Netiquette (or Internet
ettiquette) is a set of unofficial rules or guidelines that specify
proper behavior for the Internet, specifically discussion forums and
chat rooms. Just as in physical group settings, what is considered tolerable
or appropriate behavior may vary, there are certain practices that will
make your Internet interactions more enjoyable for yourself and others.
Below are a list of highlighted points to consider, but the main rule
is to use your common sense. If it would not be appropriate in a physical
setting, it is probably not appropriate for the Internet.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is ok to disagree with a person's
posting to a discussion group, but do so constructively. Discussion
forums are not place for personal attacks. If you disagree with someone,
say so, but back up your opinion with supporting arguments and keep
the discussion on a mature level. Because you don't ever see the person
you are responding to in an online discussion, it is easy to forget
that there is someone who may be affected by what you write in response
to his or her posting.
type in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
Typing messages in all capital letters is the Internet equivalent of
shouting. You can use all capital letters to stress an important word
or phrase, but do not capitalize everything. It may seem like a small
detail, but typing in all capital letters may be considered rude.
careful with humor
Because the Internet lacks audio/visual cues, the humor and sarcasm
in your posting may not always be interpreted that way, and may result
in hurt feelings or misunderstanding. Humor is ok, but keep it to a
minimum and make sure it can easily be interpreted as such. To help
convey emotion, many people use emoticons, a few popular ones are shown
people's time and bandwidth
When adding to a discussion, make sure you stay on topic. Share your
knowledge and opinions. Don't waste people's time with replies to discussions
that only say "I agree" or "me too." Make sure your
contribution adds something to the topic. Be clear and concise in your
subject headings and message. If you are quoting another posting, only
include the portion of the message that is relevant to your contribution.
post relevant items
Do not post copyrighted materials or try to sell things in discussions
boards. This is considered very rude. Also, if you are going to quote
something from a private email you received, it is good practice to
get permission from the author before posting it to a public forum.
If you are comfortable using the Internet and communicating via chat
and discussion boards, be aware that many other people are not. If someone
does something that is not considered appropriate in a certain forum,
it may simply be because they do not know any better. Do not publicly
criticize them for their mistake, kindly suggest more appropriate behavior.
Remember, you were new to the Internet once too.
For more information on
netiquette, check out http://www.albion.com/netiquette/