Forum Discussion Etiquette

There has been a wave of threads lately about poker strategies, to help players (especially newbies) in their poker strategies. So I thought about doing the same for forum discussions. So here are some tips for better discussions/conversations in the forums, in addition to the obvious ones that are already available in the terms and conditions of the site. Feel free to add any that you think might be useful for others.

  • Stay on topic: it’s very easy to derail away from the original topic of a thread when one thought leads to another, so it’s very important for contributors to stay on topic and avoid taking the conversation to unintended and unwanted topics. If needed, start a new thread with the topic of choice instead of dragging it into an unrelated discussion. For example, a discussion about whether or not sit-outs should be kicked out a tourney. You can be with the idea, and explain why, or against it, and also explain why. But if you start adding unrelated ideas like: “if sit-outs are kicked out, why not also kick out those who fold”, you have taken the conversation elsewhere already, and someone will reply about those who fold, and will ask about those who raise, and someone will ask about those who go all in, and the conversation would shift to something totally irrelevant. If you want to talk about those who fold and those who raise, start another topic.

  • Avoid whataboutism: this comes as a continuation to the previous point, and for me personally is one of the most annoying forms of discussion. Whataboutism, or “what about”, is a very weak way to respond to any point made by others, when facts are not working in one’s favor. For example, if someone starts a discussion about bingo players, and someone replies: “if bingo players bother you, what about donks, and what about those who have no skill, and what about those who play differently?” Well, there are many things that could be said about them, but they’re not the topic of discussion. So basically, whataboutism is just another form of not staying on topic.

  • Be assertive: it’s very healthy in any discussion to say when you’re stating an opinion, and when you’re stating a fact. If you are stating an opinion, make sure it’s clear for everyone. For example, say “I believe”, “I think” and “in my opinion” instead of making your statement sound like a definite fact when it’s not. And the same goes for when stating facts. If you state a fact, say it’s a fact, back it up with quotes or references to sound credible. Which brings me to the next point:

  • Be careful when stating facts and numbers: get your facts straight before posting them. Do not post numbers and percentages that are inaccurate, just because you “feel” they’re right. Avoid saying for example “only 30% of players here like Omaha”, or “you have a 90% chance to win with aces”. If your numbers are incorrect, you’re jeopardizing your credibility among readers. Things can easily be fact-checked and debunked, so make sure your statements are accurate.

  • Only speak for yourself, or for those who have given you permission to speak on their behalf: if you don’t like something, don’t say “nobody likes it”, just say you don’t like it. Avoid using expressions like “everybody” and “we all” and “none of us” etc… Not everybody thinks like you and not everybody agrees with you.

  • Avoid generalizing because of a few: don’t take one or two incidents you’ve experienced and turn them into a vast majority phenomena. “So many players here”, and “the majority of players” and “most people” are not accurate if you deduct them from a couple of incidents. They’re just your observations, so don’t make them general unless you can back your claims up with polls and statistics and numbers.

  • Avoid the “me too, I agree”: posting a comment just to say you agree without adding any depth to the discussion is not recommended. If you agree with someone, just give them a “like” or “vote up” instead of creating a post just to say “I agree” which only clutters the discussion board. In a study by Stodel, Thompson, and MacDonald (2006), “Learners got frustrated with the constant agreements and comments such as ‘Good point’ and ‘I agree’; feeling it made the conversation overly positive and fake.” See what I did there? :slight_smile:

I’m sure there are many more points to improve one’s contributions to any discussion, and I’ll be posting some more later, but also welcome anyone’s input and additional advice to this thread.

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Good points and I agree with most of them. Probably most of the players here will too. At least 75% of players here like chocolate. The other half are more into vanilla. But what about those people who don’t like either? Oh, they drive me nuts with their “raspberry is superior” attitudes.Chocolate is derived from the cocoa bean which grows in warm climates. Its no coincidence that people in warm climates also play poker.

I’m so sorry @Maya - it was too great a temptation :slight_smile: I would like to see this thread be a productive one too. Would you care to address the differences between what players post and what staff posts? I’ve been trying to figure out how to address some of the comments made by Player Reps and volunteers but will not do so here if you think that would detract from your goal with this thread.

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:joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

It’s ok if you wanna post it here, it’s fine by me :slight_smile:

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FYI - Player Reps are volunteers, not staff.

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What our dear Ms. Maya is trying to say is that everyone should strive to be more like me. Of course, I do agree 100%. I’m also a little sad that you all have to be you, and only I get to actually be me. Life isn’t fair, I know!

One small point I might quibble about is that last bit. Posting that you agree is OK in my book because it’s one way to reach a consensus. Quoting a study is a type of logical fallacy known as an appeal to authority, and doesn’t carry much weight with me.

Overall, excellent post though. If everyone was more like me, the world would be a much better place.

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Great point! I agree :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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concur

I usually look for turtles in the woods during the spring

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OK, time to get back to this for a second. I think there is a difference between what any player says on these pages and what people associated with the site say. With staff, its pretty easy to understand where they are coming from and why as they are almost always presenting information on behalf of the site. Sure, they post things from time to time in the obviously off-topic categories but when we see a post from a staff member relating to poker or operations, its the site’s official position rather than a personal opinion. There may be exceptions but in general, when staff posts something, its the official word of the site.

Its less clear what the context is when a Moderator, Player Rep or Volunteer posts something. Are they speaking for themselves or for the site? When they post something that is their opinion, I think it would be better if they said so. There shouldn’t be a question about whether the statement is the opinion of the individual or of the site. Not everyone knows the nature of the relationship between the site and the people who volunteer in whatever capacities. Therefore, it is likely that many people will take the opinion of the PRep, Mod or Volunteer as the official position of the site. IMO, some attention should be paid to this and perhaps some more formal guidelines could be laid out to avoid any confusion in the future?

More important to me occurs when someone with a title from the site presents factual information that is incorrect. Now I think that everyone should try to be accurate when presenting something as a fact. However, when someone carrying a title from the site presents supposedly factual information, I think it is especially important that the information be correct. Opinions are one thing but I think it looks especially bad for the site when inaccurate information is passed along by someone officially associated with the site. Of particular concern to me would be mathematics, strategies and definitions. IMO, the site should take reasonable measures to make sure inaccuracies in these categories are avoided if at all possible.

This is a long way of saying that I think that whatever is posted here by the volunteers should be scrutinized through the lens of how it may reflect on the site itself. I would like to see a more formal policy so that volunteers can still post opinions but are required to disclose that this is their opinion, not the site’s. When posting supposedly factual material, I think the post should be run past an editor to make sure it is actually correct. When a volunteer makes a statement that is put forth as fact but is not, I can’t see how that reflects well on the site at all.

I am a fan of the Forum and would like more participation than less. I would never want to chill the speech of anyone here. For clarity’s sake, I do think that people associated with the site should be held to a higher standard than players and that there should be some formal policies to make sure that happens.

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Every volunteer is subject to exactly the same site rules as the players and a nicer group of people you could not meet anywhere. They give their time freely to help the smooth running of the site and to help players if they have any problems. They do their best to present accurate information here and it is rare they make a mistake, and if they do, considering they are human and not supergods, then one of us swiftly corrects it. It is called team work.

On the question of strategy, surely everyone is entitled to their own opinion regarding how to play. I have read hundreds of different strategy opinions here and who is to say which poster is right.

Respectfully, Kate

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In my opinion,-- I have been a player rep for a very short time, and do not know much about all the workings of this site, but I do know! Of all the things I have read, I have not once seen anything remotely connected to this site as far as forum postings, and the “do’s or don’ts” post in forum, other than the things that apply to everyone. Moderator & PReps are just players who want to help the site stay happy & free of bugs, problems, and give people helpful advice if asked. If we make errors or do the wrong things we get adjusted just like everyone else in our behaviors. But our postings are our own, And I will own any mistake I make, and expect anyone to call me on it, Preferably discreetly, but public as well…

I never said a thing about whether the people are nice or not. I’m sure most are and its great that people want to give their time to help out. Some have been frequently rude and there’s no point in ignoring that. It just occurred to me that when someone with a title writes a post, rightly or wrongly that post becomes connected with the site. I think it is important to make a distinction between the opinion of the person and the opinion of the site.

As to the particulars, no one is infallible and it is true that there are differences in strategies because that is subjective. Some parts of strategy are not subjective though, such as whether there is a difference between an escalating blind structure or not, whether antes or bounties have an impact or not or whether softplaying a friend in a tournament on the bubble is acceptable by rule. I’ll leave that alone for now. As to the math and definitional issues, there has been quite a number of basic errors posted by Reps and Volunteers. We all make mistakes but when I post or another player posts, there is no direct connection to the site. If erroneous information comes from someone with an official connection with the site, it looks like it came from the site. That’s my opinion and I am someone who knows that the relationships isn’t one of employer/employee.

If we have a thread devoted to asking people to be accurate and be clear when they are giving opinions, I thought it would be appropriate to ask volunteers to be clear about when they are speaking for themselves or when they are speaking for the site. Like it or not, when someone who looks like they are affiliated with the site gives inaccurate information, the average person may think its reliable because they think the site itself had a hand in publishing it. If there is a way to be more careful, I think that would benefit the site.

The simple solution would be for volunteers to have 2 accounts… an “official” one and a “personal” one.

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I don’t think having 2 accounts is a simple solution since it’s against the site rules, and will only add confusion.

A simple solution would be a disclaimer at the end (or beginning) of each post stating that the views are personal and not official.

But only if this is actually a problem. I can’t personally judge because I’ve never taken any post made by any volunteer as an official representation of the site’s views. But if others are having a problem with that, I think a small disclaimer can clear the confusion.

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I think it’s a “look at this hand” move

@Maya - Maybe I look at things a bit differently than some others do because of my background and experience. In the companies I have worked for and/or run/owned, there have been very clear sets of policies regarding appearances. For example, when I worked for an Investment Bank, they made it very clear that anything I said while on the clock had to be in concert with the company’s position. If I was anywhere in the capacity of an employee (like at a charity event), my speech and conduct were still considered to be reflections of the company and therefore I was not free to say or do anything I wanted to. If I was at the bar after a conference and still had my name-tag on, that was the same thing. Basically, if the people around me could have any confusion about whether I was there as a representative of the company, I was to assume I was and behave accordingly.

This is the same policy I have with my employees and with any volunteers I may have at one of my functions. Anything they say or do reflects on the company and therefore I demand a certain level of conduct. They do not have 1st Amendment rights when at work or otherwise representing my business. This is what I am used to and it has been consistent throughout my professional career. The policy here seems very loose and unfamiliar to me. I imagine there are people like me who see anyone officially associated with a company to always be speaking and behaving as the company expects them to. As long as they have that name-tag on, I see them as extensions of the company.

I may be more strict than many about how I see this but I don’t think I am the only one with similar views and experiences. My goal in bringing this up was to let the site know that this perception exists. What they do with that information afterwards is up to them. Some of the posts I’ve read from PReps and Volunteers are off-putting to me. They would have gotten me in trouble as an employee or would have resulted in an employee of mine being reprimanded (the 1st time and then gone if there was a 2nd). Maybe people with this perspective are a small minority of all people who come to this Forum? I don’t know. All I can do is let the site know my opinion and why I hold it.

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And to me as well. I know i wouldn’t tolerate it in any of my companies. Like it or not, if you have a site title, you represent the site in every post.

Oh, and by the way, I know more than one person with an “official” account and another they use when they don’t want to represent the site. The idea that this would be hard to accomplish is absurd. The exception to the “one account” rule is already ignored for “staff.”

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Who said that? It’s not hard to accomplish, just against the rules.

This is a serious accusation, If more than 1 staff member have multiple accounts already against the site’s own rules. But even if it was justified, does it need to be applied to reps and mods and volunteers too? Wouldn’t a small disclaimer be an easier solution?

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Would that be on the site proper or just on the Forum? I can see where staff members would want to play incognito and having a 2nd account doesn’t ruffle my feathers at all. I had a 2nd account a while back before I knew it was against the rules. I know more than a few people who have multiple accounts now and don’t think its a big deal either. I would see it as problematic if the disguise was being used by staff to say things on the Forum without disclosing their real identities and positions. That would come off as creepy to me. So, give up the info man - now I’m curious.

Sorry, I won’t disclose any names. I will say that by “staff” I include anyone with a Replay position, volunteer or not, and they use the accounts when they want to have fun and play, not for any kind of “spy” activity. As far as I know, they are used on the tables only, not on the forum.