Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How to post a reply to the Straits Times Discussion Board.

Apologies for my now 'routine' habit of posting the 'original story', but I really do find this discussion board (DB) quite confusing and it's members thus equally confused.
 Despite the this forum's at inception limitations: administration being 'autocratic' for it's solely admin-determined topics for discussion (dis-allowance for lay user to start new threads), it's oft too short stipulated 'active discussion thread' time of 7days to maintain currency, the dis-allowance of own post edits etc. I believe that essential beneficial improvements can still made to enhance user experience.
Firstly by rectifying some observed immediate deficiencies in 'topic presentation' by the administration and secondarily, addressing the lack of a useful 'FAQ' section that ultimately hinders effective user discussion(s).


Firstly, this DB admin often surreptitiously both swap original message and change the title for a new one once another related letter/ official reply is published, unfortunately what's 'lost in translation' is the 'original story'- without which the current 'Full Story' (i.e. the reply letter) bears little relevance. Of course one can 'Google' the original article, but isn't technology is about efficiency and progress?
So while 'Full Story' remains a recurrent misnomer, I have decided to manually post the 'original story' wherever I see the need. If the forum admin's intent is indeed that of facilitating organized and productive discussion, then remaining status quo (in the merging of topics) whilst 'Double' posting the story/ replies- both as '1st'/ 'Editable Starter' and also as 'latest post' would help maintain the focus of discussions, not to mention archive valuable opinions upon which future discussion/ ideas might be built upon.

Secondly, I find there to be little by way of basic instruction to DB users about forum etiquette and DB tools already available for use in conducting effective discussion (namely the 'vB code' and the means to access the 'quote' and 'preview post' options ). (further detailed instruction about use of tools described below)

The current result of these deficits is haphazard, quarrelsome discussions, one liner, mis-quoted, off-context posts and 'unreferenced' replies due to the lack of proficiency of this DB's users in the use of DB post-publishing-tools.

The unofficial DB etiquette/ User Guide:
1st: pls DO NOT post totally off-topic posts here, it makes the forum messy and unreadable. U might be keen to announce sth. but if your impropriety defeats your intent, your 'misdemeanor' would reflect poorly on both oneself and the aim one seeks to achieve. There are other forums to do so, otherwise just wait for the appropriate opportunity to do so.

2nd: Pls 'Preview' your posts before posting. Right click on the 'Reply' button(to the right of the message you wish to quote) on the original discussion board and choose 'open in new window' (or 'tab' as U wish)'- this function is most beneficial if you wish to quote someone (and incidentally the only way to access the 'Preview' function- more on that later); not only is the referenced party and his/her post automatically reproduced and included, a 'small green arrow' is also annexed as a direct link to access the referenced post. This would not only be time saving for oneself but also for the other party who would then be easily alerted to his/ her own previous post.
- The 'Reply to Thread' window/ tab that then appears includes additional functions such as 'Preview Post' - do check your work, (especially ensuring that your URL links are functional) before you finally (irreversibly) decide to 'Submit Reply'. (The 'red circle' in the 'Reply to Thread Picture' is meant to highlight the 'small green arrow' which leads one to the referenced post). NB: you may later delete the auto-included quote if your original intention was not to quote anyone but to just opportunistically use the 'preview-post' function.
Together, these basic functionalities would allow for better quality discussions here not to mention satisfaction one obtains from participation in constructive discussion.
- You can incidentally also find at the bottom left of the same page under 'posting rules' the URL access for 'vB code' click there to expand or use this URL: http://comment.straitstimes.com/misc.php?do=bbcode to access the codes for more DB functionalities such as 'highlighting', 'URL hyper-linking', 'quoting' (linked/ unlinked), 'Email Linking' etc all of which can enhance your message.

3rd: To copy a URL from another web site:pls 'right click' the URL U selected and copy from source site -> choosing: 'copy link location' then 'paste' to include links in your post; DO NOT just 'highlight' and select 'copy' as this would only copy the truncated URLs seen on screen from the other source and this 'truncated' URL often WILL NOT WORK; pls click here for a negative example .

Someone else gave me the tip, so I hope that we can all benefit from this knowledge. I look forward to better, more fruitful discussions in this forum.

Lastly, for those who might be interested in any updates to this instruction/ past versions, it's viewable here: http://just-my-observation.blogspot....-times_04.html

Thank you and have a nice day.



The contribution to the original thread viewable here.
2nd ed viewable here
3rd Version: here.
4th Version here.


Coded version (truncated):
Apologies for my now 'routine' habit of posting the 'original story', but I really do find this discussion board (DB) quite confusing and it's members quite confused.
Despite the this forum's understandable limitations: administration being 'autocratic' for it's admin-determined topics for discussion (dis-allowance for lay user to start new threads), and it's oft too short stipulated 'active discussion thread' time of 7days, the dis-allowance of own post edits,  I believe that essential beneficial improvements can made by rectifying some observed immediate deficiencies in administration managed 'topic presentation' and lack of a 'FAQ' section that hinder effective user discussion(s).

Firstly, I find there to be little by way of basic instruction to DB users about forum etiquette and DB tools available for use in conducting effective discussion (namely the  [url=http://comment.straitstimes.com/misc.php?do=bbcode]'vB code'[/url] and the means to access the 'quote' and 'preview post' [url=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_aMxISxmw94Y/S5ADB6PWybI/AAAAAAAAAFk/Ipal9LC_faM/s1600-h/Reply+to+Thread,+Preview+page.JPG]options [/url]). (further detailed instruction about use of tools described below)

Secondly,  this DB often surreptitiously both swap original message and change the title for a new one once another similar letter/ an official reply is published, unfortunately what's 'lost in translation' is the 'original story'- without which the current 'Full Story' (i.e. the reply letter) bears little relevance. Of course one can 'Google' the original article, but isn't technology is about utility and progress?
So while 'Full Story' remains oft a misnomer, I have decided to manually post the 'original story' wherever I see the need. If the forum admin's intent is indeed that of facilitating organized and productive discussion, then remaining status quo (in the merging of topics) whilst 'Double' posting the story/ replies- both as '1st'/ 'Editable Starter' and also as 'latest post' would help maintain the focus of discussions, not to mention archive valuable a resource upon which future discussion/ ideas might be built upon.

The current result of these deficits is haphazard, quarrelsome discussions, one liner, mis-quoted, off-context posts and 'unreferenced' replies due to the lack of proficiency in this DB's users in the use of DB post-publishing-tools.


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