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Zachary

Royal Mango Créme Frappuccino Survivor
Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
10,491
22,029
113
#1
It was decided by the Advisory Panel that the old "Forum Etiquette" section of the forum rules should be removed as they were not enforced standards but rather encouraged guidelines of conversation.

I firmly believe that new users (especially those unfamiliar with internet fora) who are motivated to become great contributors need a place to familiarize themselves with what is expected of them. That is what this thread will be.

For now, the unofficial forum etiquette guidelines below are largely based on what was previously featured on the forum rules page (put together by Nicole, Gavin, Shane, and I). I will be using that joint effort as a base to build off of as I evolve this collection of recommendations as needs arise and dissipate in the future.

—————————————

Unofficial Forum Etiquette Guidelines

Posting in a Thread

— Content & Tone
  • Keep posts relevant to the thread topic
  • Ensure your post makes a substantive contribution to discussion [Additional Thoughts]
  • Maintain civility—pleasantness wins more debates than rudeness [Additional Thoughts]
  • Try not to post the same content in multiple threads
— Formatting & Presentation
  • Use proper capitalization, spelling, punctuation, and grammar
  • Include descriptive text captions with all external links and file attachments
  • Cut down quoted text to exclude anything irrelevant to your post

Creating a Thread
  • Search the forum for an existing applicable conversation before creating a new thread
  • Post new threads in the appropriate discussion category

Modifying Your Profile
  • Keep your user signatures small and subtle
  • Do not use animated profile images
  • Avoid potentially offensive material in your username, signature, and profile image

—————————————

Discussion of these (and possible future) guidelines is encouraged below. I have had a hand in managing this forum for seven years now, but I am in no way an communication expert. Ultimately it is up to the community—not me—to determine what is expected of its members.
 

Zachary

Royal Mango Créme Frappuccino Survivor
Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
10,491
22,029
113
#2
A few tweaks have been made to the etiquette guidelines above in light of a handful of recent complaints. The real reason for this post though is to address one in particular: Useless nonsense.

Long ago there was a rule that disallowed "useless nonsense." Naturally, this was a problem as it constructed an environment where users didn't know what was or wasn't acceptable. It was a bad rule, but it wasn't without purpose.

The issue behind that old, long gone rule has become a common point of frustration for a number of people who have messaged or spoken to the admins recently.

There have been an increasing number of posts that lack real substance. Posts that serve only to thank or agree with someone are often better skipped in favor of a simple press of the Thanks button. Posts that serve only to contribute a one-liner quickly pile up to make a thread that consists of a hundred of them. This can clog up discussions and, worse, discourage people from reading at all.

This forum has been specifically, visually designed to put a large spotlight on the words of our users (compare this to this or this). We cast this spotlight on our user's content by separating each user's posts by a lot of screen real estate dedicated to that user. While each post is part of a larger thread, each post is also designed to stand alone as a small blog entry of sorts.

Furthermore, through the "Unread Posts" feature, we actually notify all forum users when anyone makes a post. When you post, you're not just commenting on a piece of content like you would be on Facebook or YouTube—you're writing your own small piece of the site. Each and every member will then be notified of that contribution and encouraged to check it out. This is not the standard operating procedure on most fora out there.

Because the forum is designed to place so much weight on each post, when a post doesn't contribute anything substantive to the discussion, it hurts.

All I'm asking here is that before you hit "Post Reply," ask this: If someone came to ParkFans.net, clicked on the "Unread Posts" link, entered the top thread in the listing, and found your post as the only new post since their last visit, would they feel that their time was well spent? If the answer is no, you should try to add some additional substance to your post.

Say that you want to make a joke about something relevant to a forum discussion. By all means, do it—I want to read it! That said, follow that up with something that contributes to the larger conversation. Sometimes that'll be contributing to a topic a few posts up from the one you were originally going to reply to. Sometimes that will be introducing a new thought or idea. Sometimes it can just be as small as posing a new question to drive conversation forward.

Note that not once have I suggested that people post less or that they refrain from jokes or the like. In fact, the wide range of personalities on the forum are one of our best assets and I don't want to suggest anything that will tone those down. Keep the jokes, puns, references, etc coming—I enjoy them too—just don't let them rule the conversation.

Anyway, anyone who made it this far, thanks for reading and thanks for caring!


tl;dr: Ask yourself if your post is worth people going out of their way to read. If not, add content, use the Thanks button, PM the user, etc.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
7,544
18,480
113
#4
In light of something that happened recently, I’d light to raise an ethical issue. It is never OK to post another Forum member’s ideas as your own without giving credit or receiving explicit permission. It is essentially plagiarism.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
7,544
18,480
113
#6
Zachary said:
—————————————

Unofficial Forum Etiquette Guidelines

Posting in a Thread

— Content & Tone
  • Keep posts relevant to the thread topic
  • Ensure your post makes a substantive contribution to discussion [Additional Thoughts]
  • Maintain civility—pleasantness wins more debates than rudeness [Additional Thoughts]
  • Try not to post the same content in multiple threads
— Formatting & Presentation
  • Use proper capitalization, spelling, punctuation, and grammar
  • Include descriptive text captions with all external links and file attachments
  • Cut down quoted text to exclude anything irrelevant to your post

Creating a Thread
  • Search the forum for an existing applicable conversation before creating a new thread
  • Post new threads in the appropriate discussion category

Modifying Your Profile
  • Keep your user signatures small and subtle
  • Do not use animated profile images
  • Avoid potentially offensive material in your username, signature, and profile image

—————————————
I wanted to remind everyone about our Forum Etiquette Guide.  

I have been seeing an increasing number of posts that are not consistent with the stated guidelines, and have highlighted a few specific areas of concern.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
7,544
18,480
113
#7
Based on a pattern I have observed over the past year, I want to remind everyone to be as precise as possible with your sourcing.
  • If you are repeating information or rumors, please characterize your sources as much as you can without jeopardizing that person. It is easier for everyone to judge the validity of your data, if they know whether you heard it from the Dippin' Dots Guy or from the lead project manager.
  • If you are expressing a personal opinion, please say that explicitly. Too often I see posts presented as fact, that I really just a member's deductions. We, of course, encourage everyone to share opinions, but they need to be couched as such, or others might draw erroneous conclusions.
  • If you are sharing something you either observed or found, please call that out, as well. Especially with observational data, it helps if others can investigate your find.
I have seen too many conversations go sideways, because people do not understand the source of the information being discussed.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
7,544
18,480
113
#8
This is getting absurd. There has been a proliferation of both rudeness and off-topic discussions recently.

I know Forum etiquette guidelines are not formal rules, but we have created this list to ensure that discussion are useful and searchable.

The point of a thread is to have a discussion around a specific topic. Of course comments can meander a bit, bit extended debates about unrelated topics are just frustrating for everyone trying to engage with others about a particular attraction, event, etc.

And, yes, it is important to the community for content to be searchable. Anyone who has ever tried to find an old picture, video, conversation, or post knows exactly what I mean. It is hard enough to find the information you want when it is in the logical thread. Trying to find it, when it is hidden is some random sub-forum is nearly impossible. That is why we have asked that all pictures and videos include relevant captions.

If you have something to say, please find the correct thread. There is no value in discussing KD in a BGW thread, unless there is a direct relationship, like a comparison between the two Scramblers.

Additionally, rude comments add nothing to the discussion. Please find somewhere else to exercise your aggression and demonstrate your "clever" put-downs.
 
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