Forum Posting Etiquette



  • Youtube Video

    Those that do not take a lot of time to spend in communities and forums online or those that don't look heavily at how to improve discussions and interactions may not realize why good posting procedures not only benefit the community, but make open, back and forth dialogues better. After a decade of continuous online posting, I have found certain techniques help to engage honest converstation while others, like a "wall of text" are designed to shut down conversations and end criticism.

    The opposite, using "wall of text" attacks is the Internet equivalent of shouting in someone's face, a way to "talk fast" to gain control of a conversation rather than engaging in a dialogue. Not only does it attempt to shut down one person from being able to respond and think about responses, it also essentially makes it impossible for multiple people to engage, and to fork conversations to protect topic integrity in forums. Walls of text are often used to hide obvious false or misleading information in a cloud of noise to make it difficult to pick out.



  • Perfect timing for today. This actually posted to YT a week ago, but was not linked here. But I think that we need it.



  • Good points. It just depends on what your motivation is I guess. If you do not want anyone to read it then sure write a huge wall of text but if you want to have a conversation about something then break it up. That is how I write on my website for tech beginners, www.aindien.com/blog, because if you don't then those beginners will leave quickly.

    Sometimes I catch myself writing too much at once but I "try" to make a paragraph every 3-4 lines. It makes it easier to read and for people to respond to. If I need advice on something then obviously I should make it easy for people to respond. It just makes sense.

    It is important to remember that whatever community you participate to be friendly. Here, we are all generally friends so having a conversation is a good thing and writing well helps that process. Good video thanks!



  • I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.



  • @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.



  • @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    This was my point - in other words both situations lead to the same end, people not reading/responding to posts.



  • @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    You still have to scroll a lot with a wall of text, too. The multiple postings doesn't really make for much more scrolling. And it can only happen if no one is actively responding on a thread, if there was an active discussion it can't happen. The effect that you see is generally created by someone kicking it off via a wall of text to which many responses need to be generated at once. So walls of text actually are the key source of the non-wall of text system that many people dislike.



  • @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    This was my point - in other words both situations lead to the same end, people not reading/responding to posts.

    No, it's people not reading or responding that creates the situation. Wall of text guarantees it, by not allowing people to read and respond. Breaking it up is how you give people a chance to respond right away. If they decide not to, that's the issue at hand.



  • @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    This was my point - in other words both situations lead to the same end, people not reading/responding to posts.

    Keep in mind what you are implying here... that there is a post that is so long, that if responded to, people won't respond. So the answer is to... not respond? Doesn't that suggest two things...

    1. Not responding would make it worse, not better - because it would just make the thing that you don't want to have happen, happen earlier?
    2. That the source of the issue is the original post(s) that created a situation where you already don't like the length that it would take to respond to them?


  • @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    You still have to scroll a lot with a wall of text, too. The multiple postings doesn't really make for much more scrolling. And it can only happen if no one is actively responding on a thread, if there was an active discussion it can't happen. The effect that you see is generally created by someone kicking it off via a wall of text to which many responses need to be generated at once. So walls of text actually are the key source of the non-wall of text system that many people dislike.

    Usually people do that thing where they break up a wall of text in one post and reply to sections. It's the best of both worlds. Example:

    Creation vs Evolutoin debate

    blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blah

    Well actually your point is invalid here because...

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Ah yes, you are correct here because...

    blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    I can't argue with that logic



  • @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    Yeah, but for someone new coming in to the topic or someone who was away for awhile, will come back to 100 replies. At that point, it becomes TL;DR. So they read the original post, and maybe the first few replies, then reply themselves. And then of course missing any important info in the 90 replies nobody except SAM has time to read through.



  • I do agree with avoiding walls of text. That is bad. But you still don't have to break up replies sentence by sentence either. There's a middle ground.



  • @tim_g said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do agree with avoiding walls of text. That is bad. But you still don't have to break up replies sentence by sentence either. There's a middle ground.

    It's about individual thoughts. Ideally, you want someone to be able to respond without having to specify to what they are responding. If you need to edit the text to make the quote clear, it's too much in most cases.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    You still have to scroll a lot with a wall of text, too. The multiple postings doesn't really make for much more scrolling. And it can only happen if no one is actively responding on a thread, if there was an active discussion it can't happen. The effect that you see is generally created by someone kicking it off via a wall of text to which many responses need to be generated at once. So walls of text actually are the key source of the non-wall of text system that many people dislike.

    This is sometimes true - but it's just as likely that you could come across a thread a few hours after it started, and you being you will read the whole thread and then respond to about half the posts, putting 10+ posts from you in a row. I've been known to do this as well. In this situations is when I tend to have a wall of text with quotes.. so it's all in one post, not a dozen small ones. I can see now why that's not so helpful, but really neither is 10 small posts in a row.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    This was my point - in other words both situations lead to the same end, people not reading/responding to posts.

    Keep in mind what you are implying here... that there is a post that is so long, that if responded to, people won't respond. So the answer is to... not respond? Doesn't that suggest two things...

    1. Not responding would make it worse, not better - because it would just make the thing that you don't want to have happen, happen earlier?
    2. That the source of the issue is the original post(s) that created a situation where you already don't like the length that it would take to respond to them?

    Well frankly, due to the organic nature of so many of our and other threads, anything more than about 30 posts deep become near pointless as almost no new comer will read the entire thread before responding. If you're lucky, they'll read the OP and the last 4-5 posts very likely repeating something someone already said.



  • @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    This was my point - in other words both situations lead to the same end, people not reading/responding to posts.

    Keep in mind what you are implying here... that there is a post that is so long, that if responded to, people won't respond. So the answer is to... not respond? Doesn't that suggest two things...

    1. Not responding would make it worse, not better - because it would just make the thing that you don't want to have happen, happen earlier?
    2. That the source of the issue is the original post(s) that created a situation where you already don't like the length that it would take to respond to them?

    Well frankly, due to the organic nature of so many of our and other threads, anything more than about 30 posts deep become near pointless as almost no new comer will read the entire thread before responding. If you're lucky, they'll read the OP and the last 4-5 posts very likely repeating something someone already said.

    Yeah that's expected. That's also why I never mind when someone repeats an answered question or fact when there's too many replies.



  • @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    This was my point - in other words both situations lead to the same end, people not reading/responding to posts.

    Keep in mind what you are implying here... that there is a post that is so long, that if responded to, people won't respond. So the answer is to... not respond? Doesn't that suggest two things...

    1. Not responding would make it worse, not better - because it would just make the thing that you don't want to have happen, happen earlier?
    2. That the source of the issue is the original post(s) that created a situation where you already don't like the length that it would take to respond to them?

    Well frankly, due to the organic nature of so many of our and other threads, anything more than about 30 posts deep become near pointless as almost no new comer will read the entire thread before responding. If you're lucky, they'll read the OP and the last 4-5 posts very likely repeating something someone already said.

    But that is the case regardless. Wall of texts just accelerate it.



  • @Dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dave247 said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @scottalanmiller said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    @dashrender said in Forum Posting Etiquette:

    I do like the idea of many smaller posts - but it also runs into the problem of many thing to respond to at once. While I'm no where near as fast as Scott, I can typically type two to three small posts before the OP (or anyone other than Scott) replies to my first reply. So unlike your

    I like red.
    So do I, but have you considered orange,
    no but, ...

    you aren't having a real back and forth because you run into the same problem as the wall of text issue. I real time conversation where all involved parties get the information simultaneously, in a forum you have people jumping in in the middle and fleeing, or someone who just throws out 5 ideas, each in their own post before any responses are made, and eventually many people just stop reading anything but the last few posts.

    I'm not sure you can solve this problem, but it's just good to know it's there.

    But smaller posts make it easier to respond. No matter how much time you have, making it faster and easier helps you. Wall of text in the same situation would mean no ability to respond at all.

    I noticed this with how you post back in Spiceworks and I was like, what the hell is this guy doing. But having broken up posts to respond to is kind of nice. It becomes not nice when there are many of them peppered throughout the whole forum page. Then you have to scroll around like crazy to find what it is you need to respond to.

    This was my point - in other words both situations lead to the same end, people not reading/responding to posts.

    Keep in mind what you are implying here... that there is a post that is so long, that if responded to, people won't respond. So the answer is to... not respond? Doesn't that suggest two things...

    1. Not responding would make it worse, not better - because it would just make the thing that you don't want to have happen, happen earlier?
    2. That the source of the issue is the original post(s) that created a situation where you already don't like the length that it would take to respond to them?

    Well frankly, due to the organic nature of so many of our and other threads, anything more than about 30 posts deep become near pointless as almost no new comer will read the entire thread before responding. If you're lucky, they'll read the OP and the last 4-5 posts very likely repeating something someone already said.

    The difference being that with a wall of text you can cause people to leave the conversation in a single go, rather than after a long thread has happened, because you have to read so much to even figure out the context. That's part of the point - people use it when they want to stop people from bothering to respond. It's all about upping the "minimum point of response" to make it too much effort or too time consuming for people to bother responding. So it only makes sense to use when you know you are wrong already and want to silence opposition. If you truly want to find answers, or don't believe what you are saying is false, then it has no benefits.