I'm not going to begin with the usual 'wow, the posting on CN forums has gotten worse than it was in the old days' because frankly, most of it sucks. And sucks bad. And it has, certainly since I've been a part of the community.
I think largely because many don't ask the following threshold question before they hit the 'submit reply' button:
Why am I posting this?
Answering that question internally before inflicting the random crap that ends up constituting 90% of any given thread would be a welcome change. Are there reasons to post? Of course there are. But it seems to escape many posters that there is a reason to post beyond, you know, posting.
First and foremost: know your audience. I can't help but surmise from the crap posted that people posting don't care for their audience at all. If they even have one. Surely, someone will say 'oh, but the whole world is my audience.' Allow me to retort: As part of the world, the world would like to see you post something less insipid.
Does every post have to be a wall of text? Of course not, less is usually more if it gets your point across. Posting in an IC forum has the potential for three basic outcomes. One, it can further an aim or agenda of your alliance, it can hurt an aim or agenda of your alliance, or it can be outright ignored, which might be the second best outcome of the three listed.
The use of memes has to be one of the more annoying features of the forums. Memes are rarely funny, and often only when a certain twist is added to the 'meme' which in turn, makes it not a meme anymore overall.
Now, the mindless hailing does get a bit annoying, however, it serves a purpose, which means it probably has more point than 50% of the posts on the forums. It shows support. While it's not typically my style, there is some point to these rather brief posts.
There is also a hell of a lot of 'overposting.' I'm sure you're thinking of a certain poster (whoever that may be for you personally) who has to post to every thread, noting their dissatisfaction with whatever the OP has stated. While I love reasoned dissent, I can't stand contrariness for contrariness's sake. It gets old, and hurts your ability to get your message out.
And ultimately, this is the point I'm getting to: if you're not judiciously posting, you run a high risk of having a post ignored that may well have a very good point or advance what you consider to be an important agenda for you or your alliance.
So in posting, consider the following:
What is the OP about, really? Am I potentially using this to post something not having to really do with the OP? If so, maybe wait for a more appropriate thread or write up your own.
What is my response to the OP geared towards? Am I making a substantive statement about the OP? Is there an interest I have in disagreeing with the OP? Do I have an interest in agreeing with the OP? If so, then:
Is my post advancing that interest? Or is it some random piece of crap that will get lost in the noise? Did I bother to see if it was spelled correctly? Is my grammar use atrocious? Is it clear? Is it concise? Did I bother to edit it?
Have I read my post through the eyes of my intended audience? Does it come across as uninformed? Is it insulting? Maybe you're trying to be insulting, I don't know, but always try to view your post from the viewpoint of your intended audience. Is it something that anyone in your intended audience would like to read?
Posting can be a very powerful tool, and if used correctly and judiciously, can advance your agenda and improve your standing among the community.
A good rule of thumb is one reasoned dissent will trump 100 'you suck' posts.
Thanks for your time. I suspect I will return to posting here more regularly, in between my RL and CN commitments.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I finally did get rid of that pesky beard.