I’ve hit a major milestone in my involvement in Macworld’s Forums. I’ve written 10,000 entries there. I’ve learned many, many things. I’ve taught and told people many things. I was even afforded the opportunity to have the prestigious title of moderator.
To celebrate this moment, I’d like to share what I’ve learned.
- The way to learn to love writing is the act itself. Would you believe that I wasn’t a big fan of writing prior to my involvement in the forums? The only reason I didn’t despise it was the encouragement I got in my college writing class. The problem was that the class ended and I didn’t really get to explore the subject matter that excites me. I found myself an outlet. I started sharing the bits and pieces of knowledge I had accrued from troubleshooting my own machines and obsessively reading Mac news and software sites. Sharing this information was my passion. All that reading I did wasn’t satisfying, it’s fuel for my writing.
- Patience takes time. As curt as I am now, I once had a lot more contempt for some people. Whether I perceived ignorance was caused by stupidity or laziness, it didn’t matter. Now I realize that some people really lack the knowledge to even research answers, even if it is as simple as running a Google search. I’m still impatient with some people, but that usually because of an attitude.
- Don’t participate to get moderator status. Becoming a moderator was incidental to me. If you go into it trying to get something, you’re not going to get anything. It’ll feel like a job and you’ll ultimately resent every other member.
- Don’t post just post count. You’re going to sound like an idiot if you post every thought you have. It’s annoying. Here’s a good rule of thumb. If your entire post is I wholeheartedly support X, then it’s probably not worth saying. Give a fresh perspective or an interesting view point.
- Know when you’ve said all that you can say. This will get you out of a lot of pissing contests. I still haven’t mastered this. It’s easy to get caught up in an argument and want to get the last word in. When you start repeating your arguments, it’s time to move on. Some people think that developing a reputation is about winning every argument (and starting them if they don’t already exist).
- Some people don’t want to be your friend, but most do. It’s hard to tell when someone is being a troll or is just really frustrated. The best way to figure this out is offer solutions to what they’re bitching about. If they don’t find value in any of the suggestions and thank you, they’re a troll. Either ignore them or tell them you’re sorry you couldn’t help and get out of the conversation. They’re not interested in discourse.
That’s all I’ve got for now.