Editor's Note: This article last updated September 21, 2015.
What's the etiquette for posting to online forums? There are no clear rules, but below are some guidelines you may want to follow:
- Read the forums rules and guidelines before posting for the first time.
- Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.
- Use a meaningful title for your thread.
- Do not use a forum to promote your product, service or business.
- Be civil. Personal differences should be handled through email or IM and not through posts displayed to everyone.
- Stay on topic.
- Ignore spammers, respond to them personally and not through the board, or report them.
- Do not submit a post that requires readers to download a large attachment. Either explain the attachment or, better yet, provide a link to the information.
- Use plain text over HTML if you want your post to be readable by everyone.
- In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.
- Do not double post (post the same message twice in one thread) or cross post (place the same message across several forums).
- Act in a give and take manner; help others as often as or more than you ask for help.
- Do not use all caps or SHOUT in your posts. In addition, one exclamation point is enough.
- When replying to a post, do not quote more from the previous post than you have to.
- Do not post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion.
- Do not use someone else’s thread for a private conversation.
- Most forums prohibit warez, cracks or illegal downloading of software and similar topics.
- Watch your sense of humor, posts may be read by people from a variety of backgrounds and ages.
- Do not use a huge and annoying signature, a modest signature is fine, moderators may remove large ones anyway.
- Do not post any information that you want private. Posts should not contain personal, identifiable information or content embarrassing to others.
- Do not post content that violates a copyright.
- Do not post ”empty” or useless responses, such as just ”lol” or ”cool.” Only post responses when you have something to contribute.
- Write concisely and do not ramble.
- Do not use words like ”urgent” or ”important” in your subject line, be patient.
- Do not chastise newbies.
Interested in forums? Check out our Forum Services Review site.