Newsletter "Behind the Scenes" Newsletter

October 2010The monthly newsletter by Felgall Pty Ltd

My Word

Forum Questions and Answers

It is amazing how many comments I see added to forums where the person posting the comment obviously hasn't read all the preceding posts in the thread. How do I know that they haven't read all the posts? Well the answer they give makes it rather obvious. So many answers appear to be one of the following types.

- They give exactly the same answer as was already given at least once in the thread but provide less detail as to why the answer is correct than the earlier post that gives that answer.

- They give the same wrong answer as has appeared earlier in the thread even though there have been other posts that already explain why that answer is wrong. It is particularly obvious when the prior refutation provides actual evidence supporting that view and the new post is just a statement without any supporting evidence.

- They take comments out of context and respond about a particular post without regard to the context in which that answer was given.

- Their comment relates to the title of the thread without regard to anything in the original post itself or any prior replies and is in fact totally irrelevant to the discussion.

There are also many other ways in which it can be obvious that the poster is more interested in adding their own post than they are in contributing to the discussion and therefore hasn't bothered to actually read what has come before but those are enought to give you the general idea.

Sure a thread on a forum may drift away from the original topic as those who provide partial answers to the original question may also pose related questions of their own that expand the scope of the discussion but that is just the nature of forum posts. The point is that those posts do actually contribute something to the discussion and so do those posts that answer secondary questions.

So if you are going to post a reply to a thread on a forum you should first read therough all the posts in that thread (or at least those since your last reply if you are posting multiple times to the same thread). You should not just repeat something someone has already said unless you add something to it that the prior post doesn't say. If you want to agree with an earlier comment that someone has said is wrong then you need to say why they are wrong and provide supporting evidence.

By following these simple rules, all of your posts will actually contribute something to the discussion and you will get a reputation for adding value to the forum. Oh, and if you don't make posts to furums but do comment on blogs then much the same applies there.
 

On Site

A lot of my time over the last month or so has gone into writing articles on JavaScript testing to load onto about.com so I haven't been writing so much for my own site. I have come up with an idea for a new series of articles to write on PHP security which I hope to get started on soon.
 

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