vujsa

Get The Most From Your Post Optimizing the number of hosting credits you get.

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I write very large posts here. I usually write very large posts other places I go as well and if anyone has received a PM from me you know I write a lot there too. I have an ability to take the smallest idea and write on and on about it. I'll write about the color, size, texture, weight, taste, and smell of the widget. Maybe I write too much sometimes but I have a lot of credits. Due to the overwelming size of most of my posts, I frequently receive requests from members for pointers on how to increase the size of the member's posts. As a result, I decided to write this little tutorial and get a few credits to share my techniques.

That was what is called an introduction. It is worth about 0.5 credits and is only about 100 words long. :D
The key to writting a good introduction for your post is to either clarify what part of a question you are attempting to answer if replying to a question or providing some background information about the topic you will be writting about.
When you are responding to a question, it is a good idea to identify the part of the question you will be refering to. Most questions will be multipart or may be interpreted more than one way. In order to be clear as to what you are answering, you should state what you interpret the question to be.

For example, examine the poorly written question below.

How can I send a message to my friend?

Well, starting from oldest method to newest we have letter, telegram, fax, email, and text message! Each has its own set of directions needed to complete the task of sending a message to your friend but which method is the inquisitor refering to?

So now lets examine the following poorly written answer to the question.

Type in the information that you want to give to your friend and send the message!

Great, we took a bad question and gave an even worse answer. That answer refers to most methods of sending a message to someone else but gives absolutely no explaination as to how this can be accomplished for any of the message sending methods.

So this would be an opportunity to clarify which part or parts of the question you will answer based on how you interpret it.

If you are posting new information like you would for a new topic or tutorial be sure to give as much information in the introduction as possible. Consider that you want to start a discussion about formatting the hard drive of your computer. You might want to provide a little information about the hardrive, computer, and situation which leads up to the formating.

I ran out of room on my hard drive. It was a 80GB WD800BB 7200RPM hard drive. I bought a new hard drive yesterday which is another 80GB WD800BB drive. I got it installed but t it can't be found. I guessed that the drive needs to be formated but I didn't know how to do that. I looked around on google for a while until I found some information which helped a little but it wasn't exactly what I needed. Here I what I ended up doing to format the drive .....

So that was a pretty good introduction don't you think?
What operating system are we taliking about? The process is completely different between Linux and Windows. Kind of a big deal if you are trying to figure out how to format your hard drive by reading this post right? Turns out I'm talking about a TiVo (Digital Video Recorder) upgrade. I never said that we were working on a computer.
A few lines of computer and operating system specifications would give the reader a better idea of what you are talking about and will provide you with a few mor credits for the post.

This is also true if you are asking a question. If you were asking how to format your new hard drive but didn't tell everyone it was for a TiVo, then you wouldn't get the information you needed since the drive needs to be formated on a PC then installed in the TiVo!

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So now we know how to write a decent introduction to your post for most types of posts made. Lets get into the content portion of of your post.
Sometimes members are so excited about posting there response or new topic that they forget to put something in the post. :unsure:
Usually, the bare minumum number of words needed to complete a sentence is used. Again we use the message example:

How can I send a message to my friend?

Not only is it nearly impossible toanswer this question without writting 1000 words, this post will receive very very very few credits. 0.01 or less credits will be earned for this question. If a staff member ses it first, it will be deleted.
Be sure to ge tthe most out of your content. Give the reader an chance to help you out and both of you a chance to earn a few credits in the process. Be specific about what you are asking but don't make your question so narrow that it can't be answered. This would be a good time to bring up any ideas you have considered trying ar a prefered method of reaching your goal. Here is a rewrtitten version of the same question without an introduction.

I want to send a message to my friend but I don't want to use a plain text email. I know a little PHP and want to send a full HTML email to him so I can add photos to the email. I've tried several times but The email always ends up being plain text. I think it has something to do with the mime type or encoding. I also don't really understand the whole mail() funtion in PHP. Can someone help me write a script that will allow me to send such a message to my friend?

I managed to increase the size of the content part of that post from 9 words to about 75 words. Thats about 8 times as large!

If you are writting a tutorial, then you really need to milk the content section for all it is worth. This should make up at least 70% of your post. So if your intro is 75 words, then your content should be more that 300 words! A lot of people tend to make up most of there tutorial with images or code which earn 0 credits. I you use a lot of images, be sure to give a detail explanation of the photos is showing. If you have a bunch of code, then try to break it down into smaller parts as logic dictates and descript each part. You can have a larger complete coded box at the end of the content if you wish but if you disguss each of the smaller parts in detail then you can write the tutorial like you were writting several smaller tutorials! Not only does this make it easier to increase the size of your post, you will more than likely write a much easier to read and more informative tutorial. To use a very simple examle, here is a basic HTML tutorial:

....First we open the HTML tag like so:

<html>

The first section of any HTML document is the head. The head.....
Here is a simple head section for a web page.
<head>		<title>			Here is my title.		</title>		<meta name="description" content="">		<meta name="keywords" content="">		<meta name="author" content="vujsa">	</head>

You'll notice inside of the head of the document is the title tag. The title tag is.....
Here is a title:
<title>			Here is my title.		</title>

Once you are done with the head of the document, then you can get started with the body:
<body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000" link="#0000ff" vlink="#800080">		Here is my simple content!	</body>
Once we are done with the body, we can close the HTML tag:
</html>

Here is the entire code put together:
<html>	<head>		<title>			Here is my title.		</title>		<meta name="description" content="">		<meta name="keywords" content="">		<meta name="author" content="vujsa">	</head>	<body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000" link="#0000ff" vlink="#800080">		Here is my simple content!	</body></html>
As you can see.......

Now if you elaborated on each of the code snippets shown, you would have quite a post when you get done and the user would be able to see exactly which part of the code you were talking about. Be sure to give all of the information about the topic here. A lot of people tend to leave stuff out that they consider to be common knowledge which may not be the case. Using the HTML example from above, you can't assume that someone interested in a beginner HTML tutorial knows that they can actually use a program as basic and cheep as Notepad to write and save their HTML documnets with.

This same technique is used for basic non-tutorial posts that provide a different kind of information. Imagine that you are writting a topic about someplace that you visited. You have a bunch of pictures to show everyone and you are pretty excited. Give a descript of each picture. What the picture is of, who is in the picture and when the picture was taken. Maybe you have a funny story to go with each photo. That would really boost the content of your post!

Another common informational topic type that tends to lack content is the new release topic. We have a lot of people post new topics when a new game or software title is released. A lot of times the only information we get is basically the same as the title! If this product is a newer version of a current product then what are the differences. Have you tried the new product? What did you like most about the product or what do you think you will like about it. Was there a reason for a new version of the product to be released? Should I get the new product and why? If I have an older version of the product should I keep what I have or get the new version? Answering questions like these before they are asked gives you the credits instead of the person that replies.

-----------------------------------

Finally, you really need to wrap up your post. A summary of what you discussed is the best way. It should be about as big as your introduction. Many times people leave this part out but it should be about 15% of the post so it should add a few point to your credits earned. Here is where you can resolve unfinished issues in your post and try to leave you reader with a chance to reflect on the content. Often times I use this to give the user something to think about beyond the scope of the tutorial if that is what I am writting. I also like to provide a section of further resources in the part of the post. This would include links to other related tutorials or topics that are related. Links to websites that can provide more information on a subject work well here as well. I tend to link to other tutorials that I wrote if they are related and provide either a definition of terms used or a link to a place where the term is defined. If I use a rarely used PHP function in my code, I'll provide a link back to the online manual that further explains the function. This is the perfect place to thank the user for reading the post or thank everyone in advance for any help that may be offered. All of this is relevant information to the post but serves to fill out the body and earn a few more credits.

These are all techniques I use to make the most out of my post but what if you are having trouble coming up with topics or you can't seem to find any topics to reply to? Well, the answer is creative posting. What is creative posting?

Creative posting is a techique I use to post when there seems like nothing to post about. These are question posts written to try and get a new discussion going. A really well written question post will get a lot of replied going and as a result will give you the chance to repond to a reply. I always try to follow up on replies to my topics and replies. This will give you a chance to participate in a dialog. Polls are another good way to start a good discussion. A good poll will attract a lot of participation in the forum allowing you to repond to everyones opinion.
Following up on a post can revive a topic or give it the energy that it needed to get going in the first place. A lot of people ask for help and many people reply but then the topic starter never respondes to those that tried to help. Asking about the status of the situation can prompt the topic started to give a follow up of the problem and thank everyone for their help or request more information. Sometimes an answer was found elsewhere before they checked back here and they didn't use the help which is fine but they could at least tell how they solved their problem aif they were able to.
Remember, you don't have to NOT know the answer in order to ask the question. Maybe you just want to see how someone else deals with a problem that you already solved.

To conclude this article, I have just a few more general suggestions and information.
- Always use real words, proper spelling, and correcct grammar! These are the kinds of things that get posts deleted.
- When in doubt, more information is better than less.
- Content inside of a quote or code tag is not included in the total size of your posts when the credit calculation is performed.
- Images and other media is not considered when calculation credits.
- Very small posts receive a very very very small amount of credits to deter members from posting them.
- - A one line post will get less than half the credits of a two line post.
- - The credit system has been designed to penalize one line spammers by barely giving any credit at all.
- Posting a tutorial in the tutorial sectin will give you a bonus in the credits you receive for that topic. This is for the first post of the topic only.
- Posts can be edited to increase the credits earned if done in a reaonable amount of time. Posts edited to be shorter will take away the number of credits earned.
- - This is to prevent people from dumping a large chunk of trash into the forum to get credits then edit the post to something else that is smaller.
- - The credits will be recalculated after each edit for a post.
- Try to earn at least 1 credit each post. This will reduce the number of posts you'll need to make.

Using these techniques as I have described here can help you increase the number of credits that you earn with each post and as a result will require you to post less often. But remember, you can never have too many credits, you'll always need them and you can bank as many as you like. I currently have 120 credits without this tutorial. I'd have more but I took about 3 months off from the forum. I had 170 before that. I'm not saying that everyone can write large posts like I do but if you just increase you post size a little, you'll notice the difference.

I Hope This Helps Everyone Out! :D

vujsa

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Well vujsa, you have given a good article about how to write a good post in a technical forum. I had the same problem when I was running a play-by-post roleplaying forum. People with Player Characters would just write a line or two about what their Character did and expected the Moderator or the Game Master to spin a great story out of it. They found it hard that roleplaying in forums meant making or weaving a story with a team effort. I could write beautiful posts, both as a Player Character and as a Game Master but I just did not know how I did it. I could not formalize it. Then, I had this friend (online), who too was good with his words. But he was better than me, in terms that he made an artilce similar to what vujsa did here, and explained all nuances of writing a good RPG post in a forum.

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Really great article :unsure: And this definitely should be pinned so as to show newbies how it should be done around here, as well as everywhere else, come to think about it. Every single forum is a place to develop a high-quality discussion. However, this can't be done with posts that are one sentence long.

 

On the other hand, here at Xisto, you just can't write short posts, because it isn't beneficial. Like many others, I started posting short posts, which I was used to, but then slowly switched to longer ones when I found out it was necessary. Now I write long posts everywhere :D

 

Of course, there are times when you just can't fit a long post in a topic - but then it's better not to post at all - it's very probable that you can't identify yourself with the topic.

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I just have a small question.How are the credits calculated ?Does a human being guy read each post and say how much it's worth ?Or is there an automated routine which makes the job ?Then, I'm really curious to know how an automated routine can now whether my first three lines are really an introduction, or are the conclusion of a poorly designed text ?Because you seem to think the same way I do. I think that a logical schema should be :- Introduction.- Explanation- Discussion- Conclusion However, when i was at school, the scientifical people wanted we to write their own way, which was :- Problem stating- Conclusion statement (what has to be demonstrated ?)- Demonstration.- "Quid Erat Demonstrantdum"

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I don't think the script is that complicated. I beleive that the number of credits is based only on the number of characters in your post, without blank spaces. They way I see, it for every letter or some other character, you get 0.001 points :unsure: Vujsa has a 100-word long introduction, and we can say the on average a word has 5 letters. That's 500 characters, which brings us to 0.5 credits :D Of course, this is just a wild guess.

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The system is automated. There is no little guy that sits around waiting for you to post so he can calculate your credits. :unsure:The system reads the posts, ignores all text inside of quote and code tags, then counts the number of words remaining in the post.The number of words is then used in a calculation which determins the number of credits that you get. It is designed to be as fair as possible but still deter one line spammers from gaining much credit. Since very very small posts receive a less than normal amount of credits per word, this leads the spammer to decided, usually, that it is too much work to get hosted here. Sometimes the spammers just make more one line posts to get to 10 or 30 credits for hosting. It actually doesn't work since the staff deletes the posts which deduct more credits than was recieved to begin with.As far as the format of your post, I outlined an introduction, body, and conclusion system since it was the easiest to explain to everyone. The credit system doesn't care what your first three lines are as long as it is not in one of the excluded tags. It is up to the staff to determin if the post is actually written information or just a lot of random text (trash). The three part post works best when trying to enhance a post the only has content because you can add the introduction and conclusion to it to boost the size.I don't have the exact formulas and numbers but here is a very basic explanation of the credit system exagerated:500 words = 5.00 credits;250 words = 2.50 credit;50 words = 0.45 credits;10 words = 0.04 credits;See how very small posts get so much fewer credits.If 500 words = 5.00 credits in the normal forums, then it gets 7.50 credits in the tutorial forum.If you post got 5.00 credits and is deleted by staff, then you lose 7.50 credits.If your 500 word post is edited to 600 words then your credits change from 5.00 to 6.00 credits.If your 500 word post is edited to 250 words then your credits change from 5.00 to 2.50 credits.If your 500 word post is moved from a normal forum to a non-credit forum, then you will lose 5.00 credits.If your 500 word post is moved from the tutorial forum to a non-credit forum, then you will lose 7.50 credits.Like I said, I don't know the exact figures used in the credit system and to make it easier to follow I used round numbers.As you can see, the system is pretty straight forward unless it has to deal with bad posts.I think this is the thirds version of the credit system that has been used here and this one is by far the best. Many of the credit adjustments it performs had to be done manually before this one. I'm glad to see that so many people have enjoyed this article.vujsa

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Yeah.... wow, a long article too heh heh. Very thorough though I have to admit.It certainly looks like all of your'e posts are quite large, unrolling is what I would call it, just explaining a shorter thing in more detail or adding little bits and pieces that are relevant.

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It certainly looks like all of your'e posts are quite large

Roghly, yes. Vujsa seems to say that explaining clearly, using normal english sentences is worth more than using short posts.

Also, seems that if you try to think how to explain things, you will use more words, your posts will be more readable, and you will earn more credits.

Personnally, I like this way of calculating, because it favours people who have something to say, or people who know how to explain.

And vujsa's post explains that there is no miracle, simply a lot of work. Why not ? I still love that !

Edited by yordan

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Although vujsa has made several good points. It is also very important that you do not ramble with your posts. It may get you a lot of credits, but it is more harmful than short posts sometimes. In addition, if the moderators see a post rambling, or off topic, we may edit the post to delete parts or truncate parts. And the credit script has recently been modified so that every edit a post is recalculated for credits, and you usually lose more credits for a deletion edit than the same amount of text earned you in the first place. And as far as how many credits you can earn, there is a cap. Even if you have a 1000000 word post, it may only earn as many credits as a 1000 word post. I beleive that the tutorial forum has a larger cap than the other forums, but I'm not sure. So don't cram everytihng into one post, only relevant material, then wait for questions, or start a new topic specifically about information extraneous but somewhat related to the topic you are replying to.~Viz

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Okay... I get it. This seems to be a pretty exact explaination. I understand the ideas of being very exact when posting, and the whole "the more info, the better" thing. So, I'll try to do just that. Although I don't know about an introduction, a body, and then a conclusion. I guess that would be sensible if you were starting a new thread, but I think I'll just stick with a paragraph or two when I'm responding to one.

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Although I don't know about an introduction, a body, and then a conclusion

It's a way of expressing yourself when you talk to other people.the Introduction is the first part of your topic : 'Hi, Folks, my name is BlahBlah, I would like to talk about Blahblah. At the end of this session, you will be able to .... (wirte down an E-mail, power on a DS Lite, or anything else which is the main subject of your topic).
then comes the main body of your topic, where you explain the thing.
And then come the conclusion, some sentences resuming clearly where we came from and what is the current situation ("Vote for myself !" or "Let's use Linux on Intel Computers",) what about is your subject, but the conclusion is the clear statement of what you think about this subject as expressed by the text body.

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Roghly, yes. Vujsa seems to say that explaining clearly, using normal english sentences is worth more than using short posts.

Also, seems that if you try to think how to explain things, you will use more words, your posts will be more readable, and you will earn more credits.

Personnally, I like this way of calculating, because it favours people who have something to say, or people who know how to explain.

And vujsa's post explains that there is no miracle, simply a lot of work. Why not ? I still love that !

 


Hi all,

this is actually my first post and to be honest the main reason I was in the forum is to get more credits so that I can get free hosting - and for that I need to post. So you can see why the topic that got my attention and my first post was this one - replying to get the most from your post. ;)

 

After reading your analyses, which are both interesting and insightful, I think I may have gotten the hang of it; although I'm still not sure since its my first post and I dont know how much credit it will get me. However, doesn't this encourage redundant, superflous and repetitive writing? This is in my humble opinion only - but I do recall my english teacher telling us that the best way to write an article is to get straight to the point and to cut out the redundant words.

 

Perhaps we could suggest to the adminstrators of the website that there could be some other way to gain credits. Relevance perhaps? I do know, thanks to your enlightening articles, that the posts are read or calculated by mechanical means - meaning that credits are given based on certain criteria. Does this mean that a post which does not make much sense but has all the key words relevant to the post title will get lots of points? I'm just asking - I dont know the answer myself.

 

Perhaps some of the other readers can give suggestions???

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However, doesn't this encourage redundant, superflous and repetitive writing? This is in my humble opinion only

Probably yes. However, I would like to advice you not to do that. The moderators also read your posts, and if they decide that your post is a spam, your credits will be removed. And, who know, you could se removing more credits than the credits obtained by useless and repetitive writings.The aim of this post was different : once you have a brillant idea, if you are answering a question of somebody urgently needing help, your post would be more credits worht if you explain yourself clearly and if you say something useful and interesting.
Just try it, you will see that useful posts give more credits than useless blah-blah.

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