Netiquette (short for ‘Network etiquette’) governs what conduct is socially acceptable in an online or digital situation. Just as we expect other drivers to follow the rules of the road, we believe that there are general rules of courteous behavior that apply as we travel through cyberspace. Like most Internet phenomena, the concept and its application is in a state of flux, and varies from one community to the next. To make Usenet a better place for all, we ask that you follow these ten Usenetiquette tips.
Thank you John C. Maxwell for inspiring this title.
1. Avoid typing in all caps
It is considered to be the equivalent of shouting or yelling. And who wants to be yelled at?
2. Take the time to “lurk” before posting
As a newbie, it is perfectly acceptable (and often encouraged) to take the time to act as an observer. If you have a question, check the FAQ and archives for your answer. Maybe it’s just recently been discussed, and the other members may not appreciate rehashing the material.
3. Stick to the conversation, don’t take it off-topic
We live in an era of instant gratification – where a quick search on Google can usually provide the answer we seek. Techniques used to maximize the time and effort required to read a post or a thread are despised by most network communities. Cross-posting, multiposting, hijacking a discussion thread – it’s all spam and it’s all hated.
4. Don’t be a jerk
There are already enough meanies out there in the world, don’t become one. Remember that there is an actual person behind the screen – don’t type anything that you wouldn’t say to a person’s face.
5. Spelling & Grammar
Yes, this is the same virtual space that has brought you “LOL” and “leetspeak,” so take it with a grain of salt – informal communications always deserve some leeway regarding punctuation. But being able to communicate well has never gone out of style.
6. Finding the appropriate use of emoticons…
No one knows from your tone of voice whether you are serious or joking. That’s what those smileys/Emojis are for. Use them!
7. …without overusing them. 🙂
Parents, basic white girls and overzealous men are most guilty here. Remember that you’re communicating emotions, not emoticons.
8. Remember K.I.S.S.? Less is more
This isn’t an essay you’re writing (and if it is, no one likes long essays either). Keep your written communications focused. Being conversational and casual is fine, but try to be concise.
9. Leave the flame wars to the trolls.
A flame war is a heated argument between two people, that results in those involved posting personal attacks on each other during or instead of debating the topic at hand (see law #3). While the arguments always provide an entertaining read, most communities forbid flaming.
10. Whatever you post online is there forever.
Consider all of your electronic communications to be public and act accordingly. The same holds true for comments you post. They usually can’t be retracted and they will live on and on.