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The Positive Forum Movement (Updated 4 December 2015)


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Just like every other community, when people disagree on something, there is a very real possibility that the whole tone turns extremely negative, even insulting. Now I will say that the general populatation of these forums appears to be somewhat more mature in the way they deal with each other than the average online community I have come accross, but it cannot be denied that there is also a certain amount of negativity whenever a big change comes along or if a decision is made that some do not agree with. Many Devnotes, for example, have replies that are extremely negative towards Squad and other users. Or when a feature is implemented in a way we don't like (such as the change to new forum software), we have a tendency to speak very unkindly about it. But then there are also some good examples of people disagreeing with each other but being very polite about it. The Positive Forum Movement has been around for a while now, and it's good to see how some people are actively looking for ways to change, not the opinions, but the attitudes of others.

I'm sure most of us would like the forum to be even more positive, so what can we do about it? Telling negative people not to be negative is unlikely to help, but there is a way that just might. Here are a few simple things we can keep in mind, which - little by little - can make a difference.

  • If someone attacks you (or someone else) for your opinion, spelling, design or anything else, don't tell them off. Instead, make it your goal to cheer them up. Try asking for suggestions on how to improve
  • If someone picks at you for something small and insignificant they don't like you doing, something that's not even against the rules; tell them you're thankful for the suggestion and you will try to think of it next time you post. Be careful not to sound patronizing or sarcastic; it must be sincere.
  • If you feel strongly about something, don't give others the feeling that you think your opinion is more important than theirs. Instead, calmly explain how you feel and why you feel that way - others will be more likely to take your opinion seriously that way
  • If you see someone "put out a fire" by replying well to a provocative comment, click the "Like this" button for that post and consider even telling them in a private message why - it will encourage them to do it again
  • Most importantly, no matter how you are treated by someone else, treat them the way you believe they would like to be treated.

None of this means we should just be quiet and accept things we don't like. It just means that there is a better way of getting our point across than being negative or writing harsh words about it. Constructive criticism can actually come accross as very positive if we put some thought into it.

To sum it up, be the person you would like others to be.

Will it work? No doubt about it. Even if a single person does this just one time, it will make a difference.

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No one is ever swayed by harsh words, at most all the arguer can gain is the animosity of those around them.

Harshly worded criticism has no more value than unfounded criticism, but if you put forward your points civilly you'll find others more welcoming to your words.

Express yourself in regular ways, not confrontational ways, and you'll find things a lot smoother :)


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I was going to jokingly reply "This is dumb and you're dumb for posting it" but was worried that you or a future visitor to this thread wouldn't see it was a joke :D

I like this. I personally can get a bit... tersely critical of others (including Squad) but really and truly I think this is a great idea.

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5thHorseman said:
I was going to jokingly reply "This is dumb and you're dumb for posting it" but was worried that you or a future visitor to this thread wouldn't see it was a joke :D

I like this. I personally can get a bit... tersely critical of others (including Squad) but really and truly I think this is a great idea.

You had me almost literally laughing out loud with your joke reply! As for getting critical of others, I've see you make some very good points, and I think your points have the potential of coming accross even more convincingly with a little extra forethought.

goldenpeach said:
did you considered cloning yourself and making each of your clone to join the forums?

Wow thank you for the kind words (from yourself and others). I don't know if I can do as you suggest, though, because I would be in danger of breaching Forum Rule 4.3 :wink: [2017 edit: now rule 4.2!]

Starwhip said:
And just imagine what the forum will be when everyone does it, all the time. :D

(Actually, that would be kinda boring.)

That's an interesting thought. In what way do you think it would be boring?

Robotengineer said:
Where is your Empirical Evidence for that conclusion? :P I like these suggestions.

I'm glad you like the suggestions, thanks for saying so. As for empirical evidence, I'd say I highly doubt I'm the first person to think of any of these suggestions. It basically comes down to general ettiquette and the results speak for themselves in any social setting. Don't worry, I did realise it was a tongue-in-cheek comment :)

Dman979 said:
you know you've done something good when 5 mods post on your thread to complement you.

Wow, I hadn't realised it was that many, but then again, they have experience of dealing with people every day and they read a lot of posts and replies, so they know by experience what works well.

I'm so glad that this was received well, and I look forward to seeing lots more positive and enjoyable disagreements in the future :wink:

Edited by Deddly
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I really agree with this and try to follow similar principles.

However I have a habit of focusing on the negative or sometimes snapping at or winding up other users. :/ Really need to try to improve on that.

Well you are called Frozen_Heart. That might be the problem XD

Only joking.

Nice post, i agree with these!

Moderators, i think you should reference this thread to any one who breaches the niceness rules. :cool:

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One thing I've found helpful is to avoid responding in haste. What I do when a post irks me is write out my reply in a word document, and leave it for a few hours. Then I come back to it and look at it with fresh eyes. Most of the time, I delete the draft and don't respond because it is too angry/insensitive. If I think I should still respond, I edit what I've written to make it calmer.

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The easiest thing to remember about stupid posts that make no sense, threads that really could of been answered with a google search etc..

It'll be gone in a day. Just takes 10 posts to make a new page in a thread, and nobody will care about it.

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Definitely approve of this. As someone who strives to keep a close eye on the Gameplay Questions and Tutorials subforums in particular, I personally believe that our community is at its best when we're trying to build each other up, and I'm glad to say that I see many positive examples of that in there every day :)

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OP can be summarised thusly:

  • Rid yourself of ego
  • Learn logic

Both are incredibly difficult. Something, something, culinary training.

I think you miss the point entirely. This isn't about logic or ego at all, but about the words and attitude we choose to use when interacting with other forum members. It is possible to be 100% logical and correct as well as non-egotistical and still come off as a dismissive, pedantic jerk.

The OP is basically saying "Don't respond to attacks with counterattacks", "Respect and value the opinions of others, even if they differ from your own", and "Treat other posters the way you like to be treated". All of which are admirable goals that would make our forum more civil and a better place to discuss ideas.

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