Tip #1: Be self assured. If people questioning your point of view frightens or upsets you
, then you’re probably not ready to participate in an open membership (and especially anonymous) online community. Just keep in mind that you have your points, and whether someone agrees with you or not is simply not important.
Tip #2: Online is not Offline. What someone says online is likely not what someone would have said offline. If you find yourself thinking something along the lines of “I dare you to come down here and say that to my face.” You obviously need to remember that online bullies are a lot like the bullies that you faced in third grade. They talk a big game, but in the grand scheme of things they just arent that important.
Tip #3: Patience. Not everybody is sitting at their PC’s hitting refresh waiting for you to have said something to which they can reply. Give it some time. This obviously changes somewhat depending on the medium… IRC might be a one to fifteen minute delay, where a message forum could be a day, and a mailing list might take several days.
Tip #4: Dont beat a dead horse. This is the tip that I’m, personally, most guilty of infringing upon. Whether people agree with you or not… once you have your opinion out it’s really not worth repeating it over and over and over and over and over… especially in the same threads of conversation. Now if you’re actively engaging in a debate this is less important than when answering a question. But even when debating you should always attempt to spin the same facts in different lights if you *have* to reiterate them.
Tip #5: Put on your fire suite. This tip is an extension or melding of tips 1 and 2. You really have to remember that this stuff is not life or death… It simply doesnt matter. Really. It doesnt. People are eventually going to disagree with you, and thats OK. People are eventually going to berate you, chastize you, mock you, put you down, and generally act like asshats. Let them. At the end of the day they just dont matter!
Tip #6: You dont have to. You are not required to do anything you dont want to. If you find yourself answering the same qquestion again and again… and its making you angry. stop. It’s really simple. Someone else will fill in (or not) but no matter how much you feel that it is… it *isnt* specifically your responsibility. And if you just cant help yourself then write up a FAQ, and simply point to it, then leave it at that. It’s a lot better than blowing a gasket after answering the same “newbie” question 1,500 times in a row.