How to write a really good post

I have been posting more often than usual in the last couple of days, and over and over, somebody jumps on something in my post that I didn’t explain in minute detail, and assumes that I don’t know my head from my hindquarters. I am a calm person: this is not because they’re jerks, but because I’m writing my posts badly. I am not explaining myself sufficiently. On the other hand, I can’t start every explanation of every thing with particle physics and move up from there.

To anyone who has a special knack for writing posts that indicate your true level of understanding and authority, and that don’t attract a band of screeching, nay-saying monkies: do you have any advice?

I suspect that posting a lot and making one’s self generally known is part of it.

Yeah. Have a point.

Kidding… you knew that was coming, right?! :stuck_out_tongue:

I think you must define a “couple of days” for us. Do you literally mean two or did it start a while ago. Also, when you say that it has happened “over and over”, approximately how many instances are you talking about? Has it been the same poster on more than one occasion? Do you have a list of who made these demands so perhaps we can go straight to the source and determine what issues, if any, need to be addressed?

By “couple of days” I mean probably the last two days, and no, nobody in particular is picking on me :slight_smile: There have been three or four instances in which another poster has made understandable (though incorrect) assumptions about me based on what I type (usually, that I don’t know something I actually do know), or has exaggerated my position on something, usually in accordance with a handy cliche. The human brain is wired to work that way, I understand. I would like some pointers on ways to prevent this from happening, if there are any such pointers. In general, in my life, I’m rotten at communicating fine points.

Not that I’m a master poster, but here’s what I’d advise:

Preview, and read your OP over carefully. Make sure you didn’t leave any confusing typos or omit any necessary details. At the same time, don’t make the post any longer than it needs to be.

Refresh your thread every few minutes after you post it, until there are maybe 10 or 15 posts. That way you can at least respond quickly to others’ questions, and they can post again while they’re still online.

Keep posting a lot, and reading a lot of posts, and eventually you’ll probably automatically get better at posting.

If someone criticizes your post, don’t take it personally.

I do think you’re going to have to come up with at least one example where you felt misunderstood if you want a useful response.

I’m NOT a master poster. NOT even a good poster. But I’ve run into the same feelings that you have and am coming to the following conclusions (which are works in progress).

  1. Sometimes you can’t win. If you cover every angle that you feel you need to cover to explain yourself fully, then you find that your post will be a full page, and most people will skip over it or skim it and miss your main points. On the other hand if you don’t cover those angles - voila very next post jumps all over you precisely on those things you decided to edit out. I’d go shorter just resign myself to the fact that I’ll be misunderstood a bit and can explain myself fully in followup.

  2. Recognize warning signs in whoever’s responding to you. (Who has that quote as their sig: don’t argue with idiots, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience?) I’ve decided to cease and desist responding to posters who repeatedly misunderstand or misrepresent what I’ve said - especially if the problem doesn’t improve on further explanation from me. Some people are careless readers and/or have no integrity about how they present your position. These people drive me absolutely berserk and it’s very hard to just walk away but nothing you can say will make it better.

  3. Go back and read your old posts. I often find that a week later my post sounds totally different from how I meant it or felt at the time. With me I usually find that my posts sounds a lot harsher than I meant. Maybe you’ll find that in a week from now you’ll be able to see exactly what went wrong.

I agree with uglybeech, and would add

3a. Sometimes there’s spans of days when I just am being unclearer (more unclear) than I thought. Chalk it up to hormonal fluctuations, stress and job load or Mercury being retrograde, but I will suffer spans of time (generally 2-4 days) when my posts are pounced on all over the place, and later review will indeed reveal (as number 3 states) that I was being unclear, for any of the reasons listed. Then this time period passes, and I resume the posting clarity of the much loved, or at least generally tolerated, Member that I am. Recognizing that I’m in one of my awkward spells lets me decide if I should try to keep communicating or simply step away from the computer - or at least stay out of GD for a few days and become a MPSIMS groupie.

I’ve been through the nay-saying stage (people making dismissive comments about my “qualifications”) and emerged the other side. Or so I think. One practical tip is not to use abbreviations or acronyms, as this will either annoy or confuse. Other than that, your closing observation is spot on. Some people (especially those with whom you actually have most in common, and who are therefore prone to be most threatened by you) delight in testing you. Or ignoring you.

My only real advice is “Be Yourself”. When someone pops up out of nowhere and says they love your posts, it all seems worthwhile!

While I can’t give you any good pointers for a good post, I share my own somewhat similiar occurances. I can almost guarentee that any thread I begin will die a quick and mostly painless death, sinking to the bowels of the SDMB never to be read again.

If you find the secret to a good post, let me know.

How can you describe me so precisely ?

Gorganzola is a good person to ask about this. She was born with the PMWO gene.

PMWO = point made without offending

Some people read the OP & reply without reading any of the intervening posts. Others treat it like a conversation, where they reply to the last thing said, almost without regard to the OP or the earlier posts. Some folks read carefully, others skim & only notice a few keywords. Some folks read only for emotional tone, all-but ignoring the content, while others read only for content and can’t see/hear the emotional tone.

Most folks are somewhere in the middle on all 3 factors, and your audience consists of folks all over that map. It’s tough to communicate succinctly with such a diverse and demanding crowd.

I read most your posts of the last 2 weeks and I don’t see but one or two cases where somebody missed your point. And it seemed to me it was mostly when you made a one-liner that was really meaningful only in the context of somebody else’s post. As a standalone item it could be taken any number of ways.

I find that short one or two sentence posts invite misinterpretation because the reader isn’t reading it in the context you wrote it. By then there are more posts, which change the tone of the conversation. And for folks who just reply to the last thing said, they REALLY don’t get the context of what you were saying, just that one sentence you said. So, naturally, they get it wrong.

If I’m adding a well-thought-out refinement (AKA my 2 cents worth) to a theme that’s already been played out above, I’ll include comments like “As others have said above, the big issue is blah blah blah. But I suggest the OP’s complaint has more to to with details like XYZ & 123”. That helps the folks who don’t read the entire thread carefully to set some context around my comments. It may even get them to go back and read what the other posters have said.

I wonder if you’re not worrying about nothing? I feel bad when somebody misunderstands what I’ve written, but I accept that 2% of the folks are gonna do that every time, just because they’re from a different planet than I am. It’s gonna happen, and the more you write, the more it’s gonna happen. As long as you have good intentions, relax.