Here on Active Rain we are fairly civil to one another, but on many other sites, they seem to be a little bit of the Wild Wild West, with little, ineffective or no moderation at all.
Commenters and questioners are often subjected to, how shall we say, colourful language, sarcasm and outright attacks by semi-anonymous posters, with little else to do but hang around waiting for their next victim while hiding behind interesting double-entendre Icons and Screen names. Since many of these internet sites don't require any true identification, we've all seen participants whose method of disagreement tends to be insults and harassment, and then ducking back behind their anonymity.
Let's revisit some basics:
When commenting, try to add value to the conversation. As tempting as it is to respond with "yeah... I agree", it's better to add some explanation such as "Yeah... I agree... This is the best explanation of dual-agency I've seen in print, and Alan is an internet God". In fact, I really like that language, feel free to copy & paste it, and simply replace the subject matter with whatever is being discussed at the time.
• SALES PITCH
As tempting as it might be, please try to avoid the "Hard Sell". The Internet is the place for buyers and sellers to find you and learn about you. They don't want to wade through post after post of your listings. They aren't here to hear you say "Call me, pick me, choose me". Be a valuable member of the community. Add value to conversations, give reliable responses, and be the voice of reason. You won't ever have to say "Call me"... buyers and sellers will beat a path to your door.
It's inevitable that there will be disagreements with some who are posting, especially when some like to wax political, which we know that ARMS doesn't like. Feel free to disagree, but try to do so 'respectfully'. Y'all remember respect, don't you. It's that method of conversation that we used to have when we had to have conversations face-to-face. If you wouldn't feel comfortable saying something to their face, in front of you own mother... then perhaps you ought to try to reword it... hmmm?
If you find someone breaking the sites rules... please don't be "confrontational"... report them, and let ARMS handle it. Don't worry, the readers are smart enough to recognize a show-off, or bully when they see one. Please don't feed the trolls.
We all know you're clever. Not to mention incredibly good-looking, but try not to make yourself look even better by copying and pasting someone else's stuff, and passing it off as your own. It's so easy, today, to find plagiarism on the internet, and you can rest assured that someone who's perusing your comments or your blogs will undoubtedly check... and when they identify that you "stole" that incredibly highbrow paragraph from Chaucer, they're going to "out" you, and you'll feel very much the fool. Just don't do it.
You also open yourself (and Active Brain, or whatever platform you're currently using) to a potential lawsuit, and a whole passel of expenses (that's right... I said "Passel"). Ask your parents, they'll explain.
• ETHICS AND ACCURACY
As Realtors (and Real Estate Agents), when talking about Real Estate, we have an ethical obligation to be accurate and honest. And be very careful when commenting about Real Estate practices in states other than the one you practice in. The rules change dramatically from state to state. If you comment, be sure you know what you're talking about.
Most sites have spell check. Please avail yourself of its functionality. It takes only a few moments, and is oh, so helpful. I don't automatically discount the comments of those who have the occasional misspelling, but when there are multiple misspellings per paragraph, or even per sentence... it sure does slow down my enjoyment of that post.
For those of you who like to wax on, and on, and on... please try to break up your verbosity with paragraphs. I don't really care if you use them properly or not... just break it up visually, so we don't have to slog through a single 4,000-word paragraph. If you really feel up to it, add some graphics... it makes your post that much more appealing, and readable. It makes us think that you actually gave some thought to your post, and you care what people think.
I'm sure there are lots and lots of "suggestions" that I haven't addressed.... care to add?