Posting your thoughts online, like writing an e-mail, may seem rather different to creating a carefully crafted letter. For a start, it seems much more informal. But, like writing a business letter or a report for any organisation, it’s always a good idea to think about what you want to write, and why, before dashing something off and hitting the submit button. Its also wise to read what you have written carefully just to make sure it says what you really mean and that you haven't mistyped anything.
So we would like to offer you a few pointers that will keep you — and us — out of trouble by not causing offence, being rude, etc, and not accidentally libelling someone.
First some ‘Dos’
- Stick to the point
- Say what you think about the topic and why
- Make sure what you say is based on known facts and not on rumour, conjecture or personal interpretation
- Keep it simple
- Let the readers decide for themselves on the merits of your argument
- Don’t be emotional — it will distract readers from your argument. If you're feeling hot under the collar, draft what you want to write and wait until the next day to see if you still feel the same way
- Don’t say what you think of other people or of their opinions
- Don’t say that someone, or their opinion, is foolish, or worse. (If they are, or it is, each reader will be able to come to that conclusion without your help.)
- Don’t suggest that someone doesn’t know how to do their job properly — they probably do, even though you might do it differently
- Don’t put words or opinions in other people’s mouths
- Don't shout (type in capitals) — it's impolite
Finally, we don’t want to edit anything you write on PJ Online. But if you don’t follow the community agreement, we may remove what you have written from the site altogether. The likelihood is that this will be a shame because you will have made some good points that merit debate. And if you repeatedly write things that break the agreement we may have to stop you contributing to PJ Online altogether.