In order to communicate with their readers many websites have incorporated forums. Forums can be a very helpful way of finding out information or just chatting with others. Each forum has their own set of rules and regulations but there are many rules that apply to all forums.
Read and Follow the Rules
If the forum that you go to has a set of rules then be sure to read them. I know a forum’s set of rules can be pretty boring and you’ll be tempted to skip over them but if you don’t read the rules you could be banned for doing something that you didn’t know wasn’t allowed.
Use Good Grammar and Spelling
Forums are not instant messenger. If you want to abbreviate entire sentences then go talk on AIM or MSN. Forums are a place for an intelligent discussion and good grammar and spelling are expected.
Nobody likes to go to the forum they frequent and see a flame war between two people acting half their age. There is no way to stop somebody else from being rude so the only way you can stop this is to behave yourself. It takes two people to have a flame war so if you’re never involved then that is one less person who could start a flame war.
Be Nice to Newcomers
A lot of people have a tendency to be rude to newcomers. If somebody is new to the forum people will make sarcastic and snarky remarks to them. Why? Because they didn’t find the website as early as you did? That’s a pretty dumb reason to be rude to somebody.
Check the Forums First
This rule is mainly for newcomers but can also apply to regular members as well. Before starting a new thread search the forums to see if your question or topic has already been talked about. This is especially a good rule if you’re a newcomer and you don’t want those nasty regulars getting on you. Nothing bugs the regular visitors as much as a newcomer asking a question that there are already four or five topics on.
Don’t Resurrect Topics for No Reason
Often people will resurrect an old topic. This is most often the case with complaining. Somebody will resurrect a thread about a certain complaint to restart an argument. There is no reason to do this. The only reason to ever resurrect an old topic is if you have something new to add to the conversation.
On most forums crossposting is a no-no. Crossposting means that you post the same message in more than one section of the forum. If you have something to say then choose what section the comment should go in and post only in that section.
Stay on Topic
Always stay on topic. If you read a thread, do not post a comment that is going to change the topic. It is very rude to take over somebody’s thread like that. This will make you seem like your problem is all that matters to you and that is not a good way to make friends on a forum.
Many people don’t have time to hang out in forums and might stop by just because they have a question. They ask their question and then leave and that’s fine but people who frequent the forum often should get in the habit of replying more often that starting threads. If you expect to get answers from other people often then you should give them the courtesy of replying to their topics too.
Don’t Use All Caps
Nobody should ever type in All Caps. It’s rude, annoying and it doesn’t follow the correct grammar and spelling rule.