- Beware! It crawls…. It creeps…. It eats you alive!
- The indestructible creature! Bloated with the blood of its victims!
- Terror has no shape – scream now, while there’s still room to breathe!
- If it had a mind, you could reason with it. If it had a face, you could look it in the eye. And if it had a body, you could shoot it.
These lines were some of the taglines from the 1958 classic horror movie “The Blob” starring a very young Steve McQueen about an alien lifeform that consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows. I don’t know about you, but if you’re not careful, participating in online blogging can sometimes seem like the same thing. Perhaps some of you can have experienced how The Blog may seem harmless and innocuous one minute, but can quickly snowball into a destructive man-eating lifeform the next minute!
The term “blog” was coined in mid-1999 and is a contraction of “web log.” Since then, blogging has become increasingly popular, both on personal websites (“online diary” or “bloggery”) and on community forums (“digital communities” or “online discussion sites”). Typically on a community forum, members will start a thread with a question or thought, and other members will post their responses. It is these community forums that tend to draw more controversy and seem to take on a life of their own, which is sometimes not all that positive, so blogging on community forums will be the focus of this article.
I have seen and even experienced blogging gone bad. I have read demeaning posts on coin forums that made me shake my head and even made me groan and want to scream. I have read derogatory blogs that spewed such maliciousness that it made my skin crawl. Perhaps you too have read posts on some of the various coin-related forums that made you want to reach through the computer and put the author out of everyone’s misery!
I am not trying to scare anyone away from participating in online discussion forums – on the contrary, I have found online coin forums to be very rewarding and have learned a great deal from their members. I am hoping that by writing this article, it will encourage and help those interested in joining an online forum to have a more positive experience and to be able to have a better understanding on how to participate and contribute in a more knowledgeable and constructive manner.
Regrettably, it is not uncommon for otherwise benign people to hide behind the relative anonymity of computers while typing and posting whatever controversial, negative, attacking, and/or inappropriate words come to their mind. Sometimes they even do this while “under the influence” of chemicals which only enhances their inflammatory remarks. In any event, reading or participating in negative blogging can detract from and spoil the intent of an otherwise positive, enjoyable, and usually educational experience. So here are some behavioral tips that, if more people practiced, might enhance everyone’s experience with The Blog.
- Read and follow the forum rules. Community forums are NOT public and each forum usually posts their own set of rules so be sure to read them carefully before you begin posting. Forums usually have moderators who will follow threads and can modify, lock, and/or delete any thread and/or post they feel is inappropriate for whatever reason. And they can also remove and ban a member for further participation on their forum. “Freedom of speech” does not necessarily apply to privately run forums so it is best to behave according to their rules if you want to participate.
- Don’t take posts and comments personally. To me, this is one of the most important things I have learned while participating in blogging forums. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but it will serve you well when the time comes – and most likely it will!
- Don’t be controversial and make posts just to get attention. Only post when you have something of note to add, and then keep your posts professional and respectful.
- Avoid derogatory and disparaging remarks about fellow forum members. Learn how to deliver interesting and professional opinions without criticizing others. If you have a personal issue you want to address with another individual, take the issue off-forum either in an email or a private message (pm) rather than in a public forum setting.
- Crude and vulgar language should be avoided at all cost. Any form of defamation, strong language, criticism, or even downright critical opinion of another member is unnecessary and only draws attention away from the actual topic being discussed.
- Use emoticons (tiny pictures like smiley faces, thumbs up, etc.) and other symbols to indicate tone. When posting on a forum (or in an email for that matter), there is an absence of indicators that help demonstrate voice tone, facial expressions, body language, and other emotions. In the absence of these valuable social cues, emoticons and symbols can help make your tone and intention clear to other forum participants.
- Don’t “hijack” forum threads. Stay on topic. If you’d like to discuss a different issue or problem, start a separate thread. If someone posts a coin they want to “show off” or have people comment on, unless you have a specific related reason to do so, avoid posting a photo of your coin, as it may detract from the original poster’s coins.
- Be very careful about what you write because anything you write on the Internet stays on the internet. And you don’t want your words to come back later and “bite” you.
The next few tips are geared toward being more technically proficient in the blogging world:
- Read all of the posts in the thread before posting on the internet forum. This will help forum participants avoid repeating points that have already been discussed in depth.
- The title should consist of important key words that briefly explain what your post will be about.
- Avoid typing and spelling mistakes – go back and read your post before you release it.
- Avoid typing in all caps or all bold, as this is the equivalent to yelling on an internet forum.
- Avoid creating extremely long forum posts on a regular basis.
- Post links to cited facts or other posts that are referenced.
- Avoid posting a link to a site that requires a user to register on that site.
- Don’t quote an entire post if you are only responding to a specific comment.
- If you are the original thread starter or opening poster (OP), avoid writing a response after each and every comment – wait for several replies, then write your response (you can quote and reply to several different posts in your one response)
- Don’t respond to a post just to increase your post count (the number of times you post on a forum from the date of joining).
- Be careful not to post copyrighted material.
For those of you who would like a more in depth understanding of the internet forum world, I found this Wikipedia link to be very helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_forum#Thread
And last but not least, I compiled these general blogging terms and coin-related abbreviations from various websites that may help you understand and navigate the coin blogging world.
|B&M||Brick & Mortar, your local coin shop|
|Board||Short for “message board” similar to “bulletin board” and “discussion forum”; discussion forums are more interactive than message boards or bulletin boards|
|Blog||Short for “Web log”; an online diary of your thoughts on a specific topic or whatever crosses your mind; see discussion forum|
|Blogger||Person who blogs, a person who post comments or questions on blogs|
|Blogging||[vb] The act of posting on blogs; [adj] those things related to blogs|
|Blogosphere||The Internet blogging community|
|BOLO||Be On the Look Out|
|BRB||Be Right Back [used in chat rooms]|
|BST||Buy, Sell, Trade, BST Forum|
|BTW||By The Way|
|CAC||Certified Acceptance Corporation, an independent numismatic coin authentication service|
|CBH||Capped Bust Half|
|CCW||Counter Clock Wise, as in rotation of a die, used in rotational error identification|
|CPG||Cherry Picker’s Guide|
|Discussion Forum||Interactive online communities formed for group discussion and presentation of information on specific or general topics; “blogs” and “message boards” are related terms; many online communities also have group and private “chat rooms” and private instant messaging features for their members|
|DIVA||Designated Ike Variety (same idea as VAMs, but for Eisenhower dollars)|
|DNC||Did Not Cross, coins submitted to a third party grading service that do not cross into their holder|
|Down thread||[adv] Earlier posts; comments that are found below the post you are reading or responding to|
|Dreck||Particularly inferior coins|
|EDS||Early Die State|
|EMDS||Early Middle Die State|
|EOR||End Of Roll, as in a coin that was exposed at the end of a bank roll that exhibits paper flap toning|
|FB||FeedBack, eBay term for seller/buyer comments|
|FB||Mercury dimes exhibiting Full Bands due to an excellent strike|
|FBL||Full Bell Lines on rev of Franklin Half Dollar|
|FE/Flyer||Flying Eagle cent (1856-1858)|
|FEP||Friendly Eagle Pattern, 1971 D Ike dollar with the RDV 006 reverse|
|First Strike||First coins struck by Mint dies|
|Flame||[v] To post a series of highly inflammatory insulting comments, often using profanity|
|Frankies||Simple slang for Franklin half dollar|
|FSH||For Sale Here on the BST forum|
|FT||Full Torch (used to designate a full strike on Roosies)|
|FWIW||For what it’s worth|
|GAE||Gold American Eagle|
|GSA CC||Government Services Administration, Carson City mint|
|GTG||Guess The Grade|
|Grand Slam||When a coin sells for 100X or more than the original purchase price|
|Heading||[n] The name the poster gives to his/her comment|
|Homerun||When a coin is sold for more than 10X the original purchase price|
|IIRC||If I Recall Correctly|
|IMO||In My Opinion|
|IMHO||In My Humble Opinion|
|IMNSHO||In My Not So Humble Opinion|
|IRL||In Real Life|
|JMHO||Just My Humble Opinion|
|JMO||Just My Opinion|
|KoolAid||“Drinking the KoolAid” – becoming a firm believer in something; accepting an argument or philosophy wholeheartedly or blindly (term originated with the Jonestown Massacre)|
|LDS||Late Die State|
|LMAO||Laughing My Ass Off (see ROFLMAO)|
|LOL||Laugh Out Loud|
|Lurk||[vb] To visit a discussion forum without posting comments|
|Lurker||[n] Often “newbies” (see newbie) who start out by lurking on the site before becoming active posters|
|Macro||Photography term usually associated with a type of lens setting for close ups|
|“I made a coin”||A coin was bought raw and then submitted for certification by a third party grading service|
|Matte finish||Also thought of as SATIN finish, mint dies glass bead blasted/pickled|
|MDS||Middle Die State|
|Micro O||Super small New Orleans mint mark|
|Milk spots||Milky white spots that mysteriously appear on silver eagles due to improper rinse at the mint. They also show up on Peace dollars|
|MOL||More Or Less|
|Moon Shot||Scanner bed or camera image taken without magnification or so far away, you need the Hubble to identify the coin|
|Moose||An incredible coin, usually one that grades MS/PR67 or higher or a coin with astounding eye appeal|
|MPL||Matte Proof Lincoln cents (1909-1916)|
|MS70||Name brand for coin cleaner|
|NARU||Not A Registered User (an eBay username that has been banned from further using eBay as a result of disobeying rules)|
|Newbie||[n] A person who is new to a particular discussion forum [blog]|
|NPB||Non-Paying Bidder, used in eBay|
|OBW||Original Bank Wrapped coin rolls|
|OGH||Old Green Holder, PCGS slab with green label|
|OMM||Overpunched Mint Mark such as a D/S|
|OP||Original Poster, thread starter|
|OT||Off Topic, a post that is unrelated to the opening post or topic|
|OTOH||On The Other Hand|
|Open thread||[n] A thread that includes posts about multiple topics. In an open thread, a person cannot go “off topic” or have “thread drift”|
|Pallad (or Pd)||Palladium|
|PC holder||PCGS holder|
|Plat (or Pt)||Platinum|
|PM||Private Message, can also stand for Precious Metals|
|PMD||Post Mint Damage, something occurred after the coin left the Mint|
|PMDD||Poor Man’s Double Die (die erosion created trailing ghost 5’s in the date, not a true hub doubled die)|
|Pop||Population, as it pertains to registered coins that are slabbed|
|Post||[n] The comment; message; [v] the act of submitting a post|
|Poster||[n] The person who writes a specific post; the same as “blogger”|
|POV||[n] Point Of View|
|POTD||Post Of The Day|
|PUP||Pickup Point, a characteristic that usually indicates a nice strike|
|Rattler Holder||Small first generation PCGS holder with green label; referring to how the coin rattles inside the hard plastic holder|
|Re-post||[n] [Repost] A comment that has been previously posted on that website or on another website; [v] the act of putting a post in a thread that had previously been posted|
|RFR||“Run, Forrest, Run!” Avoid at all cost|
|Roosies||Roosevelt Dimes, particularly 90% silver 1946|
|ROTFLMAO||Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. Some letters of this shorthand phrase are omitted to make phrases such as “LMAO” and “ROF”|
|RPD||RePunched Date such as 1869/69|
|RPM||RePunched Mintmark such as D/D|
|SAE||Silver American Eagle|
|SDB||Safe Deposit Box|
|Site||[n] Short for “website”|
|Skin||Originality of a coin as it pertains to strike, luster and look|
|SLQ||Standing Liberty Quarter|
|SNAD||Significantly Not As Described (eBay term)|
|C U later||See you later|
|TAT||Turn Around Time|
|TPG||Third Party Grader|
|Thread||[n] A series of posts either on a specific topic or, in the case of an “open thread,” on multiple topics, or any topic at all|
|Thread drift||[n] An off topic post in a thread on a specific topic; thread drift is frowned upon to a greater or lesser degree depending on the particular discussion forum or the particular thread within a discussion forum|
|TOS||Terms of Service, are rules by which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service. Usually, such terms are legally binding|
|Top Pop||Population being #1 for the grade, as it pertains to registered coins that are encapsulated|
|Troll||[n] A negative reference for a person who posts on a discussion board for the purpose of disrupting the conversation|
|TTT||To The Top|
|UHR||Ultra High Relief $20 gold struck in 2009, dated MMIX|
|URL||[n] The address of a website|
|VAM||Van Allen and Mallis (Morgan and Peace dollar varieties)|
|VEDS||Very Early Die States|
|VEMS||Very Early Middle States|
|Widget||Run of the mill, common date coins|
|WTB||Want To Buy|
|WTC Coins||World Trade Center coins (coins minted from silver recovered from the site)|
|WTG||Way To Go (a compliment)|