Writing *nice* trade rules

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This guide was originally written by Memories

These days, it seems like everyone here thinks rules have to be mean. They don't! You'll get a lot more trades with a set of nice ones than you will with mean ones. The same goes for auction rules.

Below are examples of mean trade rules and ways to rephrase them so that they sound nice rather than chase people away.

Mean trade rules, and how to fix them

Example One

DO NOT SEND ME BLANK TRADES! THEY WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY CANCELLED!
First of all, never ever put a rule entirely in caps. It's irritating and chases people away. What if that person wants to send you a blank trade because they have no idea what you want? Maybe they don't have any pets on your wishlist! Some people even put that rule when they have no wishlist.

Below is a compromise to this rule:
Sorry, but I don't really have time to search through your pets for editing trades, so rather then just sending me a blank trade maybe you could just PM me asking what I might want for the pet?

Example two

If you offer any commons on this auction, you will be banned from the auction!!!!!!!!!
Cut down on the exclamation points! Never over-use exclamation points in rules, or you will chase people away. And you shouldn't ban people for what they offer, it just cuts down on how many offers you get.

Here's a way to nicely ask them not to offer commons.
Please don't offer commons - it won't really add to your offer any. Thank you!

Optional: You can add something in there nicely saying that you will not add offers to the auction list if they contain too many commons.

Example three

If you withdraw your bid from this auction, you will be blacklisted.
Some people need to be able to withdraw. It's their bid anyway, and if you want their bid so badly, then you should have accepted it while they were still offering it.

No replacement rule for this one.

Example four

Anyone who sends me a trade offer with pets that aren't on my wishlist will be put on foe!!
You are depriving yourself of a lot of good deals and trades by the above rule, and you are also chasing away trading partners. Even if you aren't interested in collecting pets not on your wishlist, you can still get good trading fodder. It's better not to include this rule in the first place.

Now, if your wishlist includes all the pets you don't own yet and you really would prefer they just stick to your wishlist, you can put something like this:
Hey, it would be appreciated if you would try to stick to my wishlist when sending trades. I will look at trades that do not have my wishlist pets on them, but I really am more likely to consider pets that are on my wishlist.

Example five

Anyone who sends a trade for an auction pet WILL BE BLACKLISTED!
Leave off the caps please. If you want to emphasize something, use italics or bold. And you shouldn't be blacklisting them for something such as them sending you a trade offer. What if they didn't know you were auctioning the pet? Perhaps they'd never even seen the auction thread but saw the pet in a trade group? Or maybe they want their bid to be anonymous so they sent it through a trade? Anyway, it really isn't cause to blacklist them.

If they send you a trade offer, just cancel and give them a link to the auction in the message and nicely ask them to post their offer there.
Please post your auction offers here rather than send trades.

Example six

Don't be rude if you want your trade accepted
The reason I say not to have this rule in there is because you are stating the obvious. All people know that they shouldn't be rude if they want their trade accepted, and having a rule there will not stop them from being rude.

Some people even state the "no rudeness" rule in a very rude way that makes it obvious they don't follow their own rules. Don't be one of those people.

It is better to avoid this rule rather than state the obvious. Also avoid other obvious rules that makes it sound like you think they're an idiot.

Example seven

You will be foe'd if you offer on my favorites!!
If you don't want them offering on your favorites, then lock your favorites group. If your favorites group is unlocked people will offer on it regardless of whether you have a rule saying not to. So just lock the group, and don't add a rule about it.

General trade rule tips

  • NEVER PUT ANYTHING IN ALL CAPS LIKE THIS! DOESN'T THIS SOUND MEAN AND ANNOYING?
  • To emphasize something, put it in bold or italics. And make sure it's emphasized in a nice way.
  • Don't threaten to foe or blacklist people in your rules. That is definitely going to chase people away.
  • Don't yell at people or be rude to them if they don't obey your rules. Maybe it was an accident, and even if it was on purpose, yelling at them certainly won't help any.
  • Try not to use very many negative words in rules. (e.g. not, never, none)
  • Use a lot of "Please" and "Thank You".
  • The shorter the sentences and the shorter the rules, the better.
  • Rather than calling them rules, try calling them "Guidelines".
  • Smiley faces are always helpful, as are promises to give them free invisible chocolate chip cookies if they obey your rules.
  • Don't treat your rule-readers like they are stupid - even if they are newbies and unfamiliar to the game, they will still not appreciate being treated like a three-year-old. Avoid words like "Obviously" and "Duh".
  • Don't add overly obvious rules to your rule-list.
  • Keep it short. Avoid big fonts and long lists. They're more likely to read the rules if they look short. The less rules you have, the more likely they will be read and remembered.

If possible, don't have any rules

Why? Because everyone does, and just about everyone out there with a rules list states the exact same thing you'd state in your rules anyway. Seriously, go and start reading through all the different rules lists. Most likely you won't even need to read the rules list to guess what's on it, because everyone says the same thing.

So when you're putting together your rules list, try this: Only put on any rules that are specific to you only.

Everyone has a rule about not being rude and not begging and not offering a common for a rare. The people trading with you will have read those rules a thousand times. And if they decide to be rude or to beg or to offer a common for a rare even when you don't want them to, they're going to do it anyway. It won't stop them. The good people will already know all the typical rules and follow them. The bad people will already know all the typical rules and not follow them anyway. You restating all the typical rules isn't going to change that.

So just stick to the important rules that are specific to you rather than waste time restating everything. Remember, the shorter the rules, the more likely they are to be read.

Key Tip To Remember: Rules do not need to be mean! Try your hardest to make them sound nice and you'll get more trades.

Last but never least

Say thank you! At the end of your rules list, always include a thank you message. It gives a lot nicer feel to the entire rules list and makes people want to trade with you! If you can, also include something funny in the list. Like make the last rule "Evil Flying Porcupines are not allowed in the trade section!" Or something random like that.