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Playing nice in the sandbox.

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

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.

    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.

    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?

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Alan May I am very impressed That Alan the internet god has written such a long post and really it was worth the entire read. Please come back more often 

Dec 07, 2022 01:58 PM
Alan May

I usta write longer posts all the time.  Glad you liked it.

Dec 07, 2022 03:19 PM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

While I can be critical of overly broad statements that don't always hold true- I don't want to be hurtful or unhelpful and try to be respectful about it. I managed professional development in my prior career, so I always tend to be informative in my comments- adding value when possible. 

Dec 07, 2022 08:54 PM
Alan May

informative is typically good.

Dec 08, 2022 05:12 AM
Peter Mohylsky, Destin BeachPro
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL
Call me at 850-517-7098

Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. 

Dec 08, 2022 03:58 AM
Alan May

why thank you, kind sir.

Dec 08, 2022 05:12 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Good morning!

I do on occasion comment/respond with a one or two word answer when it seems appropriate. So once in a while that might work. Also, sticking with the topic "Comments" I would suggest comments should not be the same exact thing cut and pasted on a bunch of different blogs.

Otherwise, great list you Internet God you!

Dec 08, 2022 04:56 AM
Alan May

ooooh.... those cut & paste comments... (I call them drive-by commenting).  Good one!

Dec 08, 2022 05:13 AM
Peter den Boer
Atlanta Communities - Woodstock, GA
MBA,GRI, Associate Broker, Realtor

Yeah... I agree... This is the best explanation of posting stuff I've seen in print, and Alan is an internet God"

Dec 08, 2022 06:14 AM
Alan May

Awww, shucks.

Dec 08, 2022 06:23 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Alan - let's face there are so many comparisons one can draw between a sandbox and kitty litter.  I digress.  And that's not just pussy-footin' around regardless of playing in ActiveRainLand or in the real world.  

Dec 08, 2022 07:45 AM
Alan May

The sandbox is often used as kitty litter by the neighbourhood cats.  That's why we had a lid on our sandbox.

Dec 08, 2022 01:47 PM
Michael Jacobs

Bill Liz and Bill Spear - I am sure these are times when you are grateful you don't operate an animal farm with elephants as part of your herd.  Oh, my.  

Dec 08, 2022 10:08 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I am glad we have Chihuahuas and not dogs that leave poops as big as a Chihuahua :)

Dec 08, 2022 10:11 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I know a lot more about kitty litter than I'd like to.  And the delivery drivers probably wish we purchased in person rather than the 6 40 lb bags a month that get shipped to us :)

Dec 08, 2022 09:10 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

All good motherhood statements.  Well taken,

Have a great week.   

Sam Shueh

Dec 08, 2022 08:48 AM
Alan May

Motherhood, eh?

Dec 08, 2022 01:48 PM
Pete Xavier

I'm very positive that Alan identifies as a male.

Dec 08, 2022 06:32 PM
Alan May

on a good day, Pete.  on a good day.

Mar 24, 2023 04:53 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Some people think that kicking the other occupants of the sandbox in the shins is the thing to do, those people eventually find themselves on the outside looking in for a community such as this.

Dec 08, 2022 09:11 AM
Alan May

... they don't realize that the public is watching.  And the public, these days, does not like to hire bullies.

Dec 08, 2022 01:48 PM
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Lake Sinclair Specialist

Haven't heard passel in a while.  I didn't have to ask my parents though.  If I can't play nice I go home with my toys.  That's what my mama told me to do.

Dec 08, 2022 10:22 AM
Alan May

It's not really a commonly used word, today.

Dec 08, 2022 01:49 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

I ditto what Craig Daniels said!  You truly are the Internet God of Gods Alan.  When is the ceremony....oh wait that's off subject. Or is it - as Michael Jacobs would say!!

Dec 08, 2022 10:36 AM
Alan May

There's a ceremony?

Dec 08, 2022 01:49 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Fantastic summary of how to blog online, Alan. Throwing sand or shade is not acceptable or permitted and I agree with Don Baker. Makes perfect sense!

Dec 08, 2022 01:48 PM
Alan May

As one of those who have had sand kicked in my face, as a kid... I agree.

Dec 08, 2022 02:40 PM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

It's amazing what bravado anonymity gives some people. There is no transparency when hiding behind a fake name. I'm glad we have our real info out there and manners are the norm. But of course, we Realtors!

Dec 08, 2022 02:19 PM
Alan May

It really is amazing how much courage those trolls get from the anonymity of their parent's basements.

Dec 08, 2022 02:41 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Alan,

I'm totally impressed with the length and depth of your post! We use to see angry exchanges and so glad we don't see much of it now....at least I don't see it. Commenting is important and glad to see some worthwhile discussions on various topics. The drive by commenters saying the same thing on everyone's post appears to disrespect the time the creator took to create the post. What is the purpose other than letting everyone know you didn't read the post?? 

Dec 08, 2022 02:43 PM
Alan May

Those drive-by commenters are strictly commenting for points.

Dec 08, 2022 02:46 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Alan (aka "The Internet God"):

This is an excellent summary of things to do when online - blogging, social media - and what not to do. Important reading for those new to blogging and the online world, but a terrific reminder for those who might need it (and perhaps will take the steps to improve). 

Thanks for your Challenge entry!


Dec 08, 2022 03:10 PM
Alan May

unfortunately, those who need it, are not likely to recognize themselves.


and thanks for the reminder to enter.

Dec 08, 2022 03:42 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

HI Alan- very well said!!! Snarkiness has never been an attractive trait either in person or here in Cyberville. As for spellcheck, I have had my share of oops moments. Thank goodness for Sharon Tara who will send me a text alerting me to typos but a whole post of that is hard to muddle through. 

Dec 08, 2022 08:10 PM
Alan May

I can be as snarky as the next person... but I try not to do it in writing and in public.

Dec 09, 2022 10:40 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Great tips and I agree with them all but with that being said I don't believe I will ever be referencing you as an internet God, haha.

Dec 09, 2022 05:41 AM
Alan May


Dec 09, 2022 10:40 AM
Aura Alex
Seattle, WA
Retired Real Estate Pro

In addition to being an internet God, your post is lip-smacking, eye-popping, ear-burning, brain-engaging, and mind-blowing success, which has blown me away in the sky of an unknown galaxy where no one has gone before!!!!

Hello, Alan; nice to meet you! 😁

Dec 09, 2022 07:25 AM
Alan May

Them's a whole lotta hyphenated adjectives.  Thank you.

Dec 09, 2022 10:41 AM
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


Well spoken! I have always found that "telling the story" is an excellent way to begin a discussion or share a viewpoint. Think about it, when telling a story, it is typically  an oration, espoused by one individual?  Consequently, a point can be made, whereby in most cases, the orator is not interrupted or questioned. Once the story has reached a conclusion, those who were listening, can make their comments or a offer a rebuttal. I find this technique very useful, as it allows me some latitude as it relates to addressing "touchy" subjects or restless listeners.

Keep in mind, when telling a story, it's highly unlikely you'll find yourself become engaged in some verbal altercation, whereby the conversation has turned into "war of words"!

Suggestion ..... employ any number of detailed pieces of information/circumstances as you present your story ..... the more, the better. Keep the story's conclusive ending in doubt until you're about finished. These tips will keep most listener's "at bay" until you have finished the story. 

The advantage with story-telling, you possess an intimate knowledge of the details. Your listeners don't have immediate access to the what, why and where you are about to share. 

Hope these suggestions will contribute an alternate means to "communicate" with those who you engage conversation!        

Dec 09, 2022 09:49 AM
Alan May

I am with you, Sharon.  You make some very valid points.

Dec 09, 2022 10:42 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Love your dry wit and method to address those whose posts are lacking!  Thanks for the chuckles!   You never disappoint!  Have a great day!

Dec 09, 2022 11:02 AM
Alan May

Imagine my surprise to learn that I have any wit, moist or otherwise.

Dec 09, 2022 01:35 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Lots of wisdom along with lots of humor in this post..

"If you wouldn't feel comfortable saying something to their face,... then perhaps you ought to try to reword it..." A good entry in the contest!

Dec 10, 2022 03:19 PM
Alan May

Why thank you, Ms. Rome.

Dec 11, 2022 04:00 AM