I am not a moderator, nor trying to play one. Rather, after seeing several posts mentioning dislike for how some people post, I thought it'd be amusing to post this partly tongue-in-cheek (though hopefully also accurate) look at how one should approach the boards. I don't intend this as a lecture to anyone, in any way. For that matter, I also don't intend for it to be taken too seriously. It's mostly just an open-letter response to nobody in particular. Rule #1: Most of us are nice. Even if we disagree with you, have an alternate viewpoint, or simply don't get what you're trying to say, that doesn't imply we're mean, nor that we are necessarily trying to invoke some kind of federal debate... it's just a difference of opinion or perspective. With that, however, there are unfortunately a small handful of people who are looking for confrontation, or are just downright nasty for no better reason than to cause trouble. Once you identify someone like this, just ignore them, don't reply to them, and move on. They are in the overwhelming minority, and usually don't last very long. Rule #2: We don't know you very well. If you come here telling us a story, looking for opinions, asking advice, and so on, realize that we aren't going to know details you don't tell us. In a lot of cases we don't know (even at a high level) where you live, what you do for work, the composition of your family, or anything else. So, cut us some slack if our replies don't take into account the parts of the story that we weren't told. Rule #3: But over time, we start getting to know you. Or, at least the "you" that is portrayed through your post history. Over time, some frequent posters become less and less like strangers. This doesn't mean that everyone who sees what you post will be a seasoned vet, but usually a few will. At the same time, newcomers might be perfect strangers just the same. Rule #4: No single post exists in a vacuum. If you're looking for advice or opinions, expect that anyone who has seen your posts for a while might glean additional details about your situation. It's no different than an old friend who remembers your likes and dislikes, or knows about random events of days gone by. If you post something that directly contradicts something you previously stated (possibly many times, and possibly quite recently), expect to be called out on it. If someone calls out a post from a while back, it's not because they're a stalker, it just means their curiosity was piqued after a possibly glaring inconsistency, or something that didn't make sense. Rule #5: Don't post if you don't want responses. This goes doubly if you're specifically asking for thoughts and advice, and later decide you don't like what you're hearing. No matter how strongly you feel about some issue, or no matter how much you insist that your spouse is entirely the one to blame when whatever happened, there will likely be some folks that try to offer a different perspective. In some cases, the insight might even be valuable. Rule #6: Nobody is perfect, but they usually mean well. Especially in an online forum, where there is a complete void of vocal inflection, body language, or any other context clues, sometimes things are misunderstood. It happens all the time. A little bit of time spent choosing words carefully can avoid some of this, but mistakes still happen. Rule #7: Different folks populate different boards. For instance, the "offsite hotels" board may have not be the best place to find those who love staying on property. The "budget board" has a lot of folks who don't like running up credit card debt, and so on. This in mind, it's a bit easier to understand how certain types of questions in certain boards are just simply asking for trouble. There are probably other good generalizations, but this is good enough for now.