Advice for Writing

October 2016

Advice for Writing Messages

Before starting a new thread, it is recommended to use the search engine to see if a similar problem has already been discussed. If it has, and the thread only answers part of your question, simply reply to that thread. The discussion will be "bumped" and placed atop the list of recent threads.

When users reply to your message, you can reply in the same thread to continue the discussion. You can even respond to your own message after several hours to "bump" it to the top of the list again. However, don't demand an immediate response from other users; remember that people on the site are volunteers, not employees, and they might not have the solution to your problem

If no thread regarding your problem has been posted yet, you can post a new message by choosing the appropriate forum.

Writing Style

Bulletin board discussions are radically different from traditional ones, as the messages are posted as text and are often written quickly.

A message written in all capital letters "looks like" shouting and is often interpreted as a sign of irritation. The same goes for a message which ends in a long string of punctuation marks. It is therefore recommended to resist the urge to employ such a style. Here's an example of what not to type:


Users are also asked to take great care to check their spelling and minimise the use of text-message-style abbreviations. A message written in shorthand, or one which is hard to read due to the number of spelling errors, may be deleted to make the forum easier to read.

Since messages posted on the bulletin board are not always able to reflect the poster's state of mind, you are allowed (and are generally advised) to use smileys, which are symbols that let you indicate your tone to those reading your message.

Thread Title

The title of the thread is the first thing users see on the forum. A thread with a well-written title will have a better chance of being read and responded to. Therefore, thread titles must contain keywords which introduce your problem and, of course, they should not be written in all capital letters.

Here are a few examples of good thread titles:

looking for GeForce3 driver 
epson printer problem
Looking for SCSI info
Windows Vista won't shut down

You should not enter a title which, instead of referring directly to the subject of your request, includes only words like these:

Need help 
Help me

Describing the Problem

When a user posts a message about his or her problem, he or she usually knows its context. Forum readers can't help unless they know what software is affected, on what operating system, and possibly what hardware is being used.

Therefore, it is essential to describe the error as completely as possible, and to specify the software and hardware being used.

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