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[Sticky] Tips to better "optimize" your forum posts  

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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2290
06/09/2018 10:34 am  

Hey all,

I want to thank you guys so much for adding value to the forums! Something I wanted to share with you that I think would be helpful with future posts or replies is how our post lengths affect "user retention". 

While many of our posts can offer a lot of insight (i.e long posts), this can be a double-edged sword. Most people will only read part of the way down, then skip the rest. In an entire forum thread, they may simply skim through replies (to see if an answer to their question has been given) and will ignore long posts. 

This isn't to criticize anyone or to single anyone out, but I wanted to let you all know what I've discovered through years of digging through user analytic data. 

And this doesn't apply only to forum posts. My longer articles, while valuable and comprehensive, will rarely be read in their entirety. Same with videos I make; a 20-minute video may only get an average view time of 3 or 4 minutes before someones attention goes onto something else. 

My suggestion to help optimize your replies can be summarized as follows:

  • Keep it short and sweet! Reply to a question with relevant information that is easy to follow. This can often be in a few sentences. If it's longer than that, you may not be having as much impact. 
  • Stay on topic. When you post a reply, try to keep it on topic so that other members won't have to sift through the content to find the answers they were looking for. Personal stories and experiences should be posted in The Lounge. 
  • When replying, only ask questions if required for clarification. When someone posts a question, we may not always have all the details, so it's fine to ask for more. But if someone is asking a question and we reply with other questions that are not relevant to helping the user, things become messy very quickly. 

While I really try not to moderate the content being posted, I have had to delete or edit comments that were simply irrelevant, confusing, or hard to follow. Forums like this only work if the information is clear, accurate, and easy to follow. Let's all try to make that happen :)  

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Dona
 Dona
(@dona)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 647
06/09/2018 11:00 am  

Great Advice. Thanks!

Onset of severe Ulcerative Colitus Oct.2012. Subtotal colectomy with illiostomy July 2015; Peristomal hernia repair ( Sugarbaker, mesh, laparoscopic) May 2017.


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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2290
29/04/2019 1:19 pm  

I wanted to bring this post to everyone's attention again as a reminder that our replies should be focused, short, and helpful. 

If someone is looking for answers but needs to read very long replies or replies that don't address the original topic, we lose them. 

Please help to make this site valuable by making sure your answers/replies are on point.

Thank you :-) 

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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LK
 LK
(@dlkfiretruck)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 481
29/04/2019 6:16 pm  

Oh Eric, I am sure I am your biggest offender here. No hurt feeling at all. You make such great points to follow.  I have literally spent hours writing, editing and more editing of my posts still to only succeed a tad. I am sure I have made your hair stand on end at times. Being a writer at heart (and raising two more) certainly has not helped.  However on the points you brought up today it completely made a whole lot of sense, so I just went back to the post with those points in mind (pink alpaca) and edited a fourth time. Yes, fourth! COL. Being able to see how long a post is and then able to edit again has helped, but not enough. I wrote the on a recipe card to refer to in the future. I so appreciate your patience with this matter( all of you) and will continue to keep editing.. :D.Lol! Yes, even this was edited twice. lol.

Linda


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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2290
01/05/2019 11:07 am  

ha! Linda, it's just not for you but even I have to self-moderate when I write a post or reply. 

Because most people will skim through posts to get the information they are looking for, short posts/replies are always going to be better - if they are on point and provide the information they need. 

There's always room for us to improve, so hopefully "optimizing" our posts can help :)

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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LK
 LK
(@dlkfiretruck)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 481
01/05/2019 12:29 pm  

I think it is great all around Eric. The suggestions are important and you give great ideas to shorten them. I now there are situations where a longer post and a personal experience can be important to help someone realize they need better help then they are getting. In posts with the Forum for the visually impaired, tho they are long, it is an area that is scary to get into and as you know, describing something is not always easy, tho you are great at it. When I read a post and respond, I read the whole thing from top to bottom, not just the one in front of me, I make a list of things I think I can answer and help with, without repeating someone else, and then edit and edit again. It is a lot like being a reporter I would guess. Both my daughter and my hubby wrote for the newspaper, I have written a book and am published in Poetry. Maybe that is a part of my downfall, I can imagine something in my head or in the case of our visually impaired group, I try everything I suggest first, sometimes several times, with my eyes closed or in the dark so I have a fair idea of what they are dealing with. The squirt bottle, I suggested they use, I went out and bought one, and tried it. I like thorough information like you always give in your videos and your written info. I have not seen many that have the long posts I have contributed, and there is absolutely no offence taken at all. I now this is an area I can improve on, and having this little list of suggestions you made, I have on a recipe card now to review when editing.  I would feel awful to cause you to loose someone because of length. Even this has been edited...it makes it fun editor keeping all the points in view. 

Linda


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Marcie
(@shulmjs)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1497
01/05/2019 4:42 pm  

Linda, did you all think of paragraph's ? might help other's to read better than not reading.. 

You said your family and you are writers.  May help u get through to your reply's. Your put much effort into this-- ?????????

2014 - 3 strangulations of colon, Ulcerative colitis, removal of colon, illiostomcy named woooh Nellie..


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