How to Be Respected on an Internet Forum

If you're using the internet, chances are part of your daily 'net experience involves forums or social tools like MySpace or FaceBook. This article intends to help you gain more respect in communities such as those, hopefully improving your overall experience. While you may not care to be accepted in every single community, at least be a positive contributor to those communities.


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    To gain respect, you must first give it. Whenever you come across somebody, whether they are being respectful or not, be respectful of them. Those deserving of it will give it back and, if they are already well-known in the community, will give you a slight popularity boost.
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    Try to use proper English. While using short hand and the like might be fine for texting, you have no excuse not to type out full words on a computer keyboard. Keystrokes take much less time here. Using proper grammar and spelling will make you seem more intelligent and worth knowing, and therefore more respectable.
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    Never insult somebody. Whether on the boards themselves or PMing another user, it is very important not to insult another user. Insults make you seem petty and immature. You may have issues with another user, but take them somewhere else.
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    Follow all of the rules and help the moderators whenever possible. It may seem like a "teacher's pet" kind of thing to do, but the mods will appreciate it (they have busy schedules) as they pride themselves on how well their forums are run. (For things like MySpace, don't be afraid to hit the "report abuse" button.)
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    Don't overstep your boundaries. The worst thing to do is take your position in your online community for granted and think that the entire Internet should revolve around you. Even as you become better-known, don't let it feed your ego.
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    Be polite. If others have spelling or grammar mistakes, don't point them out unless you're absolutely certain that would be appreciated. Remember also that there's difference between saying "The Moon Landing was in 1969, actually" and "Wasn't the Moon Landing in '69?" Remember that voice tone does not carry through the Intertubes.
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    Be outgoing and friendly. You probably have enough enemies in real life, so why would you need more on the 'net? Even if you're not an outgoing person IRC, it's easy on the Internet, and the friendlier you are the better respected you will become.
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    Disagree in an agreeable manner. You don't have to think all of the same thoughts as the rest of the forum, but if you find yourself disagreeing with another user, do so in a way that doesn't involve insults or anger. Everybody's different--always remember that. (Never, ever tell somebody that they're wrong!)
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    Most importantly, never back down. Even following all of the above rules is fine, but there will certainly be times when you are put in a situation where you are asked to do something you don't want to do or can't do (perhaps because of your personal beliefs). In these situations, it is important to say "No" and not give in to the pressure. Standing up for yourself in a manner that doesn't hurt anybody is, also, one of the most impressive and respectable things you can do.
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    If you become an admin who is capable of banning people's accounts, don't go around banning everyone who gets on your nerves. You will become hated by just about everyone.


  • Never antagonize a moderator. This will make you look like a troll and can get you banned.
  • You don't have to do EVERYTHING in a forum, but the more you do do the better known you can become.
  • If you notice a kind of "war" going on between members of a forum, do not choose sides. Picking sides will never turn out well.
  • Regular rules of etiquette are fine on the Internet.
  • The less swear words you use, the better. If you feel you have to use such words, try to use something like "expletive deleted". It may be awkward, but at least it shows you have some respect for the forum.


  • If someone begins throwing insults at you, ignore and report them to a moderator. The worst thing you can do with a troll is feed into them by giving them a reaction. Plus, none of the other members can think less of you for it.
  • There are people on the Internet that may want to hurt you. Be careful, and be sure to never give out personal information.
  • The Internet is supposed to be fun. If you're not enjoying yourself, you can leave the forum forever and never look back.

Article Info

Categories: Internet Forums and Message Boards