With all of the new-fangled social media companies on the internet, Facebook, Google +, Linkedin, etc…, we tend to forget that social media on the internet can trace its roots back to internet forums. Back in the day, forums where the only place to hang-out, chat with like-minded people, start flame wars and troll. Forums are still an extremely popular form of social media that we tend to forget about in the presence of the social media giants. Internet forums are still extremely relevant. Most importantly, its where we learned our internet manners. Proper forum etiquette is as important as our face to face etiquette. Sure there are alot of tools to measure metrics and statistics, but what about the social tools we learn from an online standpoint? The tools of online etiquette are equally important as we become more tightly intertwined with our online persona. Let’s have a refresher on forum etiquette. Let the lesson commence!
Forum Etiquette 101 (from eHow.com) :
1- Read the forum rules. Even if you’re excited to be a member of a new forum and can’t wait to join in, take the time to find the group policy page and read it thoroughly. Some forums are fussier than others about Internet etiquette.
2- Lurk a little before you dive right in. Read a number of posts, or check out the group’s archives. Get a feel for the tone of the forum so you can participate accordingly.
3- Remember your face doesn’t show. Words alone can convey sentiment, but without benefit of inflection or facial expression, they can be misconstrued. Use descriptive wording, emoticons or .gifs to ensure your meaning is clear. By the same token, don’t jump to conclusions about another person’s intent in posting an unclear comment. When in doubt, ask for clarification.
4- Type in lowercase or standard case, not in all caps. By the rules of netiquette, all caps equates to shouting. If you type with all caps, you will annoy and possibly offend other forum members.
5- Say online exactly what you would say in person. In other words, if you wouldn’t say it to the person’s face in front of your Grandmother, you shouldn’t type it into a forum.
6- Be respectful. Internet etiquette is similar to standard etiquette in this area. Appreciate that your opinion is one of many. You can disagree with another person without being disrespectful or rude online.
7- Ignore Trolls. Netiquette guidelines are very specific where they’re concerned. If you engage in conversation, you’ll raise your blood pressure and empower the Troll. You can’t win a flame war, and you can’t sway a Troll’s opinion. Often, they don’t even care about the subject; they live for the conflict and nothing more. Trolls are common and not worthy of your time. Ignore their posts-no matter how inflammatory-and eventually they’ll get bored and move on.