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How do I get more responses to my posts?

10 years ago

Sometimes, it seems that you don't get very many responses to threads/posts - especially layout threads. Why is that?

There are a few factors involved in getting responses:

  • Weekends, especially summer and holiday weekends, are usually not very active here - especially if it takes any time to respond. I recommend posting during the week and late afternoon/early evening Eastern time so your thread is on page 1 and will be seen by more people - especially those just stopping by for a few minutes after work and b/f making dinner or heading out for the evening. After dinner can also be a good time...

Subjects! I know there isn't a lot of space for a subject, but make the subjects (1) relevant to the topic of the post and (2) descriptive - cryptic subjects like "counter" or "need help" aren't very useful and may not draw in the people who can help!
It would also be helpful and more productive not to post in one long paragraph. Rather, break it up into several paragraphs, organizing the content with white space b/w paragraphs so people can read and comprehend things quickly and easily.
Some people don't read the "Layout Help" topic and post asking for help without giving us very much information about the poster's goals, family composition, plans for using the space,etc. Trying to design a kitchen in a vacuum of knowledge can be frustrating and can lead to "generic" kitchens.

See the "How do I ask for Layout Help and what information should I include?" FAQ topic.
Often, the layouts themselves don't have enough information for us to work with. A full set of dimensions is very helpful! (again, see the "Layout Help" FAQs topic).
If you're trying to decide whether to post a computer-generated drawing that shows the elevation (things shown as they will be against a wall with cabinets, etc.) vs an overhead plan (2D as seen from overhead) - choose the overhead! It can be computer-generated if it has all dimensions, etc.or a hand-drawn diagram using graph paper.

If you need to draw it up by hand, keep in mind that it takes no drawing skill, so don't let that intimidate you. All you need:

  • Good measurements of the room
  • Graph paper which you can download and print from the web if you don't have any on hand
  • Pencil & eraser (for sketching in the first lines)
  • Straight edge (ruler, piece of plastic, triangle, etc. because even with graph paper it's easier to draw against a straightedge, and most kitchen lines are straight)
  • Dark, fine or extra fine Sharpie (or similar marker/pen) to go over the pencil lines before taking a picture of it for posting. Without the dark pen/marker, most drawings are too faint.

Using graph paper forces you to pay attention to scale. Layouts with dimensions that are difficult to read. This has become even more problematical since iVillage/GardenWeb (GW) made their so-called improvements to the site. It's now difficult to post a large enough layout that is easy to read. If I have to open a layout image in another window and fiddle with resizing and then still not be able to read the dimensions, I often bag it and move on. If you also use the GW image upload, it's not as easy to see larger versions than if you post a large version to Photobucket (or similar).

Try uploading large versions of pictures (especially layouts) to Photobucket (or similar photo hosting site) and posting the picture in the message from there instead of using GW's image upload facility. Upload the picture to Photobucket in a bigger size and copy the "HTML Code" directly into the GW Message box.

GW automatically resizes all pictures in threads to fit the (very) narrow space they now restrict all messages to - but when you click/select the picture, it should open a larger version at the photo hosting site. Just make sure your pictures link back to their origin - you may have to adjust your permissions settings at Photobucket (or other site). I recommend setting up a Public album for layout drawings - after all, once you've posted the layout here, it's no longer private, even if your album is private - once it's anywhere on the web, it's out there in someone's cache, if nowhere else.

There's more information in the FAQs about posting pictures. See the "How do I post pictures?" topic in the FAQs.
Another deterrent is a poster who does not at least acknowledge those who have responded. Even if you don't like the response, at least acknowledge it. There have been many times in the past when someone has spent a couple of hours (or more) working on a layout for the poster and the poster never responded or responded to others and completely ignored what that person did - no comments at all. While we don't expect gushing and over the top thank-yous, it would be nice to know (1) that the poster read and reviewed what the person did and (2) whether the person produced something useful or if there were some things that could be changed/tweaked for them. "Silence is Golden" is definitely not a rule here!
Pictures! Pictures are definitely worth a thousand words around here! When asking for advice on layouts, color combinations, problems, or just about anything else that has a "visual", post one or more pictures. We often need to see what you're talking about.

Post actual pictures - not links to pictures. It's much more convenient and easier for us to see the picture in the message than to have to go elsewhere to see it.
When asking for help with materials selection, post the photos or the hyperlinks to photos of the counter, flooring, backsplash, cabinet style and finish, etc. Often people will just give the names of their selections and expect readers to go off and search the internet for them - but most of us don't have time for that!
Last, much as some might not like to hear it, we do often go the "extra mile" to respond to posters who have also been contributing on the Forum - even the "old timers" who aren't here that often anymore will probably get more responses.

You don't have to be an expert to contribute to the forum. You can start by commenting on in-progress or finished kitchens. You can learn a lot by studying other people's kitchens (in progress and finished) and asking questions about them. So take the plunge and start responding and helping others - it will help you in the end as well!

The very last piece of advice I have for newcomers is to browse through the FAQs.

For historical interest/reference, here is a link to one of the last Read Me threads (I stopped them in 2013 when the Kitchen FAQs were established):

New To Kitchens? Posting Pics? Read Me!

(Note that while many of the topics are the same in the Read Me thread and the FAQs, the FAQs are being kept up-to-date and new topics are being added over time.)

Finally, please remember that we are all volunteers here, none of us are getting paid to do this - we do it out of our love of kitchens and helping others to get the best designed kitchen possible that meets your needs (and budget!)

Some of the regulars don't have the time we used to to respond with full-blown layouts or lengthy layout critiques...b/w family and job, my time, for example, has become very precious - and family comes b/f Kitchens! (I do occasionally have time and will stop by...) However, what is great about this site is that "new regulars" seem to appear who can fill the gap when others begin to drop off the site - so welcome old and new!


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