Lesson 1  Netiquette


In this lesson, you will learn the proper Internet protocol for use when interacting with other Internet users.

Netiquette (Net Etiquette) a term that describes the mature and responsible use of electronic communication systems. These guidelines apply to all private and public messages you send.

Online Etiquette Guidelines
Online communication is not "policed", however, it is informally regulated by a code of conduct called Netiquette. In order to accommodate the millions of people who use the net regularly, some guidance for acceptable use is necessary. Whether or not you choose to abide by this "code of conduct" can mean the difference between amicable interaction and being embarrassed, ignored, or crucified! The messages you write or post are a reflection of you, your school, your business, or your organization. The primary areas where netiquette will most often come into play are:

  • E-mail (private and public)
  • News groups
  • Chat Rooms
  • Online Discussion Workshops
Make sure to carefully read through the following Do's and Don'ts

Do...

  • Follow the Acceptable Use Policy established by your organization. Failure to do so may result in loss of internet privileges or account.

  • Be considerate and respectful of others; keep your messages clear, concise, and free of sarcasm. Remember that others have feelings and opinions just as you do. You are communicating with humans, not computers!

  • Be concise. Long, ventilating, dissertation messages often infringe on the time of others or are ignored by the receiver(s). If you must write a long message, flag it in the subject line of the message, ie "My thoughts on Learning with Technology (long)"

  • Use emoticons such as :-) or :-( in e-mail to convey the tone of your message, but use them sparingly. (Lesson 11 will cover Emoticons.)

  • For the sake of the reader and everyone's organization, make your subject line as descriptive as possible. Make sure to change the subject line when appropriate.

  • When replying to a message, include a few lines of the original message so that everyone knows what you are talking about. A message that simply says "I agree" (with what?) is pretty ambiguous.

  • Use a signature file at the end of your e-mail to let your receivers know who you are. This is most important for professional use of e-mail, however, may not be appropriate for young students for safety reasons.

  • Know where you are in cyberspace; what may be perfectly acceptable in one news group or mailing list may be dreadfully rude in another. Make sure to read the specific guidelines for each group to which you subscribe.

  • Proofread your messages before sending them; this may save you some embarrassment.

  • Remember that e-mail does NOT necessarily protect your privacy. Be careful not to say anything that you wouldn't mind being posted on a bulletin board or in the local newspaper. Unfortunately, someone may violate your privacy.

Don't...

  • WRITE YOUR ENTIRE MESSAGE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS AS THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING!! You can show emphasis using caps, but keep it to ONE WORD or a SHORT PHRASE. You can also show emphasis by using *.*;this can be *very useful*.

  • Send Junk mail! Most users find it annoying and it only adds to the congestion of the Internet.

  • Distribute someone's e-mail address without their permission

  • Turn a private message into a public one. It is totally inappropriate to forward someone's personal message to anyone else unless you have asked permission to do so.

  • Publicly criticize or "flame" others. It is best to ignore a "foolish" posting, or find a creative and polite way to address your concern. Avoid being offensive or using foul language.

Additional resources on Netiquette:
Netiquette Ten Commandments
I Will Follow - E-mail Etiquette
Roadmap 96: Netiquette
Internic: Netiquette
SOFweb: Netiquette

Congratulations! You now know the "rules of the road" for the Information Superhighway and are ready to drive!

Next: Lesson 2 - Logging in to WebMail.
Previous: WebMail Intro
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