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How many posts? a matter of netiquette

Not calling anyone out but something got me thinking.

How many posts/topic starts do you think is ok without ever replying to any of your own topics?
And does that change if you have posted replies to others topics?

I ask because I occasionally see people start a bunch of topics who have never posted to any other topic before then they don’t post to their own topics then the disappear back into the fog from which they came.

I can understand (sort of) if someone posts a topic or two gets replies that they don’t like and then disappears but I have seen folks post a bunch of topics over a couple weeks. Presumably if they didn’t like the replies from the first few topics they would not stick around to ask more questions?

I don’t know maybe I am overthinking this.

But I though I would see what the rest of you thought about this. As I sometimes get the urge to be “snippy” or very sarcastic when it becomes obvious that the OP asked the question then ghosted.

Note this is a problem on many other forums that have general interest topics but are a source of answers. So this forum is very much in that grouping. A popular general interest topic (Tavel). On a subject that many know little about (many only go to Europe once or twice in their lives) and we have a question and answer advice type setup her with most topics being someone asking for advise. On top of this it is connect to about (if not the) most famous American travel advisor of our generation even if he does not (as far as we know) contribute directly to this forum.
So I expect this forum is more likely to see someone buzz in ask some spicific questions read the answer and the ghost, then many others.

Of course the problem is that many of these newbies don’t know what they don’t know so often the way they ask the questions is such that we don’t have enough info to truly answer them. So often they get asked questions back or the topic takes a left turn in Albuquerque. But truly a lot of the questions asked are a “it depends”. Because the right answer to a 40 year old in excellent health that hates museums but has to GO GO GO. is a lot different then it is to a 80 year old art lover.

Oh well I guess I have to much time on my hands when I start thinking about all this.

Posted by
3080 posts

douglas, it’s definitely nice to see when an Original Poster gives an acknowledgement to people who have taken the time and effort to post a response. And if that Original person is actually seeking a meaningful response, then answering a responder’s request for more details could help them in the long run. Doing just an “ask and run,” however, won’t net them all the potential answers they’d get otherwise.

Then again, this isn’t a paying job for the vast majority of us, so as volunteers, we’re not guaranteed anything. And maybe the people not posting have a lot of other things going on all of a sudden . . . who knows? Thanks for you post, though, and I don’t mind if you don’t reply 😉

Posted by
3118 posts

While I would think it would be good manners to reply back to a topic if only to say "Thanks for the info", nothing here requires that level of good manners. :-)

But it doesn't bother me if the OP never says anything more. I just have to take it as they got the answer they were looking for and have moved on to more important things in their life. What I don't like is when we have all provided detailed and well thought out answers to the question and then the topic disappears. And then the same person starts another almost identical topic looking for more answers. Do they think that if they didn't like the original answers the new topic will provide answers that more align with what they want to hear?

Posted by
6061 posts

How many posts/topic starts do you think is ok without ever replying
to any of your own topics? And does that change if you have posted
replies to others topics?

No, none of this matters to me. I freely reply to whomever I think I can help. I don't need anything in return.

Posted by
16591 posts

People post questions when they think of them and have time to come to this forum. They may have very busy lives and be unable to get back here soon; things come up in real life. I don't think there are too many posters who disappear completely. There are some who come back and don't answer the questions we've asked, and that is a puzzlement to me.

Posted by
7153 posts

And then I think there are some posters who reply with responses of little to no value whatsoever - maybe in attempts to boost their own score??

Posted by
144 posts

What is this "score" thing, Tim?

I post on several different forums, and it does bug me when someone asks a question, gets 10 helpful responses, and never posts again. Did they read the responses? Do they not know how to return to the thread they started? I think that it's rude to ask strangers to give you help, and then don't even thank them for their time.

Posted by
7109 posts

“I think that it's rude to ask strangers to give you help, and then don't even thank them for their time.“

naalehuretiree, i so agree with you.

Posted by
1106 posts

I think that I post about 4X or more answers/comments to other people's OP/questions as I do of my own OPs.
Is that ratio in the 'right' range, or am I being too self-centered?

I usually have some line of thinking in mind when I post an OP and that rarely eventuates in the replies -
sometimes for the better (more varied perspectives) and sometimes for the worse (non-sequiturs and juvenilia/gotchas).
So, I am one of those OPs who doesn't always thank everyone who provides comments -- not because I'm being inconsiderate, but because some replies aren't within the ballpark, or are at best pop fouls. Nice hits will get a tip of the cap from me, pretty dependably.

Some of my comments are intentionally contradictory precisely because of the different-strokes-for-different-folks issue the OP here brings up about 40-somethings vs. oldsters needing a different answer -- a recent example is the thread about the archaeology museum in Arles: someone commenting stated flatly that the museum can't be reached on foot from the historic center so factor that into your decision about visiting it -- well, I've walked it by more than one route on more than one occasion and enjoyed both times, so to say that it isn't walkable is bad advice. (At least as given - if they'd said not walkable for people who don't do much walking, or more than 20-minutes by foot or something like that, then it would have been a lot more helpful.)

I also admit to sometimes lofting a softball right down the middle of the plate (or think I am) because I want to tempt some of the regulars here in the forum to take a swing.

Posted by
2231 posts

Douglas, I took a left turn once in Albuquerque, ended up in Taos Pueblo for Christmas Eve celebrations. That was kind of neat, actually. Thanks for the memory!

Posted by
2809 posts

Given the structure of the forum, I am not bothered by members who ask questions and do not come back to reply, if there is nothing else to be added. For instance: OP asked about how to find some 'skip-the-line' tickets to attraction X. An old-time member comes and gives the link. There is no need to come back again at it.

It does bother me a bit a situation where an OP posts a question that needs some clarification, which is then pointed by others, and then the OP disappears and never comes back to the thread. For instance, OP asks about transportation to attraction X, and old-time members replies with a question on where the OP is going to stay. Or OP ponders about activities for children in a given city, and some other member asks about their age range.

What bothers me more, though, are OPs who create several threads on the same issue, either cross-posting on several threads (country sub-forum, transportation sub-forum, General Europe sub-forum) the same post, or slicing-and-dicing the issue such as creating a post for opening times, another for price, a third for how to reach the same place.

Posted by
486 posts

I'm not seeing the point of this thread. If someone asks for information and gets a satisfactory reply, there is no need to ask any followup questions. I suppose thank-yous are nice, but I would rather not take a look at a thread with new replies, only to find that it's just a thank-you. Not a big deal, but a waste of a few seconds of my time.

Posted by
3080 posts

And if Thank Yous are expected of an Original Poster, would they expect a “You’re Welcome” response? Still, it’s nice to be nice and courteous.

Posted by
1106 posts

These last couple of comments have finally hit upon a vein of valuable ore in this particular ditch digging: how do different expectations of social lubrication / etiquette cause people to get bad impressions (or good impressions) of strangers?

RS has had the authors of "The Bonjour Effect" on his radio show to support his argument about the need to engage in a little polite chitchat before getting down to business if you want things to go smoothly in France -- you have to stick in some hellos and goodbyes and thank yous if you want to be attended to. The reputation for rude service in Paris, it seems, is in fact a reaction to visitors who don't do the little niceties that are expected in French interactions.

Likewise, I quickly get fed up with the email traffic in one of the organizations I belong to because many of the members are Midwesterners, and when the leadership sends a message welcoming so-and-so to the board, dozens of those Midwesterners will send in one-word messages to a list with hundreds of subscribers saying "Welcome!"; same goes with "Congrats!" and "Thank You!" -- We coastal elites are rolling our eyes over the wasted network traffic. A little brush-fire of "Unsubscribe me, please!" follows until another round starts up again.

At the other end of the spectrum, RS also talks about places like the Netherlands where transactions are strictly transactional, no chit-chat at all, and if you do try a little How you doin' or Have a nice day'ing they will think you're either buttering them up or you're a little daft.

A Madrilena whom I met at the Prado had done her MFA in northern England and she had a nice joke -- In the UK men are polite and they mean it, in Italy the men are polite but they don't mean it, and in Spain the men don't mean it so they aren't polite. [I think that's how it went; we were talking Spanglish]
My point is that if you're accustomed to Spanish socializing then English people probably seem charming by comparison, but once you're used to English custom, then Spanish behavior seems curt.

Back to this thread: does a lack of pleases and thank yous mean someone is telegraphing inconsideration, or familiarity? Do you address your immediate family the same way you address your extended family?
And so on.

Posted by
331 posts

I am not perticularly concerned about thanks yous. I was more or less thinking about posts where the IP was not realy clear but asked for advice. Then when folks had a question never bothered to reply,
What Must I see in London. Well that is hard to say. What do you like? How long are you going to be in London?
I have see posts in the forums for General Europe and in spicific countries posted by the same user within a few days of each other asking basicly the same question in different ways and getting the same basic reply of “we need more information “ and yet the OP never replies. Well you can ask on as many forums as you want but if you don’t give the needed info to base a reply in you are not going to get a good answer.
Add in that sometimes these posters NEVER post except to ask the original questions anywhere. I have clicked on member info on a number of folks and see. Number of posts equal to number of new topics. Obviously they are not responding to or following up on anything. On member had about 10 posts on as man new topics and never replied to any of them.

That just seams odd, I mean I would expect that at least one of them would have needed clarification at some point.
So it almost seams as if these posters are not truly participating.

Oh well like I said I am probably over thinking this.

Posted by
784 posts

it almost seams as if these posters are not truly participating

They're not.

I read the TripAdvisor forum when I'm looking for an answer to a specific question, but I don't participate at all. That forum and I suspect other travel forums are not as relationship-driven across all topics as this one is. There are location experts who focus on one or two regions, but wouldn't have broad view of cross posting. Using TA as my only other comparison, it does seem that most people post a question, get one or two responses and move on. Not much following up with "give us more information..." type questions.

I think those of us who read/post here tend to "know" each other. We enjoy the social aspect of it and may feel slighted when someone takes the answer and exits stage left. Except for Agnes. :)

Posted by
486 posts

Some of the posts illustrate why I almost never do reply to "what do I do in..." posts. My answer would be, "whatever interests you." There are guidebooks and websites that describe what is there. If a post says, "World War I sights in Flanders?" I would at least look in to see if I could help. I wouldn't even read "What do I do in Belgium?"

Posted by
924 posts

Some of the posts illustrate why I almost never do reply to "what do I
do in..." posts. My answer would be, "whatever interests you."

I'm going to go in the other direction with my comment. I don't mind broad based questions and replying with a broad based answer. For me, they key is how you answer. I see nothing wrong with a question like what should I see in London. I'll happily give 2 or 3 of my favourite things but also explain why I liked them. That's how conversations and research start. For me at least, this forum isn't about having my research done for me, it's the jumping point to begin my own. While I've received (and hopefully given) some valuable information, I'm not taking much from this site as a golden nugget without following up with my own research to make sure it's right for me.

Posted by
331 posts

See that is the thing if we are having a “conversation “ about something I have no issues with that. But if you walk up ask a question listen to what is said, someone asks you a question about you question and you turn around ignore them and leave that would be vied as rude.
I ask if it any different here. If you ask a question someone ask for details so the can answer and crickets...

Picture asking an auto repair forum. “I want to replace my spark plugs what do I need to buy in parts and tools. Someone understandably asks. “What type of car”. And never gets a reply...
But then on the Chevy forum you get “what spark plugs do I need for my Chevy “. And on the maintenance forum you get “what tools do I need to change my spark plugs”. Both from the same original poster.
All three posted on Monday then Tuesday and the Wednesday respectively.

I have basically seen that here at least twice. Only figured it out for two separate reasons. One had a very odd or at least distinctive username that I happened to notice/remember. The more recent example I accidentally clicked into the posters profile while playing with my cat and noticed the OP had the same number of posts as topics started.
So I looked at what the topics were.

And as I have said I have seen that elsewhere on other forums so it is not exclusive to this one. Actually I notice more on a historical forum I belong to then here but I am more active with that one. I would have asked them this but the typical member on that forum is not exactly easy going...
It is much more friendly here.

Posted by
1031 posts

Avirosemail, thanks for yr bit about the bonjour effect.

I'm a Midwesterner, most of my life in Iowa and Missouri (but grad school in Boston)

I had been blaming my enneagram type, which says right there that I consider small talk a form of slow torture......

I have single handedly called out some group text chain folks that it was time to move their endless menu chats off into a new, smaller thread and let the rest of us get back to work.

So, maybe I'm the exception that proves your rule.

Posted by
1029 posts

I don’t really get too annoyed, although deleting a thread is annoying especially if it includes a lot of longer detailed responses.

I do wish first timers would take the time to read many of the similar threads, but I realize in most cases, that’s just not going to happen.

I understand that people are worried about their online privacy, but often we do need more information to provide advice. Ages and backgrounds really go a long way. I’m pretty sure a 35 year old lifelong New Yorker is going to need less public transit step by step details than someone in the Dallas suburbs whose only experience with transit is riding a school bus 25 years ago.

I know we often burst people’s bubbles on here. I’m know I find myself playing Debbie Downer far more than I like to. I’m American, I get that we have a lot less vacation time than most other developed countries and that some of that vacation time often has to be reserved for visiting family that don’t live nearby. Thus, there’s a tendency to pack as much in as possible in a European trip. I know no one likes to hear don’t rent a car on arrival day, I do hope you can sleep the sleep of the dead on the flight over and arrive fresh and ready to hit the ground rolling. Unfortunately, life gets in the way too often and turbulence, an annoying seatmate, a crying baby, or just not getting comfortable can interfere.

Let’s see, what else? I advise two major sights per day and maybe they’ll be time for a smaller sight. Allocating 90 minutes for a major museum seems like the worst of all possible worlds, either skip it or allow more time. England may be an exception with most museums free, but even still you need to allocate travel time.

I generally think having a rough sketch of what you want to do on a given day is a good plan. I wouldn’t organize it like a military drill but I’m not much of a fan of just winging it either. I know everyone has their own style, but I’ve found at least some structure can help. An afternoon browsing and wandering a neighborhood can be great, I think it helps to at least research what neighborhoods might be of interest. Otherwise, you may find out that the neighborhood immediately around your hotel is full of bank buildings and government offices and your neighborhood browsing consists of quickie sandwich shops and and office workers out for a quick smoke or to bitch about the boss.

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent here, just feels good to talk about travel again. Early May is my usual European trip time so it’ll be hard when it comes around this year

Posted by
2761 posts

RS has had the authors of "The Bonjour Effect" on his radio show to support his argument about the need to engage in a little polite chitchat before getting down to business if you want things to go smoothly in France

I have a friend who was in France with his wife a few years ago, and they ran into some traffic issue and he got out of the car to find out what was going on. He approached a police officer and asked a question, but the officer wouldn't answer until they went through all the formalities: Good morning; how are you doing; I'm doing well. Then he answered the questions.

As to the OP's issue. While it might be nice if the person who posted the question eventually came back and said "Thanks," it doesn't particularly bother me (it does bother some people on TA if the OP doesn't say please and thank you right at the start). If the responses to the OP ask for more info and he/she never responds, I wouldn't think that's appropriate in most cases, but I wouldn't get worked up about it.

Posted by
1615 posts

Please, I give up....what does “metic” mean? A foreigner residing in an Ancient Greek city? A typo? It took me a while to decode “netiquette” which I was certain was a typo too. Not too quick on the pickup these days. Maybe Sofa Inertia Tushy Syndrome (SITS) ? Thanks

Posted by
6061 posts

Yes, could the OP please correct the thread title? Thank you!

Posted by
1893 posts

Every 6 months or so, this issue comes up. I did a thread on this very topic about 2 years ago. But the problem is that newbies who come here for their own reasons do not always have the time to return. Possibly they abandon their plans. Possibly they vehemently disagree with the responses but don't want to argue.

On the RS Forum, there are some general tendencies which might drive away newbies:

1) Every time someone posts an ambitious itinerary (10 cities in 10 days), they get the standard "too ambitious" "you'll see a lot of train stations and little else"
2) There is a tendency of responses to follow predictable patterns, clearly visible to long-term forum denizens such as myself.
3) Sometimes the actual question of the posting is ignored in favor of the "forum-standard" response. If someone says "how long does it take to get from Genoa to Rome?", they might get a response of "Only a very foolish person would want to go from Genoa to Rome". This is off-putting.
4) Occasionally we get very grumpy posters who respond grumpily. This is off-putting.

Posted by
5235 posts

And ... the information shared may easily be useful to others who didn't realize there was something to ask. So even if the OP doesn't return , the time taken to reply is not all in vain.
(I must have lurked for months, soaking up suggestions, before I first posted my own questions.)

Posted by
2855 posts

I am totally in agreement with the first part of your response and holding my sides from laughter at the second. Incidentally, my remedy for fighting SITS is walking a mile+ every other day and doing garden work on the off days. It also helps to keep laughing.

Posted by
248 posts

Douglas messed up his own thread, by replying. It would have been hilarious to make the post and then not re-engage.
I always laugh when dialogue turns towards internet etiquette (or is that netiquette). "Honey, what are you posting on that forum? You've been at it for hours". "Hm...yes, I'm trying to fix these folks who don't know how to use the internet correctly, I just can't seem to get through to them".

Posted by
331 posts

Ok the first was a typo, for whatever reason my IPad has a horrible spellcheck that leaves the misspelled words and such behind.

And as for not returning because they are chased away be our responses. I could understand that but you get post one and then folks ask for clarification then a day or sometimes a week later they post a second topic. So they are around they just don’t feel the need to reply.

My contention is that if you have 3 or more posts all posted days or weeks apart and all posted as new topics and you have not responded to anyone asking you questions in your original posts. Then you are not actually participating here. You are basically using this as google search and letting everyone else do your work for you. And at that point you deserve to have folks ignore you...

I am not saying you have to reply to every post or to those that are mean or nasty and I know we sometimes pick on folks or their plans but a lot of time that not the case. You just get folks asking a question then not responding.

Now I will admit that on some forums I have been known to ask a question or start a topic as much to keep the forum active as because I am interested in the topic. That is a habit going back to dial up BBSs because when a forum slowed down to much people would stop checking in and it would often die so you had to keep at least a few new topics going to keep it alive. But that is not really an issue here as this is a very active forum.

So I just have an issue with someone that is obviously still on this (or any) forum as they are posting new topics. But that NEVER bothers to reply to any of the topics they started.