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Author Topic: Advice on how to post a topic on a forum to elicit useful responses  (Read 4460 times)
Michael Bush
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« on: September 14, 2011, 02:13:40 AM »

Some ways to improve the answers you get and your experience on the forums.

1) Pick an informative subject line. No one has time to read all the posts and if your subject line doesn't catch the attention of those who would be interested in that subject you will miss your best responses. Lines like “Question” or “Why” are far too vague. One like “question about crowded hive trying to swarm” or “question about feeding a weak hive” or “why are they hanging on the front of the hive?” will narrow it down a bit so that those interested will participate.

2)Pick the right forum. e.g. If it’s a top bar question put it in the top bar forum. Those not interested in top bars then can easily ignore it and you can hopefully filter out those are simply against whatever it is you’re interested in rather than those who share your interest (top bars, organic etc.)

3) BLUF. Bottom Line Up Front. Ask your question(s) first. Then if you think you have relevant information to help, add that starting with what you think is most relevant and working to the less likely issues. Put each issue in its own paragraph or bullet point. That way if someone is reading it they can skim the rest of it for the clues they needed and skip the irrelevant parts.

If you have three paragraphs of seemingly irrelevant information which finally culminates in a simple question there is a good chance the reader will lose interest before they get to the end and just move on to another post. If the reader knows the question, then they have an idea what to skip and what questions they need answered in order to diagnose an issue.

3) Do try to put in what is relevant (time of year, your climate or location, exact number of days, recent manipulations etc.) but don’t bury the reader in irrelevant information. Think about what is relevant. Most questions about things like feeding and queens are not tied to the size of the box unless you are putting things in those terms. For example you are saying you have x number of frames of capped honey, then it might matter if they are shallow, medium or deep frames. But if you’re asking a question about how long it takes a queen to be mated, it doesn’t matter what size boxes you have so don’t distract people with that information.

4)When assessing responses, put the answers in the context of the type of beekeeper (commercial, hobby etc.) and the years of experience and compatible philosophy (scientific, organic etc.). e.g. for a commercial beekeeper any talk of salvaging a laying worker hive is just a waste of time. But for a hobbyist with two hives it’s important to try to save it.

5)When answering posts try to address the specific questions. Try to ignore any subtext of rudeness or insults and stay on topic. You can disagree with people, but you don’t need to be rude in return or rude in order to disagree. Try to stay away from blanket statements like “this is the way it is” rather say “this is what I have observed”. Just because someone has different observations does not make them wrong. Bees are very adaptable creatures and sometimes they act very differently based on small differences in climate and conditions. Odds are their observations are correct in their situation and yours are correct in yours.

6)Don’t feed the trolls. If someone presents a point where you think your position now needs to be clarified or that point addressed, then do, but once you’ve said what you have to say and they are just repeating themselves, let it go. When they are just egging people on, just ignore them. If someone is being rude they don’t deserve a response.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
BjornBee
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 06:46:59 AM »

I would also keep it much shorter, than say...this opening post.

Also...whether you think someone is an a-hole, idiot, cry-baby...or troll, it's better to not actually call people those things. #6 could of been just as effective leaving out the "Don't feed the trolls". While it's the same to some as saying "Don't feed the a-holes" or "don't feed the idiots"....if you look at number 6 in the above post, and just skipped the "Don't feed the trolls" part, it is just as effective and meaningful if it would of started "If someone presents a point....." Labeling others and name calling is never a good thing. There are no trolls here. they are not allowed. And I think the forum and moderators do a good job keeping them off the site. So let's not fabricate false trolls because everything is not as serious as you may want it.

Other than that, it is a good post. And while I think shoving a forum into a hard defined box, never expecting topics to go off subject, to never have a spat, and to have folks threaten to leave at the first sign of something they do not like, the forum is a place that is dynamic, entertaining, and a place to hear all views and opinions. Having everything all "PC" all the time, and worrying about what others do or not do, I think should be also good advice in what not to do. I think folks get all defensive and whiny way too much when their thread goes off course, and they read something they don't want to hear. It's almost like some really don't understand what a forum really is to many folks.

Did you really only come here to read the latest poll on what color to paint a hive? Or did you come hear because you like to chat with the wonderful members here, and read the latest jokes, the latest thoughts, and the latest entertainment....even if that mean topics go off course and someone might say something a bit outside the "box". Way too many people get offended at the first sign of two members disagreeing. And then they throw fuel on the fire thinking they are helping by pointing out some ill conceived notion that things are nasty, and they were never as bad as they see it to begin with. When you can't laugh off another persons post, and you are all serious all the time, you may need to perhaps step back away from the screen for awhile and take a breather.
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rbinhood
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 07:51:12 AM »

WOW.....you talk about long winded!   lol
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BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 07:59:59 AM »

WOW.....you talk about long winded!   lol

Yeah...and with no pictures, I just hope you could read the whole thing.  lau

Oh crap! Did this thread just get hijacked?   grin

You troll!  Wink

 I'm sorry
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 08:20:56 AM »

Good post, Micheal.   Good post, Mike.

All things in moderation. When posting a question, try to give a decent, short description of your problem. When reading something that you think is mean, quit reading and move to the next post. When answering a question, be clear,concise, and friendly.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 08:21:22 AM »

It wouldn't hurt to see Michael's points placed as a sticky topic.  Labeled as a forum primer or something.

I think #3 is hardest for the new beekeepers.  They don't know what's relevant so they grapeshot the information.  The beer forum i'm on has a section for New brewers only.  It actually gets more traffic than the general section.  It's loaded with panicky new brewers and calming old brewers.  
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 08:36:32 AM »

I think #3 is hardest for the new beekeepers.  They don't know what's relevant so they grapeshot the information.  

That's exactly what I was thinking.  If you already knew what was relevant, you probably wouldn't need to ask the question.

Quote
The beer forum i'm on

Ah, that explains everything.   grin grin
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ziffabeek
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 08:51:19 AM »

Iddee = Master of Brevity!  grin <3

love,
ziffa

ps.  practicing my brevity skills  Wink
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2011, 08:54:44 AM »

BLUF...#3 is the best that I see on the list!!!

I am a newcomer and have plenty of questions.  Though it is very logical that when you sit down with someone to talk that you give details first.  Posting to a forum is much different.  Where time-conservation should be a consideration posting the question at the beginning makes sense...the person reading may or may not have an idea regarding an answer.  The person who does have an answer can read on to the details and the one that doesn't can pass on by quickly (if he wants to).  I've been guilty of giving the details first and then asking my questions at the end but I will be changing that habit asap! Wink

Thanks Michael,
Ed
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 11:36:34 AM by Intheswamp » Logged

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American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
BjornBee
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2011, 09:06:52 AM »

BLUF...#3 is the best that I see on the last!!!

Thanks Michael,
Ed

Ok.....maybe there should be a mention of proofreading the post prior to posting. So confusion is minimal and time is not wasted. I read the post above and thought it concerned the last post. But now I think it should read "....I see on the list!!!" It took a second of asking myself "What last? Last post? Last???...oh.... he meant "list!"


Of course if folks would make a mental note of the correction, and not take the time to post as I am doing, they would save plenty of time.  grin
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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2011, 09:35:56 AM »

#s 5 & 6 just take all the fun out it   thunder
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2011, 09:48:48 AM »

#s 5 & 6 just take all the fun out it   thunder

Oh give me a break, you big cry-baby! uh..!   grin

Good posting!  I'm a geek and think more information is better, but is seems that sometimes the posts that have less information get more response.

For me, the time spent crafting a post is also indicative of the amount of time I'm willing to spend answering it.  Bad speling, grammer, and carles mestakes tell me somebody didn't spend the time to proof the post, and often I won't bother spending the time answering it.  But that's just because I'm a troll. banana devil
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Rick
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2011, 11:06:07 AM »

There are no trolls here. they are not allowed. And I think the forum and moderators do a good job keeping them off the site. So let's not fabricate false trolls because everything is not as serious as you may want it.

 


WRONG Your definition of a "troll" is what??? Here is mine.
 In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.... So according to this, there are DOZENS of trolls here.
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Matt
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2011, 11:12:54 AM »

Furthermore

Did you really only come here to read the latest poll on what color to paint a hive? Or did you come hear because you like to chat with the wonderful members here, and read the latest jokes, the latest thoughts, and the latest entertainment....even if that mean topics go off course and someone might say something a bit outside the "box". Way too many people get offended at the first sign of two members disagreeing. And then they throw fuel on the fire thinking they are helping by pointing out some ill conceived notion that things are nasty, and they were never as bad as they see it to begin with. When you can't laugh off another persons post, and you are all serious all the time, you may need to perhaps step back away from the screen for awhile and take a breather.

If you look under the "Member and Guest Interaction" section of this Board, There is a "MINI BEES KIDS FORUM". If everyone wants to act like a child, mabey this is a better place for it.
I come here to learn. When you have 20 men trying to be Gods gift to the Honeybee.... It makes it real difficult to insure the survival of my bees.

There can only be 1 Michael Bush! Learn to live with it!!!
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Matt
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2011, 11:30:42 AM »

""There can only be 1 Michael Bush! Learn to live with it!!! ""

And that's a good thing. Although Micheal is a VERY knowledgeable beek, IMHO, he is a very radical beek. Try anything at any time just to see if it will work. That, as far as I see, is not the best fit for a new beek. First year beeks can, in no way, expect their outcome to be the same as Mike's. He is drawing from many years of experience and will make instant changes in a hive when needed. A new beek cannot do these things.

We need new beeks, intermediate beeks, old time beeks, hobbyist beeks, sideliners, and commercial beeks.

We need ultra radical beeks, mid road beeks, and ultra conservative beeks. That's the only way a newbee can get a well rounded education in beekeeping. He will never be complete if all he knows is what works.He must also know what doesn't.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
Intheswamp
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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2011, 11:39:00 AM »

It has been corrected bb, I will exit now

BLUF...#3 is the best that I see on the last!!!

Thanks Michael,
Ed

Ok.....maybe there should be a mention of proofreading the post prior to posting. So confusion is minimal and time is not wasted. I read the post above and thought it concerned the last post. But now I think it should read "....I see on the list!!!" It took a second of asking myself "What last? Last post? Last???...oh.... he meant "list!"


Of course if folks would make a mental note of the correction, and not take the time to post as I am doing, they would save plenty of time.  grin
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
scrapiron
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« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2011, 11:41:21 AM »

Here is the Troll- "There can only be 1 Michael Bush! Learn to live with it"

Here is the response- "And that's a good thing. Although Micheal is a VERY knowledgeable beek, IMHO, he is a very radical beek. Try anything at any time just to see if it will work. That, as far as I see, is not the best fit for a new beek. First year beeks can, in no way, expect their outcome to be the same as Mike's. He is drawing from many years of experience and will make instant changes in a hive when needed. A new beek cannot do these things.
We need new beeks, intermediate beeks, old time beeks, hobbyist beeks, sideliners, and commercial beeks.
We need ultra radical beeks, mid road beeks, and ultra conservative beeks. That's the only way a newbee can get a well rounded education in beekeeping. He will never be complete if all he knows is what works.He must also know what doesn't."

It only took minutes for it to happen. Hopefully we understand what a Troll is now...

 

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Matt
kathyp
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« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2011, 11:50:41 AM »

Quote
It only took minutes for it to happen. Hopefully we understand what a Troll is now...


when you have been here awhile you will understand the personalities of the old time posters.  you will get good info from all, but they will not agree.  sometimes it gets a little heated, but that does not detract from the choices of actions you will be given. 

the more ideas you are given, the more choices you will have.  that's hard for new beekeepers, but it is how you will find what works for you.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
iddee
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« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2011, 12:32:01 PM »

""It only took minutes for it to happen. Hopefully we understand what a Troll is now..""

So you are admitting you post only to stir the pot. Well, since I try not to be a troll, it makes it difficult to see one at times. I try to give honest answers to sincere newbies, and some not so new. I will try to remember you aren't looking for answers, just responses.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
scrapiron
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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2011, 01:00:14 PM »

iddee, I in no way meant disrespect to you. Although I do not agree with coming on a thread started by Mike, to disrespect him. Start your own thread on how you dont agree with him.... It is as simple as that. I am a member of several Forums from Powerstroke Diesel's to Gardening. This is the only place I experience such cut-throat behavior.
I was just making an example, sorry you had the be the first one through the door. 
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Matt
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