If you come into an online community and you feel the need to include something like “if the admins think this is spam, please delete” in a post, you should take this as an indication not to post whatever it is that you are about to post.

Here is what the message conveys: I don’t care to take the time to read the guidelines or ask to be sure, I don’t care if I’m pushing said guidelines and, finally, I don’t care if I take up the time of staff members by potentially making them remove this post. This isn’t exactly the good neighbor impression one might want to make.

What should you do instead? First, check the guidelines or rules for the community. They might be linked in the header or footer or made as a sticky thread in the forums. Generally speaking, if they exist, they probably aren’t too hard to find. Can’t find any? No problem. Most active online communities have someone in charge. Whether it be an administrator or moderator, ask them. Send a message to a moderator or administrator or use the contact form on the site.

This way, you won’t have to assume or guess, you are thought of as a thoughtful, caring person and you are treating the community and it’s staff with the appropriate level of respect. Everyone wins!