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Blackicep8ntball

How to write an effective post

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This list of tips is not here because we currently have a big problem with poor posting; in fact, I joined EB because of the quality of it's members and their posts :classic:. Rather, these tips are something that I looked for when I joined (not so very long ago), and didn't find. As one wise writer once said (and I paraphrase)...If there's something you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, write it!

This tutorial is here to help people improve on what they do most here at Eurobricks: post comments in forums. This is a collection of tips designed to help you write more substantive comments, better criticism, and ultimately, more effective posts. As Rudyard Kipling said, “Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

But, you might think, why put in the effort? First of all, well-written posts help you look like a more intelligent contributor. But that's not all. If you start writing effective comments, you'll stick out in the crowd and people will remember you. In the end, these people will reciprocate, and you'll gather more friends and see more comments on your own works.

Tips for responding to MOCs:

People spend hours, days, months, even years on building some of the magnificent works you see here. They’ve posted their masterpiece for you to notice, and they’ll appreciate a well-written comment to no end.

Tip 1: Notice the details!

- One of the most difficult, painstaking parts of an original build lies in its details. Point them out! Follow builder's links to their Flickr or Brickshelf page – you’ll find amazing things you would otherwise miss out on.

Tip 2: Write something you’d want to see on your own MOC.

- Read through the posts on your MOCs and pick out the ones that you appreciate most. Learn from those writers. For example, which of the following comments would you prefer?

  • "Cool MOC", :thumbdown: or
  • (from user -R8- over in Sci-fi:) "I think what really draws me in is that it's made out of mostly standard bricks and plates, balancing both the traditional LEGO look as well as the incredible realism of the model." :thumbup:

^ I’d trade a dozen of the first comment for just one of the second.

Tip 3: Use the builder’s screenname.

- Salespeople use this trick all the time, and it helps make your comment more personal: use the builder's screen name! E.g.: “Flare, it’s evident you’ve put a lot of effort into your ship”

- Be careful, however, not to overuse someone’s name… you’ll look like you’re trying a little too hard ;-).

Tip 4: Artful and Constructive Criticism.

- When I post an MOC, I like to know other people might improve it. However, writing criticism can be tricky – post only to help, not to tear down.

  • Start by taking the time to study the work so you can offer a critique that is well-thought and helpful.
  • Always begin with the strengths, then address the weaknesses and problem areas using positive language.
  • Be objective, especially if the piece you’re critiquing is not a style or genre that you love.
  • Make solid suggestions for improvement. Don’t be vague.
  • Offer your critique without using strong, negative language. E.g.: “I think a different color would really bring out the detail” goes a lot further than saying “Blue looks terrible there”.
  • Be patient with yourself as you learn how to critique effectively
    (Several of these tips on criticism are courtesy of Melissa Donovan)

Tips for responding to reviews

For starters, if you haven't yet checked out the Reviewer's Academy, check it out by clicking HERE. Writing a review is not simple - a good review takes hours and hours of effort. Courtesy of some members of the Reviewer's Academy, here are some tips on offering quality feedback to a review:

Tip 1: Tell someone why a review is good.

- Review Academy instructor Def suggests that you highlight the positive and tell why a review is good: point out when a reviewer has fully covered the set, taken clean, clear photos, offered attention-grabbing commentary, or even used software tweaks for the photos.

Tip 2: offer your own opinion of the set.

- Review Academy instructor JimButcher says, "[t]alk about how you agree or disagree with some of the reviewers statements, or simply present your opinions on the set."

Tip 3: discuss the content or description of the review.

- Review Academy instructor Big Cam suggests you "[c]ompare things, talk about things, be honest, what's good, what's bad. Ask why!"

Some general tips:

Tip 1: Take a minute and proofread your post!

- Read back over your comment at least once before finally posting it. You’d be surprised what you might catch! Recently, a user on EB took a few sentences to correct another user’s writing. However, in correcting the other person, the user left a glaring grammatical error in his own post. If only he’d proofread…

- Use the "Preview Post" button to help in your proofreading. This handy little button allows you to view your post in final form, but it doesn't yet publish your post to the forums. (Courtesy of Artanis I)

Tip 2: The edit button:

- You can use this invaluable tool to go back and correct your post even after it's been posted; however:

- this tool should be used carefully and sparingly, especially if you're changing the substance of a post, if you've been quoted, or if others have posted after you. (Courtesy of Roncanator)

- If you make a substantial change after your post has been up for awhile, make a footnote explaining why you've made changes. This could avoid controversy or accusations down the road. (Courtesy of Artanis I)

Tip 3: Quality over Quantity:

- New users (and some not so new) frequently post all over the place, trying to build up their post count for whatever reason. If you’re looking to be establish yourself here, a few quality posts will take you a lot further than hundreds of short, dime-a-dozen lines. Put the work into it and it will pay off!

- At the same time, this shouldn't discourage frequent participation! Some of our best contributors are those who makes excellent, substantial, and frequent comments, keeping the forums lively.

- In closing: this guide is far from complete. All of you have styles of your own, and all of you appreciate different kinds of feedback. Please share your own tips below, and feel free to discuss the kind of feedback you like to see. Who knows? You may see your tip brought up here with your name beside it!

Thanks to Siegfried for his generous help with this tutorial.

Thanks for reading, and keep brickin’!

Edited by Blackicep8ntball

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Thankyou for such an in-depth plan on how to post Blackice :thumbup:.

I am sure new members and some older members will find it useful :classic:

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Tip 3: Use the builder’s screenname.

- Salespeople use this trick all the time, and it helps make your comment more personal: use the builder's screen name! E.g.: “Flare, it’s evident you’ve put a lot of effort into your ship”

AGH! Stalker! :wacko:

Great tips, I have always felt like I want to say more when commenting on people's MOCs, now I know what :laugh:

Thanks, Blackice!

Edited by Flare

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Interesting little article to read, Blackice. It's definitely something new members should look into, and even old timers could learn I thing or two from it (I did). The part about writing good comments makes you stand out is so very true - I often find myself unintentionally skipping over "unestablished" members' comments and paying attention to usernames and group tags (and stopping to read once I see someone I know has something good to say). It's a bad habit, but I suppose it just goes to say...

By the way, I think this ought to be pinned or posted in the New Members section. I think this would make posting guidelines a lot clearer.

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I appreciate the kind words guys. I actually learned some stuff while writing it, interestingly enough :classic:.

@ Flare... I wondered if you'd notice your name in there. I was just trying to think of a name, and for whatever reason yours came to mind. Must have just seen a post of yours in a forum somewhere. Hope you don't mind!

@ Burman & Jim: thanks fellas - hopefully it will be helpful to old and new.

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Very informative guide Blackicep8ntball, should be very helpful to both new and older members (it was a nice surprise to see my comment in there :laugh: ) I too joined Eurobricks because the caliber and maturity of discussion here is much higher than that of some of the other LEGO communities I've been a part of.

On my own creations I always like to see comments with the 'why.' Cool creation, but why? The wing looks a bit off, but why and how can I improve it? Since as MOCists we are always looking to improve in our building skills, comments with a higher degree of detail are of far greater use than lackluster comments. They are much more interesting to read than seeing 'cool' or 'nice' over and over again.

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Great tutorial Blackice. Truly a must-read for all members indeed (new and old). I agree we need better quality posts from some of the new members. I must admit I was guilty of the same faults of a newbie poster during my "early days" here in EB. But as time went along, I had gradually matured by doing most of your points (noticing details, quality over quantity, proofreading). I hope with the new members reading this tutorial we would have better posts than one-liners like "Cool default_thumbup.gif ", "Great Work", "Awesome", "Nice".

Edited by KielDaMan

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Good work Blackicep8ntball on creating this, its really useful for new members especially. I do the same thing as JimButcher does by sometimes only reading the higher up members in threads, usually in the 2010/11 Star Wars Rumours thread (but that gets hectic and a lot of new members establish themselves on the site with only one or two sentences).

I kinda disagree with you in using the edit button. Sometimes it's required to fix up a small spelling mistake but if you take time to post them you wouldn't need to edit your post for spelling errors. Its especially important not to edit your post if you have been quoted on something or if you have been in a small "debate" (lets call it that) cause then you get called out as I liar (I have and its not fun :laugh: ).

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I kinda disagree with you in using the edit button. Sometimes it's required to fix up a small spelling mistake but if you take time to post them you wouldn't need to edit your post for spelling errors. Its especially important not to edit your post if you have been quoted on something or if you have been in a small "debate" (lets call it that) cause then you get called out as I liar (I have and its not fun :laugh: ).

I agree there. I think it's often better to leave it as it is, if someone else has already posted after you. Otherwise add a footnote explanation for what was edited. I would be more inclined to encourage members to use the "Preview Post" button instead, it gives you a chance to see & fix your post before you show the entire world your skills in proof-reading! Haha. Also if you're "arguing" (vehemently differing in opinion etc) it allows some heat to wear off, and you might retract what you were about to get yourself banned for saying before saying it.

(I just corrected some fragmented grammar after using the preview button.)

Thanks for the good post Blackicep8ntball, I think the rest is spot on.

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@ KielDaMan - Thanks for the feedback. I'm a lot like you in that I've had to work on my posts - I tend to want to write something quick and off the cuff, but eventually realized that I didn't like seeing that same sort of stuff when I built something. I always hoped people would notice a certain feature and point it out. Hopefully we'll see more of that here.

Very informative guide Blackicep8ntball, should be very helpful to both new and older members (it was a nice surprise to see my comment in there :laugh: ) I too joined Eurobricks because the caliber and maturity of discussion here is much higher than that of some of the other LEGO communities I've been a part of.

On my own creations I always like to see comments with the 'why.' Cool creation, but why? The wing looks a bit off, but why and how can I improve it? Since as MOCists we are always looking to improve in our building skills, comments with a higher degree of detail are of far greater use than lackluster comments. They are much more interesting to read than seeing 'cool' or 'nice' over and over again.

Glad I could use your comment, -R8-. I was looking back through the forums to find a good post to use as a positive example, and yours fit the bill perfectly :thumbup::classic:. Thanks for mentioning the kind of feeback you like too - hopefully we'll see a lot more people mention what kinds of feeback they like to see, helping members get a good feeling for what good feedback looks like.

I kinda disagree with you in using the edit button. Sometimes it's required to fix up a small spelling mistake but if you take time to post them you wouldn't need to edit your post for spelling errors. Its especially important not to edit your post if you have been quoted on something or if you have been in a small "debate" (lets call it that) cause then you get called out as I liar (I have and its not fun :laugh: ).

This is a really good point, Roncanator (and precisely why I asked for more contribution to this topic! I knew I wasn't going to think of it all). I'm going to modify the original post to reflect this. Coincidently... I'm going to have to use the edit button to do that :grin:.

I agree there. I think it's often better to leave it as it is, if someone else has already posted after you. Otherwise add a footnote explanation for what was edited. I would be more inclined to encourage members to use the "Preview Post" button instead, it gives you a chance to see & fix your post before you show the entire world your skills in proof-reading! Haha. Also if you're "arguing" (vehemently differing in opinion etc) it allows some heat to wear off, and you might retract what you were about to get yourself banned for saying before saying it.

- also some very good points, Artanis, and I'm especially glad you mentioned the "preview posts" button. I made a glaring error in not thinking to mention that in my original post, so I'll be adding your tip in as well.

Thanks for the continuing feedback and kind comments all, and keep bringing in the tips and your thoughts!

Edited by Blackicep8ntball

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In addition to that:

An appropriate illustration,

A useful topic, easily broadened to be useful to a large number of readers,

Simple language with no useless jargon,

Not too long,

Focusing on something that people have previously taken for granted,

That initially creates emotional resistance,

Then causes a light bulb go go off

and finally,

Causes the reader to look at the world differently all day long.

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@ Flare... I wondered if you'd notice your name in there. I was just trying to think of a name, and for whatever reason yours came to mind. Must have just seen a post of yours in a forum somewhere. Hope you don't mind!

Thats fine man! Hehe, I actually find it sort of funny. I haven't posted any ship here yet XD

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*Update: added some tips for responding to reviews.

@NancyStewarts: You've shared some useful tips too - exactly the things people looking for more advanced types of posting should consider.

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awesome

:tongue:

This is a good article I'm sure that it will be of use to some people. I have to admit I hate it when I see a bunch of comments on one of my mocs are just one liners. Though I myself do try my best to post at least a sentence or two on someone else's moc and include constructive criticism.

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