Lurk (i.e. anonymously observe) before you leap! When you jump into a forum, do not post any comments right away. Try to read and catch up with what is going on and observe what people are saying. After you feel comfortable and think you are ready to add useful information/comments to the conversation, please do so.
If you are looking for particular information (e.g. information on an assignment), you may find it has already been posted on the relevant forum so have a look through the recent topic titles. You may find your question/information has already recently been answered/posted.
Consider using the forum search facility. Also consider the date of which the topic or post was posted, is it still relevant.
Keep to the topic of the thread. If you want to raise a new issue then consider whether starting a new topic is more appropriate.
Sometimes people can write something that you may find offensive. Before launching into a public condemnation though, please consider that the person may not have intended to cause offence. It is very easy to misinterpret a post on forums. There is absolutely no need to resort to insults. Respect others' views even if you disagree with them.
After very careful consideration, you may offer a friendly and general reminder that all online communication should be respectful towards others. This should be done in the spirit of offering support and maintaining openness and respect for others.
Do not use these forums for personal disputes, heated debates, flame wars, etc. You are expected to treat each other with respect and keep any personal disputes off the forums.
If you find that your discussion is becoming too heated or someone is becoming far too passionate about their argument, you could consider taking the discussion to private message or email. However, netiquette rules and respect for others apply in those situations too.
Personal topics are threads that, whilst posted in public forum, are intended for a discussion between only a few members. These kinds of topics are not acceptable and will be locked/removed as soon as they are discovered. Public posts should be open and inviting to all members.
Never disclose any information or personal details on the forum or in any online communication that you are not happy to share with the public.
Advertising is not allowed. Posts that are off topic may be deleted.
Links to relevant sources are encouraged. For example, when posting about an event in the news you may include the link to the news site you found the information. Links that are off topic may be deleted and links to sites of an inappropriate nature will be deleted.
Remember that any links and attachments must be displayed using correct referencing to show where the information comes from.