In a forum there are a number of limitations that you do not always encounter when talking to someone face-to-face because other people will not be able to see your facial expression or hear the tone of your voice, so what and how you write become important.
Some useful tips are:
- Keep to the subject, and pick the right discussion thread for your contribution.
- Before you write a message, take time to see what is being discussed and think about your reply.
- Try to keep messages short.
- Write a good subject line (title) for your message – people often haven’t time to read messages unless the subject line looks relevant.
- Keep to one subject (one topic of discussion) per message.
- When replying to a message, only quote part of the earlier message if you need to. Don’t include everything, or messages get longer and longer.
- Don’t be discourage if you receive no acknowledgement of your message. We would encourage you to thank and acknowledge those who have commented, in order to encourage them and others to participate.
- If you disagree with a point that has been made, acknowledge the point before stating why you disagree.
- Make your perspective clear, but try to avoid speaking impersonally, to encourage debate.
- Clearly show your emotions, people can’t see faces and body language, so the use of smileys or emoticons such as :- ) or :- ( can be a useful way to get your emotion across.
- If you read something that offends or upsets you, while it might be tempting to fire back a hurried response, don’t, take time to think about your response before replying, or if you feel it is appropriate report the comment to the OpenLearn team.
- AND FINALLY, DON’T WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS – IT WILL LOOK LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING!