in a Hostile Situation

Sooner or later, even the most sweet-natured person will come across something which they find too offensive to pass over. It might be that they've misunderstood you, or you might truly have said something offensive. Here are some ways to deal with any ensuing hostilities.

Before making your point to the person you're arguing with, carefully read what they say and try to see their point of view - it always helps. They might actually have a point!
A situation may arise simply because someone misunderstood you. If someone has, don't shun them for it - be polite, apologise for being unclear and correct the misunderstanding.
If someone does go on about something incessantly, it's usually best to ignore them.
If someone has annoyed you, and has later apologised honestly, don't continue to shun them. Always keep an open mind on these matters - life's too short to bear grudges.
Think about whether there's any point in replying, even if you think you're right. If it looks as if the other person's mind is made up already, there's no point in trying to convince them - it'll just prolong a futile argument. Just 'walk away'.

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