How to Write Discussion Board Replies

Discussion boards are an integral part of your online class experience. They help you collaborate with other students, share ideas, and learn from each other’s perspectives. While it’s tempting just to hit “reply” and type a response on your keyboard without thinking about what you’re saying, taking time to write thoughtful replies that will make the conversation more productive and exciting for everyone involved is a must-do.

And to help you master this art, here is a detailed guide that will make you a pro.

Respond Promptly

When you reply to a post, it’s essential to respond promptly. If you’re new to the discussion board, try responding within 24 hours of the original post. With more experience, you will probably be able to handle responses in a shorter time frame.

However, there are indeed times when you may not be able to get back quickly. If you can’t respond within a few days, it’s better to write something, even if it’s only a short note than no response.

Also see: How to write a discussion post in APA

It’s also important not to overreact and to take a step back before responding. However, this doesn’t mean you should wait days or weeks before posting your reply. If the discussion has already progressed some distance from the original post, you might even want to post a comment saying, “I’ve been away for a few days and just saw this thread. Sorry for the delay in replying.”

This way, people know they don’t have to read through all previous messages before understanding your point of view.

Be Concise

When writing your reply, keep it as short as possible while still making sure that it makes sense and covers all of the points raised by other contributors. If someone asks a question or raises an issue that you’d like to address in your response, make sure that it’s clear what they’re referring to before answering their question/point directly.

Otherwise, there could be confusion between different parts of their message. Again, if there are several questions/points raised by other contributors that relate closely and could be handled in one response, try doing this instead of addressing each question separately.

Express Yourself Clearly

When writing a reply to a discussion board post, it should be clear and concise. Also, you should state your point of view on the subject matter being discussed in the forum.

Some tips to achieve this include;

  • Use short sentences. Use simple words and phrases instead of complicated ones. Also, use direct language that is easy for others to understand. Avoid using long sentences, as they might confuse others who are reading your posts or those who are replying.

  • Write what’s relevant and vital. At first, provide relevant information, then elaborate on it later if necessary by giving additional details later in the post or during a reply writing process.
  • Always ensure that you’re sticking to one idea per paragraph and that each section has one main idea that is easy for everyone to understand.

Ask Questions to Further the Conversation

Asking questions is the most effective way to keep the conversation going and learn more about it. You might not know much about the topic at first, but by asking questions, you can learn more about it and your classmates.

For example, if you want someone’s opinion on whether or not they think gaming addiction should be treated in rehab centers, then ask them why they think this could or could not help treat addiction. You can also ask them what they feel about specific treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

In addition, try asking some open-ended questions regarding the topic. For example, if the discussion is about video games and society, you can ask,  “How do you think video games affect our society?” or “What are some of the problems with video games?”

Be Respectful

When writing a reply, you must respect your peers and solely discuss the subject matter. This means avoiding passive-aggressive comments and not making assumptions about others’ intentions. It also means using proper spelling and grammar and avoiding slang and humor, which may seem funny to you but can make people feel alienated or uncomfortable.

Some tips for implementing here are;

  • Avoiding personal attacks

Personal attacks are often disguised as jokes or sarcasm but have the effect of making someone feel belittled. Instead of making fun of someone’s ideas or arguments, even if they are poorly thought out, simply restate your point in a way that does not attack their personhood.

For example: “I disagree with [Person A] because I think they did not consider [point A, B, C].” This is far more respectful than saying, “You’re dumb or stupid.”

  • Avoid sarcasm and humor

Unless the discussion borders on the use of language styles in writing, you should avoid sarcasm. However, you can use it if it furthers and adds value to the discussion without demeaning others.

Generally, sarcasm and humor are great in small doses, but they can be overused and become annoying. The two always have a connotation of insult, pride, and irony which is the complete opposite of these discussion objectives.

Therefore, avoiding sarcasm and humor when writing your discussion board replies will help you get across your point without offending anyone else in the group discussions. You aim to contribute positively to the group discussions and not cause conflicts between other members by using inappropriate language.

Edit and proof your response before hitting send

Once you’ve completed your post, it’s time to check it over. Take a few moments and get it in the best shape possible before sending it off into the world. Here are some tips for a final proofread.

  • Read it out loud. When you read what you’ve written aloud, you’ll be able to hear any problems with flow or logic. You may also notice that certain words or phrases sound unnatural or awkward when spoken aloud. You can quickly fix these problems by reading aloud by changing the phrasing or word choice.
  • Get another pair of eyes. Alternatively, you can ask someone else to read through your post before submitting it. It’s much easier to find mistakes when someone else reads what you wrote than when you try to spot them yourself.


Writing thoughtful responses is a great way to start and keep a conversation. It also helps you learn more about what your classmates are thinking. The last thing you want is for someone else’s ideas to go unanswered because they weren’t interesting enough or didn’t express themselves well enough.

So take some time and write responses that show how smart you are.