Are You Using Proper Forum Etiquette?

Internet forums are very popular today and many people like the anonymity they provide. Being able to express yourself in this type of environment is a great way for people to ask and answer questions they otherwise would not. It's also a great way to bring like-minded people together to discuss mutual interests. Of course, just as in everyday life, there are rules of etiquette one should follow in order to keep the peace. Here are a list of things you should remember if you are getting started with Internet forums:

Do not be a troll. A troll is someone that hits up forums looking for nothing other than making trouble. They have little or no interest in the topic of the forum, they just want to ruin everyone's good time. They are usually easy to spot, because their posts will be off topic, they will be repetitive, and they will abuse other members with obscene names or threats. They are usually banned quickly in moderated forums by the site administrators, but they can still cause some damage beforehand. If you are reading an article on forum etiquette, you probably are not looking to become a troll. Just be aware that they're out there, so do not be surprised if they try their shenanigans on you.

Do not post repetitive posts. When you post the same thing over and over again it is really unfair to the other members, who want to see unique, relevant content. It's also one of the signs of a troll so it's best to avoid this practice. Use the forum for what it is intended for. You can introduce topics, ask questions, pose ideas, or answer other people questions or respond to their posts.

Do not use ALL CAPS. This is the equivalent of yelling and it is really annoying to most forum users. You can use caps to emphasize a few words of a sentence, but putting your post title or your entire post in all capital letters is something you should avoid at all costs.

Do not flame. The last thing you should remember to do is not insult people personally in a forum. Even if someone comes at you offensively, you should not stoop to their level. The anonymity of a forum makes people braver than they would be in a real life situation and they are probably not worth the time if they are spending their time insulting strangers online for no apparent reason. Unless you've posted some controversial post that was geared towards getting a rise out of the members, there should not be any reason for another user to bash you. The most common flame online seems to be making fun of new members that ask what appear to be dumb questions. Just ignore those flames and take the advice from the other members that are willing to help.