I think we can all benfit from a little forum etiquette

12 years ago

Recently I jumped on a post of Runsnwalken because I was seriously angry with a response he made. I have since taken a step back and thought, instead of attacking back, I wanted to write out steps to help those who are not familiar with posting etiquette gain some knowledge. I hope everyone can benefit from this.

Good rules of responding are:

1) Ask yourself if your opinion will be helpful to the OP. Some opinions need to be kept to ourselves. You are welcome to think whatever you want, but unless it will change something immediately or your opinions are requested, it may be best to keep quiet. Not every answer is right for all animals, and it may even be detrimental to some pets' health.

2) Ask yourself if the original poster is looking to show off their new pet or ask a question. If they are just showing off their pet, say something nice or don't respond at all. It is like if someone emails you a pic of their new shirt; either say "I like it!" or don't respond. Don't tell them that the material it is made of is made in sweatshops by orphans that make pennies a day. That wasn't what the person was looking for.

3) If the OP asks opinions on food, tell them what works for you and leave it at that. There is no need to bash other brands. 99% of pet owners will get great advice from their vet or know from experience what is good. I have a cat with renal failure; some diets that are recommended here on the forum would cause her more harm than the canned diet I have her on. Most of us are not a vet, myself included. Let those with the degrees and experience with all types of animal illnesses be the ones to administer this advice. I won't even tell someone what to feed their cat, and I have had cats my entire life.

4) Make sure you respond to only what is relevant to the OP. If the question does not involve debarking or declawing, don't mention it. It is irrelevant.

5) Think positively! Everyone comes to this forum because they love animals. They don't come here to be chastised. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Make sure you understand their post and what they are looking for. If you aren't sure, move on to the next post.

Everyone benefits from good advice, but advice cannot be given soundly when you accuse the person asking for it of being a bad pet owner right off the bat. You don't know their situation at all, and probably never will. A very general answer of "I have found that a raw diet works best for my cats" or "I am glad the Obamas have decided to adopt, hopefully this will start a trend in adoptions". It is much easier to respond this way instead of expanding and making accusations about how you think someone may or may not act in the future. If and when it happens, then you can discuss it, but there is no reason to speak negatively about someone before you know it is a truth.

I really hope this helps, I think everyone can take a cue from this. It is a great forum and we all are here for one reason: we love our pets. Be kind to each other, good things happen to good people.

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