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How to Get People to Read Your Posts.

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posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 06:50 AM
On Sept 11th I will have been a member of ATS for 3 years in that time you can imagine the striking changes that have occured, all for the better.

But the discussion board enviroment has changed too. Back then, when if 10 people were on at the same time it was deemed busy, having your views read and replied too here on ATS was simple. With so few posts I'm sure I read everything posted everyday.

Now things are very different the board is extremely meritocratic and though I'm no expert I hope you don't mind if I pass on some advice. Of course there is no right way to post but there are, if not wrong ways then, less right ways to post. So these are my top tips, I hope they help.

1/ Title. Your title is a sign post. It is the most important part of your post in many ways. The member or guest will decide whether they wish to read your post on it's basis and you only have a limited amount of words to hook them. Too many words and much of the title can go unseen from the main discussion board index page (your primary advertisment). The title must give the essence of what you want to post and you can not use full caps to give your post emphasis (excepting Acronyms).

Think carefully about your title !

2/ So you've hooked your reader with your title and he takes one look and goes somewhere else. After all the hard work you've put in you have a few views but no ones replied and your story is slipping down the list faster than a Chucubera from a cameraman. Why ?? Is it a conspiracy ? Is it because you're new ?

No. The most common reasons are.

a) You've posted a long text without paragraphs. There is nothing that makes my heart drop more than seeing this. It's very off putting when you first click on a story and you're confronted with a huge block of text, one that sometimes you have to scroll down for five seconds before you can see the end. I always think what a waste of such hard work and then I go somewhere else.

Construct your post carefully. An opening paragraph should explain what the post is about. What your point is. Leave suspense for the fiction forum.

Leave spaces between the paragraphs.

Conclude with a summary. Crystalize you point to leave the reader understanding clearly what you've been trying to say. When he/she has finished reading he/she makes the descision whether to reply or not. You concluding paragraph is important too.

b) Don't just post a blind link. No one likes clicking on them. It's a turn off.

c) Don't just post a pic. Explain why you think it's interesting. The amount of times I see a pic with the words "What do you think of this ?" I want to know what you think of it.

d) Don't post huge quotes. Quotes are supposed to back up your argument or position. It's unoriginal.

3/ Explore and engage. You can't expect others to engage unless you're willing to. Explore the board and it's different forums and reply yourself. Encourage quality with your WATS votes.

As the board get's bigger we all have to lift our game to get our posts read, even old timers like me, but the upshot of it all is that as we all excel so does the board as a whole and your membership of it increases in value.


"What do you think of this ?"

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 07:15 AM

Not much to add from me, not that it matters, on what you have mentioned, JB1, other than we all have different posting styles and such that work for one but may not work for others.

All-in-all and as a general guide or recommendation, you are spot on, mate.
Most excellent and refreshing to read.


posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 03:48 PM
Excellent advice JB1.

This thread should be topped.

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 04:39 PM
Good advice, jb1, that only a few can follow.

I was attacted by your title. That's why I read your post.

I was reminded of an old hoax... the book titled "How to make a million dollars in one day". Every page was printed "Get a job at the Mint."

Your advice is equally pragmatic but much better. But this environment is not really "meritocratic" so you may still find much useful material (topics and posts within topics) buried in clutter, and such is the information age and not-so-secret commerciality.

BTW can you explain for the novices please, what is a "blind link" that is to be avoided?

[edit on 4-8-2005 by MaskedAvatar]

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 05:13 PM
Its off putting when people use too much information to start a post and im quite new to all this. The quicker it is to read sometimes the better or to the point.

Sometimes people post too late at night so they will not get the amount of response that they wanted. Not doing enough research on the subject for when you set a question and bringing up a topic most people know more than you do on that subject.

People are at different levels and ages for some are just starting and sometimes giving possitive feed back rather than saying they are niaeve is better.

People bring old stories up but that in it self is interesting to give todays changing opinion about things.

Try not to go on a personal level about what someone says and just say its what you think of that subject of the post as being one of many views.

Being original is difficult but current stories seem to be more successful I noticed.

[edit on 4-8-2005 by The time lord]

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 08:18 PM
Post Doctoral Dissertation

I'm very firmly with John bull 1 on this.

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.

Donny Don't

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 absolutely not interested.

Mental Blocks

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 did, 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 ATS Etiquette. 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.

Farm Subsidies

And link farms -- posts so loaded with links that they make a Google search result page seem empty of them -- have a very limited appeal. 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 information.

Editor's Choice

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.

Why Bother?

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 me.

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 subtle humor.

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 posts.

Rather, you're not copying everyone else who doesn't use them.

That's my opinion, anyway.

[edit on 8/4/2005 by Majic]

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 08:53 PM
I have something to add..well, not really,'ll see.

Don't be like these distinguished members above me..don't cover all the bases in your initial post, otherwise there will be nothing for members to add except meaningless praise/heckling. I find it's helpful to ask a question or two, give people some oppurtunities to flesh out the subject.

Otherwise, you'll get few replies except ones like this:

"This thread is a good thread."

(See what I mean, not very interesting for the next person to read, and not very illuminating or topical.)

That's my pseudo-contribution.

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 09:09 PM
5 stars type of advice...thank you !!

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 09:55 PM
Thread titles that are deceptive.

I know we have a diverse community from all over the world. We are a group that consists of a broad spectrum of society that includes any age or education without discrimination. This is one of the features that makes ATS interesting.

I can forgive spelling and structure because I'm one of the worst offenders, but it just ticks me off to click a thread that grabs my interest only to find out I've been deceived. The title should be clear and concise, and never mislead the potential reader.

I think this should be listed as a sin on ATS if you lie to get your thread read. It's these little lies that make me mistrust other peoples posts, and that mistrust might lead me to pass on a thread that might be really good.

I make a point of sending an e-mail to the BBC News website when they put up a misleading header, and I've had total success in having the title changed when they realize their mistake. They even send out a very nice return mail thanking you for pointing out the mistake. (Those British Are Very Polite)

So in summary, I just want to call on every ATS member to look at their headlines, and then look twice.

It's your first impression........

Edit to add: You can always edit your title with the edit button if it comes out wrong in the first try.....

[edit on 4-8-2005 by anxietydisorder]

posted on Aug, 5 2005 @ 03:49 AM
I just want to thank everyone above for their imput on this thread.

As can be seen clearly there are no restrictions to style excepting issues that contravene our Terms & Conditions.

The overall point here is that you can increase the chances of your thread getting the attention you feel it deserves. It is in your hands. There is no guarentee that if you follow the advice listed above everyone will flock to you post but you can increase the chances.

In a way we're all competing for attention. Having taken the time to research and write a topic don't make the mistake of inadvertantly putting off your audience.

Goodluck !!

posted on Aug, 8 2005 @ 08:59 AM
Lots of great pointers for ATS posters

Like MA stated, I was attracted by the title. Thinking, wow this maybe something worthy or applause.
And, like anxietydisorder, I really am put off by deceptive title and often don't even finish reading the post.

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