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How to improve the quality of your posts

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posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:44 AM
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Although I am fairly new on ATS, I share the old timers' lamentations of the sheer volume of far too many posts of poor quality that now flood the ATS forums. There still are many gems of posts, but they are being buried in a flood of posts of poor quality, like how gold gets covered up by tons of gravel overburden. Too much fugly gravel, too little gold.


So, as a transcript team editor for two websites (www.divinecosmos.com and www.projectcamelot.org), I will like to share some of my tools of trade that I use every day and have used them for assisting my posting here on ATS. I use them ALL the time, so feel free to use them frequently. If a professional writer/editor uses these tools all the time, shouldn't you?




Dictionary

The first one...

www.dictionary.reference.com ...

... is a must-have tool that I use ALL the time. It's great for typing in words -- wrong spellings and all -- and it'll correct you very quickly, as well as come up with suggestions and alternate words. If you find words that have those red, dotted lines below them as you type out your post, that means that the word is misspelled -- copy that word and put it into your dictionary.com entry. Open up a new tab and use that one for the dictionary.com url.




Thesaurus

If you are stumped for a word, then use this one...

www.thesaurus.reference.com ...

...is a very useful tool for you to find the word that you need. Just type in the closest word that you can think of and look up the list of synonyms; pick the next-closest word that you can find in the list of synonyms and try to find the list of synonym words that are associated with that new one, if you want.




Grammar

For help with grammar/structure of your sentences, this one...

www.grammarbook.com ...

...is very helpful. It's easy-to-read and you can get help quickly for any help that you may need for composing your posts.




Searching

And, of course, this one...

www.google.com

...is always a useful tool -- or a different search engine that you may prefer (I like www.cuil.com for snoop-free searching) -- with which you can check on certain words or topics while you compose. I use search engines all the time. Also be sure to use the ATS "Google Custom Search" box that is always up at the far right corner box... BUT use that in a separate browser, so that you would not lose your work that you may have composed so far.

I find it useful to frequently copy/paste the composition that I'm writing into an open e-mail window -- that way I can have my work saved as I go along, just in case I screw up and accidentally erase a post that I'm composing. Sometimes I save my posts 4 or 5 times as it grows in length.

I want to repeat this, as it is important: USE the ATS Google Custom Search box frequently -- especially when you are about to compose a new thread. Use it.




Common Topics

Please refer to this thread...

www.abovetopsecret.com ...

...about any topics that you may be about to compose in a new thread. Follow those guidelines and use the ATS Google Custom Search box up at the far-right corner of the ATS page. Before posting a new thread, always check with the ATS Google Custom Search box before posting a new thread -- most frequently, the topic that you are about to discuss will have been discussed before and do check out the above-mentioned thread for guidelines for posting about common topics.




Paragraphs

FAR TOO MANY posts have huge blocks of paragraphs, even an entire page that is one freak'n-A paragraph. This one BUGS me, man! Please, for the ease of reading, DO break up your paragraphs and try to keep your paragraphs to six sentences or less. Try to have NO more than seven sentences in any paragraph, please.




Separate Tab

I find it very useful to have the tab in which I am posting a new post in ATS in its OWN tab -- all by itself; that way, this minimizes the chance of your accidentally clicking on something that would open a new window in your tab, thus erasing the post that you may have spent some time composing.

This has happened to me several times and, believe me, I get pissed when 15, 20 minutes of my work disappears in an instant. So, when you are composing an ATS post, have it in its own tab all by itself; for the other ones, like the dictionary ones, just open them up in a new browser. (Techies: correct me if the term "browser" is not correct, please.)




Attacking/Flaming The Poster

This happens far too many times. Far too many flaming, name-calling and negative criticisms are going on in the ATS forums. DO NOT attack the poster; if you must attack, attack the ideas, not the messenger. If you are calling people the following:

"Idiot" -- you are being the idiot calling someone else an idiot.

"Ignorant" -- you are being ignorant in your calling someone else ignorant.

"Stupid" -- you are being stupid calling someone else stupid.

"Fool" -- you are being a fool in calling someone else a fool.

So do you get the point? You are being the very thing that you call others. Point out the flaws in someone's reasoning -- dumb as they may appear, "dumb" as in the ideas, NOT the messenger -- but DO NOT attack the messenger/poster. Period!

If you find ANY post that flames, that attacks the poster/messenger, DO NOT respond to that post -- simply hit the "Alert" button that is at the bottom of every single post and send it to the staff. Let them take care of the flamer. The staff are loaded with very good fire extinguishers and they are good at wielding them. They've seen it all in these forums, believe me. So use the alert button!

I repeat: hit the "Alert" button for any post that flames, calls names and belittles others.




The Golden Rule

~~Treat other posters as you would want them to treat you.
~~Call others names as you would want to be called.
~~Flame others as you would want them to flame you.
~~Shoot others as you would want to be shot.
~~Be as nice to other posters as you want to be treated nice.
~~Give respect to others as you would want to be respected.
~~Star and flag others as you want to be starred and flagged.




[edit on 18-10-2009 by Historical-Mozart]




posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:45 AM
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reply to post by Historical-Mozart
 


Errors In Posts

If you are found to be in error in fact or in reasoning by another poster and, if you realize it and agree with the fact that you are in error, respond and admit your error without getting defensive. We all make mistakes, even the best of us. If you disagree that your reasoning is in error and feel a need to defend yourself, then you may defend yourself, but do so with tact, reasoning and DO NOT attack the poster who may be questioning your reasoning.

If you find someone attacking you, flaming you, calling you names, use the "Alert" button at the bottom of the page. USE IT! The staff has lots of fire extinguishers, fire trucks and talented firemen/women who can put out the flamers in a hurry, believe me. Would you fight a house that is fully involved in flames with a little garden hose, or would you call the fire department for them to bring in the BIG hoses? The answer is obvious.




Stars And Flags

It has been commented that too few stars and flags are being handed out. I agree. If you read an OP that shows a lot of work that has gone into it and that you resonate with that opening post, FLAG IT. If you find a post in a thread that you like, agree with and that the post shows some good thoughts/reasoning, STAR IT.

I'm not saying to hand out stars and flags like confetti, but, do hand them out to posts that show thoughts and ideas that show consideration, thoughtfulness and intelligence about life and about others.




Post In This Thread Frequently

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in this thread, so that it can be popped up frequently for greater exposure. I'll do my best to help out with any questions and the mods can weigh in as well. Even though there are other threads on the same topic, most of them are outdated and don't have the urls that I have provided, hence this new thread about the need for the over-all improvement of the quality of the posts on ATS.

Of course I did do a search in the ATS Google Custom Search box that is up at the far-right corner of the ATS webpage on this topic "how to improve the quality of your posts", as well as "improving your posts" and came up with nothing like this post, so I went ahead with this post.

So, like I say, if you have questions, post them in this thread and I'll do my best to try to help you out. I might even
you.




[edit on 18-10-2009 by Historical-Mozart]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 10:51 AM
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nice a lesson in forum decorum by someone who joined a week ago.

no doubt you will rake in the gold stars and be a platinum poster or whatever in a short time.

try posting something worth reading instead of trying to engratiate yourself with the management.

as long as a post is legeble thats all i need from a poster .. their opinion may or may not matter to me as long as i understand what they are saying.

capitals apostophes paragraphs matter not 1 iota its an annonymous forum and what you have to say is what matters not how its spelt or presented.

arrogant doughnut.



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:16 AM
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reply to post by Historical-Mozart
 


you is and ignarant; stoopid, fool.

Just kidding, although a new member really shouldn't be telling people how to make good posts.



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:24 AM
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Originally posted by Historical-Mozart
Dictionary

The first one...

www.dictionary.reference.com ...

... is a must-have tool that I use ALL the time. It's great for typing in words -- wrong spellings and all -- and it'll correct you very quickly, as well as come up with suggestions and alternate words. If you find words that have those red, dotted lines below them as you type out your post, that means that the word is misspelled -- copy that word and put it into your dictionary.com entry. Open up a new tab and use that one for the dictionary.com url.


You could even use the spell check add-on for Firefox
please do not flame me or ill hit the ALERT button that is situated at the bottom of this post



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:35 AM
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I'm not having any luck keeping the spelling and grammar police locked in the basement. One or two keep getting loose.

I do agree it is a noble thing they are trying to do but it is a lost battle already. And, isn't it more important for the poster to get the message out in an understandable manner than it is to be perfect in spelling and grammar?

I could easily spice my post with $20.00 words. But would all readers understand what I was attempting to say?

Golden rule when writing or speaking to a varied audience is to keep it simple and easy to understand.

Listen to political speeches. It doesn't take a Harvard graduate to understand the speakers.

When you are speaking to a general audience keep it simple so nobody looses the point you are trying to establish.

I do understand how it is like having a hot steel blade run through your body to see certain grammatical and spelling errors in posts. The one that makes me cringe is the abuse of see, saw and seen. You know what I'm talking about I'm sure.

Again it is only from genuine care and for the betterment of this board that you have called this to our attention I am certain.

Friend, you are beating your head against an immovable wall when you attempt to correct the masses.

Relax and enjoy the show.



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:38 AM
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reply to post by Historical-Mozart
 


Of course well written posts and threads are easier to read but I would much rather read something fresh, insightful, provocative and profound by a poster that may be a little more "primitive" in the area of language; than a banal, wordy, irrelevant, well constructed piece of BS.


Good advice though.

flag


[edit on 18-10-2009 by whaaa]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:44 AM
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whaaaa i luv the iron fist in velvet glove approach.

and your get out of jail free last line.



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:46 AM
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You need to remember that many of our members do not speak English as a first language. So before you judge someone on their spelling and grammar and tell them how to post - think that maybe English is their 2nd or 3rd language. We are a diverse community, and everyone needs to remember this


Also, many people respond on their phones or while they have kids sitting on their lap or while distracted by some other means. Errors and quick responses are bound to happen. Many people do not have time to sit and look up spelling and grammar rules before posting on a message board - This is all OK

Another thing to remember - we are not here writing a college thesis. So if people do not capitalize or have errors in their typing - or do not present their thoughts in a thesis manner - that is OK.



 

And in regards to attacking/flaming anyone. If a member sees this, hit the alert button


 


Of course I did do a search in the ATS Google Custom Search box that is up at the far-right corner of the ATS webpage on this topic "how to improve the quality of your posts", as well as "improving your posts" and came up with nothing like this post, so I went ahead with this post.


This "subject" comes up often, just for the record



[edit on October 18th 2009 by greeneyedleo]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 10:26 PM
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I think one of the best ways for posters to improve their posting would be to read the damn thread instead of just reading the OP then jumping 15 pages and making a fool out of yourself by posting something that has been covered over and over on page 2.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:50 AM
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That is all well and good, but what I could us is a guide to get a thread off the ground since my posts seem to do alright on their own. Now granted some threads that I originate may have limited appeal for the masses, but others were okay. However just lost in the flotsam. Then again, I tend to avoid the idea of being 37th poster of "religion is this or that".

Yeah, I thought so. I'll just go back to posting and leave the thread creation to the pros.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 05:06 AM
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No harm
No foul

It's always nice to occasionally have a reminder pop up now and again.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 06:59 AM
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reply to post by Historical-Mozart
 


Hi,

Thank you for posting something toward improving ATS.
I will refrain from responding to some of these ill mannered people that posted above... They have just vindicated you without even noticing it.

I think this thread will be much appreciated as there are always threads on how poor the quality of reading material is here on ATS, but nothing that moves toward improving it. Seems people just love having something to complain about.

Also, this is a great reminder and lesson to people who post often on ATS to keep the standards high or high enough so that readers do not see us as a bunch of uneducated crazies who have nothing better to do. Instead, we will be noticed as a serious discussion forum, where like minded people can comunicate about topics that interest them.

If I might just ad- It's all and well that some post from their mobiles, you get the notification on the top of their post. We must remember that English is a universal language, and most using ATS are educated well enough to post in a decent manner. Most cases of poor quality threads are just out of pure laziness I think.

Thanks again for moving towrds an ATS we can all be proud to be a part of.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 12:30 PM
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Whilst I don't doubt that the intent of the OP was good, I find it more than a little presumptuous.

Some of the best posts I've read on here look like they have been typed by a ten year old, but have some really good insights.

It's the content that's important in my opinion, and as long as a post isn't written in text speak or web slang I'll gladly read and learn.

It's funny really.

I wrote a thread a while back about how some things never change - and lo and behold, up pops yet another of these threads that sounds like a teacher preparing to hold a spelling bee.

No offense OP, but these threads are so very common it's odd that you "couldn't find one"

So are lots of other threads in BBQ to do with posting/ettiquette/spelling/banned members/drugs etc etc etc

The first thread that every new member should read is this thread

As long as it's legible and the point is made it'll get read and commented on, for the most part.

Stick to that and you won't go too far wrong - and if someone doesn't like your posting style or you don't like theirs, too bad, as long as it's within the T&C it's no-one else's business whether someone obeys the "rules" of grammar/spelling /whatever.

[edit on 19/10/2009 by budski]



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 01:11 PM
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How to improve quality of posts.



- Don’t let anyone but you tell you how to post but your conscience and even then make sure and give it a kick or two occasionally.

- Write. And keep writing. Then write some more. The way you write, spell and put your sentences together with grammar and punctuation - it’s all the product of your unique writing *fingerprint* and your own unique poetic licensee. Rock On!

- Don’t just think outside the box, forget the box.

- Don't give a rats hairy hind end if you think people will like your post or not!

- Post what YOU want people to hear and what you want to have heard. If they don’t listen, their loss.

- Write what you believe in.

- Keep it clean but don’t refrain from calling the poo stink if that’s what it is! Remember, cruel to be kind.

- If someone's being a pie hole, tell them and stop the kid-glove mollycoddling. Just don't call them names and swear and give them an excuse to report you. If you can't resist, then pay the price quietly and with integrity and dignity.

- Politically correct? What’s that?

- If your post gets moved cause it’s been posted already? Well, you used the search function, you looked over the threads, and did your best. You didn't see the duplicate thread? Oh well, just means you and another member have the same taste in threads!

- When a post gets moved that shouldn’t be moved in your opinion? Never, ever give up re-writing your post until it’s heard on ATS. If it's important to you, of course.

- If you enter into a clique here? Leave before it’s so obvious to others (your repeated staring/flagging/posting *atta boys* on your mates posts) that you loose all credibility. Unless that’s what trips ya go button. If so, proceed!

- Anything else anyone wants to add feel free, I’m just getting started...

peace


[edit on 19-10-2009 by silo13]



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 05:23 PM
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Thank you all for replying to this thread.


Arrogance was not an intent of OP at all -- this thread was aimed at those who are English-first in speaking/writing, who have been careless with their writings in their posts to the point which the reading of them could be a bit difficult.


I DO love the unique flavors of the uniquely-written posts that contain "errors" that do not bother me at all and I welcome those, but it's the ones that are written by those who can write better, but don't for whatever reason, who can use a bit of prodding to shape up their writings a bit. That's all.


And I wanted to share my favorite tools of writing that I use all the time, even for composing simple posts -- I have a dictionary tab open and ready to go at all times, as well as a search engine.


The posts in this thread made me more aware of the global nature of the membership, so I'll be cognizant of that and to be more accepting of the wide variety of posts that fill the ATS forum.


And I totally agree that this thread...

www.abovetopsecret.com...

...is a must-read for anyone who first signs up.



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