The Proper Form for Forums

Building a forum is a delicate process which takes planning, patience, and a lot of flexibility. A forum is a small community, meaning that there are norms and rules that must be followed in order for communication to take place. They may seem like formalities, but breaking them can yield quite a few unwanted consequences. Here are some tips on forum etiquette to help keep your community strong.

#1: Ask open ended questions. Yes or no questions don’t generally get to point of an issue, or encourage constructive conversations.

#2: Always be polite. Introduce yourself, don’t be intrusive, don’t spam the board with repeated information, and don’t type in all caps. The main goal is to be positive, flexible, professional, and open without retaliating or getting defensive. It’s a slippery slope, when you give in to bully-types in an online forum. Faceless participants can lead to a mob mentality very quickly without proper guidance or a calm presence around to moderate the discussion. In short, always follow the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated.

#3: Post carefully. Keep track of your sources to make sure you are not violating copyrights or accidentally repeating what has already been said. Along a similar line, be careful what personal information you post to a forum. Information you would rather be private should be just that.
And lastly,

#4: Be smart. Post with your readers in mind. It’s useful in a discussion-based setting to ensure you are posting helpful, on-topic information. Grammar and spell check your posts to smooth the flow of communication, and try to use meaningful, poignant words rather than filibustering on a single point.
Online forums can be one of the best ways to engage your customer base and encourage group participation with the growth of your brand. It’s a wonderful idea to implement this process into your customer service department, so long as you know what rules to follow when you use it!

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This post was written by Hallie Dunn

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