Social media on the Internet have come to stay. There is no way we can imagine our world without chats, forums, Facebook, Twitter, SiteTalk or LinkedIn, to name a few. "I chat, therefore I am" would be a nice paraphrase on the great philosopher Descartes' words: "Je pense donc je suis" (I think, therefore I am).
Just like in real life society there are however rules on the Internet societies which you have to follow in order to stay a member of a certain society. There is no society, nor has there ever been, that doesn't have rules, be it in real life or virtual. Be it written or unwritten rules. The best way to behave on a forum is to use your common sense. Whatever is not acceptable in real life is probably not acceptable in a forum or a chat.
For those of you who want to be sure not to get banned from any forum or chat, here are a few tips. These tips do not apply for chats with a sexual character as surely it is a world of its own.
1. Start with introducing yourself; usually there is a thread where you can do that. If not, pick the "off topic" thread or any thread that seems appropriate.
2. Always have a positive attitude, in the sense not to talk down to anyone in the forum or the chat.
3. Follow the rules every forum has written down. They are not over demanding or outrageous.
4. If you are complaining about something be sure to give the arguments; this way you avoid being a whiner.
5. Never use language that is not appropriate; think of the forum or the chat as a community in which a certain kind of language would not be appreciated either.
6. Do not enter posts or chats that are hateful, racist, sexist, promote violence or intolerance against whomever. We live in a free world and everybody is entitled to his or her opinions or beliefs.
7. Do not promote anything in the forum or chat for the sake of promoting. If you have a business â on- or offline â follow the rules of the forum regarding signatures. In no way a forum is meant as a free advertising site.
8. When answering a post, be to the point and helpful, or give a comment that is suitable to the post.
9. Never reply to posts on a forum with just: "ok" or "right", or "hmm" if the post clearly asks for more. A forum and a chat are about communication, not about guessing.
10. Don't rattle on for pages and pages. Posts should have a nice length so people are willing to read it. Writing a new version of "Gone with the Wind" you can do in your own time.
11. If smileys are available use them every now and then, to liven up your post or chat. Don't just post smileys and nothing but smileys.
12. If you happen to post an entry that is not suitable, the entry will be deleted by the admin or a moderator. If this happens very often you are either breaking some rules or being plain stubborn.
13. If you are breaking the rules, the admin or a moderator of the forum or chat will usually give you a warning. Very often it is "three strikes and you're out". Check the rules on this. If you do not understand why you have gotten the warning, send the admin or moderator a private message (PM) to ask for an explanation. Explain you are willing to learn. Do not enter in a discussion about this on the forum or in the chat itself.
14. Don't ride your hobby in every thread there is. Stick to the subject of the thread; if you have a pet topic, open a new thread on it.
Remember at all times that forums and chats are there to communicate with each other in a friendly way. No reason for you to be unfriendly at all. If you are not in the mood, don't visit the chat or forum that day. Nobody is waiting for your grumbling, everyone has troubles of his own.
Now if this seems a lot of do's and don'ts to you don't forget that all this is a matter of common sense, worked out in some tips. Do not feel inhibited in any way by them and give your forum or chat experience a try!