Exhibit - The Blog (Part 1 of 2)

When I first started posting on blogging threads, I know I created a few faux pas which caused me a lot of consternation and frustration. So I decided to write an article on blogging etiquette in the hopes of helping other newbie bloggers, and perhaps even preventing them from experiencing some of the same stress and anxieties I went through when I first started posting on coin forums. Hope this helps you too!

Here’s Part 1 of 2:

The Blog

By Charmy Harker

· Beware! It crawls…. It creeps…. It eats you alive!
· The indestructible creature! Bloated with the blood of its victims!
· Terror has no shape - scream now, while there”s still room to breathe!
· If it had a mind, you could reason with it. If it had a face, you could look it in the eye. And if it had a body, you could shoot it.

These lines were some of the taglines from the 1958 classic horror movie “The Blob” starring a very young Steve McQueen about an alien lifeform that consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows. I don”t know about you, but if you’re not careful, participating in online blogging can sometimes seem like the same thing. Perhaps some of you can have experienced how The Blog may seem harmless and innocuous one minute, but can quickly snowball into a destructive man-eating lifeform the next minute!

The term “blog” was coined in mid-1999 and is a contraction of "web log." Since then, blogging has become increasingly popular, both on personal websites (“online diary” or “bloggery”) and on community forums (“digital communities” or “online discussion sites”). Typically on a community forum, members will start a thread with a question or thought, and other members will post their responses. It is these community forums that tend to draw more controversy and seem to take on a life of their own, which is sometimes not all that positive, so blogging on community forums will be the focus of this article.

I have seen and even experienced blogging gone bad. I have read demeaning posts on coin forums that made me shake my head and even made me groan and want to scream. I have read derogatory blogs that spewed such maliciousness that it made my skin crawl. Perhaps you too have read posts on some of the various coin-related forums that made you want to reach through the computer and put the author out of everyone’s misery!

I am not trying to scare anyone away from participating in online discussion forums - on the contrary, I have found online coin forums to be very rewarding and have learned a great deal from their members. I am hoping that by writing this article, it will encourage and help those interested in joining an online forum to have a more positive experience and to be able to have a better understanding on how to participate and contribute in a more knowledgeable and constructive manner.

Regrettably, it is not uncommon for otherwise benign people to hide behind the relative anonymity of computers while typing and posting whatever controversial, negative, attacking, and/or inappropriate words come to their mind. Sometimes they even do this while “under the influence” of chemicals which only enhances their inflammatory remarks. In any event, reading or participating in negative blogging can detract from and spoil the intent of an otherwise positive, enjoyable, and usually educational experience. So here are some behavioral tips that, if more people practiced, might enhance everyone’s experience with The Blog.

  • · Read and follow the forum rules. Community forums are NOT public and each forum usually posts their own set of rules so be sure to read them carefully before you begin posting. Forums usually have moderators who will follow threads and can modify, lock, and/or delete any thread and/or post they feel is inappropriate for whatever reason. And they can also remove and ban a member for further participation on their forum. “Freedom of speech” does not necessarily apply to privately run forums so it is best to behave according to their rules if you want to participate.
  • · Don’t take posts and comments personally. To me, this is one of the most important things I have learned while participating in blogging forums. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but it will serve you well when the time comes - and most likely it will!
  • · Don’t be controversial and make posts just to get attention. Only post when you have something of note to add, and then keep your posts professional and respectful.
  • · Avoid derogatory and disparaging remarks about fellow forum members. Learn how to deliver interesting and professional opinions without criticizing others. If you have a personal issue you want to address with another individual, take the issue off-forum either in an email or a private message (pm) rather than in a public forum setting.
  • · Crude and vulgar language should be avoided at all cost. Any form of defamation, strong language, criticism, or even downright critical opinion of another member is unnecessary and only draws attention away from the actual topic being discussed.
  • · Use emoticons (tiny pictures like smiley faces, thumbs up, etc.) and other symbols to indicate tone. When posting on a forum (or in an email for that matter), there is an absence of indicators that help demonstrate voice tone, facial expressions, body language, and other emotions. In the absence of these valuable social cues, emoticons and symbols can help make your tone and intention clear to other forum participants.
  • · Don’t "hijack" forum threads. Stay on topic. If you’d like to discuss a different issue or problem, start a separate thread. If someone posts a coin they want to “show off” or have people comment on, unless you have a specific related reason to do so, avoid posting a photo of your coin, as it may detract from the original poster’s coins.
  • · Be very careful about what you write because anything you write on the Internet stays on the internet. And you don’t want your words to come back later and “bite” you.

The next few tips are geared toward being more technically proficient in the blogging world:

  • · Read all of the posts in the thread before posting on the internet forum. This will help forum participants avoid repeating points that have already been discussed in depth.
  • · The title should consist of important key words that briefly explain what your post will be about.
  • · Avoid typing and spelling mistakes - go back and read your post before you release it.
  • · Avoid typing in all caps or all bold, as this is the equivalent to yelling on an internet forum.
  • · Avoid creating extremely long forum posts on a regular basis.
  • · Post links to cited facts or other posts that are referenced.
  • · Avoid posting a link to a site that requires a user to register on that site.
  • · Don’t quote an entire post if you are only responding to a specific comment.
  • · If you are the original thread starter or opening poster (OP), avoid writing a response after each and every comment - wait for several replies, then write your response (you can quote and reply to several different posts in your one response)
  • · Don’t respond to a post just to increase your post count (the number of times you post on a forum from the date of joining).
  • · Be careful not to post copyrighted material.

For those of you who would like a more in depth understanding of the internet forum world, I found this Wikipedia link to be very helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_forum#Thread

Here’s Part 2: http://www.cointalk.com/t112986/

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