Creating new threads in PRSI: some tips

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Blue Velvet, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Couldn't help noticing a new influx of forum members posting in PRSI. Some of them create new threads and get some bad reactions, so here's my brief non-partisan advice for kicking off a discussion on the right foot... and a little explanation for my preferred way of doing things.

    These are not forum rules, but just some advice from participating in this forum for many years, as well as moderating for a couple of years or so. By taking a little care and time to start your thread in a good way, you're more likely to get an interesting and productive discussion going.


    1. A suitable thread title, preferably one that encapsulates the story or topic so that people can tell whether it's worth clicking on or not. See it as a headline, keep it short and as factual as possible.

    Good example: "Alabama Governor: Only Christians are my brothers and sisters."
    Not so great example: "This guy is bold, what is your thought on what he is saying though?"

    2. 2-5 paragraphs of quotes from the story, formatted as a quotation using the forum's formatting tools, because this immediately then tells us that this is not your specific view, not your words, but one in support of your argument. You don't have to post the whole story, use some judgement on whether people will read it all.

    If the topic is based on a YouTube link, then try to at least provide 1-2 sentences summarising what it's about, even some brief excerpts of a transcript are helpful in letting other forum members decide on whether the link is worth following.

    3. Provide a working link to any quoted material. This just isn't for corroboration and writer's credit, it's also for those who may share the original poster's views and may want to bookmark or reference that same source, article or post elsewhere.

    4. At least a sentence or two on your own views or a comment on the piece that you've just presented. This helps forum members judge your intent and position on what you've posted, providing a basis for discussion. One story, if presented by two different forum members, could theoretically support many different sides of an issue.

    5. Break it all up so it's easy to read. Walls of text are a turnoff to most. Writing for the web can often mean shorter paragraphs with more line breaks than if you were writing for print.


    As for what I try to aim for, although not always consistently:

    1. Start with what's been called the 'Sully lede' named after Andrew Sullivan: "proper noun, verb, block quote.” An example:

    "Jimmy Vielkind pulls back the curtain on Andrew Cuomo’s daily activities, and discovers something is missing."

    Why it's a good thing, exchanging the word 'bloggers' for 'forum members':

    2. Some quotes from the story. I tend to break up non-continuous ones with ellipses (...) or putting them in separate block quotes.

    3. A working link. Unlike many, I tend to prefer to post my links in full instead of abbreviating them. This is so that others can immediately see where the link goes. Personally, I'd like to know on first sight whether a link goes to the the NY Times or Fox News, for instance, without clicking or hovering on it first.

    4. Put the link in the quote. This clearly ties the source to the excerpt and also means that the link isn't quoted by other forum members when replying to the post.

    5. Follow up finally with a sentence or two, maybe more, of your own to summarise where you're coming from: keep it simple but the funnier, snarkier, entertaining, thought-provoking, interesting... all the better.


    Briefly, take a little time in constructing your thread and respecting forum members in doing so... and it will be repaid by plenty of discussion.

    Happy posting. :)
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Do you have any data to back that up? ;)
  3. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    Very good advice, BV. The PRSI threads you start seem to follow that format, and they're well set up and quite easy to follow.

    Now, if only others will follow...I'm not optimistic.
  5. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality
    Actually, here are a couple of others --

    • If you bold something, please indicate so. ("My bold.") It lets people know that you, not the quoted author, emphasized the bolded text.
    • Keep quotes and your own commentary completely separate. Combining both of them within the quotation box only adds to confusion.

    (I'm not trying to pick on one particular post or poster, I just happened to see examples of all of these in the thread immediately below this one.)
  6. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yes. ;)

    Good point about emphasising text and saying that you've done so, instead of the author. It's something I often forget.
  7. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    This is a nice guide, thank you.

    Although I sometimes I like to add an image to a new thread, any suggestions on that?
  8. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    I'm guessing you got that sorted?

    Via, something else I'd like to add, somewhat tongue in cheek, to this mix this afternoon:


    How To Have A Rational Discussion
    How to Tell When Someone's Wasting Your Time In PRSI
    or Anywhere Else, For That Matter


    Attached Files:

  9. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    I would suggest that you not do this:

    14 charts that show the US is screwed

    This can be a nuisance because the IMG tag does not (AFAIK) offer sizing parameters, so if you want to read the 17th post, you have to deal with the page jumping as each image comes in (some of us have sub-Mbps connections). Instead, I would recommend posting 1 or 2 images and clearly-identified links to any others.

    Like a wall of text, a wall of graphics can put viewers off.

    If you do put in a graphic, I would say you should always use Preview Post first to see if it widens the page a lot, so you can switch the tag to TIMG to get it under control (for all posting, not just thread starting).
  10. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    Thanks BV, great advice on creating new threads.
  11. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005

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