Visiting a writing forum is a great way to learn. I tend to only visit two writing forums, they are Stage32 and Reddit. As writing forums go, they are both okay. But there tends to be bad behaviour which seeps into these forums from time to time.
Writing Forum Etiquette.
I thought I would give you my opinion and hope that it encourages you to stay on them. Because it would be easy to leave when faced with bad behaviour.
My opinion is the only opinion.
A lot of people believe that their opinion is the only one that can exist. Even the fact that two ideas can exist at the same time doesn’t seem to please these people.
It is my ego and I’ll bully if I want to.
I go to a writing forum because I am a writing geek and love talking about screenwriting. Others, the more legitimate people, go to ask questions and help others if they can. The final group, the group to realise exist and ignore. Are people that gauge their self worth by telling everyone who posts what they think. They treat these forums like everyone that posts is just waiting for their answers. These people are easy to spot. They tend to attack others and tell people how wrong they are, especially if you have a differing opinion.
Answer the question that is asked.
This is the one thing that annoys me. A person will ask a question and people give their opinion on something less related. It is okay to expand on your answer. But answer the question asked. For example:
Q “How would I put a camera angle in my screenplay?”
A “That is NOT your job. That is the job of the director or cinematographer. Never put that in your screenplay unless you want the entire world to know you are an amateur”
You can see how that type of answer doesn’t make you look knowledgeable. It makes you look like an ass and a bully.
Beware of “my friend”.
The “my friend” told me or, I was talking to an agent/producer/“someone in the industry” and they said. Sometimes this is great advice. But more often than not this person is trying to add some credibility to something they believe. They know they are standing on shaky ground, but are trying to make out that they have some inside knowledge and therefore it must be correct.
The sins of Craig D Griffiths.
I know I have a few buttons that people can push. I will argue with someone that is being a bully or is spreading falsehood. Especially when it is something they haven’t experienced. That is my weakness. You give me someone that is telling a person that they are the expert in anything, I will always ask for proof. I get dragged in against my own good sense. I don’t want someone to be led astray before they even start writing.
What will happen?
If you don’t let bullies get to you. If you give advice based on your own knowledge. If you call out bullshit when you see it. You will get some enemies. People that go to these forums for validation and as a way of making themselves feel superior, will hate that you ask them to prove anything they are saying.
I use the same username everywhere I can, Craig.D.Griffiths in whatever form I can get is what I use. If someone wants to see who I am and if I have credibility they can Google me. I am suspicious of people that use fake names. Why hide? Perhaps I am just a critical person. I expect that a person telling someone what to do, or how to live their life would be brave enough to do it publicly.
Let me leave you with this. Act on a forum how you would if you were standing in front of that person. Don’t be a hero (read coward) hiding behind a keyboard.