from 25 Forum Posting Etiquette Tips:
  • Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.
  • Use a meaningful title for your discussion topic.
  • Stay on topic.
  • In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.
  • Do not double post (post the same message twice in one discussion) or cross post (place the same message across several discussions).
  • Act in a give-and-take manner; help others as often as or more than you ask for help.
  • Do not use all caps or SHOUT in your posts. In addition, one exclamation point is enough.
  • When replying to a post, do not quote more from the previous post than you have to.
  • Do not post new problems in someone else's discussion and interrupt a topic of discussion.
  • Do not post empty or useless responses, such as just lol or cool. Post responses only when you have something to contribute.
  • Write concisely and do not ramble.

from Discussion Board Etiquette:
  • The me-too post certainly is a frustration in the online environment and does not add any depth to the discussion or learning. 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.” Therefore be sure to post substantive ideas and avoid the "I agree" posts which just clutter up a discussion board.
  • Remember to read what has previously been posted by others to avoid repeating comments.
  • Make sure you are posting under the appropriate heading or thread.
  • Stick to the topic; if you wish to pursue an unrelated idea with a classmate, move your communication to e-mail so that others don't spend time on non-essential topics.

from Netiquette: Ground Rules for Online Discussions:
  • Participate: This is a shared learning environment. No lurking in the cyberspace background. It is not enough to login and read the discussion thread of others. For the maximum benefit to all, everyone must contribute.
  • Help Others: You may have more experience with online discussion forums than the person next to you. Give them a hand. Show them it’s not so hard. They’re really going to appreciate it!
  • Be Patient: Read everything in the discussion thread before replying. This will help you avoid repeating something someone else has already contributed. Acknowledge the points made with which you agree and suggest alternatives for those with which you don’t.
  • Be Brief: You want to be clear—and to articulate your point—without being preachy or pompous. Be direct. Stay on point. Don’t lose yourself, or your readers, in overly wordy sentences or paragraphs.
  • Use Proper Writing Style: This is a must. Write as if you were writing a term paper. Correct spelling, grammatical construction and sentence structure are expected in every other writing activity associated with scholarship and academic engagement. Online discussions are no different.
  • Emoticons and Texting: Social networking and text messaging have spawned a body of linguistic shortcuts that are not part of the academic dialogue. Please refrain from :-) faces and c u l8r’s.
  • You Can't Un-Ring the Bell: Language is your only tool in an online environment. Be mindful. How others perceive you will be largely—as always—up to you. Once you've hit the send button, you've rung the bell. ¶ Review your written posts and responses to ensure that you’ve conveyed exactly what you intended. This is an excellent opportunity to practise your proofreading, revision, and rewriting skills—valuable assets in the professional world for which you are now preparing. ¶ Hint: Read your post out loud before hitting the send button. This will tell you a lot about whether your grammar and sentence structure are correct, your tone is appropriate, and your contribution clear or not.