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Yes. I'm bored at work. I was looking through some stuff I get from mailing lists I'm on, and one of the e-mails I get monthly is a shortened version of "netiquette" or net etiquette. This is something all people should try to follow while participating in conversations on the internet, whether it be in e-mail, instant messaging, internet forms, chat, or forums such as this. Of course there are always gray areas, and people all react differently and can be much more laid back than some of the stodgy rules that are set up in the documentation of RFC 1855, which is the documentation for Net Etiquette.

Soo..for your edumacation, here's some of the "rules", as it were, that apply to situations such as message boards, from the RFC 1855. And nooo, I'm not saying we gotta follow 'em. Stuff like that is up to the Trio. :P @ Frontier & Adamike (now you got me callin' 'em that). Just saying it's more of common courtesy.

In the past, the population of people using the Internet had "grown up" with the Internet, were technically minded, and understood the nature of the transport and the protocols. Today, the community of Internet users includes people who are new to the environment. These "Newbies" are unfamiliar with the culture and don't need to know about transport and protocols. In order to bring these new users into the Internet culture quickly, this Guide offers a minimum set of behaviors which organizations and individuals may take and adapt for their own use. Individuals should be aware that no matter who supplies their Internet access, be it an Internet Service Provider through a private account, or a student account at a University, or an account through a corporation, that those organizations have regulations about ownership of mail and files, about what is proper to post or send, and how to present yourself.

Yadda yadda, just basically saying that there's various generations of 'net users out there. Those who grew up with it, those who just started, and those who are probably on it and haven't got a clue what a mouse is for. And we all have to try and communicate and get along somehow. Scary.

*Unless you have your own Internet access through an Internet provider, be sure to check with your employer about ownership of electronic mail. Laws about the ownership of electronic mail vary from place to place.

*Unless you are using an encryption device (hardware or software), you should assume that mail on the Internet is not secure. Never put in a mail message anything you would not put on a postcard.

Some common sense things there about data privacy. But I don't think a lot of people pay much attention to that or really think about it. If you post messages to a forum or email from work, your employer can get access to those messages and see what you've written. Just something to keep in mind.

*Respect the copyright on material that you reproduce. Almost every country has copyright laws.

*If you are forwarding or re-posting a message you've received, do not change the wording. If the message was a personal message to you and you are re-posting to a group, you should ask permission first. You may shorten the message and quote only relevant parts, but be sure you give proper attribution.

Always a good rule of thumb. Giving credit to the source is something that should always be done, whether it's with a link, or just saying who the author is. Preferably a link if it's available. And on the same page as where the material is posted is generally how people prefer to have their material used. Especially with things like art and creative works.

*A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages (we call these "flames") even if you are provoked. On the other hand, you shouldn't be surprised if you get flamed and it's prudent not to respond to flames.

*In general, it's a good idea to at least check all your mail subjects before responding to a message. Sometimes a person who asks you for help (or clarification) will send another message which effectively says "Never Mind". Also make sure that any message you respond to was directed to you. You might be cc:ed rather than the primary recipient.

Applies mostly to e-mail, but can apply to other forms of internet communication as well. Flaming is never good. It's best to just let something sit for a while, respond after 24 hours or even 12 hours. Just let it wait. And before rushing to respond to something, I know how great it feels to help someone, make sure they didn't already get help, or decide they found the answer themselves. On that same note..

*Remember that people with whom you communicate are located across the globe. If you send a message to which you want an immediate response, the person receiving it might be at home asleep when it arrives. Give them a chance to wake up, come to work, and login before assuming the mail didn't arrive or that they don't care.

I've seen some people post things on e-mail and message boards and then a couple hours later say something like "Nobody cares I guess" because nobody responded yet. :confused: Keep the above point in mind. People are all over the world, or might not know, or have an opinion on the subject matter. I'd say leave it for a day or two before saying "Does nobody care?" if you say that at all. :thumbsup2:

*Remember that the recipient is a human being whose culture, language, and humor have different points of reference from your own. Remember that date formats, measurements, and idioms may not travel well. Be especially careful with sarcasm.


*Use symbols for emphasis. That *is* what I meant. Use underscores for underlining. _War and Peace_ is my favorite book.

*Use smileys to indicate tone of voice, but use them sparingly. :-) is an example of a smiley (Look sideways). Don't assume that the inclusion of a smiley will make the recipient happy with what you say or wipe out an otherwise insulting comment.

*Wait overnight to send emotional responses to messages. If you have really strong feelings about a subject, indicate it via FLAME ON/OFF enclosures. For example:


This type of argument is not worth the bandwidth it takes to send it. It's illogical and poorly reasoned. The rest of the world agrees with me.


Hm. First point is very important and I think it's forgotten often because with english being one of the most frequently spoken languages on the 'net (not the only frequently spoken language, but one of them), people tend to assume everyone is from the same country and has the same values. This is not usually the case, and lots of messages can get lost in translation. Sarcasm is also one of those tricky points. So is humor. Second point in here should be a no-brainer. It's understandable when the caps lock gets accidentily hit, on a forum like this you can always go back and edit it. It's also kind of hard to read when there is no punctuation to differentiate between sentences, but the main problem is when someone uses all caps locks. It has been, I believe, scientifically proven that it takes much longer to read something that is written in all capital letters than it does to read something that is mixed (properly..not Hi HoW aRe YoU, but rather Hi, how are you). Smiley's do add some emotion to your responses, but to some people they can seem like sarcasm. So be careful when and how you use them.

The flame thing.. I dunno. I'd just not do it. :confused:

*Be brief without being overly terse. When replying to a message, include enough original material to be understood but no more. It is extremely bad form to simply reply to a message by including all the previous message: edit out all the irrelevant material. real point in continually quoting a huge long message when all you're replying to is the last sentence.

*"Reasonable" expectations for conduct via e-mail depend on your relationship to a person and the context of the communication. Norms learned in a particular e-mail environment may not apply in general to your e-mail communication with people across the Internet. Be careful with slang or local acronyms.

Another one of those "you can't assume everyone is from the same place" things.

Any time you engage in One-to-Many communications, all the rules for mail should also apply. After all, communicating with many people via one mail message or post is quite analogous to communicating with one person with the exception of possibly offending a great many more people than in one-to-one communication. Therefore, it's quite important to know as much as you can about the audience of your message.


*Read both mailing lists and newsgroups for one to two months before you post anything. This helps you to get an understanding of the culture of the group.

*Do not blame the system administrator for the behavior of the system users.

*Consider that a large audience will see your posts. That may include your present or your next boss. Take care in what you write. Remember too, that mailing lists and Newsgroups are frequently archived, and that your words may be stored for a very long time in a place to which many people have access.

I dunno about reading it for so long ahead of time for message boards, but if you really want to get a feel for it, I'd say that you do so -before- you register. lol. Otherwise the admins might wonder what's going on with the lurking user name and think you're a spambot waiting to post. Also, it is very true that you should not blame the admins for the behavior of the users - they aren't responsible for those who use their forums except for making sure things don't get out of hand. Until that point, people speak for themselves and do not represent the pages they are posting on. And yes, your posts are on a public forum, they could be read by your coworkers, your boss, the president, whatever.

*Assume that individuals speak for themselves, and what they say does not represent their organization (unless stated explicitly).

*Messages and articles should be brief and to the point. Don't wander off-topic, don't ramble and don't send mail or post messages solely to point out other people's errors in typing or spelling. These, more than any other behavior, mark you as an immature beginner.

*Subject lines should follow the conventions of the group.

*Forgeries and spoofing are not approved behavior.

*Advertising is welcomed on some lists and Newsgroups, and abhorred on others! This is another example of knowing your audience before you post. Unsolicited advertising which is completely off-topic will most certainly guarantee that you get a lot of hate mail.

*If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting be sure you summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just enough text of the original to give a context. This will make sure readers understand when they start to read your response. Since NetNews, especially, is proliferated by distributing the postings from one host to another, it is possible to see a response to a message before seeing the original. Giving context helps everyone. But do not include the entire original!

*If you should find yourself in a disagreement with one person, make your responses to each other via mail rather than continue to send messages to the list or the group. If you are debating a point on which the group might have some interest, you may summarize for them later.

*Don't get involved in flame wars. Neither post nor respond to incendiary material.

*Avoid sending messages or posting articles which are no more than gratuitous replies to replies.

*Be careful with monospacing fonts and diagrams. These will display differently on different systems, and with different mailers on the same system.

*There are Newsgroups and Mailing Lists which discuss topics of wide varieties of interests. These represent a diversity of lifestyles, religions, and cultures. Posting articles or sending messages to a group whose point of view is offensive to you simply to tell them they are offensive is not acceptable. Sexually and racially harassing messages may also have legal implications. There is software available to filter items you might find objectionable.

Just some common sense stuff that isn't always common sense to everyone unfortunately. No, we here at Omega Sector don't like advertisements. :furious: Spambots are teh ebil. And posting stuff just to piss people off is kinda rude. :glare: So yeah.

*Read all of a discussion in progress (we call this a thread) before posting replies. Avoid posting "Me Too" messages, where content is limited to agreement with previous posts. Content of a follow-up post should exceed quoted content.

*If you've posted something and don't see it immediately, don't assume it's failed and re-post it.

*In groups which discuss movies or books it is considered essential to mark posts which disclose significant content as "Spoilers". Put this word in your Subject: line.

Just some more standard stuff to be polite and not clog up e-mail or a board.

All this and more can be found at the site RFC 1855: Netiquette Guidlines, which gives permission for unlimited distribution for these rules/guidelines. There are a ton more for mailing lists, MUDs/IRC/MOOs, WAIS, WWW, FTP, GOPHER, NetNews, etc. These were just the ones I thought probably applied best to an internet message board/forum that was open to the public.

Let me know your thoughts or any questions you have on the subject and I'll try and see what I can find. It's been a long time since I've looked at any of these types of docs, probably since my AOL days. :laugh: Hope it helps someone, or if nothing else is some interesting reading.

P.S Keep in mind that this was written a looong time ago. So some of this stuff is referring to things that are a bit outdated. But the courtesy is never outdated. :happy:

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mmmm....Torina, as always, an excellent point made ***hands a golden 1st place for being nice rosette to Torina***

Good points, thing is i feel it's all a rather moot point here on the boards at Trek Core mainly because most people i have seen post have observed politeness and good manners.

Occassionally i myself post the weirdest things, mainly because i normally type faster than my brain can spell.

So here and now **low bow**

Sorry to anyone i may have offended.


Seriously, i mean that you'all.

"Be excellent to each other"

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Mesei - Thank you.. :blush: I wasn't trying to be "right" or anything.. but I don't really think it's a moot point even though we're almost always nice to each other here. I think we pretty much all have had our times when we've "forgotten" some netiquette when discussing things with one another. Not very often, but on the rare occasion, and outside of KM (KM is a different story entirely.. LOL). So it's more of just something to keep in the back of our minds, a reminder, for when we type out our responses to one another, that there's a human being at the other end, even though we don't see that human being. You know?

Cpt. Jeff & Lt. Arex - Perhaps.. and one of the other mods can always take it down if they feel it's not necessary. I guess I'll pin it for now since a couple of you have said to do I was just gonna let it sit otherwise.

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Torina, i appreciate what you said, however let's face it - we all need a reminder as you said and by jove you did it!

(Yes i think i am ill, i am being way too nice recently - where's my pill (you know blue or red?) :biggrin:

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