When, some years ago, I first felt inclined to post on this forum, I had no idea what informal "rules" might govern the conduct of a useful and valued contributing member of an Internet forum. Although I was comfortable with using computers, I felt quite intimidated about launching into the world of any Internet forum. Looking back, that now seems a trifle amusing, but it is the truth. I would wonder "Is this the right sort of issue to raise?"; "Should I use up forum space by saying thank you for advice given" and several similar concerns. I therefore feel it might be useful to list some of the advice that might be useful to newcomers to this forum, the sort of advice that I would have valued several years ago. For those with no such concerns, please ignore this post, as I'm certainly not attempting to teach old dogs new tricks.
So, here goes:
1. Read the Forum's Community Rules
. These are well written, clear, and very sensible. What follows is an attempt to put a little more flesh on those bones.
2. When logging on to the forum, you will probably start by using the www.airforums.com
portal page as a Favorite or Bookmark. I use the User Control Panel (User CP) as the home page. This enables me to see if there are any matters for my attention. I then go to "New Posts", which lists the posts since I last visited the site. As you gain more experience of the forum you will develop your own system.
3. Take time before posting to familiarize yourself with all the facilities of the forum. Click on the "forums" button at the top of the screen, and browse through all the available sub-forum titles.
4. Use the Search facility to research the topic that interests you. Many of your questions will have been answered before, and a little reading and searching can prove most rewarding. Details of how to use the search facility can be found at http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138...rum-37729.html
5. If the search facility does not fully answer your question, choose the sub-forum that most closely reflects your question, and pose your question as a new thread in that sub-forum.
6. If you start a thread that describes a problem, then, after advice has been received, describe the eventual resolution of the issue. It is unrewarding to assist someone to, for example, fault-find a defective furnace, and never to know if the advice was successfully implemented. We all need to learn from these answers.
7. The Karma system exists to acknowledge a useful, informative or amusing post. The system is described here:
Using the search tool for the word "karma" will lead you to more discussions on the system. It's a fun way to show that someone's work is appreciated, without filling the forum with thousands of posts that applaud other posts. However, don't take it too seriously. I find that I can get more karma for a one-line jocular remark than for a post that has taken me many hours to compose. It's just fun, but it's still important.
8. The forum can be likened to a group of friends with mutual interests, sitting round a campfire inside a circle of Airstream trailers at a beautiful State Park campground. The conversation naturally turns toward Airstream matters. A fundamental principle governing one's contributions to the forum should be: "Don't post anything that you wouldn't be prepared to say out loud to a person sitting round that campfire, especially if that person was bigger, stronger and smarter than you, and all the others present could hear you." Anytime you feel tempted to respond aggressively, rudely or sarcastically, remember that you're sitting round that campfire, and your reputation is on the line. If you believe a post is rude, aggressive, or destructive, then report it to the Moderators by using the "Report Post" button to the left of the offending post. It works. I rarely report a post (perhaps one or two a year), but when I do, the post disappears very rapidly. The Moderators do a great job. It is only through their vigilance that we have such a good-natured and useful forum.
9. It is easy to take offense at a remark which was only meant to be humorous. To avoid giving offense in your own posts, use the "smilies" facility to clarify the spirit in which the remark is made.
10. Opinion is not much use in a thread. Experience is better. Proof is best. For example:
- (a) Opinion: "I think Gloop Synthetic is the best oil in the world."
- (b) Experience: "I've been using Gloop Synthetic in my trucks for 40 years, I've changed it every six thousand miles, and I've never had an engine wear out on me, even after 500k miles."
- (c) Proof: "The independent National Institute of Science has carried out a blind trial of the twenty best selling oils, and submitted the oils after 6k miles to independent blind analysis. The results show that Gloop Synthetic has the best results based on 15 different measures. The full details of the trial are on the web at ......... "
11. A little humility goes a long way. There are many very intelligent and experienced members of this forum, so don't underestimate them. You will learn more, and gain respect, by asking questions rather than by making dogmatic statements, especially ones along the lines of "If you don't do as I say the sky will fall in and your family will die." Try using "might", "could", and "perhaps", rather than "will", "must" and "should". Tone is important.
12. Make your aim as a forum member be to learn, and then to help others as your knowledge increases, rather than to demonstrate how clever and knowledgeable you are, or to prove the inadequacy of another forum member.
13. Inaccurate spelling not only grates with many forum members, but it also causes problems for future searches. If "axle" is spelled as "axel" in a post, the search facility will not detect it in a later search. It is very difficult to proof-read one's own work, as the eye will tend to see what it expects to see. I proof-read my posts several times, and still find errors that need correcting on edit after posting. The use of a spell-checker is considerate, and details of how to use one
are at http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138...ell-12924.html
We are hoping that an imminent software upgrade will incorporate a spell-checker.
14. Always say "thank you" when you have asked for help, and advice is given. If there are likely to be several responses, wait a while, perhaps a day, before posting your thanks, as otherwise you will be posting multiple "thanks". If only one reply is expected, then thank straight away. It is unrewarding to, for example, go out to one's trailer, take some photos as requested, and then post them, only never to receive an acknowledgment. We all like to be appreciated.
The above list may seem intimidating, but we were all newbies once, and we know how you feel. The forum members have been very kind to me, and they will be to you. Welcome to the forum!