Participating Intelligently in Discussion Boards
Recently, I achieved 1000 posts on the Audio Expert Forum. For someone like me, who repeatedly suffers the ban hammer, it’s a noteworthy accomplishment. You might expect that I learned about audio equipment, acoustic treatment, and those types of topics. While that’s true, I learned more about how to treat people. Since many internet citizens act rudely, it might seem as though no one’s written a post about participating intelligently in discussion boards. This is that post.
11 Things I Learned in 1001 Posts
- Jump Right In – You’re making a huge mistake if you have a question and don’t present it. You’ll probably say stupid things in the beginning but that’s how you learn. Do not over-qualify yourself and downplay your worth. Ethan said that every member on a forum is valuable and he didn’t consider anyone to be a troll. You might take an ego beating for being wrong but that’s nothing compared to harboring wrong, unchecked, ideas.
- Show Your Work – I got to 1000 posts because I contributed. This relates to #1 but goes one step further. Beyond just asking questions, contribute your own independent findings. That might include audio examples of problems (and subsequent experimentation), photos (with updates), and working on an “extracurricular” project that helps the community. After treating four of my own rooms and trying other stuff out, I ended up with a lot to say. Showing your work also helps you keep track of your own progress and allows others to interject.
- Don’t Leave Noobs Flapping in the Wind – If you’ve been around for more than a day, you’re in a position to help out those newer than you. Everybody is a white belt at something so we all know that it sucks to be new. By helping out newer members, you help future contributors and, by extension, the community itself. Remember that teaching is a great way to learn. Develop your leadership and authority status by not leaving people on 0 posts and putting yourself back in the noob shoes.
- Disagree Respectfully – False positivity was a trending topic on YouTube a while ago. I don’t believe in it either. In a world of 7.whatever people, it’s not surprising there’s disagreement. What I want you to take away is that, while it’s normal and healthy to disagree, you don’t win points by being the ugliest asshole in the thread. On the REAPER forum, everyone’s tagline is “Human Being with Feelings”. Besides that being a testament to how awesome the software and community is, it’s absolutely true and often forgotten.
- Expect Rudeness – Hold on there, Cowperson! Did you think that, just because you’re nice, the trolls are staying home? HA! On smaller forums, I’ve noticed, people tend to be nicer. There’s just nowhere to hide. On a bigger site, like YouTube, the dicks are a-swingin’ for the fences. Don’t let this put you off. It’s good advice to wait 24 hours before responding. If nothing else, it’ll help you return with a kick-ass zinger.
- Drunk Post with Caution – This rule will help you obey all the others. Don’t get me wrong – I love my beers. I’m enjoying a pint as I type this. The difference is, I’m being cautious and not triggered. We know it’s too easy to lose our sensitivity with every beer in the tummy. Unfortunately, the internet never forgets.
- You Are Appreciated – Remember 2pac? On the internet, being helpful, you’ll feel like a neglected housewife. “No one cares,” you might think. Now, think of all the times you read some valuable blog or watched a helpful video. Did you always say, “Thank you, kind sir,”? You did not. By this point, you can see that not everything you say will be met with praise.
- Appreciate the Appreciation – So, when someone does say thank you, imagine 100 people are echoing them. On the AEF, only on about five different occasions did someone thank me. When faced with these odds, some people get mad. I say squeeze more juice out of the sweetest oranges.
- Mods Always Win – Ready for the most important point about participating intelligently in discussion boards? Here it is. Never argue with a mod unless you either A. Are and have always adhered to the rules or B. Are prepared to be b&d. Furthermore, when deciding whether to do battle, first assess whether this forum supports your angle. They give you shit if you hit them with science when all they want is money.
- Learn From All Posts – Because I have 1000 posts, you might think I learned 1000 things. I wish that was true. Therefore, in my next 1000 posts, I plan to pay more attention, stop thinking I know, and maybe reviewing what I’ve already said.
- Don’t Think You Know – Most of all, do not think you know. This attitude is cancer. Do your work, study, review, discuss but never become knowledgeable. Remain humble, patient and open to new ideas. Those who are participating intelligently in discussion boards, and in life, have this tattooed on the back of their eyelids.
There you have it, guys. 11 things I’ve learned about participating intelligently in discussion boards after 1001 posts on a forum. I hope this helped you as much as it helped me to write. Let me know if you relate to any of these ideas or whether they’re new to you. Click the images before you buy anything on Amazon and to see my Easter Eggs. Check out my video on this topic below and I’ll see you next week.