How to sign a guestbook

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Many web sites and personal home pages provide a guestbook so that visitors may record their comments. The guestbooks invariably have two parts:

View Guestbook
Sign Guestbook

If you click on "View Guestbook", the guestbook will open up and you will be able to see what other visitors have written. Feel free to view the guestbook first to have a general idea about what kind of comments the site has received from other visitors. Then if you feel like, click on "Sign Guestbook". (To click on "Sign Guestbook", you have to either hit the Back button of your browser while on "View Guestbook" page, or you have to close the "View Guestbook" page. Sometimes you will find a link for signing the guestbook in the same window while you are viewing a guestbook - it usually says, "Sign this guestbook").

When you click on "Sign Guestbook", a form will open up and you just have to fill out that form with your name, location, comments etc. Remember, to begin you have to bring your mouse pointer to the first point on the form where you have to type (usually your name), and click once. You will notice a cursor has started blinking there. Now you can start typing. Unless you click at a point on the form first and see the blinking cursor, you cannot type. Now to move to other fields of the form (such as your location, comments etc.) you can just use the tab key to bring the cursor to the next box and then type. You can also use the mouse pointer to bring the cursor to the next box, but using the tab key is much easier. When finished, most guestbooks will give you an opportunity to preview your entry before finalizing it by providing either a "Preview" or "Continue" button. Click on it once. You will come to a new page where you can see how your entry looks. If you are satisfied, click on the "Submit" or "Send" button. Otherwise hit the Back button of your browser to go back to the form you filled out and do your editing there, and then either click "Preview" again or click "Submit". Remember, once you finally submit your entry, you cannot edit it anymore. The guestbook owner or the site owner can generally edit or delete any entry. Some guestbooks unfortunately do not provide any previewing opportunity. They only give you a "Send" or "Submit" button. In such cases review your entry thoroughly before submitting. When submitting, click on the "Submit" or "Send" button only once. Otherwise you will end up making duplicate entries.

I would like to discuss a few points here:

If you use common sense, signing guestbooks will not expose you to any kind of danger, including danger of getting spam e-mail (i.e., unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail).

Do not divulge specific information about yourself, such as your full name, exact address, age, sex etc. But please write at least your first name and name of the town you live in including the name of the country.

You do not have to fill out all the lines in the guestbook. If you are not comfortable with divulging any information sought (including your e-mail), leave that line blank. If a guestbook says giving your e-mail address is mandatory, just walk out. Do not sign that guestbook.

Your Web site's URL and your e-mail address, these two things usually appear as hyperlinks in the guestbook. If you want to give your e-mail address or if you have a Web site and want to mention its URL, by all means fill out the boxes asking for these informations. If these questions do not apply to you or you don't want to answer them for whatever reason, just leave these boxes blank. Do not write things like Sorry, None, No Web site, or Coming soon in these boxes as they will appear as hyperlinks (usually in blue) in the guestbook, and if somebody clicks on them they will get a "Page not found" message. Also, if you do give your URL or e-mail, make sure you type them accurately. Else people will get the same "Page not found" message or if they send you an e-mail, that will be returned to the sender and you will never receive it!

Commercial sites usually try to gather information from their prospective customers to bombard them with their ads in spam e-mail. Think twice before signing a guestbook on any commercial site.

Express your genuine opinion about a site in the guestbook. If you liked the site, say so. If you did not like something about a site, say that too. That is the real purpose of a guestbook.

Some Webmasters work really hard to make a good Web site. While visiting the site, if you feel the Webmaster's extra ordinary efforts to produce the site, you should reward him by signing the guestbook. That will motivate him to do even better in the future.

Watch your language, grammar, spelling, typos etc. in the entry you are making. Remember, others will see your entry and will form an opinion about yourself.

Never use bad language or swear words in a guestbook.

Some guestbooks give you an option of making your entry a private one. This means only the guestbook owner or the site owner can see your entry. If you so desire, mark your entry as a private one.

Remember, some guestbook providers (like html GEAR) make it possible for the site owner to send the guestbook signer an automated thank you note by e-mail. This is an one time e-mail and not really spam. If you don't like it, just delete it.

Now that you have learnt how to sign a guestbook, why don't you practice it by signing my guestbook? That will encourage me to come up with more helpful sites like this one in the future. Thank you in advance for letting me know what do you genuinely think of this site.

If you need help using the Internet, check out the companion site:
Internet Basics For Seniors
If you need help with Windows XP, check out the companion site:
Help with Windows XP (New)
If you are an absolute beginner in computing, check out:

ABC's of Computing
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