How to Post on a Forum

Travis Bickle 04-17-2006 06:47 PM
So you've decided to join a forum. Congratulations! But what do you do to start out, and how do you post? With this tutorial, I will answer any questions you may have and guide you through the simple process of posting on a forum.

Internet forums have been around since the mid 90's and have come in various formats, be it bulletin-board based (ie. Craig's List) or something as elaborate as what we have here at Paradigm City. Before internet forums, we had (and still do), in the 1980's and early 1990's, newsgroups, as well as dial-up bulletin boards that functioned through various software.

Since forums like this one are internet based, all you need to use them is a web browser. Since you are able to read this, you've already figured that out.

Next, in order to actually be able to post on here, you're going to have to sign up for an account. In order to do so, you'll have to register here.

After you recieve an e-mail confirmation of your created account and activate it, you're free to use all functions of the forum open to basic registered users. This includes (but is not limited to):
  • Creating topics
  • Responding to topics created by other members
  • Editing your posts
  • Sending Private Messages (PMs) to other members
  • Editing your signature
  • Changing your avatar from either one you created or one of the many default images given on the forum
  • Changing your profile information
  • Searching for topics using the forum's search function
  • Searching for members using the forum's member search function

Before you get into any of this, you must know how to actually post. This tutorial will help with that.

Writing the Right Way
Since you are new to here (and possibly to internet forums), knowing how to post on a forum is essential.

First, since this forum is English-only (though, ironically, the software it runs on was made in Germany), you must have a decent grasp on the English language. Spelling and grammar are key. Here, I will go over the basics of sentence structure and the like.

Every sentence starts with a capitol. To go from lowercase to uppercase lettering, all you need to do is press and hold shift and the letter you want to start the word with. For example:


quote:
Wrong Way
this is a complete sentence.


quote:
Right Way
This is a complete sentence.


However, do not abuse the CAPS LOCK key. For example:

quote:
Wrong Way
THIS IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE.


quote:
Wrong Way
THIs iS a COMPLEte senteNCE.


quote:
Right Way
This is a complete sentence.


In order to end a sentence, you must use punctuation. The most common form of punctuation is the period, which simply ends the sentence. For example:

quote:
Wrong Way
This is a complete sentence


quote:
Right Way
This is a complete sentence.


If you want to profoundly state something, you might want to use an exclamation point (!). For example:

quote:
Right Way
This is a great complete sentence!


If you want it to be really strong, sometimes you might want to add three of them (!!!). The three exclamation point rule only really applies to forum posting, so it isn't exactly wise to write it on formal essays and other written works. For example:

quote:
Right Way
This complete sentence is amazing!!!


quote:
Wrong Way
This complete sentence is amazing!!!!!1!!!!1111!!!!!


To seperate ideas in sentences, you would use something called a comma. A comma seperates two ideas, while forming a complete sentence. For example:

quote:
Right Way
This is a complete sentence, and that comma seperates this idea from the other one.


quote:
Wrong Way
This is a complete sentence and that comma seperates this idea from the other one.


To connect the sentences/fragments after the comma, you can use "or","but", "and", "because",, or a variety of words.

If you want to quote something (outside of using the forum's QUOTE function, which we will go over later), you do the following:

You start all quotes off with quotation marks ("). You then write the sentence as you normally would. However, after your final punctuation mark, you add an end quotation marks (" again). For example:

quote:
Right Way
"This is a complete sentence."


quote:
Wrong Way
"This is a complete sentence.


quote:
Wrong Way
"This is a complete sentence"


quote:
Wrong Way
This is a complete sentence."


If you are writing a sentence and want to quote something, you add a comma before you finish YOUR sentence and begin the quoted sentence. For example:

quote:
Right Way
A wise man once said, "This is a complete sentence."


quote:
Wrong Way
A wise man once said "This is a complete sentence."


Now that we have grammar pretty much covered, you need to remember one important thing: spelling counts. Sure, this is the internet, and although you may be tempted to use "leet speak" (1337 5p34|<), it would be wise not to due to the fact that the majority of the forum goers would not understand you and think ill of you.

However, spelling is a must. If you don't know how to spell a word, you can always use the spellcheck function of your word processor or even Google to look it up. But, before you post something, you need to make sure that everything is spelled correctly. For example:


quote:
Right Way
This is a complete sentence.


quote:
Wrong Way
Tis is a kompleat centance.


Other things you should know are as follows:

If you don't know a fancier term for something you're trying to describe, it's best not to use a thesaurus. One should speak what they think instead of trying to brow beat others with words they don't comprehend. If you don't normally use the word "tome" as part of your every day vocabulary, then just say "book".

The forum has 28 smilies, or "emoticons". Though it is fun to use them, it is best to do so sparingly.

quote:
Right Way
This is a happy sentence. :)


quote:
Wrong Way
This is a happy sentence. =) =) =) ;) :rolleyes: :P X( :( 8o 8) :O 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)


Creating a Post

Now that you know the basics on sentence structure and the like, it's time for you to learn how to post. First, in order to respond to a topic, you must either press "Reply" (to start a blank post) or "Quote" (to quote and respond to a specific post).

First, you must figure out how to use some of the post functions:

is to make something bold.
is italicize something.
is to underline something.
is to center specific text.
is to add a link.
is to add an email address.
is to add an image.
is to add a quote.
is to add a list of things.
is to add a spoiler box.

Now on to your post: Let's say you're going to respond in a thread about Ramen. You first write your sentence:

quote:
I think Ramen is a great food. I personally love Chicken Ramen, though I think Beef Ramen comes in at a close second.


There you have it.

These are some of the possible outcomes of your post, in terms of how others would respond:

quote:
I LOVE Chicken Ramen


You would most likely post a response around the likes of

quote:
The reason I like Chicken Ramen is because of the distinct chicken flavor (thanks to the included broth packet).


Or you could quote them:

quote:

quote:
Originally posted by Joe Momma
I LOVE Chicken Ramen

The reason I like Chicken Ramen is because of the distinct chicken flavor (thanks to the included broth packet).


However, not everything always runs smoothly. Someone could post the following:

quote:
I HATE Chicken Ramen. I think that anyone who likes Chicken Ramen is an idiot and shouldn't live.


How do you deal with this?

quote:
Wrong Way
Well, you suck. Hard.


quote:
Wrong Way
f*** you you stupid motherf***er! I hope you die!


Either of these would get you in trouble with the mods and/or admin of the site that make sure negativity doesn't flow freely in the forums. Your options are as follows:

quote:

Well, that's your opinion, and even though you don't agree with me doesn't mean you have to be hurtful in such a manner. Now let's please continue with the topic.


Or you can just ignore it and the person who wrote the post would be dealt with accordingly.

If you made a mistake, or want to change something in your post, all you have to do is press the "EDIT" button and you can fix your post. This can be done as many times as you want.

The "EDIT" function also brings something into play. It is not a good idea to post after yourself. This is called "double-posting". This is sort of frowned upon and can result in you getting in trouble and/or the topic you're posting in being closed. If you have anything else to say, you should edit your original post and add on to it.

That's basically it. You now know the basic ethics of writing a post in another topic. Which brings us to...

(To Be Continued)
Travis Bickle 04-17-2006 08:26 PM
Creating a Thread

Now it's time for you to create a thread of your own.

However, there are several things you must do before you create a thread.

First, you have to pick a topic. The topic should be specific, and should have a decent title to it. Avoid making vague topics with vague opening posts.

For example, if you're going to make a topic on, say, rabbits:

The right way to approach this is to create a thread with a title around the likes of "The Rabbit Thread". The post should include the following:

-The purpose of the thread
-Information you might have about the topic
-Your two cents (optional)
-Asking what others think of the topic (optional)
-Why you made the thread (optional)

So, a possible good opening post would be as follows

quote:
Since I didn't find another thread like this one* (Sentence about why you made the topic). (Informational sentence). (Informational sentence). (Maybe yet another informational sentence).

I like Rabbits because (your opinion on the topic). (Maybe a second sentence on your opinion). (And maybe a third).

What do you think of Rabbits?

(* = more on this below)

The wrong way to approach this is as follows:

-Having a topic title that makes no sense. For example, a topic titled "SIGH..." or "LAWL!" or...well, you get the idea.
-Having the post consist of one sentence (though this rule can VERY RARELY be broken, but it's best not to).
-Having the sentence something along the lines of "Bunnies are cute." I know bunnies are cute. What does that have to do with the price of eggs in Belgium on a Tuesday morning? Exactly! Don't do this.

BUT WAIT!

Before you post (even before you start creating your thread), you might want to check to see if there are any other topics just like yours. Sure, people like rabbits, but not enough to have 5 different threads devoted to them.

How do you do this? Why, the forum search function, of course. This handy function allows you to search through ALL topics that have ever been created on the forum (except for those deleted), you can see if whether or not there is an actual thread.

Since there is no Rabbit thread already, go ahead and post your thread.

(To Be Continued)