17: Text Enhancements
Style is a personal thing, but there is also a point where style may trespass beyond common Internet courtesy. It is fairly common practice to occasionally use capital letters, boldface, oversize, and colored text (what we are calling enhancements) in place of italics or underlining to briefly convey emphasis or humor, and we think that's fine. What we strongly discourage at C&F is the use of these enhancements well beyond the brief and occasional; all-cap sentences, paragraphs, or posts all show bad etiquette in increasing order of offense because in Internet terms it is the equivalent of shouting. When you think about it, the same measure really applies to the other modes mentioned above as well. With that in mind, in the examples below we may confine ourselve to using caps in conveying the basic idea:
Okay: "Chiffy's advice made a HUGE difference for me, and I think everyone should follow it."
Not okay: "CHIFFY'S ADVICE MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE FOR ME, AND I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD FOLLOW IT."
Now imagine the above in bold, oversize, or multicolored. Yep. Grotesque and repellent to behold, isn't it. The operating principle here is that in posts the regular, unenhanced default font is by and large the best, the most dignified, of unfailing good visual taste, and as such is good for all. Plus the reader is far more likely to take you seriously.
As for colored (and occasionally all-caps) text: the only absolute exception to the above applies to moderatorial announcements. The mods here have traditionally used all-red text in emphasising the official nature of their posts when communicating expressly in a moderatorial capacity. Since the mods have found all-red text to be a useful tool in executing their office, they reserve the use of all-red text done at length for themselves alone. Moderatorial use of all-caps text is rare, and reserved for instances of urgency or particular importance beyond the norm.
Occasional conservative use of red or any other color by the general membership as a highlighting device when quoting others is of course acceptable. On a larger scale, sometimes people will accentuate quoted lyrics or text from another site by coloring it in full; while this is also reasonably acceptable, it still risks being bizarre, so please consider giving preference to other ways such as quotemarks or italics instead. If you still wish to use colored text in such instances, remember to not use red, but instead blue, for example. Coloring, bolding, or other enhancements to the greater or entire body of your own personal text just because you think it will be "more effective" is not considered the same thing, and we strongly discourage it. To an extent this will not apply to signature lines, however.
So this is about the abuse of text enhancements. When we see posts that we feel violate such etiquette issues, the mods are not required to point it out, but may step right in and edit out the offending style in preference for the normal, unenhanced default style. No one likes a shouter.
"Equality implies individuality." - Trey Anastasio
"The reverse does not follow." - Nano