Do You Need To Work On Forum Etiquette? I Know I Need To Improve.
I really didn't want to take the time to make a blog post because I'm knee deep in revamping older content and improving the SEO of a number of blog posts.
However, I sincerely appreciate Live Chat and Help Center. More times than I can remember, I've been helped out of some sticky technical situations that otherwise I wouldn't know what to do with.
However, Live Chat and Help Center are forums that Wealthy Affiliate has set up for the benefit of its members, both new and not so new.
Therefore, I wanted to mention some basic general rules of Forum Etiquette.
Why Am I Doing This
I'm writing this post because my forum etiquette needs to improve, and I wanted to apologize for not always showing proper forum etiquette.
Also, I wanted to post for the benefit of other WA members who took the time to read this, both "newbies" and veteran members.
I have a tendency to use caps and I'm quick to reply if you say something I feel is disrespectful or lacks professionalism, particularly from the top 100.
For my lack of forum etiquette, I sincerely apologize.
Etiquette | noun: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
Get to know the basic forum rules. Before you start posting, look for something in writing that clearly states the purpose of the forum. This is also where you're likely to find what is or isn't allowed.
The Wealthy Affiliate owners, Kyle Loudoun and Carson Lim and their chosen administrators, have very clear rules of communication that they've established for this platform.
For example, when you are drafting a blog post, at the bottom you'll see a link that says "About Blogging At WA." When you click on that link, there you find the general rules set up for posting blogs.
Actually, the same rules could be applied to forum posting as well.
Reread your forum post before submitting it. Sometimes when we write whatever comes to mind, we may regret it later. It's a good idea to step away from the computer for a few minutes and then come back and reread your message with fresh eyes.
It's a good idea to look for anything that might possibly upset someone or be perceived as disrespectful or condesending.
Older, more experienced forum participants have to really pay attention to this, as there is a tendency, by virtue of their successes, to be very blunt, condesending, and lack empathy.
You may have intended to "just make a point" but your forum post became something other than what you expected.
Keep in mind the seriousness of posting. Words cannot be taken back. Once you post your message, it is on that particuar thread for years to come.
Even when you are irritated, always reply in a kind, helpful, respectful manner.
Respect the opinions of others. Chances are, at some point, you'll disagree with others who post in the forum.
That's okay. There are times when people will disagree.
Agree to disagree.
Don't resort to long, rambling posts trying to "prove your point."
Even if you "win," you risk being viewed as a forum bully to be avoided.
Always Treat Others With Respect. Although the motives of some forum participants may be questionable by virtue of their comments, make sure you are respectful and polite at all times.
This can be difficult to do when you feel someone is posting a ridiculous question or is not getting the point due to lack of due-dilligence.
Or "newbies" may be "clogging up the forum" with redundant, basic requests that could be handeled with just a little more reading and searching.
Be patient with new participants. After a short period of time, newbies will start posting on the forum.
They'll probably ask questions that have been answered before, and older, and veteran members could start to feel that these newbies are clogging-up the forum.
Sending them a link to earlier trainings or posts so they can get the help they need without disrespecting them or making them feel insignificant will work wonders.
Telling jokes isn't a good idea.. Remember that humor doesn't always come across the way you intended.
Be extra cautious when posting witty remarks that border on sarcasm or "proving you are right". Just because you think a joke or a witty remark is funny doesn't mean someone else does.
Don't be a comedian or the forum clown.
(Clowns?..Personally, I don't like clowns. I think clowns are creepy. I made the bad decision of watching the tv mini-series "IT" years ago because Richard "John Boy" Thomas from the Waltons was starring and I like The Waltons...Bad idea!)
Oh my...I apologize.
Resist the urge of using all caps or large signature lines. I personally have a problem with this, I really do, because I tend to use caps in my comments and replies.
Forums are for sharing information. All caps come across as shouting. Some of us, myself included, need to stay away from forum shouting, which using all caps amount to.
I personally need to work on this!
Also, large, overwhelming signature lines are distracting and diminish the value of the content.
Posting too much personal information is a bad idea. Unless you know all the forum members personally, avoid giving out private information about yourself and your family.
Don't tell anyone when you are going on vacation or leaving your house for any amount of time. We are not privy to the background of many forum members or their past situations.
Don't post for the sake of posting; post because you really want to help people. Occasionally adding brief like comments that you agree is fine, but you don't want to find yourself deliberatey searching for only comments you can give a brief "that's great, keep up the good work" just to get credit or recognition.
Don't go overboard with the "likes". It's okay to silently agree or disagree. Genuinely help people with their problems. That's all forum participants want. They want help with their technical issues and lack of understanding.
Most Important Forum Rule
If you make an occasional mistake on a forum, as I do from time to time, offer a brief apology and move on.
Be humble enough to say "I'm sorry...I didn't communicate my point very well."
However, sometimes you won't get an apology from a veteran forum member who gave a harsh reply.
Just move on. I've had to learn to do this, and I'm still learning.
Most people will forget about it because they are absorbed in their own lives and circumstances.
Don't make something bigger than it needs to be.
Remember: if you show respect for other members at all times, what will be remembered is not so much the correctness of your answer, but how you showed them respect and consideration.
Let's Just Do This!