Two people messaged me privately regarding a previous post about forums, which were (I was surprised to learn) a relatively unfamiliar concept to them. One of them had gotten kicked off a few forums for posting links to themself. With that in mind, here is a very brief explanation of good general forum etiquette to avoid getting in trouble and to make the most of your experience in online forums.

1) Clearly understand any policy about linking to external sites. You may notice that others are doing just that, but they may be premium members (who paid for special status), official forum moderators or may have met a pre-set number of minimum posts.

2) Even if it were allowed, joining a forum and linking to yourself shows poor form to those using the forum. On most forums, people can see how many times you have posted. If you are posting for the first time and linking to yourself it will be a red flag to other users.

3) Get to know people on the forums. If there is a place to go and introduce yourself: do that first. Then comment on some threads, show your knowledge. If you want to to link to your own sites at that point, and it is allowed, more people will click them anyway if they are relevant and particularly if the URL shows it.

A forum really is (or should be) as the name suggests: a forum for gathering and sharing ideas, not just self-promotion. If you are joining a forum just to promote yourself you need to ask yourself: is this right? Is it really worth my time?

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