Created By: CAD on October 3, 2009

The Grand List of Forum And Community Laws

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Inspired by The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés and compiled in 2007, The Grand List of Forum Community Laws (Previously titled "The Laws of Forum Psychology and Phenomena") attempts to catalog and explain some of the more notable trends in message board communities, such as the behavior of certain kinds of users, certain kinds of threads, and what to expect if posting certain kinds of posts. Now, perhaps it could come to TV Tropes, so that everybody could add their own. Just for Fun, of course!

The list is far too long to put into a single YKTTW, but I'll post some of the more interesting laws here to see if it garners enough interest.

  • The rules don't have to be true, they just have to sound like they're true, to the point where a lot of people would agree with you. Think along the lines of Graph Jam. You're welcome to pull statistics out of nowhere if they sound right.
  • Try to keep the "rant" threshold down below 20%. Don't post new entries just to vent or to bash people.
  • Try to give your laws clever names, perhaps using naming conventions from the RPG cliche list or trope naming conventions.
    • If you are really proud of your entry and it's a really good one, you can name it after yourself.
  • Have fun. Obviously.

Anyway, here we go...

Notable Excerpts from The Grand List of Forum And Community Laws

  • Theory of Relativity, Forum Version: As the rate at which you check a forum for replies approaches light speed, the rate at which the forum receives new posts approaches zero.
  • The Time Sink Theorem: A forum with an associated chatroom will be less active than it would have been if it had no chatroom.
  • The Law of Diminishing Attention Spans: Typos, grammatical errors, or other syntactical errors in an otherwise well-written post will draw a good deal of attention away from the content of the post, even if the meaning is still clear. Several of these errors may serve to hide the content of the post altogether, prompting readers to point them out instead of responding to the meaning.
  • The Wishing Star Rule: No matter how crazy or stupid-sounding a concept for an upcoming game or movie, there will be at least one person who will claim "this could be really good if done properly."
  • Catchprase Effect: If a thread is created to bring attention to a humorous video or flash animation, at least one of the replies will consist of a quote from the video and nothing else.
  • The Great Law of Amateur Game Development: If a person creates a thread about a game project in order to recruit help or otherwise advertise it, and they haven't started it yet, it will never be finished.
  • Wimp Syndrome: On a board which advocates a specific series of games with multiple difficulty levels, the board's users will not take you seriously if you do not play on the hardest difficulty.
  • The Heartbreak Effect: Users who visit a forum after an extended period of server downtime will be disappointed to find that there are no new posts.
  • CAD's Theorem of Topic Closure: A clear, well thought-out, and well-written post is less likely to receive a reply than a poor post, because it leaves less left to be said.'
  • Blast from the Past Rule: If a user resurrects a very old thread, the post will almost always be devoid of meaningful content.
  • The Field Expert Effect: Separating all or part of the content of a post into a list of bullet points will make the poster feel more important.

If you want to see more, you can check out an older version of the list here. The newest version is not available online... yet.

I was going to just launch the page, but I figured I'd just YKTTW first in case the general consensus was No Just No. So... thoughts?

Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • October 3, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    • If a forum includes at least three self-proclaimed experts on a specific topic, then those experts will be perpetually unable to reach a consensus.
  • October 4, 2009
    • People will ask the questions in the FAQ at least once a week.
  • October 4, 2009
    I think the Wishing Star Rule should be rewritten thusly:

  • October 4, 2009
    • People may read the rules of the first message board they join. They will never read the rules for any other after that.
  • October 4, 2009
    • The importance of a FAQ/forum rules sticky is inversely proportional to how much importance it places upon itself.
      • "General Information Thread":
        • All the answers you seek pertaining to your specific problems in the domain of the forum's topic exactly.
      • "!!! MAIN F.A.Q. AND RULES THREAD! ABSOLUTELY MUST READ THIS before you post (or do ANYTHING else) OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES!!!" (post is linked to from the registration page, the main page, the New Thread page, the Reply To Topic page, and every other sticky at the top of the page):
        • 2 paragraphs of why you absolutely must read the post you have navigated to, accompanied by several quotes pertaining to how many times you should read the FAQ, followed by the 4 lines of the FAQ which are all rephrasings of "Be specific when you ask questions".
  • October 4, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    To add to this rule:

    The Great Law of Amateur Game Development

    If a team project/community project is started by a group of forum members, the chance of said project ever actually being completed falls to the same likelihood of Duke Nukem Forever being released. The sheer level of expectations of said idea, and the sheer production values level will also rise dramatically before it inevitably dies out.

    There will nearly always be a topic based on the idea of a theme park based on the forum theme.

    The more fuss a member makes about leaving a community, the less chance that they will actually ever leave for more than three days. In many cases, said user will return in about a day to argue against ever point ever mentioned in the replies to their leaving announcement
  • October 5, 2009
    Alright, If there are no objections at this point, I'll start working on the page.