W1001.5 The Community

From Coder Merlin



As in all sciences, communication with other humans is vital. Communication, at its essence, is the exchange of information between people. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, verbal communication is the most important candidate skill:

When asked to assess candidate skills/qualities, employers rated verbal communication skills the most important...
- NACE's Job Outlook 2016 report.

Written communication is no less important. While formal written communication has existed for many centuries, an emergent form of informal written communication has emerged in the age of the internet. Individuals in business, family members, and friends communicate via a variety of forms of "instant messaging". A new jargon has emerged built of initialisms, emojis, and emoticons. How many of the following do you know?

rofl lmk ily yolo smh
g2g nvm btw dm ama
hashtag dm rt ama bump
troll meme facepalm epic fail faq
Pwned lag noob tbh imho
🥺 😂 😒 👍 🌵

There are many different forums in which we'll be required to write and each has its own rules. Realtime communication streams will tend to use many abbreviations and be less formal, while printed communication (in a newspaper or a book for example) will tend to avoid them.

Your invigilator may have prepared one or more electronic communication forums for you to use in your studies. These forums enable you to communicate with your colleagues, peers, and others. Some of the most common include:

A platform for realtime communication and file sharing
A modern forum for civilized discussion
A modern forum for discussion
Text messaging
Generally used for point-to-point, realtime communication
Generally used for distributing text to one or more recipients in an asynchronous fashion
A website that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users

Ground Rules[edit]

Different forums are suitable for different purposes. As you use these various communication mechanisms you'll develop an appreciation for their strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of which forum(s) you use, please keep the following rules in mind:

Civil discourse is engagement in discourse (conversation) intended to enhance understanding.
- Mark Kingwell (1995). A civil tongue: justice, dialogue, and the politics of pluralism.

  • If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.
  • Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Absolutely avoid:
    • Name-calling
    • Ad hominem attacks
  • Provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.
  • If you see a problem, flag it!
  • Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Do not attempt to impersonate another user (visually or textually)

Many of the above are excerpted from the Discourse FAQ. Please read the entire FAQ for more great ideas.


  •  W1001.5  Because there are a wide variety of platforms and choices, please follow the specific instructions provided by your invigilator.

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