Posting Guidelines

This board contains all our forum rules and guidelines which we expect all members to stick to (yes, that means YOU as well!!). Ignore at your peril! ;-)

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Posting Guidelines

Post by iih » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:40 pm

Each board of the forum has it's own specific posting guidelines "stickied" inside each board with details of the types of subjects covered on each board. We expect all our members to be familiar with our forum rules, and the guidelines on how our community operates in this section of the forum, the "Stuff you need to know" board.

Following some recent problems on the forum though, the forum team has decided to issue these further posting guidelines to clarify a number of matters of concern on the forum. In particular members should be aware of the first area covered in these guidelines, that of using "descriptive and specific" titles for new threads, which will be strictly enforced from January 2009.

Summary added: 6/12/08:

SUMMARY

• Topic titles must be descriptive and specific, reflecting the subject of the thread to help people searching for information on specific information and make the moderators' workload easier.
• use the forum SEARCH before you post.
"One topic – one subject." Please only post about one subject in each post, e.g. if you want to ask a question about lumbar punctures, and another about the side-effects of Diamox, don't put them in the same post, but put each in the appropriate area of the forum in separate posts.
Post topics in the right area of the forum. If you're not sure, check the posting guidelines for each board or ask a moderator.
"Don't dis the docs!" Negative comments about specific doctors or the medical profession in general are not allowed. The web is not an appropriate place to air your grievances. If you have a genuine complaint, use the appropriate official complaints procedure.
Think before you post, and post responsibly


The full announcement...

Issued 4/12/08:

Descriptive and specific titles

As members should be aware (if they’ve read the posting guidelines on the forum, which of course I’m sure you all have ;)), one of the things we’ve specifically highlighted is that when you start a new topic, you need to use a title for your topic that’s descriptive and specific. We’ve previous issued guidance on this, but recently we’ve noticed a rise again in the number of topics appearing with sometimes very vague titles.

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Why is this important?

With the size the forum’s now reached, and the number of members we have, with over 1000 members, over 40,000 posts, and numerous boards, trying to find information on a specific subject can sometimes be a time-consuming and frustrating task. For the moderators, judging whether a post’s in the right area of the forum is also made harder by the fact that if a topic has a title that bears no relation to what it’s actually about, rather than looking at the topic titles, they have to open each topic and read through the sometimes lengthy discussion to decide if it’s in the right place. The moderators have a lot to do to help Michelle and I keep things running smoothly as it is, and vague and meaningless titles just add to their workload.

For members and visitors to the site looking for information, it’s essential they can find information quickly, without having to follow dead-ends, or possibly miss a topic that actually has the answer they’re looking for because the title of it didn’t suggest it was related to what they were looking for. This is particularly true for members with severe symptoms who find using a computer for long periods difficult, and for anyone suffering low pressure who’s struggling to remain upright, or those recovering from surgery. The larger the forum gets, and the more information that’s stored in the forum, the more difficult the problem’s going to get. To help people find the information they need, and find it quickly, it’s vital we all play our part, and take some responsibility, to keep the forum a place that’s easy to find information. We need to ensure the forum is easy to navigate and that we don’t end up with a jumble of topics that could be about anything, where it’s difficult to hazard a guess from their titles.

Why are we saying this now?

This has been something that we've requested previously, but recently the forum staff have been noticing a rise in the number of un-descriptive topics appearing, and we need to address this problem now, before it becomes even more of a mammoth task than it is now to ensure all topic titles reflect what the topic’s about. Over the coming weeks and months the forum staff will be working through our archives, modifying the titles of old topics to make sure their titles reflect what the topic’s actually about. If you’re aware that recently you’ve posted a topic that hasn’t had a totally descriptive title, please help the moderators out by editing the title (you’ll find the option to modify your posts in the top right hand corner of the post).

The forum rules have now been amended to include a clause on the use of descriptive and specific titles for topics. We don’t like making rules for the sake of making rules, and generally we’re a lot more laid back about rigidly enforcing the rules than many online forums are because of the sensitivities of the subject of the forum, but we need rules and guidelines to make sure that the forum runs smoothly.

What’s a good title and what’s not?

Topic titles should be descriptive and specific.  The following are examples of thread titles that aren't suitable:
"Help!!!!!"
"I need advice"
"Can you help?"
"I don't know what to do!"
"Advice wanted"
"Is this normal?"
"HELP PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!"
"Hello"
"I'm new"

etc.

Putting "help" or "advice" in titles isn't necessary - we know you want help and/or advice or support, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Multiple exclamation marks in titles aren't necessary (actually, neither’s one most of the time) and just take up a few extra bytes storage space in the database. Lots of threads with titles like "Help me" or "I need advice" just clutters up the forum with generic threads and makes it impossible for people to find things. If everyone posted with titles like this we'd have pages full of "Help!!", "Please help", etc., it would be impossible for anyone to find anything. Just like you should do with email, write your subject line for the recipient, not the sender.

YOU know what your message is about and the background to it, but other forum members and visitors to the site don’t – please, help everyone out by making sure the subject of your message is clear. If you want advice about whether it's normal to have a headache after a lumbar puncture, a title like "I feel awful" or "Is this normal?" doesn't tell anyone anything about what might be in the topic, whereas something like "Headache after lumbar puncture" or "Are headaches after a lumbar puncture normal?" tells whoever's reading it a) what they'll find in the topic, and b) allows them to make a judgement about whether it's something they have the knowledge to answer without opening the topic to find out what it's about, saving them time.

Further information on writing effective email subjects, which can also be applied to topic titles on forums, can be found in these articles:
A beginner’s guide to effective email: http://webfoot.com/advice/email.context.php
How to construct the perfect email subject line: http://blog.crankingwidgets.com/2007/06 ... l-subject/
Email Tip: Choose a subject line that is meaningful to the recipient, not the sender: http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archi ... 88858.aspx

The only areas of the forum where this doesn’t apply are the posts in the "Members' Area" section of the forum, where the non-IIH related discussions take place. That said, it’s still a good idea to make sure that your topic title reflects what the topic’s actually about. For example, if you’re posting a message in the "introductions" board or the "member stories and updates" one, rather than using something generic like "I’m new", or "My latest news", it makes it easier for other members to find the discussion again in the future should they ever want to if your forum name’s in the title. For the "introductions" board, why not use something like, "Yourname's introduction", or "Yourname's story"? In the "member stories and updates" board, start a thread with your forum name, or "Yourname: latest test results", so if they want to check out what’s been happening with you they can search for your forum name, rather than getting a list of search results identically named "My latest news." Remember, write your subject line for the recipient, not the sender.

...and if I don’t use descriptive and specific topic titles?

In the unlikely event that you chose to ignore the new rule, for now moderators will request that you change your topic title, either by commenting in a reply to your topic, or by PM. This will hopefully give everyone time to practice getting into the good habit of writing meaningful topic titles, but from January onwards, topics which do not have descriptive titles will be locked. This will mean that your question will not get an answer, as other members will be unable to reply to it. The only way you’ll be able to get your topic unlocked and your question answered is to contact a moderator using the “report to moderator” link on the topic asking nicely if they’d unlock your topic and giving the title you propose changing the topic’s title to. This will be time-consuming both for you and the moderators, and will mean you’ll be unable to get an immediate or speedy response to your question. It’s therefore in your own best interests that you get into the good habit of using descriptive topic titles now. From January, topics without descriptive titles will be locked without warning. The forum rules and this announcement is your warning.

Using the forum search

The use of descriptive topic titles is also essential so that members can make best use of the forum’s search facility. The forum has always had a search function – it’s the little search box with a magnifying glass at the side of it up near the top of the forum on the right hand side. The forum search can be used to find topics and posts by searching for a keyword or words, and using the advanced search you can search for posts by specific members or between specific dates etc. as well.

Many members though don’t use the forum search, and this is particularly true of new members, and ask questions that have already been answered on the forum, sometimes many times over. Usually someone will come along and still answer the question anyway, although at times forum staff and members will post a link to previous discussions on the subject, but for regular members who spend a lot of time on the forum sharing their experiences and providing information, answering the same question over and over can become very wearing. We recently had an example where in the space of only a few days, no fewer than four people asked, on separate new threads, what was essentially the same question. This could have been avoided if they’d used the forum search, or even, as the same question had been answered only days before, by looking at the list of recent posts.

If your question concerns something for which you've done a search for and not found an answer, or there isn’t a clear-cut answer, or if it’s something that’s specific to your circumstances, you’re asking for an opinion on something, or it’s a complex question or there’s a complex background to it, then yes, it may be appropriate to start a new discussion. Before you do though, think carefully about whether starting a totally new discussion will add anything useful to the forum for other members, make it easier for others to find information, or whether, having searched the forum and found it’s a question that’s been asked before, whether it would be better to add any comments onto an existing discussion.

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The forum FAQs (frequently asked questions), stickied in the forum answer many questions that come up regularly, and questions such as "what is normal intracranial pressure?" have been asked, and answered, time and time again on the forum, and asking it again really doesn’t add anything to the forum. It may seem to you to be the quickest way to get an answer, but for forum regulars who put a good deal of time into helping out others on the forum, there’s only so many times they’ll answer the same question yet again before they decide not to bother any more if people aren’t going to read previous answers.

One topic – one subject

It’s common on the forum, particularly when you’ve just discovered us, and being overjoyed you’ve found somewhere to talk to others about what you’re going through, to post a message introducing yourself and including your entire medical history, the story of how you were diagnosed, and all the questions you have about IIH. We’re always happy to read about others’ experiences, and we encourage new members to share a little about themselves and introduce themselves to the rest of the community on the “introductions” board....BUT....when it comes to questions about IIH, or inviting comments about a particular aspect of your story of treatment, the rule is "One topic – one subject."

Why? Because it helps people who are looking for information on a particular subject to find things easily (along with the previously mentioned descriptive topic titles). The forum’s also divided into a number of areas covering different aspects of IIH and related subjects. If you post a message listing every single question you’ve got about IIH, no matter which board on the forum you post it on, unless it’s the "general questions" board, chances are something in your list of questions is going to be in the wrong area of the forum. That again makes it difficult for others to find that information if they ever want to refer back to it.

Secondly, if your message contains a number of different questions and someone responds to a question in your post and the discussion gets under way about that particular aspect of IIH, suddenly, when someone else comes along and answers another of your questions, one or both of two things happen. It either a) disrupts the original conversation about the first question, or b) gets very confusing with some people answering one thing, and some another on the same thread. Again, this means if someone’s searching for information on a particular subject, it makes their job harder.

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Putting relevant questions in the right area on the forum isn’t going to take up too much of your precious time, and will make it an awful lot easier for others to find information easily. Equally, if during the course of a discussion either something someone else says, or your response to the original question or subsequent replies prompts you to ask a question not directly related to the original subject, please don’t hijack the thread with a new topic.  Start a new thread for any additional questions that come out of a discussion. You can always provide a link in your message to the discussion that prompted the new discussion if necessary, and it keeps the forum a lot tidier and better organised.

Where am I? Am I in the right place?

This again goes back to making it easier for others to find information they’re looking for and keeping the forum tidy and well organised. Posting messages in the right place on the forum makes it easier to find information, and to keep similar topics together. Hopefully the names of the different boards on the forum and the description underneath them is enough of a guide for you to know what should go where, but if not you’ll find more detailed posting guidelines stickied at the top of each board that gives more detailed information on the types of topics appropriate for the board. If you’re still not sure, just make your best guess as to the appropriate place, and if a moderator feels it’s in the wrong place, they’ll move it. A topic being moved by a moderator is nothing personal – it just means the forum staff think it would be easier for other people to find in a different area of the forum.

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Don’t dis the docs

We say this time and time again on the forum, but on a regular basis moderators have to edit posts or warn members about making negative comments about their doctors and the medical profession in general. There’s a whole section (section 6) of the forum rules devoted to respecting the medical profession and defamation.

Our forum principles, which all members of the forum who were registered members at the time we drew up the principles had the opportunity to comment on, and that all members agree to by registering on and using the forum specifically includes the line, "we respect the views and opinions of others, including site members and staff, our doctors, and most importantly ourselves."

No-one’s perfect, and yes, doctors have been known to make mistakes occasionally, but doctors are highly skilled, experts in what they do, and really do have your best interests at heart. If you have a genuine complaint against a doctor, or a hospital, use the appropriate official complaints procedure. The internet and the forum isn’t an appropriate place to air your grievances, and "trial by internet" is not right. Just as anyone can register and post on the forum, anyone can read your messages on the forum, and all over the web for that matter, and we know that doctors and other medical professionals have been known to check out the forum, and indeed we do have a small number of forum members who are medical professionals. We’re not saying that you have to agree with everything your doctors say, and we can’t (and don’t want to) control your opinion of your doctors, and away from the forum you can say whatever you like about them, but please, on the forum, when you post a message, think about the impression you’re giving about both yourself and the forum, and remember that the forum is open to absolutely anyone to read.

So please...Image

Think before you post

Finally, please think before you post! It's very easy, particularly if you're feeling upset or frustrated to just type the first thing that comes into your head, but once you've pressed that "post" button, it's there, online, and available for anyone, forum member or just someone who's stumbled across the site and is looking around, to read. There are three important reasons for reviewing your message or a reply to a previous message before you post it though.

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First, check you’re not breaking any forum rules. Getting it right first time saves both you and the moderator who has to edit the post/issue a warning time and stress.

Secondly, read back your message before you post it. Does it come across as you intended it to? Is it likely to offend another forum member? Is the meaning of your words clear? Offline in face to face conversations you can see the facial expression of the other person, their body language, and hear their tone of voice. Online though without those clues as to the mood or intentions of the writer, typed words can appear stark and don’t come across as intended, and can sometimes upset or offend. Many an online argument has started because someone’s misinterpreted something someone else has typed.

And finally, take a look at your message objectively and see whether there’s anything in your message that could frighten or unduly alarm someone who’s newly diagnosed and new to IIH. Have you used emotive language that could cause someone to panic? Are any "facts" in your message correct? Is anything in your message over-exaggerated? Something that might be known to a forum regular or someone who’s had IIH for a while, could cause someone newly diagnosed or someone looking for general information to help out a friend or family member recently diagnosed to panic.

Please think before you post, and post responsibly.

Please bear all the points above in mind when posting on the forum. We want the forum to remain a friendly and helpful place where everyone can get support and learn more about the condition, but we need the help of members to keep the community running smoothly.

Thank you for taking the time to read these guidelines.

The IIH Support Forum Team

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