Forum Etiquette

Login or Register to Hide This Ad

Zachary

𝓡oyal 𝓜ango 𝓒réme Frappuccino Survivor
Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
10,690
22,966
113
Newport News, VA
twitter.com
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
10,690
22,966
113
Newport News, VA
twitter.com
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
7,724
19,081
113
Arlington, VA
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
7,724
19,081
113
Arlington, VA
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
7,724
19,081
113
Arlington, VA
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
7,724
19,081
113
Arlington, VA
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.
 
Last edited:

Lolers

Wavering faith will not serve you well
Sep 14, 2014
222
655
93
So lately I've been kind of bothered by certain use of negative emoji on this site, such as eye rolls and dislikes, in response to members' posts. I understand there are circumstances where use of negative emoji is acceptable, such as (hypothetically) using an eye roll if someone makes a bad joke, or clicking "dislike" to express your dislike for PETA if a member posts an article about the latest stupid thing PETA has done.

Rather, I'm referring to the use of negative emoji in response to members' posts where that member has simply added their thoughts or opinions, with no malice intended, as part of a discussion. Using negative emoji to express disagreement or annoyance with another member's post seems not only needlessly rude, but it also erodes the magic of this site - because let's face it, any Internet site that fosters civil, productive discussion is a pretty magical thing these days. Although a negative emoji may not be an insult in actual words, doesn't it potentially have the same effect? And if so, wouldn't that effect undermine forum etiquette rules in the same way an insulting written post would?

Use of negative emoji in a potentially insulting manner to replace a written response to a post seems pretty infrequent at this point, but I feel the need to express my thoughts on the subject before this practice becomes pervasive. For me, one of the best aspects of ParkFans is the fact that members can post their thoughts or opinions while feeling relatively confident that other members who disagree with them or don't like their post will add to the discussion by expressing their disagreement or dislike in a constructive manner rather than simply clicking a negative emoji. According to a communication book I recently read, productive discussions "add to the pool of meaning." Members of this site tend to be pretty excellent at adding to the pool of meaning in constructive, grammatically correct ways. If we, as members, simply click a negative emoji in response to a post we disagree with rather than post an actual constructive, supported argument, we add nothing to the pool of meaning, detract from the purpose of this site, and possibly cause hurt feelings needlessly.

Can't we all just get along, even if we occasionally disagree with each other, and use the negative emoji available to us for good rather than evil?
 
Last edited:

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
7,724
19,081
113
Arlington, VA
A conflict arose today on the Forum that I wanted to address here.

Different discussion boards have different rules and traditions. As a result, people come to PFN with a variety of assumptions about posting etiquette. It is a lot like traffic in DC; no one follows the same set of unwritten rules, sometimes creating angst.

The most recent misunderstanding concerns the use of the "Reply" and "Quote" features.

I want to emphasize that no one was in the wrong and I am not attempting to take sides here. I am merely illuminating the approach preferred on this forum.

1. When you are replying to the last post, we prefer that you NOT quote the author. So, a comment should be assumed to be in response to the previous post. By extension, given how quickly conversation flows, if you do post without quotes, please double check to verify that your comments ended up immediately after the statements you meant to address. I have had to add quotes to posts, because someone has jumped in, while I was still writing.

2. When you are replying to a post earlier in a thread, please use the Reply or Quote features. You are also encouraged to delete unrelated content from the quotes.

Hopefully this clarification of our customs helps.
 
Login or Register to Hide This Ad