Shop Etsy

Forum Decorum: Don’t Be Hatin’

Nov 22, 2007

by Lauren Engelhardt handmade and vintage goods

When I heard I had to write a Forum Decorum article for Thanksgiving, I got pretty upset.  I mean, I was mad!  It’s the holidays!  I wanted to go to the Forums and call some people out.  I wanted to throw such a profanity-laced verbal dagger that Etsy-related blogs would’ve been buzzing about it for weeks afterwards!  Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving thanks and good food, not some @#$#^! Forum Decorum article!

Okay, so the above never really happened. Nevertheless, do you ever find yourself getting that mad on the Forums?  You’re seeing red and your teeth are clenched; you’ve got some angry thoughts in your head that you are all too ready to hammer out with your keyboard.  That little red guy or girl on your shoulder is prodding you with a pitchfork, encouraging you not to hold anything back.  Does that sound familiar to you?  If so, let us be the people dressed in white to offer up some fuzzy-like-a-bunny words of reason: Don’t post mad.

I know, you could be done with that post in 2 minutes, and say what you need to say.  It wouldn’t even be calling out, right?  You’ve just got to hammer it out there, to get it out of your system?  Problem is, when you do that,  you’re much more likely to break one of the forum rules meant to protect other members of the community.  It’s an unfortunate fact that trampling on feelings and anger go together like turkey and stuffing, even if that trampling is unintentional.

Etsy loves to have you share your passion for handmade items (whether you love to make them, love to own them, or both) with us and our community.  We know that passion often spurs amazing things out of all of you creative people; we only ask that when you’re upset and thinking of posting on the Forums…take five.  Go outside and peek at the sky, go badger someone into making you something to eat, or give someone you love a hug.  If you absolutely have to yell it out in text, let us know about it at  Just don’t post mad.  You’ll be glad you didn’t, and we’ll love you even more for it!

In the Forum Decorum series, Lauren (stellaloella) and RobWhite of the Community team explain some of the finer points of cultural etiquette in Etsy’s community spaces. When something is an official site rule, we’ll be sure to link you up to the DOs and DON’Ts or Terms of Use. Simply consider these as tips for avoiding a forum faux pas.

Little Axe Girl - tshirt - Angry girl with pigtails and a hatchet
Little Axe Girl - tshirt - Angry girl with pigtails and a hatchet
Propel Magnet
Propel Magnet
Thanks for Nothing
Thanks for Nothing


  • JustAnotherDay

    JustAnotherDay said 8 years ago

    love the post. great tips, i should print them out and tape it to my computer :)

  • MyFairyBabies

    MyFairyBabies said 8 years ago

    very nice! You never know who is reading, it could cost you a sale. This is a business, treat it as a business and always keep your temper in check and speak respectfully.

  • dmollison

    dmollison said 8 years ago

    I stopped myself twice today. Good to remember.

  • SupernovaDesigns

    SupernovaDesigns said 8 years ago

    backspace is my friend.

  • threemusesart

    threemusesart said 8 years ago

    awesome. thanks, rob!

  • soandsewcrafty

    soandsewcrafty said 8 years ago

    Hopefully things will be better now and everyone can have Happy Holidays!

  • IzabelDesigns

    IzabelDesigns said 8 years ago

    Thanks, rob I always think ¨would I say this to my 4 year old ?¨ And if the answer is no, it's probably better not to write it.

  • iragrant

    iragrant said 8 years ago

    great read, and is very true! You know what? I was laughing to read what you said about how can be 'mad' some people sometimes on the forum:) Self control can be running thin there:)

  • BambooVillagePress

    BambooVillagePress said 8 years ago

    THANK YOU! I am in complete agreement, and actually seek out threads that are more upbeat. It's no fun to read through all those mad posts!

  • vickiorion

    vickiorion said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this article. It never ceases to amaze me how angry people get in the forums. It can get pretty ugly sometimes! Now, how do we get everyone to read this?

  • littlebitsys

    littlebitsys said 8 years ago

    GREAT article, funny related items. I have an even more advanced idea, just stop letting the forums make you mad! Life is too short! I'm off to enjoy my life now and not read the forums today. Thanks admin, you're terrific!

  • althena12

    althena12 said 8 years ago

    Good advice for everyone to remember. Sometimes it is easy to express yourself when you do not see other people's faces. It is important to remember that we all have feelings not just keyboards. lol

  • Timeless

    Timeless said 8 years ago

    I am a moderator for a Dutch forum for the leading organization for people suffering from eating disorders. You'd think that that would be a peaceful place, where people would respect each other and listen to each other's problems. Ohno! You wouldn't believe the cat fights, the threads we have to lock because they go completely out of hand and the hissy fits we get in our in boxes. 'Don't post mad' is one of the things we tell our users too. ;)

  • SparxsDesigns

    SparxsDesigns said 8 years ago

    What I usually do it write it in the comment box but never send it. It helps to get it out but if you dont hurt anyone.

  • PinkPolkaDotPoodle

    PinkPolkaDotPoodle said 8 years ago

    Such sage advice. Get it? Sage? Thanksgiving meal? I crack myself up. It's thymely, too. ;-) Good stuff, RobWhite.

  • karabu

    karabu said 8 years ago

    A few times I've typed in a mini-rant in a heated thread, then hit the refresh button accidentally instead for the spell-check button, thus wiping out my comments. I've learned that most of the time, this is for the best. Now I do a lot of typing, and very little posting. And if I'm starting to get mad - I leave the thread. Reading the last 10 pages isn't going to calm me down.

  • PocoMutts

    PocoMutts said 8 years ago

    Great read! lol. It's like drunk dialing..."Don't Post Mad" should totally be added as a sticky note design element to the top of the forums page. :D Just a creative thought. :P

  • byallisonb

    byallisonb said 8 years ago

    I have a trick I have used for years. When my husband and I were married for a short time our relationship was not the best. When he did something that really made me mad, I went into the living room and raised holy hannah with his chair. I told the chair just what I thought of the poor unsuspection husband. I washed my hands and the fight (that never was) was over. Imagine my MIL surprise when she was staying with us and she caught me yelling at the top of my lungs at that chair. I wish I'd had a camera. Allison

  • ArtdeJoie

    ArtdeJoie said 5 years ago

    This philosophy applies to all electronic communications, actually. That said, I'd prefer to see the forum threads kept open unless there’s an emergency or something. Let the boobs be exposed for who they are if they get worked up and make horse's ass of self. Unfortunately, many times good discussion threads are closed because of one or two participants and their isolated crappy comments. When I’ve been on the receiving end of attempted bullying – normally, I just think the person doing the offending is rather pathetic as opposed to taking the hurtful comments seriously. Although, I am a big girl. :)

  • KathyWilliamson

    KathyWilliamson said 5 years ago

    But you seem to be writing about two different subjects here. Posting profanities and hateful language is not the same as pointing out a seller who is flouting Etsy's own rules by reselling or falsely labeling new items as vintage. I saw a discussion where a seller asked what they could do to get more sales. One responder politely pointed out that the items are reseller, with quite a high markup. The thread was shut down for "calling out". What were they supposed to have done in that instance? There is no recourse because reports are ignored.

  • Gleeza

    Gleeza said 5 years ago

    Threads should not be closed because one person lost their cool posted in an abusive manner. Why not just delete the offending post and let the discussion go on? I'm a moderator on a large forum too and the key is have one set of visible rules and enforce them equally across the board, hostility arises when one is allowed but another person doing the same thing is stopped. Btw I really don't see too much profanity and hateful language here, what I see if valid criticism and points being made but just because someone doesn't personally like that opinion, they cry foul and basically try to force the issue one way or the other.

Sign in to add your own