How to Appear Intelligent on the Internet
Here are a few suggestions
Phrase your posts with caution. Make your opinions known but don’t force them on others. Expel anger and frustration before typing. Always be clear and respectful. Remember that sarcasm doesn’t always come across the right way and some people may take genuine offense to a comment that was never meant to cause harm.
There are exceptions to the below rules. You may want to have someone you trust look at what you are responding to and your response prior to posting the response. I always have my husband check before I post if I am angry and/or passionate about something.
- Always cite your source(s) as this makes you look like you really know your stuff and gives you back-up proof that you are correct.
- Reread your posts (quietly to yourself out loud) while smiling. If you can’t read it with a smile on your face re-writing and/or rewording it will make it a better post (even if you are angry this is a good thing to do). If you cannot do this because you are too angry then you need to wait before posting and/or commenting.
- If you are very angry – write-up your response – then keep it as a draft. Sleep on it for 24-72 hours then re-read the original post that upset you. Read your response out loud to yourself while smiling, and ask yourself “does this response make my point in such a way that I can be heard”. It never hurts to have someone else look at the post you are responding to and your reply before sending it. Also ask yourself how a lurker will view you in light of this response
- If you’re angry and it seeps into your every post/comment/email — take a sabbatical from the group/blog/forum for a couple of days or a week.
- Read all of what someone writes in a thread before responding as reading only part of a thread can lead to misunderstanding due to missing context or reiterating information and/or a question that has already been addressed.
- Don’t “bait” and ignore those that try to “bait” you. Avoid the slippery slope into insults and focus on intelligent conversation instead. Insults lower your standing in the eyes of fellow posters and will lead to confrontation. Avoid them like the plague!
- Respond in a quiet and respectful tone – especially to someone who you feel has insulted you – this helps to keep the conversation flowing and helps you in making your point without it being lost in the “fight”.
- If after reading a post a few times you just can’t believe someone would say that, but think that questioning it in public might lead to bad feelings or might make you feel silly if you misunderstood something, you may want to write the original poster directly (and in a very friendly tone!) to see if you misunderstood.
- Personal drama does not belong in public/professional forums/groups/blogs. By bringing personal drama into those places you decrease the respect others have for you.
- Don’t post anything you would not want your mother/grandmother/boss/future boss to see on any electronic medium even if you think you’ve locked it between yourself and the one person you are sending it to.