I suspect most people who communicate online have discovered how easy it is for people to take offence or generally misunderstand your point (largely due lack of body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc.). Therefore it would be helpful to hear how you minimise this? Hopefully sharing ideas will lead to more loving & effective online communication. (It might help our offline communication too).
To kick us off, here are a few things off the top of my head:
– anything that’s ambiguous will usually be taken the wrong way, so take time to proof-read comments. e.g. saying “It sucks when you’re late” will probably be taken as an insult, even if the author intends it as a general statement or statement about him/herself i.e. “Running late sucks” or “It sucks when I’m late” avoids that.
– be careful what level of confidence is in a statement (e.g. “Obviously climate change is happening”, “Climate change is happening”, “I believe climate change is happening”, “I think climate change is happening”, “If climate change is happening then…”). Now I don’t think any of these statements deny climate change is happening, it’s just aiming to be gracious to the person you’re talking to who might hold the opposite view. (I thank Keith DeRose for pointing this out to me)
– sarcasm rarely works online. If using it, I recommend at least adding a
– don’t be embarrassed to use some (although not too many!) emoticons (e.g. :-/ ). I realise some people are such good writers they don’t need to, but I’m not.
– don’t use too many exclamation marks! Ideally only with positive comments, as there’s usually already enough “zap” in negative comments.
– try to be succinct. People will often only read a first & last paragraph & the first sentence of any others.
I ADMIT THAT I DON’T ALWAY FOLLOW MY OWN ADVICE!!