Forum Etiquette

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Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
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I am once again seeing a pattern that I think needs to be addressed.

As I am sure everyone will recall, a year and a half ago @Zachary eloquently explained why we prefer that members not indulge in what used to be called "useless nonsense."

I want to take his request one step further. If you see a post that adds nothing to the discussion, especially in a thread of real, substantive value (like park projects discussions), please do not respond. By reacting to a troll, we only increase the impact of the initial post on both our collective credibility and everyone's ability to find valuable data.

One pointless post is annoying; several responses drive the entire thread off-topic and waste everyone's time. It is bad enough for people who come here looking for real information to instead end up reading someone's puerile attempt at humor. It is even worse when those people have to wade through a page or more responses to that pathetic cry for attention.

For reference, here are excerpts of Zachary's original post:

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.

...

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.

...

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.
 

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forum of cunts
Aug 23, 2017
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Maybe this is something for the AP but should we add using terms like "know" and "confirmed" to this? I'm sure a bunch of folks don't look at this but it might help if even a few more people used those terms in their literal meaning.

Of course nothing as far as rules is concerned, but I think it's courteous
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
9,373
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Arlington, VA
Per the Advisory Panel’s recommendation, we have added a bullet about sourcing external sites to Etiquette Guidelines. Here is the full, agreed-upon text:

When citing a source, you must not only link to the source directly, but also provide at minimum a short description of the content you are linking to.

This does not permit you to copy the entirety of the content to which you are linking, as that is plagiarism.
 
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Zachary

𝓡oyal 𝓜ango 𝓒réme Frappuccino Survivor
Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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I have received an astoundingly large number of messages from ParkFans members lately about what people perceive to be increasingly abrasive rhetoric appearing all across the forum. Unfortunately, these comments, complaints, and post reports have only served to reenforce my own observations and perceptions—that discourse has become a lot more tense around here as of late.

Typically I try to allow conflicts like this resolve themselves, but there are times when these issues can fester and grow infected—threatening the overall health of discussion on the forum at large. We seem to be nearing that zone again now.

People need to learn to read their posts in the context of the thread before posting—taking a moment to consider whether they are unintentionally (or intentionally) engaged in a rhetorical arms race. As a general rule, if your post is escalating tensions in the thread, you should think about changing it or making it a PM instead. Tense threads aren't enjoyable threads. They legitimately drive people away.

People need to ask themselves if their posts read like a statement of fact when they're actually expressing an opinion or perception. Everyone can have radically different opinions and perceptions and that's ok. Opinions rarely trigger conflict. That said, opinions or perceptions stated as the correct position or similar are a consistent flash point for anger.

People need to ask themselves if the topic at hand even warrants the contribution of their opinions or input at all. So many of the most abrasive posts out there simply don't contribute to the actual topic at hand at all. A surprising amount of strife can be avoided by just asking if the post in question is actually worth sharing to begin with.

Why am I saying something now? Like I said, I've observed a pattern for a while now and I've received a lot of feedback about it lately.

Then, earlier today, while I was preoccupied at Kings Dominion taking photos for a KDFans post (and hence, not reading the forum), there was a conversation where some of these issues were particularly glaring.

Someone swooping into a conversation to announce that everyone else should step aside since they were going to provide actual data soon is unnecessarily aggressive. Someone extrapolating one isolated, fringe experience to counter a whole string of testimony is absurd and abrasive. Someone assuming others are wrong and explaining a well-understood topic instead of considering alternative possibilities for the disagreement causes completely unnecessary conflict.

These are the types of things we need to work to avoid.

Long-term, the advisory panel may need to take a look at the forum rules and consider elaborating upon/expanding the reach of some of them.

In the meantime though, I hope you all will consider how your posts affect the overall tone of the threads you're participating in and even the forum as a whole. Increased tensions as of late have, legitimately, discouraged people from contributing. That shouldn't happen.

PS: Sorry if this is a rambling mess. Hopefully it does some good regardless.
 
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Zachary

𝓡oyal 𝓜ango 𝓒réme Frappuccino Survivor
Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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Yeah, everyone needs to shut up and listen to what Zachary thinks is the right way to operate on the forum.
Meh, no one has to listen to me. The forum is only as good as you people make it. If you all want to be at each other's throats all the time, go right ahead. I can only enforce actual rules. So unless the panel wants to add to the arsenal of rules I can use, all I can do is give little speaches from my soapbox until the whole place burns down or sorts itself out.
 

Gavin

Who, me?
Administrator
Sep 27, 2009
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Spotsylvania, Virginia
I understand that some threads are very active, but can we please keep the double (and triple) posting down. It clutters up the forum and can end up spamming people with unread notifications. You can reply to multiple posts using the quote function and edit your post if you feel the need to add any additional thoughts. I do understand that it is sometimes unavoidable, like if a thread has died off, I just ask that you use your best judgment.

Thanks.
 
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