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Author Topic: How to Post Readable Messages  (Read 3652 times)
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« Topic Start: February 15, 2008, 02:14:49 am »

Readability Guidelines

The Cauldron:  A Pagan Forum is a debate and discussion board, not a term paper -- heaven forbid!  Moreover, attacking posters for grammar/spelling mistakes is explicitly against the rules.  However, our rules also ask that posters make their posts as readable as possible.  Here are some tips for making your posts more readable; the more readable your posts, the easier it will be for others to understand you -- and therefore, the better the discussion!

1.  Read the rules regarding posting style.  Spacing between paragraphs, proper punctuation, ALL CAPS, netspeak, and eLiTe CaPiTaLiZaTiOn are explicitly addressed.

2.  Spacing between paragraphs:  Please hit the "return" key twice after every few sentences, because long, unbroken boxes of text are difficult to read.

3.  Proper punctuation:  more than one period, exclamation point, or question mark is unnecessary.  In the case of exclamation points and question marks, you *never* need more than one, unless deliberately exaggerating for humorous effect (which should be rare).  Three or more periods together are called "ellipses," and they should be used sparingly.  Too many ellipses make a post difficult to read; they also make you look like you can't make up your mind, or are talking... very... slowly.

4.  ALL CAPS:  Don't do it, unless it is *very* limited and used for humorous or emphatic effect.  (Some people use all caps, rather than italics or *, to emphasize words; this is fine, as long as it isn't excessive.)

5.  Netspeak:  "r u Wiccan," and other word replacements like this, are *expressly* forbidden.  As for interjections such as "lol," "teehee," and emoticons, the occasional one is fine, but don't stick them in every other sentence. 
6.  eLiTe CaPiTaLiZaTiOn:  Just, no.

7.  Capitalization in general:  Capitals are used at the beginning of sentences, for proper names (people, organizations, religions), and for "I."  Just as a general note.

Again, no one here is expecting you to write perfectly, or even formally.  But if you bear these tips in mind, your posts will be far more legible; people will be far more inclined to talk to you if they don't have to spend an inordinate amount of time simply deciphering your post.

One last tip:  If you don't know what you want to say, sit down and think about it first; that will keep your sentences from becoming unnecessarily convoluted.  Also, it always helps to hit "preview" before posting -- it catches many errors.

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