Here are some simple guidelines to follow and keep in mind as we post on any message board or forum. These were taken from several such guides on the Internet:
1. These are privately owned message boards. You should behave as if you are a guest in a friend's home, and imagine that you are speaking face-to-face with those with whom you interact. The forum is run by the webmaster, and he or she is in charge. A forum is not democracy. Free speech is not an absolute right on message boards; there are practical limitations.
2. If you have a problem with how another member posts, do not leave a message about your concerns on the board. E-mail the webmaster directly. Most people are not interested in hearing complaints or comments, but the webmaster would like to hear from you. (On The Swap, there is a little exclamation mark on the upper, right-hand side of each post that can be used to report a post violation.)
3. Do not post anyone's private information, including your own. This includes full names, addresses, phone numbers etc. This could prove to be very unsafe for you and others. Should you want to give out such information, do so in a private e-mail or in a private message, but still use caution.
4. Read over your message carefully before you click the "Reply" or "Submit" button and think about how others will feel when
they read it. Most people will know you only by what you say and how well you say it. Take some time to make sure each posting won't embarrass you later. When you send a message to a message board, people all over the world are reading your words. Remember, if your message can be misunderstood, it will be (by someone).
5. Please use mostly mixed case when typing. UPPER CASE LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING, and many people consider it to be rude.
6. If you are upset at something or someone, wait until you have had a chance to calm down and think about it. A cup of coffee or a good night's sleep works wonders on your perspective. Hasty words create more problems than they solve.
7. Please do not respond to posters who flame the board or flame you personally. This only makes the situation worse. Sometimes we're not sure who makes more unnecessary work for us, the original flamer or the fifty people who feel they
have to "set him straight" by lowering themselves to his level. If someone is out of line, please report the post and let us take care of it.
8. Respect the moderators and owners. Just as the world needs law enforcement to help keep the peace, message boards often employ moderators to help enforce the rules and keep things running smoothly. While you may not agree with them, moderators are there for the general benefit of the community, and should be afforded respect and courtesy. If you have
a problem with a moderator, you should contact the webmaster privately through email or private-message.