How to Write Better Forum Posts to Up Your Game

Posted by Conor Murphy on August 15, 2011 in DIY, Hacks, & How to's -- Share:

Posting in ForumsDid you know nearly half a million of our fans have contributed over 3 million posts to over 150,000 discussions in our forums?

We’ve all watched as today’s social media craze has captured the world, but did you know much of the groundwork for such person-to-person interaction was laid by website forums?

Many people prefer to post questions, find answers, and engage in discussions in such locations where content is on-topic and highly relevant.

Posting in forums is all about concise, relevant communication. With such a large number of members participating in forum discussions, it’s easy to feel like just another number. However, but taking the time to craft high-quality forum posts, you’re much more likely to sustain discussions, get answers to your questions, and craft your own forum voice.

Here is a list of ways we can all improve our forums posts. Of course, such communication is, first and foremost, intended to be fun. There’s no need to get too serious about this topic. That being said, it’s always nice to be have standards we can all look to when we create content.

1. Punctuate

Believe it or not, it isn’t uncommon to run across forums posts with no punctuation. While this might be fine for a single sentence, beyond that it can get quite tricky to read.

Since we all want to create forums posts that are easy for others to read and understand, we should empathize and take the time to punctuate properly.

A post lacking properly punctuation implies the writer didn’t care about what they wrote – so why should the reader? All that being said, most of us are not writers and simple errors will be unavoidable (there may even be errors in this very post). We’re really just talking about the basics…periods, commas, etc.

2. Check Spelling & Grammar

None of us are perfect and spelling mistakes are bound to crop up. However, in many cases, our computers will tell us a word is misspelled by underlining it in red. We should all take the time to at least proofread one time and attend to all highlighted typos.

3. Limit Emoticons

Emoticons are fun Heart. They help us express feelings and emotions in times where words fail us Happy. However, sometimes we all go a little overboard Rainbow. We’re not saying to abandon emoticons altogether…just be mindful of not going overboard Whistle. Using one or two emoticons in key places is much more impactful than one emoticon for every sentence Sun.

4. Use Quoting Tool

Knowing how to use the ‘Quote Post’ button is handy. It’s certainly better than attempting to reference another forum post with, “In such and such post by so and so…”.

5. Offer Value

Many of the posts in our forums are from fans who have questions about specific games. Be mindful of their need for help and try to stay on topic and add value. If you want to congratulate or criticize a post, that’s fine, but offer your own perspective as well.

6. Utilize Paragraphs

Writing for the web is different than writing a research paper. On the internet we like to consume information in bits and pieces – not in large chunks. Taking the time to break your forum posts into paragraphs can aid readability greatly.

7. Be Polite

Everyone likes to be treated with respect. Taking the time to be polite is a great way to make others feel good while presenting yourself in the best possible fashion. If you feel strongly about your response, that’s fine. Just remember, it’s possible to disagree without getting personal.

If you take issue with strongly worded content in a forum post, please remember to use the ‘Report as offensive’ button so our forums moderators will be alerted to review the post.

8. Research First

Before we rush to a forum thread with our latest burning questions, it makes sense to do a quick search to see if someone else has already posted the same question and received an answer. In this way we can get the answer to our question sooner. Also, we may find we have something of value to add to an already published thread thereby keeping the topic in one location.

Remember, forums are meant to be a fun and helpful resource. We hope these suggestions help you with your future posts.

Written by

Conor is a Marketing Manager with Big Fish, working out of the Seattle office. In his spare time he enjoys watching science documentaries and playing old school adventure games. Get in touch with him on Twitter! or Google+