Creating the perfect trade rules

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This guide was originally written by Megannator

After chatting with many members in the Trade Rant thread, I noticed that people are coming across annoying or confusing trade rules that only seem to chase them away rather than lure them in. Therefore, I have decided to make a complete guide to creating the perfect trade rules.

Note: Please do not get this guide confused with Guide to *Nice* Trade Rules. My guide will go over the in-depth ways of creating and formatting your trade rules, while her guide went over the general annoyances with trading.

Getting Started

To create your trade rules, simply go to "Trades", then "Trade Settings", or click on this link: Trade Settings

You will notice a box, with the text above it stating "Message to show people when they go to send you a trade." This is where you will type all of your trade rules.

What Should I Put in My Trade Rules?

You are allowed the freedom to choose what you want to put in your Trade Rules, however, guidelines should be followed to keep your rules neat, organized, and visually appealing.

The goal here is to keep your rules short, sweet, and to the point.

Things to Include:

Requests of Courtesy
This is to kindly remind the trader to respect you and the site rules. You can type things as "Please write a message with your trade." or "Please follow all normal site rules"
Basic Rules
These rules should be simple and short guidelines for trading "normal" pets.
Special Pets Rules
These rules can regard rare and very rare pets that you might be more particular to trade.
Gentle Warnings
If you have pet peeves or recurring issues, you can write these in your Trade Rules too. Remember: Do NOT be harsh! If you sound like a vicious beast waiting to bite someone's head off at the slightest wrong move, you will not get trades- especially trades from the good and experienced traders that do not want to deal with rude traders.
Wishlist
Have a section in your Trade Rules about what you want! You can include the link to your wishlist, and have bulleted information about what you are looking for, what you do not want to see in a trade, etc.
ONE Picture
A large problem in visual appeal is when a member clutters their Trade Rules with far too many pet images or out-of-site images. I would limit yourself to just one picture. It adds a bit of color to the Rules, but doesn't take away from the meaning. You can have an "introduction pet" or a picture of your one dream pet/most wanted pet. This also goes for your hoards. Do not have 20 pictures of every single pet you hoard. You can make one, clean, and appealing banner, or provide links to your hoards.

Example: (My Trading Rules)
Megannatortraderules.png

Things to NOT Include:

Codewords
Codewords are pointless. They are usually just very annoying to the trader attempting to trade with you. You should know what rules you wrote, and therefore, easily recognize a broken rule.
A Long List of Rants/Hates
No one wants to read your trading woes, especially if they take up more than half of your rules!
Too Many Pictures
Explained above
Blacklists
Trade blacklists are banned by site rules. If you don't want someone to send you trades, just click the "block player" button to add them to your foe list.
Pointless/Extreme Rules
Yes, there are some rules out there that either A) Make no sense or B) Are so bizarre that even good traders mistakenly break them. Please be careful with the point and purpose of your trade rules.
Threats to FOE People
This is a HUGE don't! These type threats will make you seem like a rude, unforgiving person. Never say "If you offer on {name of certain pet} you will be foed!". Instead, put your non trading pets in a separate group, then lock the group.
"Cutesy Stories"
You walk into an air conditioned building to find this lovely dog sitting at a desk.... *Buzzer Sound* No! There are many places on CS that allow you to be creative and write stories, but the Trade Rules section is not one of those places. Remember, you are not trying to fill the page up with useless information. Less is Best, always remember that.

Formatting my Trade Rules

This is where you can be fun, creative, and make your rules completely unique—but be warned, going overboard will produce the opposite effect.

BBCode is a formatting coding which allows you to organize your Trade Rules easily! Follow this link to view CS's own BBCode page, or simply read some of the more popular ones listed here:

[center] [/center]
Centers wording
[b] [/b]
Bolds the lettering
[i] [/i]
Italicizes the lettering
[size= ] [/size]
Enlarges or shrinks the font. Place a number after the "=" sign. Good sizes: 150, 125, 100, 95
[color= ] [/color]
Changes the color of your font. Place the #------ code of the color after the "=" sign.

Formatting Do's:

Center Title Information
This should be your title and welcoming information.
Bold and Enlarge Titles and Subtitles
This keeps your separate sections easily defined. I would use the largest font for the title, and a slightly smaller font for subtitles. Continue to make the font smaller as you get into the lengthy part of your rules.
Bullet Pieces of Information
Bulleting makes reading your rules easier on the eyes.
Double Space Between Items
This also relieves stress on the readers' eyes.
Triple-Quadruple Space Between Different Sections
Also defines the different sections.
Use Only TWO Different Colors
Choose a color scheme, and keep it consistent. Also, keep the colors in a darker hue.
Organize!
Put your items in a proper order that flows nicely.
Bold and/or Italicize Important words or phrases
This is a nicer, more appealing way to emphasize (compared to capitalizing words)
Remember to keep your Trade Rules SHORT!
If you cannot fit your entire Trade Rules section on the screen (meaning you have to scroll down to see the rest of it) your rules are TOO LONG.

Formatting Don'ts:

Do NOT Use Neon Font Colors
Bright colors are almost unreadable, and traders may painfully strain their eyes to read your text. If you fail to follow this, do not be surprised if a trader skips any/all rules written too brightly. Use duller and darker colors. (You can still use fun duller/darker colors though!)
Do NOT Use All Capitalized Letters
This is one particularly annoying, yet common occurrence. Remember to use bold or italics instead. One single word in all caps is ok.
Do NOT Use a Font Size too Large or too Small
Except for a title, never use a font size over 150, and never use a font size under 85. Too large is annoying, and too small can strain the readers' eyes.
Do NOT Group Information in a Tightly Packed Paragraph
Remember to use your bullets! Large paragraphs scare traders away. Bullets make the information reader friendly. (Especially for reading impaired members!)
Do NOT Use Chatspeak
Chatspeak is annoying and is a large indicator towards immaturity and a lack of respect to other members. Many experienced traders will automatically cancel trades in which the trade requester wrote a message with poor grammar, spelling, or laziness.

Proper grammar includes: Using correct capitalization (Uppercase at beginning of sentences, don't do tHiS) and punctuation.

Be intelligent. Don't Chatspeak!