The standard of communication on this Forum has been very high, but it’s perhaps time that a few guidelines were written down. I know that some of the people reading and posting here are relatively new to this kind of communication, and it’s a little different to sitting around in the hangar with a beer (though the basic principles are pretty much the same). Those who already know all this stuff can skip it.
I will also put this summary in a permanent place on the website.
First, written communication has the drawback of not including tone of voice or body language. Some authorities claim that when talking in person, the words account for only 10% of the content, tone and body language the rest. So be aware of this when writing, and if there is any kind of double meaning, either rewrite it or add something to make it clear. Humor especially is best flagged with an “emoticon” like this You’ll be surprised how many people will treat a humorous statement literally without it.
Secondly, be aware that not everyone using this Forum has English as a first language. That doesn’t mean you have to make allowances when writing your messages, but it does mean that you should not pay too much attention to incorrect grammar or spelling. If the meaning is in doubt, ask for clarification, otherwise just give credit for the fact that the other guy can communicate in English, and be thankful that you don’t have to learn another language to get your message across.
Thirdly, even native English speakers have varying levels of spelling and grammar - that says nothing about their knowledge, experience or expertise. It might say something about the quality of modern schooling, or it might just be genetic - some people can spell and some can’t. Get over it.
Finally, if you have something personal to say, do it off-line - send email directly to the person you want to say it to, don’t make it public. This includes personal criticism. Even better, wait 24 hours before sending it. You may find you’re less motivated to do so after a cooling off period.
This Forum does very well by Internet standards - it has a very high signal-to-noise ratio. Let’s keep it that way.