Using Correct Grammar
Nothing makes your point seem more real, true, and legitimate than using proper grammar. While the overall meaning of what is being said can often be implied, using proper grammar not only makes reading the forums a better experience for the forumites, it also raises the level of respect you will receive... and also prevents embarrassing misunderstandings. Take the following example:
Example 2:The anthropologists went to a remote area and took photographs of some native women, but they weren't developed.
In Example two, we see that they represents "the anthropologists", and that them represents "photographs". We know this because "develop" is a verb that happens to things, not something that is inflicted on things. Thus "anthropologists" could not develop "some native women". Here is an example that is more relevant:The anthropologists went to a remote area and took photographs of some native women, however they have not developed them yet.
In Example 3, it could easily be misunderstood that the poster was asserting the Xbox 360's game had graphics worse than what is on the PS2. However, the sentence has two possible meanings. They could represent "shiny graphics", or they could represent "games". With the second possibility, we see that the poster was making a comment on the quality of game play, not on the quality of graphics, and an argument about graphics and power could be completely avoided. If the poster had used better grammar, we would not be in this situation:The Xbox 360 has games with shiny graphics, but they aren't as good as the PS2.
In this example, it becomes clear what was being said.The PlayStation has games with shiny graphics, but the games aren't as good as the PS2.
Punctuation can also dramatically change what a sentence means. Compare the two following examples:
Example 6:Psychics predict we're all going to die yesterday.
In Example 5, it appears that the psychics are predicting that something that has clearly not happened, happened yesterday. However in Example 6 we see that yesterday is when the prediction was made, not when the prediction occurs. This type of confusion is commonplace, and also possibly the easiest to avoid.Psychics predict "we're all going to die" yesterday.
Relating to punctuation, is carriage returns. Also known as "new paragraphs". These are absolutely essential. Carriage returns represent a separation in train of thought. Look back at the rest of this post. When I make a new paragraph, it is because I am beginning to explain something new. Failure to utilize carriage returns will often deter people from even reading what you post.
Looks daunting... dull... uninformative... unorganized... looks like I won't be reading that post. But look at this. The same post, utilizing carriage returns:Canada isn't at the top of foreign policy decisions. They aren't a mover and shaker, and when they are loud, people don't take as much notice. They are very important for trade and culture, and those are both things that should be delegated to people below Bush who have more time to actually take care of issues which might concern both the US and Canada. In short, the President's time is too valuable to routinely spend it on Canada when we have very marginal problems or issues with Canada. Heís said and done some bonehead things, sure. Make fun of it... it's worth a chuckle. I don't like people making fun of it like its caused by an artificial personal deficiency, or holding it against him as a person or intellectual. I think that Bush is the subject of much more prejudice than a lot of other people: his accent and word choice lead people to make wild assumptions that they refuse to change under any circumstances.
Looks a great deal more approachable now, doesn't it. Though it takes up more page space, it seems like a shorter post, and it also seems like it contains more intelligence. Carriage returns are critical for any written English form.Canada isn't at the top of foreign policy decisions. They aren't a mover and shaker, and when they are loud, people don't take as much notice. They are very important for trade and culture, and those are both things that should be delegated to people below Bush who have more time to actually take care of issues which might concern both the US and Canada.
In short, the President's time is too valuable to routinely spend it on Canada when we have very marginal problems or issues with Canada. He's said and done some bonehead things, sure.
Make fun of it... it's worth a chuckle. I don't like people making fun of it like its caused by an artificial personal deficiency, or holding it against him as a person or intellectual.
I think that Bush is the subject of much more prejudice than a lot of other people: his accent and word choice lead people to make wild assumptions that they refuse to change under any circumstances.
Another important part of punctuation, and I cannot make this clear enough: only use the appropriate number of punctuation marks to convey the meaning intended. This means one exclamation mark for excited or loud statements, one question mark for questions, and one of each for an intensely asked question. None of this: "!!!!!!" or "!!!1!!!!" or "???????" or "?!?!?!?!?!?!". Nothing makes me, personally, more frustrated with a poster, no matter what they are saying than this particular tick. It's simple, and easy to manage, so don't make this mistake. One thing I was taught in English class: if your writing needs several exclamation or question marks in order to convey intensity, you have a problem with your words, not with your punctuation. Understate everything.
Another part that often occurs with misuse of punctuation is misuse of capitalization. Typing in all caps on the internet IS A LOT LIKE SHOUTING IN SOMEONE'S FACE. It's rude, and it doesn't convey the meaning you want it to. I guarantee you that every time I see a post thatís caps, I think how much of an idiot the person must be. When I see a thread title in all caps, I usually don't click on it because I expect the post to be filled with "words" like "u" and "sup" and "cuz", (which by the way, are things you should never use on a forum).
In English you capitalize the first word of every sentence, pronouns, and certain conventions like dates or headings. This can actually change meaning for some English words. For instance, "god" is a synonym for "deity", but "God" is a name for a specific ideal of deity pertaining to the Judeo-Christian faith.
Many terms are also confused in their usage. Here is a list of commonly misused terms:
There are many ways to improve grammar. It is more important to make your point clear than to make your wording elaborate, so while grammar is important, don't overdo it.Their, they're and there
Their - group possessive
The kindergartenerís came outside holding the ball that was theirs.
They're - group definitive (contraction of they are)
The kids walked all over the grass. "They're all like that," the grounds-keeper grunted.
There - denotes placement
The car was parked over there.
A sentence with all three:
The car was parked over there, next to their red minivan where they're trying to fix the engine.
Then and than
Then - denotes order of time things occurred
We went to the mall, then we had some ice cream.
Than - used to compare two things
This ice cream is richer than the ice cream at home.
A sentence using both:
We went to school then met up so that we could skip and go shopping, which is much more fun than sitting in a classroom.
Its and it's
Its - third person, non-gendered possessive
The man filled up the car's gas tank when its gas warning light came on.
It's - third person, non-gendered definitive
"It's five-o-clock; time for the news," the man stated.
A sentence using both:
It's right next to its blinking light. (Use of the word "it's" rarely make sense pulled out of context as it likely refers to a reoccurring subject named earlier in the paragraph or thought.)
Accept and except
Accept - a verb
I accept responsibility for these actions.
Except - a preposition, conjunction or verb (depending on usage)
Preposition: She loves everyone except me.
Conjunction: I would buy the car, except that it's broken.
Verb: An admission fee is charged, but children are excepted.
A sentence using both:
I would have accepted the prize, except for the fact that I didn't deserve it.
Right and write
Right - this word has many forms and definitions (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=right) -- use it wherever "write" does not fit
Direction/Noun: The cup was placed on my right.
Verb: He was right to be afraid.
Adverb: I went right to the commander.
Adjective: I did the right thing and confessed.
Write - the action of recording language
I had to write a three-page essay last night!
A sentence using both:
I chose to write an essay for English about how Eisenhower was right to fight in Korea.
Where, were and we're Where - question of location
Where is the bank?
I did not know where to go.
Were - plural form of "was"
You were late for work.
They were all in a line.
We're - group definitive (inclusive); contraction of "we are" or "we were"; used when talking about groups which include yourself
We're going to the beach this weekend; want to come?
A sentence using all three:
Where were the people we're supposed to meet?
Other forms: wear, ware
Affect and effect
Affect - doing something that causes change
I affected everyone in the room with my words.
Effect - caused by something
The effect of the speech was that everyone was moved.
A sentence using both:
The effect of the speech was that I affected change among the government.
The difference between affect and effect is subtle. In many regards, "affect" is more like a cause that changes something, or looking at change from the causes point of view, and "effect" is more like the something that changed, or looking at change from the changes point of view.
To, too and two
To - preposition
I turned to the right.
I feel like going to the party.
To - used to form infinitive verbs
There is nothing to do.
I have nothing more to say.
Too - more than enough of something, or in agreement with, (like also)
I felt far too tired for more hiking.
I thought we had a say in things too.
Two - the integer after one and before three
I have two apples with me.
A sentence using all three:
I was sure that two was too many to tango, but I guess that's not how the saying goes.
Your and you're
Your - second person possessive
I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your Xbox.
You're - second person group definitive
You're all a bunch of cowards for leaving me behind!
A sentence using both:
You're all out of your minds if you think that I am moving to Nebraska!
It is sometimes difficult, especially as a human, to avoid contradicting yourself. However, avoiding or minimizing these contradictions wins a great deal of trust from many readers. A little known fact is that the human psyche is more likely to trust a consistent untruth instead of a changing truth. Your posts and your points will seem more correct to the mind, even if they aren't, if you simply remain consistent in your views, and make any transitions gracefully and gradually.
This is not to say that you support your position in the face of proof of falsehood, it is to say that you do not question yourself in your own posts. For example, consider the following post:
The contradiction becomes obvious when the statements are placed side by side, however, it is important that you do not make these same sorts of contradictions between threads or posts. It is also important to note that this would not be a contradiction if you went on to explain how the graphics in this game, particularly the mud, give it an aspect of game play which has not been created yet, (such as blinding your opponent with a spray of mud).I believe that graphics are too overplayed in games today. The games are more and more about graphics. Where is the game play? I have never had as much fun with any game as I had on my SNES games back in the day. I believe that developers are sacrificing quality of creative art for quality of graphical art.
I can't wait for Motorstorm to come out! The graphics in that game are absolutely unparalleled! The mud just looks so realistic!
Take this example as well:
This quote comes from a fellow forum goer, (who shall remain nameless), and has been concatenated down to the contradictory statements. Obviously, these two statements are mutually exclusive. Either one is true, the other is true, or neither is true. They cannot, however, both be true.what i know is right and i dont care what other people say
nobody is right until the game or system is actually released in stores and is playable
Pointing out contradictions like this can help others more accurately describe their position. This particular poster was able to clarify their intended meaning when pressed.
All in all, contradictions dramatically drop trust and respect that you will receive from others. How can others believe what you say if you don't?
Distinguish Between Opinion and Fact
A very, very important part about receiving respect on any forum is to distinguish between things you perceive as true, and things you believe are true.
Many posters make statements that they believe to be true as if they are true. However, this will only be received by those who already share that belief, as they will perceive it as true. Perception of truth is something that is very important, because it is what separates the actual truth, and what we know about the truth. When you present something as perception without explaining how it is a component of the actual truth, people who do not share that belief will not only not agree, they will fight your assertion, as what you are claiming challenges their intelligence.
An Actual Truth:
The earth is an imperfect sphere.
A Perception Of The Truth:
The earth is flat.
A Belief Of The Truth:
The earth is infinitely large.
As you can see, a perception can be entirely false, and still not be an opinion. A perception is simply the best truth we can formulate out of what we have discovered about the nature of the actual truth. As we learned more about the earth, we discovered more about the actual truth, and thus our perception of the truth changed to the earth being round.
As you can see however, a belief is something that may not depend on either the actual or the perceived truth. In this case, the belief can be proven false by virtue of the fact that no sphere has infinite surface area. A belief is something that is neither a perception of the truth, or a fact supporting the truth. It is something that is not drawn from what we know about the actual truth, but is something that you think the actual truth implies.
Let's see how this can relate to us here in a gaming forum:
An Actual Truth:
The Cell processor has been shown to do a form of raytracing while the X360 processor has not.
A Perception Of The Truth:
The graphics from the Cell look better than those from the 360.
A Belief Of The Truth:
All games will look better on the PS3.
In this case the actual truth is simply a statement about whether or not a processor is or isn't capable of a task. As is always the case of an actual truth, the actual truth alone implies no relation to conclusions drawn from it, (i.e. beliefs), inherently. A connection must be shown between the actual truth and any belief or perception drawn from it, (assuming of course that the nature of the actual truth is known). The fact that the Cell can do something the X360 cannot, does not inherently imply either the perception or the belief.
The perception however, utilizes the actual truth as a component of its truth. In the nature of a perception, it is subject to change as more actual truth is known, and more examples or counter-examples are seen. The graphics from the PS3 generally have been better than those from the 360. The connection between the two is not necessarily so, however.
The belief draws its power from the fact that people view anything presented to them as representative of the best possible outcome when comparing different forms of the same type. In this case, the assumption is made that Game A on the PS3 and Game B on the X360 are both representative of the best possible outcomes, when this is not necessarily so.
None of these things however matter as much as distinguishing between your beliefs and perceptions in what you post.
The grammar is good. The connection from point A to point B is well laid out. However, this post states something as a fact, when it is actually a belief. Can you spot it?The Cell has been shown to be more technically powerful than the Xbox 360. This, coupled with the fact that the PS3 devs are pushing the system harder, sooner, means that the launch games for the PS3 should compare to the games out for the Xbox 360 next November.
Example 11 clearly states which part is opinion, and gives reasons supporting that opinion. It is a better-received post than Example 10.The Cell has been shown to be more technically powerful than the Xbox 360.
I also think that the PS3 devs seems to be pushing the system harder sooner, because the PS3 devs are taking care to delicately program things such as raytracing or complex physics in their games, while early games on the 360 did not even effectively use all the cores.
These two things mean that the launch games for the PS3 should compare to the games out for the Xbox 360 next November.
Taking care to not state opinion as fact will increase the quality of your posts a great deal.
Know What You Are Talking About
This section is a little hard for some people to accept. But the cold hard reality is that everyone thinks they are an expert on everything, when in fact they are not. Online, it is harder for any given person to accept that they are not an authoritative source on any given subject, as there is no way to definitively determine the expertise of any other poster on a forum. However, it is generally accepted that corroborated posts, corroborated by sources that ARE authoritative, give a poster some authority on a subject.
In Example 12 we see a person use a third party source to back up what they are claiming. After a time of being asked to prove their claims, and successfully doing so, this person may no longer be required to provide proof for many claims in the area of math. He himself would be considered an authoritative source, by virtue of the fact that he has demonstrated a breadth of knowledge on the subject exceeding most people."But you see, infinity is not a number."
"Oh yeah? Why should I believe you?"
"Well everyone who's taken calculus knows it. Here, visit this site: http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.large.numbers.html "
"Oh, ok then."
Everyone on the forum is more of an expert than others in certain areas. And even those that aren't may become so through education. However, making claims that are ridiculous to those who ARE experts because you yourself do not have expertise, will greatly drop respect among other forum members for what you have to say.
The bottom line of this part is this: if you think something is true, but you don't have enough technical know-how to say one way or the other, you should either research it first, or post it as a question to those who are authoritative on the topic.
Contribute To The Discussion
I know that many people's post counts would be considerably lower if this were truly followed... but that is under the assumption that their time would have been better spent. Anytime you reply to a thread, you are adding text to the discussion... presumably this means that you are also adding something new to the discussion.
Five word limit: check. Complete sentences: sorta check. Good post: NOT check. What exactly does this post tell us? Well, to be blunt, nothing that we really wanted to know. Let me be forward here: on the internet, no one really cares about opinions that are personal decisions. This goes all the way up to sexual preference and that like (usually) and all the way down to which console you think is better. People just don't care.Yeah, I totally agree. The PS3 rocks.
People do like discussing things however. A discussion does not involve people of opposing opinions stating their opinions. It involves many people stating their opinions, and giving reasons why, anecdotal evidence, and speculation on further situations or circumstances. In short, explain yourself. Anytime you explain your views, someone is bound to learn, even if that someone may be you in the form of corrections. Simply stating that you agree, or that you like product A or person B or political party C adds absolutely nothing to the forum, to the thread, or to the time that people spend on these forums.
The forum rule of five words minimum is admittedly, in my opinion, a little zealous and misapplied. But it is there to try and facilitate posts that contribute to the discussion. And while sometimes I post, "That was hilarious, (five words)", to satisfy it, it has more than once compelled me to further explain myself where I otherwise would not have done so.
In short, respect comes from understanding, and no one will ever understand you if you do not explain yourself.
Title Your Posts Effectively
What is the first thing that any user sees about your thread? The title. You've heard how first impressions matter, right? Users will form an opinion about your thread before they ever read it based on the thread title. If the title contains a lot of slang and chatty words, they are likely to believe that the thread isn't very intelligent from the get-go. Likewise, if a thread is misleadingly titled in order to garner more attention, people will respond negatively as they will feel that they have been lied to or cheated.
When creating a thread title, try and create something concise and informative, and if possible, neutral. If a newspaper was going to report the same thing you were posting, how would they title the article?
Here are some examples of bad thread titles:
These are some examples of good thread titles:Hey!
Look at this
OMFG WTF is $ony doing!?
M$ fails again!
All of these are fairly neutral and informative titles. Choosing a title is a very important part of a post. Take the time to think it over, because it may be the difference between being banned and being stickied.Microsoft announces HD-DVD add-on
HDMI to not be included in lower PS3 SKU
Halo 3 Shown in Real Time @ E3; Impresses crowd
Microsoft faces resistance to new XBL strategy
Post In The Correct Forum
Would Law & Order be played on the Disney Channel? Would you expect Wheel of Fortune on Cartoon Network? Of course not. These aren't the audience that the shows were intended for. Similarly, being a large forum, we have a very diverse, and sometimes seperate, audience on PS3Forums. Choosing the correct forum is very important. When people go to the 360 section, they expect 360 news and information, not posts on Sony or PC games. Similarly, you will receive a better response to highly technical discussion in the Technology forum, as that is where the people who are technically adept will be looking for your post to respond. It's all about choosing your audience.
If you post wrong, it will be moved by a mod. Sometimes with a "ghost thread" telling you it was moved, and sometimes without. It just creates more of a headache for the moderators. If you go through the section above, titling your post, and the title has nothing to do with the forum you are about to post in, rethink your choice of locations. It's very hard to get respect for your posts when you are presenting it to the wrong people.
Control The Flames Of Fanboyism
Many a poster has been posting along, minding their own business like good little forum posters, when suddenly, they see it. The thread with a title that makes their blood boil and their skin crawl.
Usually, people respond in very predictable ways on forums. You can use this to both:
A: Catch yourself before you start flaming someone.
B: Make posts which aren't likely to incite flaming.
What is flaming you ask? Flaming is a term used to describe when you attack someone viciously with words. It comes from the concept of "cooking" someone or someone's argument, and is closely related to the American slang "burn" which is used to mean any disrespectful attack with words. A flamer is anyone who writes a flame. There are many, vastly different, types of flamers. You may find a list and explaination of them here:
First, in order to write posts which don't incite flames, you must learn a little, very little, about human psychology. Humans are threatened by change. It's a pretty simple fact. When you present an argument that, if true, forces them to change their way of thinking, most humans will react negatively. There are ways to prevent this however.
First, frame all arguments as open-ended. No matter how correct you are, nothing will be gained if you beat someone over the head with their own idiocy. Instead, approach things you know to be true as if you are merely convinced they are true.
If you knew something to be true, you might say, "The PS3 is far more powerful than the X360." But what if you thought the X360 was more powerful? In that case, this sentence would have presented your psyche with a choice: I can accept this statement as the fact it claims to be and change my way of thinking about the subject, or I can fight it as hard as I can, deride the argument down until neither their argument nor mine is clearly true, then safely stick to my original belief.
You see, all people, subconciously, need to feel comfortable about believe something, even if conciously they think it to be untrue, by make the reality of the facts grey enough that what they believe might be true. You see this in all forms of debate an argument, particularly political arguments. Nearly any time someone uses an emotional argument, it is because their psyche needs a justification to not change their beliefs. This becomes even more sticky when an entire subject is a matter of emotion, such as abortion, in which the premise of the entire argument is based on emotion instead of facts.
So, keeping this in mind, the best way to approach topics which you know people disagree with is by framing the statement as a statement of belief. "From what I've seen, as far as videos and statistics so far, the PS3 has been more powerful than the X360." The bulk of the statement is exactly the same, however there are a few important things changed.
A: The word "has" was added to acknowlege the reality that this is a temporal fact which could change in the future.
B: The first phrase qualifies that its only the things you have experienced, and that you don't claim any knowlege about things you haven't done.
C: The scope of the "fact" has been declared as videos and statistics.
These few changes will allow people to not only react without flaming you, but provides the human mind with the stepping stones it needs to calmly change its beliefs.
All in all, the key to great posting is thinking about what you want to say before you say it instead of as you say it. If you are simply typing things as you think them, instead of how you would want them read, it will be easy to notice. This is more difficult for some than others. Some people think lightning fast, and so, they can formulate points, sentences and paragraphs faster than they can type. Others have more trouble thinking in this manner, and would have to stop to do so.
How you post is really up to you. But just try and remember... the actual content of what you say has little to do with whether or not you will be respected for your posts.
Drama and "Bitching" Threads
If you came along here to complain about the staff or the forum members, this is not the place for you. It's unwanted by most members, and complaining about a problem isn't really going to help. Criticism of the way the forums is run will also not be acceptable because you are not obligated to stay. If you have a problem with a member, and it's reasonable, then you may PM a staff member. But do not make a thread to harass that person.
Here is an example of a "bitch" thread, that could lead to drama:
This thread is pointless, and possibly made on purpose because what has been suggested has already been implemented (ie, in this thread), so it's possible that the example of that "bitch" thread was done only to complain about something pointless and unnecessary.
Here is a better way to write a feedback and suggestion thread:
How not to harass members:About the Member's Guide to Posting
I've seen a lot of drama on threads lately, and I find it's very disturbing for members to have to read something like that. It's pointless and unnecessary, and could cause problems for the forum later. I believe we should add a point about drama in the Member's Guide to Posting. Please consider my idea.
Here is an example of a drama thread that harasses a member.
As you can see, this thread is clearly meant to harass the victim because the member is possibly new, and so the creator of the thread insults him by calling him a "noob", even though that new member may not necessarily be breaking the rules. "Intelligence" is also not something that this forum has anything against. The reasons for which the thread creator want the victim banned are simply ridiculous.(Insert username of victim)
(Insert username of victim) is a noob. He is annoying me by posting shorthand. I don't like noobs because they ruin the forums and are unintelligent. He is harassing me because he didn't get my joke and got upset by it. Ban him please.
A better example of how to deal with a member who is really harassing you.
(This is a PM)
As you can see, the member is clearly agitated by the harassing member because of a valid concern, like flaming and trolling, which are warnable offenses. This member has a good reason for wanting the harassing member banned.About (Insert username of harassing member)
Dear staff members,
I am being harassed by (Insert username of harassing member) because he is flaming me. I know you have warned him several times, but he won't stop doing it. Also, he has been trolling my threads, and I don't know why; maybe he doesn't like me, but as a result, my threads have been closed because of it. Other members would also like to express their concern by saying that they also don't like (Insert username of harassing member) to post insulting usernotes in their profiles. Because of the trolling and flaming that (Insert username of harassing member) has caused, and because of the infractions he has received, I would request that you please ban him so he won't cause trouble on these forums again.
Thanks for your time.