When posting on the board, we all look for friendly and supportive responses from fellow cat lovers. Nothing is more frustrating then posting and not getting as many replies as you were hoping for. Or none at all. Here are some guidelines that should help you enhance your user experience on TheCatSite.com and help you create lots of positive interactions on the board.
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Writing Posts That Get Read
If people are having trouble reading your posts, they're simply less likely to bother. Here are some simple guidelines for online writing that will make reading your messages off the screen much easier.
1. Use proper grammar and syntax
Commas, periods, semicolons - these are all your friends! They help others follow your sentences and “hear” your voice.
2. Use short paragraphs
Three to five lines in each paragraph is a good size. Don't let your paragraphs overrun. Long paragraphs are difficult to read off the screen.
3. Use lists
Bulleted or numbered lists can help people follow your story or argument. It can also help them reply to specific parts of your post and reference them.
4. Use smilies
With no tone of voice or facial expressions, it can be difficult to tell if you're being genuine or cynical. Smilies can replace facial expressions and help others interpret your intention. Still, take a close look at how you might come across. Sometimes a smilie can't save something from being offensive.
5. Avoid using ALLCAPS
Using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS comes across as shouting. What’s more, once you have more than a few words capitalized, it becomes a visual challenge to read. Many people will simply avoid reading your post. Release the SHIFT key and CAPSLOCK and capitalize only where it’s grammatically correct.
6. Avoid texting abbreviations
People prefer to read proper English. Don’t use "2" instead of "to" and do capitalize the first letter in a sentence.
7. Stick to the original text color
Our editor does allow you to change the color of the text, but most people prefer to read in the default text color (black), and not, say, in "Light Salmon".
Establishing Your Forums Presence
Members tend to respond more to other members that they already know and have an established relationship with. Don't worry, TCS is a friendly community and you’re likely to make new friends and establish connections of your own soon enough .
Here are a few tips for making new friends on TCS and generating more “buzz” in your own threads.
1. Follow the guidelines above and make your posts easy-to-read
This is an online board and it’s based on the written word. If people are having a hard time reading your posts, they’re likely to move on and will not get a chance to get to know you.
2. Introduce yourself
It’s always a good idea to start your TCS journey with a detailed introduction post. We have a forum just for that - New Cats on the Block. Tell us all about yourself and your cats (pictures are always appreciated too!) It’s ok if this is not your first post on the board too. Also, visit New Cats on the Block occasionally and join in on welcoming others.
3. Treat others as you wish to be treated
Make sure you keep your tone friendly. It’s not only part of our site rules, but also a good way to make friends. Remember, others will be reading your post too, so even if you don’t particularly like the member who posted the question, your answer still reflects on your own image and can deter others from getting close to you.
4. Post, post, post
The more you post, the more you get your username out there for people to know and remember. Again, make sure your posts are polite and friendly, to encourage others to interact with you. Also, try and keep your posts positive. Just like in real life, Debbie Downers are not much fun to hang around.
5. Engage others: interactions are reciprocal by nature
Other member want feedback to their posts, just as you do on yours. If you offer them a kind word, they will be more likely to reciprocate and reply to your future posts. Don't just sit there waiting for responses to your thread. Instead, browse around and offer your own input to other people's questions and comments.
6. Socialize on the board
We pride ourselves on our cat care forums, but we also have several forums that are “just for fun”. I have already mentioned New Cats on the Block, but you can also interact with others in the other social forums.
Follow these golden rules, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll be making new friends here. It's the best way to get more replies to your own questions and queries too!