Netiquette is online etiquette, also known as network etiquette – in other words, good manners. In the same way that good manners make the offline world a better place, the netiquette social code makes the internet more pleasurable for everyone who uses it.
What is good netiquette?
Good netiquette covers a collection of common sense actions:
• Respecting other people’s views
• Being polite, friendly and considerate
• Not losing your temper
• Respecting people’s privacy
• Being helpful
• Not wasting people’s time
• Taking other people’s security, privacy and online safety seriously
• Telling the truth
• Being yourself
What is bad netiquette?
Bad netiquette involves:
• USING CAPITALS IN EMAILS AND OTHER COMMUNICATIONS… BECAUSE IT LOOKS AS THOUGH YOU’RE SHOUTING!
• Trying to hard-sell products or services on forums, discussion groups and social networks
• Sending spam
• Personal abuse and insults (also known as ‘flaming’)
• Infecting people’s computers with viruses
• ‘Crashing’ (ruining) discussions in forums, social media and discussion groups
• Using bad language and being offensive in other ways
• Using people’s images, movies, video, graphics and other web content without their permission
• Handing over other people’s contact details without their permission
• Pretending to be someone you aren’t, lying or misleading people
What if you’re not sure?
Almost every social network, forum and discussion group provides rules for good behaviour. Make sure you read and understand them before getting stuck in. If you’re not sure whether you’re about to break an unwritten rule, use common sense to decide.
• Would you like it? If not, it’s likely other people won’t like it either
• If you come across an ethical dilemma online, treat it the same way as you would offline
• If you wouldn’t write it on a postcard, don’t send it
• If you wouldn’t want your mum or gran to read it, don’t post it!
• If you’re about to send an email you might regret later, wait half an hour and calm down first…
• … or if you’re sending messages late at night, when everything seems worse than it is, wait until the morning when things are back in perspective
Who enforces netiquette?
There isn’t any official enforcement, but internet users expect each other to act responsibly and abide by the same rules we obey offline when dealing with other people. If you forget your netiquette and lose sight of your manners, they’ll usually make their disapproval clear.