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Forum Etiquette

  1. #1
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
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    Default Forum Etiquette

    Of late, there were many instances when threads were deleted, apparently for no reason. Naturally this caused a great anguish and anger amongst those who lost their posts. All those cried "Foul". Then there started a small war of reporting threads/posts - 'if my thread/post was deleted then similar post by someone else should be deleted also'. Some were genuine reports whereas most others were not.

    Members complained, 'what rule have I broken?', 'where is this stated that I should not do this?', etc.

    So in this thread I intend to discuss Forum rules and etiquette. Note that this is not a thread where exhaustive list of rules and directions are being laid out. This is a thread that contains informal and impartial set of guidelines. Note that a railway track is impartial too. But once you lay it down, that is where trains can go. This is not a railway track where we shall tell you where to go.

    Forum rules are hard and fast rules. These must be adhered to. But the forum rules are not a set of Criminal Procedures Code of a state's judiciary. Forum rules are designed to keep peace and harmony amongst members, ensure that forum is clean and works for the purpose that it is designed for and finally it allows a frank exchange of ideas without causing hurt to feelings of others. To that extent, forum rules have been successful.

    When it comes to forum etiquette, there are no firm directions. It is left to the sensibility of the poster to decide whether the best interest of the community is being served or not. This leaves a wide scope for interpretation. I will not be blaming any member for what happened; nor shall I apologize on behalf of Admin and Mod Squad.

    So what is forum etiquette? What guidelines should be followed?

    Thread Creating
    When creating threads, do not create a thread just for the heck of it. Think carefully. Does the thread evoke common feelings, problems, mass hysteria, etc.? What seems important to you may not be important to the majority.

    One of the major rule is, do not create a duplicate thread. PLEASE DO A FORUM SEARCH ON THE ARTICLE. Only create a new thread when you are unable to find the problem/solution/issue that you are looking for.

    Fonts, writing style, etc.
    It is bad manners to write in large fonts, bold letters, capitalized/uppercase only text, etc.

    We can all read in normal font also. Using such writing style as mentioned above means that you are shouting. So please follow this rule strictly.

    Similarly, avoid using too small a font, unless really required.

    Also, "Verdana" (this font) and "Arial" and such sans-serif fonts are best for forum posts. Any other fonts are not recommended.

    Bumping old threads
    One of the major transgression that has been observed is bumping old threads. The thread starter starts an issue. Some solutions/checks/suggestions are posted. Usually, the thread starter has left without notice. Out of the blue, nearly a month or two later, someone replies to the thread, 'I have a solution. Try this.'.

    But before you do this, please ask yourself:
    • Is the thread starter interested any more? Check the number of posts by the thread starter. If the post count is less than 15 and thread is more than 4 weeks old, the thread starter has no more interest or his problem is solved or both.
    • Are you contributing anything?
    • Is the solution available in another thread?

    What is the problem of bumping old threads? Simple. It disturbs the Search function. For no reason at all, an old thread suddenly appears in the top list. This is a great dis-service for not only people who have urgent issues but also to people who are helping them solve it.

    Let the thread starter come back and bump his own thread.

    Polls
    Polls are a good way to garner opinions. But sometimes opinion polls are not required. For example, "How many times you have crossed the maximum usage limit and paid extra bucks?". Think logically about a poll. Will the poll add any value to the subject? Does it really interest anyone?

    Multiple User Id's
    Some people create multiple id's. Multiple id's are not permitted on the forum. If they are discovered, they will be banned or deleted immediately. Repeat offenders may get banned permanently.

    Rapidshare
    If Admin/Mods see a new thread selling or buying or gifting Rapidshare or any other megaupload accounts here or any other uploading sites accounts...

    We wont just delete the thread, WE WILL DELETE YOUR ID AS WELL.

    If you are looking to buy a Rapidshare account just go to rapidshare.com and buy one there.

    Copy/Paste of Articles from the Web
    As a rule, copy/paste of articles is not allowed. There are several reasons for this:
    • This infringes the IP of someone else.
    • Even if the article is not copyrighted, this is still a violation.
    • Copying content from some place else reduces the forum rank in Google.
    • If the site is full of copy/pasted article, Google may even discard the site from future searches.

    But sometimes you may copy/paste.

    First decide clearly whether the web article is of any interest to general community. A new press release is fine. But one member was simply posting all kinds of useless press releases just because he had an access.
    • A new development in the field of computers, broadband, etc. is of interest to the forum.
    • But Amitabh Bachchan spending his holidays in Bahamas with his whole family, is not in the interest of the forum (though it may interest a few people).
    • Daily movement of the Sensex is not of interest but a sharp decline may be.
    • New channel/package introduction on a DTH service is of interest to many
    • Generic notices/circulars are not of interest unless it is affecting our lives directly.
    • Only very new stories may be referenced.

    Finally, the proper way to copy/paste articles from the web is to QUOTE it properly. Enclose the full article in the BBCode QUOTE Tags. At the bottom or the top, the source of the article must be mentioned by the URL.

    Thread Hijack
    Never hijack a post from the thread starter. This does not happen deliberately but happens because slowly the topic goes off subject.
    • Suppose a member starts a topic on health issues, say, "Importance of an eight hour sleep".
    • The first few posts are in line with the subject.
    • Then one members says how s/he is missing sleep because s/he has to stay awake till 2 AM because that is the time when BSNL happy hours start.
    • Then other members reply how it is possible to schedule download, automate things, etc.
    • The previous member is not clear "how to" and then the whole thread turns completely around and looses the original focus.

    This causes some frustration on the part of the original thread starter that her/his topic has completely lost the track and good/honest intentions have been wiped off. Such incidences are called as thread hijacking and going offtopic. As the forum rules state, please do not hijack a thread; instead open a new thread or post in a thread dealing in that subject.

    Please do report such incidences.

    Offtopic posts
    Any thread that does not belong to a particular section should be created in the offtopic forum. But please note that even offtopic posts have a subject. The thread is posted in offtopic section, because it does not deal in any of the mainstream sections.

    But thread hijacking applies here also. Just because the thread is posted in offtopic section does not mean you can go offtopic with the subject.

    So called 'spam' posts
    Moderators will decide what is spam. All spam may be deleted without notice. No complaints will be entertained in this respect.

    Flaming/Inciting
    Please do not post threads that hurt the sentiments of a person or a community. For example, do not call anyone 'noob' or 'newbie'. Just remember, that you were not born with your knowledge. We all were also a 'newbie' once and maybe still are in many aspects of life.

    Do not post threads that cause an uproar. Do not hurt the religious sentiments of a person. And above all, you will not threaten any other member - by physical threats or verbal abuse. And absolutely no profanity.

    Language
    You should use a language that is not offending someone's ego and sensibility.

    Do not show a superiority over others. Not all are of the same intellect level. Remember you were a newbie once too. And every person has a specialty in some facet of life - so respect every human being.

    You may be calling someone a 'duffer' in the friendliest way and meaning no disrespect. But the situations of real life voice conversation and text communication are entirely different. The tone in which you write may not be the tone in which the reader reads. So unless you are having the complete confidence of the second party, best to avoid "avoidable" words.

    SMS Text like Language
    We have a thread on this. On all mainstream and technical section, please avoid SMS text like language. It is not only insulting the language but you are also bringing disrepute to yourself, and the forum. There are others who visit us as guests and they will be totally be put off by such language.

    Threads/posts with SMS Text like language will be deleted or edited out completely without warning.

    Thread reporting
    When you report a thread you are objecting to the author as well (many times). So do take utmost care and a sensible judgment on reporting threads. No harm in reporting thread but put the forum's benefit before anyone else's.

    What Admin and Mods will do?
    Admin and Mods may delete entire threads or selected posts that breach forum rules and/or imbalance forum etiquette. They may issue infractions (Yellow and Red Card), dock off points, and issue many such warnings. In extreme cases, the offenders may be banned temporarily or permanently.

    And finally ...
    Please note that the above list is not an exhaustive list. There can never be an exhaustive list because as stated earlier this is not a Criminal Procedure Code. Even a CPC is sometimes found inadequate. You must make your own sensible judgment on your forum actions. Because forum actions are public. Also note that Admin and Mods may not agree on all issues and actions but they will advice and suggest each other.

    Please post your valuable feedback on this article and help us grow bigger, better and valuable.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by just4kix; 29th June 2010 at 10:51 PM.
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  2. #2
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
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    Default

    Account Activation
    This forum uses a secondary check on new registrations. When you register, a verification email is sent to your email id that you provided. You must open that email and click on the activation link provided within the subject body. Till that is done, you may not be able to post or download guides from the forum. Also all posts will be logged into the moderation queue.

    Sometimes the email may be filtered by your spam guard and may end up in the spam/junk mail box. In case you have lost the email, please send a PM to Admin.

    Please note that moderators cannot help as they do not have rights to change profile status of such affected members. Your only option is (if you have no record of such a mail) is to send a PM to Admin or re-register from another email id.

    Some of you may be asking why this additional step is required on this forum. Some other forums do not invite such an action. The reason is because in the past we have seen a lot of bogus membership using bogus email accounts. The idea of such members was to spam the forum with ad's, nonsense, spam, or even hacking/malicious intention. To counter that we introduced CAPTCHA and email conformance.

    The 15 post limit ...
    This forum does not allow new members to post web links till the post count reaches 15. Most new members are really put off by this feature, so much so that some of them never come back again. We know that this is a restriction on freedom of expression.

    But there is a genuine reason for this. In the past, we have had spammer register in the forum and post a whole lot of links/advertisement/spam all over the forum. Hence we introduced this limit. I hope that all agree that this is the best that can be done within the circumstances.

    But some new members are posting small messages on thread like Thank you for the info in a hurry to reach 15 posts. In the process they disregard all other rules/etiquette like "Do not bump an old thread", "Do not post useless information", etc. If we find such incidents, we will ban the member immediately.
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  3. #3
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
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    In this week I had to send friendly reminders to a few people about Forum Etiquette. Some of you have taken it in the right spirit. But there are others who tell me to "chill out" or "take a hike". Unfortunately, I had to ban such members.

    This forum is for everybody and there is a degree of freedom allowed to all. In this respect it is like a democracy. However, democracy does not mean forum rules are broken. In that respect, this is not a democracy but a corporate office.

    Henceforth, all posts such those are not found appropriate will be deleted without information. I am seeking kind cooperation from you all.

    Thanks and regards.
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