Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What are some general guidelines for netiquette?

 What are some general guidelines for netiquette?

1. Keep your questions and comments relevant to the focus of the discussion. Focus on one subject per post and always include a pertinent subject title for the post, that way the other users can locate the post quickly and choose whether to read it or not.

2. Try not to post comments that don't add anything to the discussion.

3. When quoting another person, edit out whatever isn't directly applicable to your reply. Take the time to edit any quotations down to the minimum necessary to provide context for your reply.

4. Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in offline life. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of the Internet, but they are generally not lower than in offline life.

5. Respect other people's time and bandwidth. You are not the center of cyberspace, so don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

6. Resist the temptation to "flame" others in online forums, mailing lists, newsgroups, and other places where group discussion takes place. Don't post flame-bait, and don't respond to it when you see it. Don't join an online forum just to post inflammatory messages (flames) - this upsets most system administrators and you could lose access to not only the forum, but also the Web. Usually those who post flame-bait are looking for attention. You're best off not giving it. If another person posts a comment or question that is off the subject or inflammatory, do NOT reply to their post and keep the off-subject conversation going publicly.

7. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational just for the sake of confrontation. Remember that these discussions taking place on the Web are somewhat "public" and meant for constructive exchanges. Treat others as you would want them to treat you.

8. Make yourself look good online. Since we cannot see what brand of designer clothes you are wearing, nor do we know about the Porsche parked in your driveway, much less care about it, you will, in all likelihood, be judged by the quality of your writing (and whether or not you've done your homework). For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be here. So professionalism, manners, spelling and grammar actually do count.

9. Be forgiving of other people's mistakes. Everyone was a newbie once. Also remember that the Internet is international... not everyone speaks English as a first language. If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private message (or private email, if you have their email address) rather than in public.

10. It is considered extremely rude to forward or repost personal email, chat logs, or other content without the original author's / participants' permission. Doing so could also get you into legal trouble.

11. Cite all quotes, references, and sources, and respect copyright and license agreements. Request and obtain permission from original authors before reposting their material anywhere. Fair Use does not apply to everything, everybody, or everywhere.

12. Infringement of copyright laws, obscene, harrassing or threatening materials online can be in violation of local, state, national or international laws and can be subject to litigation by the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Most Internet Service Providers also have clauses against this sort of thing in their Terms of Service agreements.
""Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't
matter, and those who matter don't mind."" by Dr. Seuss.

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