Forum: Advice / Girls & Guys

Girls & Guys
Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how. (karma: 30)
By Niennamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6776, member since Fri Oct 07, 2005
On Sun Sep 03, 2006 06:47 PM
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2006-09-05 21:27:42

So I've seen it happen that sometimes on the advice boards a story is posted and the advice-givers mention that it's tough to give advice based on the story. I decided to build a little guide to posting a story so that you can give the advice-givers enough to work off so that they can give YOU good advice!

Here's a sample story that I will use as an example in the following tips. I made up this sample and the screenname, so don't get on my case for exploiting anyone.

ddnmember0678 posted this:

Title: HeLp PLZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!

hi ok well i need advice reallllyyyyy bad! my friend, we will call her a, is dating this guy a, bt i really like b 2! well b told me he liked me and he didnt like a but a doesnt no that and i wonder if a will still be my friend if i tell her that b likes me and that we want 2 go out. well the thing is me and a have been friends forever and we want to stay friends but i realllllllyyyyy like b and heis hot and i love him and he loves me i know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch. i have a dog named lacy and she likes b too! can me and a stay friend and am i a bad friend for liking b and letting him leave me flowers and messages and also how can b be my boyfriend do i ask him out or what and how can i b a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to a?! okay thnx bye.

Tip 1: Use proper grammar, capitalization, and spelling. NO NETSPEAK.

It makes it infinitely easier on the reader if proper grammar, capitalization, and spelling are used. DDN has many international members and it makes it easier on THEM as well. Netspeak is plainly against DDN rules and should never be utilized. Improper grammar makes sentences hard to figure out and improper spelling is distracting from the actual story. If you're not sure how a word is spelled, type it into Dictionary.com (www.dictionary.com), and find the proper spelling!

Let's fix ddnmember0678's post by capitalizing all that should be capitalized, fixing her grammar and spelling, and getting rid of all of her netspeak.

Hi ok well I need advice reallllyyyyy bad! My friend, we will call her A, is dating this guy B, but I really like B too! Well B told me he liked me and he didn't like A but A doesn't know that and I wonder if A will still be my friend if I tell her that B likes me and that we want to go out. Well the thing is A and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends but I reallllllyyyyy like B and he is hot and I love him and he loves me I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch. I have a dog named Lacy and she likes B too! Can A and I stay friends and am I a bad friend for liking B and letting him leave me flowers and messages and also how can B be my boyfriend do I ask him out or what and how can I be A good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to A?! Okay thanks bye.

That's already better to read isn't it? Let's move on.

Tip 2: Run on sentences are not your friends.

Just say no to run on sentences. If it seems to be going on for more than a line and a half of DDN post space, consider cutting it shorter, or making it two sentences. Sometimes by the time I get to the end of these run on sentences my brain has forgotton what the subject of the sentence was in the first place. It seems that ddnmember0678 has some run on sentences. Let's shorten them for her and try to fix her overall sentence structure.

Hi! Ok well I need advice reallllyyyyy bad! My friend, we will call her A, is dating this guy B. The problem is I really like B too! Well B told me he liked me and he didn't like A, but A doesn't know that. I wonder if A will still be my friend if I tell her that B likes me and that we want to go out. Well, the thing is A and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends. But I reallllllyyyyyy like B and he is hot and I love him and he loves me! I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch. I have a dog named Lacy and she likes B too! Can A and I stay friends? Am I a bad friend for liking B and letting him leave me flowers and messages? How can B be my boyfriend? Do I ask him out or what? How can I be a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to A?! Okay, thanks bye.

A much easier read, but we're still a few tips away from getting a good story.

Tip 3: Break up your story into paragraphs.

Reading a big block of text is difficult and frustrating, especially online. Make it easier on us by breaking your story up into little paragraphs or blocks, as is suited.

Let's do this to ddnmember0678's post.

Hi! Ok well I need advice reallllyyyyy bad! My friend, we will call her A, is dating this guy B. The problem is I really like B too! Well B told me he liked me and he didn't like A, but A doesn't know that. I wonder if A will still be my friend if I tell her that B likes me and that we want to go out.

Well, the thing is A and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends. But I realllllyyyyy like B and he is hot and I love him and he loves me! I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch. I have a dog named Lacy and she likes B too!

Can A and I stay friends? Am I a bad friend for liking B and letting him leave me flowers and messages? How can B be my boyfriend? Do I ask him out or what? How can I be a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to A?! Okay, thanks bye.


There. Two simple presses of the enter key and it's MUCH more visually pleasing and easy to read. But we're not done yet!

Tip 4: Calm down. It's not that serious.

Exclamation points and words written with tons of extra letters [helpppppppppp, reallllyyyyyyyyy, woooahhhhh] should be used to illustrate certain points, not all the time. Besides, most likely your problem is not that pressing. If it is, let us know by stating in your title that you need to know by such and such time. Uh oh. ddnmember0678 has some of these problems! Let's fix them for her.

Hi! Ok well I need advice really bad! My friend, we will call her A, is dating this guy B. The problem is I really like B too! Well B told me he liked me and he didn't like A, but A doesn't know that. I wonder if A will still be my friend if I tell her that B likes me and that we want to go out.

Well, the thing is A and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends. But I really like B and he is hot and I love him and he loves me! I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch. I have a dog named Lacy and she likes B too.

Can A and I stay friends? Am I a bad friend for liking B and letting him leave me flowers and messages? How can B be my boyfriend? Do I ask him out or what? How can I be a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to A?! Okay, thanks bye.


Ah, that's better. Just a few more tips to go.

Tip 5: Give us a good title.

ddnmember0678's title, HeLp PLZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!, doesn't give us any insight onto her problem. Did she lose her watch? Set herself on fire? Accidentally explode her family's stove? We don't know! A good title gives the potential advice-giver some insight onto what your problem is that you need advice on, and also lets the potential advice-giver decide whether he or she could offer insight or not. Let's give ddnmember0678 a new and better title.

My best friend's boyfriend has a crush on me, and I like him too. What do I do?

Much more informative, eh? We just have a few more things to note.

Tip 6: Have good name usage

I totally understand that you'd like to protect the names of your friends/family/whoever you're talking about in your story, but I myself am not a big fan of using just letters to stand for those people. It's confusing because you don't have any sort of distinction between the letters and it's hard to follow. It's not that hard to make up names for all the people in your story and just state that they're fake names, and it makes the story easier to follow.

ddnmember0678 made another uh oh with the usage of letters as her friend's names.

Hi! Ok well I need advice really bad! My friend, we will call her Amy, is dating this guy we'll call Bill. The problem is I really like Bill too! Well Bill told me he liked me and he didn't like Amy, but Amy doesn't know that. I wonder if Amy will still be my friend if I tell her that Bill likes me and that we want to go out.

Well, the thing is Amy and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends. But I really like Bill and he is hot and I love him and he loves me! I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch. I have a dog named Lacy and she likes Bill too!

Can Amy and I stay friends? Am I a bad friend for liking Bill and letting him leave me flowers and messages? How can Bill be my boyfriend? Do I ask him out or what? How can I be a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to Amy?! Okay, thanks bye.


Better, but not perfect yet!

Tip 7: Consolidate your story. Get rid of excess.

Random information in a post is confusing and irrelevant. If you throw anything of the sort in your post, make sure you connect it to the rest of the story. ddnmember0678 doesn't really need to mention her dog, so let's nip that in the bud.

Hi! Ok well I need advice really bad! My friend, we will call her Amy, is dating this guy we'll call Bill. The problem is I really like Bill too! Well Bill told me he liked me and he didn't like Amy, but Amy doesn't know that. I wonder if Amy will still be my friend if I tell her that Bill likes me and that we want to go out.

Well, the thing is Amy and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends. But I really like Bill and he is hot and I love him and he loves me! I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch.

Can Amy and I stay friends? Am I a bad friend for liking Bill and letting him leave me flowers and messages? How can Bill be my boyfriend? Do I ask him out or what? How can I be a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to Amy?! Okay, thanks bye.


Here's another sample that has random information or an incoherent sequence in it.

I really like Danny but I also like Rick and I think that because they both like to drink and like magaritas that they should like me too but I think margaritas are gross really and I think limes are gross and I have an uncle that made margaritas once and I threw up because they were gross...

Does that make any sense to you? No? Me neither, and I made it up! Make sure that your posts are coherently stated and follow one track of mind. If they switch tracks, try your best to make the transition smooth. Let's move on.

Tip 8: Fill in the blanks.

Things like your age, where you met the people, how long you've known them, and any other extra information of the sort can be REALLY helpful in giving advice. Let's add that information to ddnmember0678's post.

Hi! Ok well I need advice really bad! Just to let you know, I'm 13, and so is Amy. Bill is 14. I've known Amy since I was 8 and we've both known Bill since we were 10. Amy, Bill and I are very good, close friends and we have been since we all met each other. Okay, on with the story.

My friend, we will call her Amy, is dating this guy we'll call Bill. The problem is I really like Bill too! Well Bill told me he liked me and he didn't like Amy, but Amy doesn't know that. I wonder if Amy will still be my friend if I tell her that Bill likes me and that we want to go out.

Well, the thing is Amy and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends. But I really like Bill and he is hot and I love him and he loves me! I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch.

Can Amy and I stay friends? Am I a bad friend for liking Bill and letting him leave me flowers and messages? How can Bill be my boyfriend? Do I ask him out or what? How can I be a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to Amy?! Okay, thanks bye.


The extra information puts a different perspective on the story, eh?

Tip 9: Make sure we know what sort of advice you're asking for.

This is something ddnmember0678 does right! She puts all her questions at the end of the post. It lets the advice-givers know exactly what sort of advice the poster is looking for. Good job ddnmember0678!

Tip 10: Be honest.

Please don't lie to us. We're for the most part well intentioned people who just want to help. Be honest in your story and in all your perspectives. Trust me, we can catch a skewed story like that -finger snap-. You won't get pity if you're blaming everything on everyone but yourself.

Tip 11: Be a gracious advice-reciever.

Please be polite if the advice-givers say things that you don't want to hear. Try to at least give their advice some thoughts. Do you really sound conceited? Are you being selfish? If someone is calling you out on it, it's because they sense some evidence of it, so it bears looking in to. Being honest with yourself and your faults is the only way to make them better. Even if you disagree with the advice-giver, say so in a polite and respectful manner. They took the time to give you their thoughts. Set them straight if you must, but again, do it in a polite way. You'll only come off as immature and annoying if you're rude.

For example ddnmember1111 posted this response to ddnmember0678's thread:

"I think that you need to lay off Bill and be honest with Amy. Amy's your friend and you're basically going behind her back. Tell Amy the truth, hope she forgives you, and then lay off the boyfriends for awhile. You're only 13, there's so much more you could be doing that's appropriate for your age."

ddnmember0678 could respond like this:

"well 13 is not that young and besides amy isn't always a good friend sometimes she's really mean and i think i deserve bill more than she does and you don't even know me we're 13 but we're mature and im not going behind her back because bill is too and..."

This would NOT be a good response. ddnmember0678 is sounding very rude and immature. She's also breaking all the grammar and structure rules. Bad ddnmember0678! This is a better response.

"Well, I know that 13 is young, but a lot of our friends have boyfriends too. It's not really that serious anyway. But Amy is my friend and I love her, so I guess she should know the truth, even though it's hard. Thanks ddnmember1111."

Much nicer. ddnmember0678 doesn't quite agree with ddnmember1111, but she's saying it in a polite manner.

Tip 12: Use your common sense.

Be mature. Give DDN a post they WANT to give advice on. Be courteous. Give the whole story. Consider your perspectives.

If it's a post that asks for information on something, google it first. You might find your information through there, and if you don't or have a question about it, you can ask DDN. But if you're asking "What is a cat's whiskers called?", most likely someone would point you towards google.

Okay so what have we learned? Let's recap the 12 tips:

Tip 1: Use proper grammar, capitalization, and spelling. NO NETSPEAK.
Tip 2: Run on sentences are not your friends.
Tip 3: Break up your story into paragraphs.
Tip 4: Calm down. It's not that serious.
Tip 5: Give us a good title.
Tip 6: Have good name usage.
Tip 7: Consolidate your story. Get rid of excess.
Tip 8: Fill in the blanks.
Tip 9: Make sure we know what sort of advice you're asking for.
Tip 10: Be honest.
Tip 11: Be a gracious advice-reciever.
Tip 12: Use your common sense.

Let's see how far ddnmember0678 has come with the usage of the tips. Her original post:

hi ok well i need advice reallllyyyyy bad! my friend, we will call her a, is dating this guy a, bt i really like b 2! well b told me he liked me and he didnt like a but a doesnt no that and i wonder if a will still be my friend if i tell her that b likes me and that we want 2 go out. well the thing is me and a have been friends forever and we want to stay friends but i realllllllyyyyy like b and heis hot and i love him and he loves me i know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch. i have a dog named lacy and she likes b too! can me and a stay friend and am i a bad friend for liking b and letting him leave me flowers and messages and also how can b be my boyfriend do i ask him out or what and how can i b a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to a?! okay thnx bye.

And after the tips:

Hi! Ok well I need advice really bad! Just to let you know, I'm 13, and so is Amy. Bill is 14. I've known Amy since I was 8 and we've both known Bill since we were 10. Amy, Bill and I are very good, close friends and we have been since we all met each other. Okay, on with the story.

My friend, we will call her Amy, is dating this guy we'll call Bill. The problem is I really like Bill too! Well Bill told me he liked me and he didn't like Amy, but Amy doesn't know that. I wonder if Amy will still be my friend if I tell her that Bill likes me and that we want to go out.

Well, the thing is Amy and I have been friends forever and we want to stay friends. But I really like Bill and he is hot and I love him and he loves me! I know he does because he told me and he even left me a flower on my porch.

Can Amy and I stay friends? Am I a bad friend for liking Bill and letting him leave me flowers and messages? How can Bill be my boyfriend? Do I ask him out or what? How can I be a good girlfriend to him and stay a friend to Amy?! Okay, thanks bye.


Wow! Those little tweaks make a WORLD of difference. ddnmember0678 is now ready to recieve good, thought out advice.

I hope you all enjoy this guide and I hope it gets utilized for all the time I spent on it lol! Have a nice day!

10 Replies to Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.

re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By RingingPhonePremium member Comments: 3509, member since Thu Nov 10, 2005
On Sun Sep 03, 2006 09:18 PM
Yay! Excellent work, Nienna. Let's hope people will read this though.
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By Niennamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6776, member since Fri Oct 07, 2005
On Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:19 AM
I hope so too. It's just so HARD to give advice when the story is like ddnmember0678's originally was.
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By RingingPhonePremium member Comments: 3509, member since Thu Nov 10, 2005
On Mon Sep 04, 2006 02:19 PM
^Yup. I don't even bother reading a post if it looks like that. Takes too long to interpret!
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By tinydancer2009 Comments: 115, member since Sat Feb 11, 2006
On Tue Sep 05, 2006 04:19 PM
That is an awesome post. There are a lot of them like that out there. They are hard to read, and if I do read and comment on them, I would let the person know that it is hard to read, and if they really want advice, to ask for it clearly. Thanks for the post!!!
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By Jennamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3017, member since Thu Feb 27, 2003
On Tue Sep 05, 2006 06:10 PM
Edited by JennaNenna (58119) on 2006-09-05 18:10:48
Great post! I think people will find it very helpful, you have a lot of awesome points there and your examples are great :)

With the really long posts all in one paragraph, perhaps even one sentence, I tend to get frusturated and give up. Its hard on the old eye balls ;) It makes it so much better to break it up into smaller paragraphs.

Its awesome you took so much time and effort to make this post - definate karma for you!
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By Piccolamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2910, member since Mon Jun 05, 2006
On Tue Sep 05, 2006 08:27 PM
This definatly should be a sticky!!! Great post I think you covered everything necesary for a good post!!

Great Job!
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By SilverBellamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2198, member since Sun Apr 09, 2006
On Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:01 PM
Wow . It is amazing the difference that's made with just a few tweaks. I broke qutie a few of those rules a minute ago, but it was only a vent. I'm looking for no advice nor am i even expecting anyone to read it ha ha
Anyways, great job. I'm giving you karma.

~ Snackle
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By Armwarmermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3108, member since Fri May 20, 2005
On Wed Sep 13, 2006 07:00 PM
Great thread! I wish I had thought of it first but I think you did a better job than I would have done. I'll give you karma tomorrow when it gets replenished :)

I myself try to follow the general good rules of grammar and coherence, but it was a good reminder, because I don't use all of those. I'll keep them in mind next time I have a question/vent! Thanks!

Ashley
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Wed Sep 20, 2006 04:55 PM
Hey, Nienna! I just noticed this was made a sticky. Congratulations!!
re: Want advice? Give us a good story! Here's a guide as to how.
By DanielleBabes Comments: 222, member since Sat Mar 14, 2009
On Wed Oct 21, 2009 09:10 AM
GREAT POST! :)

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