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 Netiquette - Please take time to read this
I love MJNet
Posted: Apr 11 2007, 11:56 AM


Bread Not Bombs We Knead the Dough
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Group: Admin
Posts: 4,269
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Joined: 26-May 06



Netiquette was first begun by Virginia Shea who I respectfully have adapted over the years and taken others advice about the issue to produce the following guidelines.
They are quite lengthy, but we think well worth the read for posters – new and old alike!
Note – these aren’t board rules, but we do recommend you take note of the advice given to enhance your online time however long you’ve been using the internet.

What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette - that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

1 ) When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. Partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones (but not always), make all kinds of mistakes.

2 ) Remember the human! Now that sounds lovely and simple doesn’t it, but sometimes it isn’t. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning.

3 ) When you're holding a conversation online - it's easy to misinterpret others meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your discussion with others is a person with feelings more or less like your own. Or even possibly more sensitive than you are. Perhaps from another country or young and naive. Life isn’t black and white, and neither is cyberspace.

4 ) Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace. Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

5 ) Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

6 ) Netiquette varies from domain to domain. What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. However on another, its considered giving out spoilers and not allowed! And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are.

7 ) Thus the next corollary: Lurk before you leap. When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate

8 ) Respect other peoples time and bandwidth. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same place five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting and subsequently Mods or Admin who have to edit it all) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

9 ) You are not the center of cyberspace. Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. 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.

10 ) Make yourself look good online. It doesn’t matter how intelligent someone might be, unfortunately the written word is the mainstay of communication, so if your spelling or grammar aren’t great, it means often you will be judged on the quality of your writing. However, remember as a reader – some people have learning difficulties, disabilities or even come from abroad. Its acceptable to have some mistakes! But whatever you do, unless you are with a group of peers, text spelling is not acceptable on some boards (this one included).

11 ) In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me - no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

12 ) Do not flame or be a troll! Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation. Also please be careful about using profanity.

13 ) Share you knowledge! Do your part. Despite the long lists of no-nos here, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know if you spot someone asking about it.

14 ) "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

15 ) Respect other people privacy! Again – you will be surprised how many people assume just because the Internet is global it gives them a divine right to share information about anyone. It doesn't, and if you do try and be clever and begin a campaign against another user, often you are the one who looks petty and foolish.

16 ) Be forgiving of other peoples mistakes. Everyone was a network newbie once. So when someone makes a mistake - whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer - be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else. If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Even better, ask moderators or Administrators to look into it (but please make sure you give them full details, not just vague information). Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.

17 ) Posting for effect. Now this one is often a newbie mistake. You come onto a board, and you post.
And post some more.
And some more.
And ohhh look here, another post from you.
And another…….
And before you know it you are being accused of posting for effect!
Step back before posting. Ask yourself do you really need to post in this thread or are you just so desperate to get noticed you’re posting anywhere you can? Also ensure you and your friends haven’t hijacked a thread, pushing other members out. If you find you have taken control of a thread and others seem to have stopped posting – its often because they feel you’ve gone in and just ignored everyone else.
Stop and think if you have – and you can easily rectify this. Set up a thread for you and your friends to post in specifically, without taking over more general board threads.

18 ) Finally, remember the world is a diverse place. You might have one set of ideals, another people their own. We are going to get pockets of difference on any board, no matter how good the atmosphere. Whether it’s just because of difference of belief, perhaps age or even gender. But diversity is there and at times you are going to find another person or group annoying or uncomfortable to be around. Well unless they are doing something specifically to upset the boards dynamic or breaking the board rules they have a right to be there as well. So just remember to avoid getting too involved with them if you have to. After all, the board is large enough to allow us all to have some space. Don’t begrudge others use of it just because you might not find them agreeable.
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