www.whyville.net Jul 6, 2008 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

You Can Have Your Opinion

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Ah, the BBS. Its full name is "Bulletin Board System". It is the place where you can have your say on an article in the Times. Each article has its own BBS, all you have to do is scroll down to the bottom of the article and click on "Discuss this article in the BBS". There you will see a list of threads that people have submitted to have their opinion on the article.

Click on the title of a thread to see the full thread. If you agree or disagree with either the thread or any of the comments that people have posted, then you can post your comment. You can scroll down to the bottom of the BBS, where you will see a box that you can type your comment in, and then submit it. If you want to start your own thread, click on "Start your own thread".

Writers of articles sometimes get annoyed with threads or posts on the BBS for two reasons. One is if you don't use proper spelling or grammar. It makes them less likely to take your opinion or advice seriously. Sometimes they will say, "I couldn't understand what you were saying," but mostly it annoys them because not using proper spelling or grammar makes you sound like an immature child who is too young to have a proper opinion on an article. It especially annoys them if you are complaining about one or two spelling or grammar mistakes in the article, when "yar sntence is sumfin lyke dis".

The second reason the might be annoyed is if you say something like, "This article was rubbish." Not only is this rude, it will not help the writer make their article any better because you haven't told them why it was "rubbish". You also haven't suggested any ways that they could improve it. If you just don't like the topic, you could say that, but to be honest I would just leave it because other people will probably like the topic, even if you don't.

Wait, I was wrong. There is another reason why Times Writers will get annoyed with threads or posts. This is spamming and off topic posts. Spamming includes using more that one letter unnecessarily, an example is if "people" is spelled like this: "ppppplzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" and doing other unnecessary stuff, like posting about five threads for one article. Off topic posts is clogging up the BBS with stuff that has nothing to do with the article. Have your opinion but don't go off topic.

So I have been talking about stuff that you shouldn't do in the BBS. You are probably wondering, "Ok, but what should I do?" First, I will talk about threads. You should definitely explain why you did or didn't like the article. If you don't then your thread is completely pointless. They will not know what was particularly good about their article if you do not tell them, and they will not learn from their mistakes if you haven't told then what their mistakes are.

Make sure you give your thread a good title that sums up what your thread says. If you liked the article, you could call your thread something like, "Great article!". If you didn't like it and have some ways it could be improved, say something like, "Ways to improve". An example of a bad title would be, "dis wuz rubbish!" or something completely irrelevant like, "Who here watches American Idol?".

Always be nice when you are giving criticism. You may be giving excellent advice but if you make the writer feel bad about themselves, chances are they won't take your advice. I have written examples below. The first one is an example of excellent advice but put in a bad way.

Title: Please improve your article now.

Oh dear. Everything about this article was bad. The paragraphs were too short and you will HAVE to make them longer. You have to get someone who will interview better. Well, who can blame them for not answering properly, your questions were rubbish. It was very hard to understand. You need to explain things better. You made so many spelling and grammar errors it was unbelievable. Look at the quality of all the other articles in this week's Times. Now look at yours. It looks like you spent about 2 minutes on it at the most. This article gives the Times a bad name. Follow my advice or else stop writing now!

Now here is the same excellent advice given in a GOOD way.

Title: Good attempt!

This was a good attempt, so well done! I understand that you are not as experienced at some of the other writers in the Times, so this was a very good try. The paragraphs could have been a bit longer but I understand the effect I think you were trying to give. The interview did not really give us a full insight into the mind of the person you were interviewing, so maybe a few better questions and answers would benefit it. Also, some people have not heard about this topic before, so maybe next time you could explain things a little more clearly. This could end up making your article a little longer and more detailed, which I think most people are looking for. Also, as well as a proper spell check, I suggest you read through your article carefully to see if you can spot any small errors the computer spell check may have missed. Good luck, and I hope to see more of your articles in the Times soon!

See? This was exactly the same advice, only given in a nicer way. Plus the second advice is much more likely to be used.

Now I would like to talk about posting on someone else's thread. If you agree with someone else's opinion or advice, say why you have the same opinion as them and why you agree with their advice. However, if you disagree, say why you disagree and why you don't agree with their advice. This is only if their advice is written in a good, constructive way, as talked about above. If you think their advice is good but they are being too harsh, say that and then why you agree/disagree.

If their opinion is just a small sentence, then encourage them to say why they don't like it/like it. If their thread is full of grammar and spelling mistakes, I'd say just ignore it. If they cannot have a proper opinion, they do not deserve to have people posting on their thread. I hope this article taught people how to post properly in the BBS. Thank you for reading.

Have a nice day!


Editor's Note: And as always, when posting in the BBS remember the Whyville Way. We are here to learn and want Whyville to be a positive place where we can grow. Treat your fellow Whyvillians as your would like to be treated . . . it always works!


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