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Etiquette in the groups

By Russ Freeman, written 1363427774.

Online communities can thrive with lively discussion, which is often perceived as the lifeblood of them. Read on for things to avoid and things to do more of in the Groups :-)

Summary

  • More people read than post. The opinions you read are often the minority and remember they are just opinions.
  • Be nice. It's easier than being nasty, it reduces your stress levels, and it makes you feel good.
  • Arguing is pointless.
  • We're a community and should be helping one another.
  • Don't fall foul of the rules (otherwise bad things may happen).

Post in the right place

On PurplePort our members can leave groups which they don't like.

There are lots of groups on PurplePort, so please take time to find (and join) the correct group for your new post.

Don't...

  • Post casting calls in the groups
  • Post events in the groups
  • Don't name and shame

Who's reading and who's contributing

There are fundamentally two types of people in online communities:

  • Those that post and read
  • Those that only read (in the old days of the Internet they were affectionately known as lurkers)

The Pareto principle suggests that the ratio between lurkers and posters is 80/20, and our stats back that up. So for every one person that posts in the Groups, four people don’t. This is ONLY those that look or post. We don’t have (but could) stats to say what portion of our thriving community completely disregard the groups.

Many people on websites like PurplePort don’t bother with the forums/groups because they have had a bad experience elsewhere, or are too afraid to put themselves in a position where they might get attacked. We want to change this, and for our Groups to be welcoming and friendly.

There are things that we can all do to help those that have either had a bad experience elsewhere or are too shy to post on PurplePort.

Realise that opinions vary

Opinions vary and can be based on facts. They can also be based on facts-as-you-know-it, or based on rumour, or even based on what has been drunk that night. It’s still just an opinion.

No one is charged with changing the opinions of others. It’s not a God-given-duty to correct the wrongs posted online. Often it will result in arguments.

If someone posts an opinion that you disagree with, by all means, post your alternative view and leave it at that. When you start arguing, you have already lost.

Arguing on the Internet

Generally speaking, arguing on the online is a useless pastime left only to those who have way too much time on their hands. 

If you feel compelled to argue, use the messaging system. Don’t air your laundry in public. Honestly, we don’t want to see it, no one does, and it can make you look terrible. You don't want that, and you don't want readers to form negative opinions of you based on a group post from four years ago.

The futility of Arguing

Whether in real life or online, arguing is generally a waste of time. The very best thing that will happen is that you might convince the others that you are right, but you will also disenfranchise them and so won't win a new friend.

It's rare to find a situation where you will win a new friend by publicly correcting their errors or mistakes. Instead, send them a message saying that they are wrong and that you didn't want to embarrass them in public. Maybe they will edit their post and correct their error, and they may be grateful to you. This approach is less painful, and you may win new friends :-)

We are a community, so let's act like it

PurplePort wasn't started to duplicate our rivals (which were disappointing in many ways). It was designed to be a better system by embracing ideas and influence from literally hundreds of places, both real and virtual.

One of the things particularly disliked from some of our rivals was the behaviour in their forums. Just the name forum can send shivers down your spine (as it does many people). We named ours the Groups to better convey what we wanted - for us to be a community, a group.

We help, encourage and support each other. We don’t attack each other. Individuals within a group don’t attack each other in the real world, so why would they in our groups? It makes no sense.

There is nothing to gain by attacking our neighbours. We don’t get more land on PurplePort by winning an argument. We are not perceived to be more of an alpha male or dominant female because we have trounced someone else’s argument. It’s often the opposite, despite our best efforts. Take that into account when you post your rebuttals.

We do have rules

We do have rules, but these are not draconian. They are there to help, but not to restrict. Honestly, if your mouse is hovering over the reply button while you deliberate your response, then no amount of rules are going to stop you. If you are deliberating, then you probably shouldn't post.

If you need a refresher, check out our Terms of use for PurplePort (don't worry, it's written in plain English). 

Suspensions happen, but they are different here

Sometimes, we will be forced to suspend someone from doing something, either for a time or permanently. On PurplePort, many things are different from our rivals, and getting suspended is no exception. Here, the punishment fits the crime. If you are abusing the groups, then you lose the ability to post in the groups. Simple as that. 

For information about suspensions from the Groups, see How does getting suspended work on PurplePort and Group participation suspension and ban policy

Buried replies and The Sin Bin

We will delete posts at the drop of a hat. If we don't think it belongs on PurplePort or if it has headed so far south that it is offensive, then we'll delete it.

We will routinely delete posts that are (or look like) casting calls/events. By all means, moan on Facebook when we inevitably delete your well-crafted casting call in the groups, but repeatedly doing this will result in a period away from the groups and may even lead to loss of group post privileges altogether.

The same goes for your replies to posts. We will bury them, and if you get into a habit of writing stuff that gets buried, then we'll reduce our workload by suspending your ability to cause work for us.

Work together. It’s the only way

We’re a community. We need to act like it and work together.

Help each other, don't attack each other. Support each other, and be the change that you want to see. A community needs to be supportive to blossom because anything else attenuates our combined ability to grow - both as a community and individually. Think about how good things could be if we did indeed mentor the newcomers, and show them the things that we only discovered after years of effort. Think about what they will share with us once they find their feet, what we could learn from them.

It’s not the only way, and may not be the best either

We don’t claim to have the only view that is workable, and maybe it's not even the best way. PurplePort is about helping people to create awesome images. It’s never been solely a portfolio hosting service. It runs much deeper than that and needs to be because honestly, it’s what we all want.

Bringing like-minded and creative people together is always going to cause some friction, and that’s fine. What's not okay is to attack one another, regardless of the disagreement.

Play nice, and be nice. Make awesome images, learn, help, explore and socialise. Anything else should probably go on another site or, more likely, in your deleted items :-)

See also...