5 simple principles of proper netiquette

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In the information superhighway, netiquette (internet + etiquette) are the rules of the road. Netiquette will not only make you a great person to talk to online, practicing it will also help you become better understood. This creates a positive online reputation that can lead you to more lasting and meaningful connections.

Here are some guide posts on online behavior:

  1. It’s all about respect

    Courtesy goes a long way in making everyone’s internet experience pleasant and enjoyable. When communicating online, always think about how you would want to be treated. That’s probably how others want to be treated too.

  2. Core rules of netiquette

    In her book Netiquette, writer Virginia Shea shared the following:

    • Remember the human – This is the Golden Rule of internet communications. Always be aware that you are talking to a person, not a device. Therefore, the same rules of courtesy apply as in real life.
    • Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life.
    • Know where you are in cyberspace – Netiquette varies from domain to domain. What is acceptable in a chat room may not be appropriate in a professional forum so “lurk before you leap”.
    • Respect other people’s time and bandwidth.
    • Make yourself look good online – Spelling and grammar count! Always write thoughtful posts and keep your language clean.
    • Share expert knowledge.
    • Help keep flame* wars under control.
    • Respect other people’s privacy.
    • Don’t abuse your power.
    • Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes.

    (Know more about these rules at10 Core Rules)

    *Flaming is writing content that intentionally invokes responses such as rage, sadness, humiliation, self-doubt, and others.

  3. Netiquette basics

    These rules are adapted from living internet.com :

    • Help the newbies – Good netiquette dictates that you share your knowledge to new users by answering some of their questions. Remember, you too were a newbie once.
    • Research before asking – Most sites have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to guide new users. Read this before emailing or messaging so as not to waste other people’s time.
    • Remember emotion – Subtle emotions and meanings do not transmit very well in an email or a post. However, do not use all caps if you want to communicate strong emotion. All caps will make you look like you’re shouting, or worse, that you are emotionally unstable. Don’t overuse smileys and emoticons because they make you look unprofessional. Constructing your sentences carefully and editing what you write before sending is often enough.

    Read more tips on the Netiquette of sending, Netiquette of replying, and Netiquette of confidentiality from Living internet.com.

    How to follow netiquette tips, Howcast

  4. The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics

    (from the Computer Ethics Institute)

    • Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.
    • Thou shalt not interfere with other people’s computer work.
    • Thou shalt not snoop around in other people’s computer files.
    • Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.
    • Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness.
    • Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid.
    • Thou shalt not use other people’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
    • Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output.
    • Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing.
    • Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that insure consideration and respect for your fellow humans.
  5. Remember that your digital footprint can be tracked

    Your account can be easily traced even if you write under an alias or a made-up handle. You leave data footprints whenever you’re online. These are stored and can be retrieved. Don’t think your boss won’t know that it was you who wrote nasty remarks on their blog. Offensive posts, videos and photos can never be completely deleted. The best rule is to always be a decent and responsible netizen.

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Community Resources

Here’s a self-scoring quiz on netiquette from the Northern Kentucky University that you can take to see if you are a responsible netizen.

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5 simple rules of proper netiquette

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