I've been running, moderating, and participating in forums since I was 12 (5 years ago) and so I'd like to think I have a pretty good concept of what makes a helpful forum post.

Someone suggested making a style guide, so I thought I would go
ahead and create one.

Disclaimer: nobody expects anyone to be the perfect poster. Some people ask questions, some share links, some reply to comments, etc. etc. These are just some tips for better posting across all walks of members.

Here is a guide to better forum posting etiquette:

Three Things You Should Do In a Forum Post

First, there are 3 essential things you should do to make a more effective post. Here they are:

1) Use complete sentences.

You want to form a complete thought. Leaving a sentence unfinished, or using too few words ("sucks," "good post," "wrong!") devalues your post.

2) Use default formatting.

Bolds and marquees and colors are great, but forums have default styles for a reason - readability. Please don't make all of your text pink. We can't read it.

3) Attempt good grammar.

I know some think that grammar is better left to more 'professional' websites, but we want WMP to be professional, right? To help foster a better community, take some time to try using better grammar.

It helps people understand you and what you're trying to get across. Poor grammar, on the other hand, frustrates people.

Three Things You Should NEVER Do in a Post

Right, here are three things you shouldn't ever do in a forum post.

1) Insult someone

Everyone is here to enjoy the community. Being a jerk is, well, jerkish. So don't insult people, okay?

2) Fly of the Handle because you "think" you were insulted.

This is the flipside. If someone responds, they are usually attempting to be helpful. The internet can get confusing, because you don't really know -how- people mean for you to read their text. So try to take everything in perspective okay?

3) Use a ridiculous amount of emoticons

I know I use a lot of emoticons. I love emoticons, but I try to limit it to one or two per post. Crossing that threshold will start to irritate members.

Other Tips for Better Post

Here are some catch-alls for making a better post:

  • Stay on topic!
  • No thread hijacking!
  • Answer the question that was -actually- asked
  • Stay away from 'holier-than-thou' statements
  • No spamvertising! Seriously.
  • Be as clear as you can with your message
  • Reply to replies!

What tips do you have for better posting?