General PM Guidelines
Follow the rules.
Anything that you sending through the PM system should be something that you know wouldn't get you into trouble on the forums (using the forums as IM not included for this case). Attempted rule evasion through use of PMs is taken seriously, and people are punished for it, possibly more severely than for posts on the forums, since many are well aware of the rules being violated.
Send one PM at a time.
Think about what to send. Before clicking the OK button, re-read the PM to make sure that everything to be written was included. Sending multiple PMs at once can be considered spam, and there is a possibility that the receiver deletes all of them without reading any.
Another thing to avoid is sending PMs along the lines of "Did you get my PM?". There are two ways to check that someone has read the PM. On the PM screen where you type in the body of the PM, you'll see "Save a copy to sent folder?" and "Request read receipt." As it says, "Save a copy to sent folder?" will save a copy of the PM you sent to the Sent folder. Return to your Inbox and click on the 'Sent' folder under PM Folders on the left. Clicking any name under the 'To:' field will open a pop up called "Checking PM Read Status." If the PM has been read, a checkbox will appear. If not, the box will remain empty. If the PM has been deleted, "Message has been deleted by recipients, and thus unable to check read status" will show up. "Request read receipt" sends a new PM when the receiver has read the PM. To permanently enable either option, go to the Profile page, scroll down to 'My Preference," and find 'Private Message.' Click the checkboxes to enable the desired options, then scroll down to the bottom and click 'Apply.'
If you see that the person hasn't been active since the time the PM was sent, do NOT send another. If the PM has been read, give the person at least another day to send a reply, since the reply might require more thought than expected. If the PM hasn't been read after three days, try sending one asking about it.
If you're waiting for a reply, make sure that your inbox isn't full and that you have the ability to receive PMs available. It's common sense, really. People who PM others then purposely disable receiving replies can have their PM ability revoked.
Use a specific title.
It should give the receiver a quick idea about what the subject is. "(Insert good title here.)", "problem", "help", "lol", and so on are meaningless titles, since they are too broad or plain spam. Such PMs might not be read until after ones that have a more specific title are. Specific titles also make it easier to remember what the PM was about, especially if there is a delay in response time.
Don't waste someone else's time.
There are many directions to take this. Don't use "cuz," "wut," "iz," and other absurd and often intentional mispellings. "It's faster." is a horrible excuse. People need to spend time to read the PM, don't waste it by making it longer and more painful by doing so. Make the PM concise. Get to the point and make one. There's no need for a page long PM when one sentence will do. Include detail when needed, but avoid repeating something or going on about an unrelated topic. If the PM is long, break it down. In general, something that's over four full lines long can be broken down into smaller paragraphs.
Know when to use the forums, PMs, and IM/IRC.
Quite a bit of this is based on personal preference, but the forums are here for a reason. PMing people about things like how to get potions and other information can easily be found by using the Search feature, checking previous posts and stickies, or simply exploring in the game. If it doesn't directly deal with the person being PMed, it's most likely on the forums or against the rules.
Some people don't mind conversational PMs like "How are you doing?", but that is best kept for IM/IRC, since it does clutter the PM Inbox. I know for a fact that several on the moderating team (and many others) do not like PMs like that, since most are extremely busy with other duties and don't have the time for PMs like that, despite its good intentions, usually. That means that PMs remain "business only". IM/IRC would then be the place for conversations.
To summarize, PMs are best used for issues that are intentionally directed to PMs and/or specific to the person being PMed.
PMing Those in Moderating Groups
Follow what's stated above.
This really doesn't need an explanation.
Don't spam a mod with troublesome threads.
Don't start minimodding by hunting for troublesome threads/sigs daily and individually PMing them to a mod. 25 sig violations in a day isn't helpful. I don't know if people do this to try to become AKs/mods or just help, but overall, it ends up wasting time that could be spent on major issues, since they are tiny infractions. If you happen upon on while browsing, report it, of course. Or, if you do want to hunt down threads, make sure that minor violations are given some time, since they might get dealt with. Also, send all problematic threads in ONE PM. Minor problems should be sent to the mod(s)/AK(s) (sometimes KoO) in charge of that forum.
This follows along with "Don't waste someone else's time.", but it's more mod-specific. We aren't psychic.
Trouble with Another Member
- Include the name. Yes, I'm serious. This is often left out. Make sure that it's spelled correctly too. Including a link to the profile would be nice too.
- What's the conflict? Detail it. What is it over?
- Include a screenshot ( how to thread) of relevant PMs and posts (or link to the thread and include post numbers).
- Have you had any past history with the member (include both positive and negative, if applicable)? Or did the flaming start from out of nowhere?
- First check to make sure that there isn't a sticky in the forum for you to use.
- Make sure that it's something that needs immediate attention. If it's a thread that's too many pages long, it's very minor. It'll be taken care of. Illegal content, profanity, flaming, extreme spam, and so on would be examples of things that should be reported once they're seen.
- PM the proper person. If it's a forum rule violation (likely minor), give the thread some time. If it hasn't been dealt with in about a day, PM someone who mods that forum (head mod, general mod who often vists, AKs). Severe rule violations can be PMed to any active person on the moderating team with moderator access for that forum.
- Include the name(s), link(s) to the thread(s)/post(s)/post number(s).
- Include what's wrong with the thread(s)/post(s). Which rule was violated?
Issues with Post Deletion/Rule Violation
- State which post was deleted and/or which rule was violated.
- Make your claim. Remember to follow the rules.
- "OMG I read all the rules!" won't help the case at all. People who find real issues should be more than capable of handling this on their own.
I think that it should summarize most of what gets dealt with in PM (for PMing people on the moderating team). If you have questions involving it, just post a reply. Do not post about personal preferences. It isn't needed and will clutter up the thread.
~added a how to take screenshots link, could've sworn I had it there before