Post Doctoral Dissertation
I'm very firmly with John bull 1
Of course, within the limits of the T&C
, members can post with pretty much any
style they please.
Personally, I like seeing different styles, and encourage other members to adopt distinct posting personas that they prefer to present to the
community as a whole.
However, as JB1 has pointed out, the way you post can have a strong impact on how much attention you get from other members. I will add that it will
also affect what kind
of members your posts will attract.
No Such thing As “Free” Time
No matter who you are, the amount of time you can spend on ATS is finite. In your lifetime, you will spend a certain number of total hours on ATS
before you die, and not a moment more.
Knowing this, it is logical to want to spend the time we have here in the most rewarding way possible. Naturally, different members have different
opinions as to what that actually involves, just as they should.
When I present a post to my fellow members, one of the things I try to keep in mind is that I am making a demand on their time by expecting them to
read my posts.
In consideration of that, I try to make reading my posts worthwhile for the maximum number of people who will read them.
One way of expressing my respect for my fellow members is to avoid posting habits or techniques that tend to turn people off.
Feelings of Entitlement
Crappy titles are definitely one of them. While there are exceptions, if I see a thread titled “Question...”, “look at tihs!!!!!!” or “I
have a bad feeling....”, the odds of my actually clicking on it and reading the thread are almost nil. Been there, seen it, done it and am
Next up, as with JB1, are the dreaded “monoliths of doom” -- unbroken blocks of text that absolutely beg
to be ignored. If I post to a
thread and it seems I ignored (perhaps even unwittingly repeating) a point made earlier in such a monster “boredom block”, it's because I
, and moreover, it's not my fault
that I did.
On the other end of the same scale are short, incoherent blurbs that are unclear with respect to what they address or what they intend to say.
Example: “thats what they said but where not i said it earlier noone and taht bs”. Um, yeah...
Quoth The Raver Nevermore
Excessively long quote blocks are another turnoff, especially since Simon has specifically asked members to trim their quotes as a matter of basic
. Quotes are great for calling out and addressing specific things other
members have posted, but if I want to re-read a member's entire post, I prefer to re-read the original. It's easier on the eyes, if nothing else.
Blind Leading The Mind
As for “blind links”, an example can be found here
. Links are wonderful tools, but
as JB1 pointed out, if you expect members to work their way through a long series of blind links, you're expecting more than you are going to get. If
you try to make your point with nothing but links, you won't. And that's your
fault, not ours.
And link farms -- posts so loaded with links that they make a Google search result page seem empty of them -- have a very
Summarize the links for your readers, explain why you want people to read what's on the other end of those links, and maybe we will.
Spam the threads with what amount to lazy ads for your pet websites, however, and don't be surprised if members like me decide to look elsewhere for
Here's one that may seem obvious, but isn't to everyone: preview
your posts before posting.
Even better, compose them in a word processor like I do with instant spell checking, then just copy and paste over when you're ready. Your posts will
look a lot better and can be saved if something bad happens when you try to post.
Ever lost a post because you hit the wrong button on your browser? Use a word processor, save often and then no matter what happens, your post will be
safe if you have trouble with your computer or browser.
After you post, read what you just posted
. It's amazing how different a post can look once it's posted. Make sure you said what you wanted to
say, and make sure you didn't say what you didn't
want to say.
Your ability to edit your posts goes away after a few hours pass. Make sure you're comfortable with the fact that you won't be able to change your
mind later, and, if you need to, edit while you can.
Ultimately, all this boils down to respect. If you take the time to format and present your ideas well, then that means you respect your own ideas as
well as those who read them.
On the other hand, if you're just going for post count, shock value and screaming at the world, your posts will typically get no more respect than
you give them yourself.
The choice is yours -- and ours.
Subhead And Subshoulders
Here's yet another place to promote my beloved bold subheadings
as a posting style.
I'm somewhat known for using them, but I didn't invent them. I picked up the habit years ago on a board where everyone used them, and it stuck with
Bold subheadings are a very simple but effective way to summarize and reinforce your message for readers. At a glance, your fellow members can “get
your drift” and find their away around not only in your post, but in the thread as well.
In other words, bold subheadings are a helpful navigation tool for your readers. Among other things, they can help keep people from getting lost in
your posts. Speaking as a member who is notorious for long posts, I can confidently assert that I couldn't really post without them
I don't necessarily recommend that everyone use my pithy and indirect choices of titles for my subheadings, which tend to be loaded with puns and
Rather, simply laying out your case with subheadings and small, concise paragraphs can get attention and respect for your thoughts that might not
otherwise be forthcoming.
Long But Not Forgotten
Consider the fact that you're reading this post at all. Why? The honest answer to that question makes my case.
This is a long post (over 1200 words), but it is an organized post. If I took the same verbiage and glomped it into a single untitled paragraph, odds
are good that you wouldn't have made it this far.
By the way, for those who may be concerned, you're not “copying me” if you use subheadings to break up and clarify the content of longer
Rather, you're not
copying everyone else who doesn't use them.
That's my opinion, anyway.
[edit on 8/4/2005 by Majic]