Internet etiquette, also known as "netiquette," is
required for polite, considerate interactions in places such as chat rooms, forums
and discussion boards, comments sections, apps, and social media platforms.
What Exactly Is Netiquette?
Netiquette, a combination of the words "net" and
"etiquette," is a code of conduct that internet users can use to have
polite, respectful interactions online.
Importance of Netiquette
Netiquette promotes polite interactions in the digital world
in the same way that cultures follow rules of in-person etiquette to foster
polite interactions in the physical world. With a shared set of netiquette
guidelines, internet users can be confident that their online interactions with
others, both writing and reading, will be respectful and considerate.
7 Common Netiquette Rules
While netiquette rules vary depending on the context, here
are a few basic rules that most internet users follow for polite communication:
1. Follow proper in-person etiquette. Because the internet
provides a high level of anonymity, some users may behave in ways they would
not in real life, such as starting arguments, verbally abusing others, engaging
in cyberbullying, starting "flame wars," or spreading false
information. To protect your reputation and friendships, good netiquette
encourages you to follow the same code of ethics in cyberspace that you do in
the real world. Remember that everyone you meet online is a real person with
feelings, strengths, and weaknesses.
2. Double-check your sources. It is simple to spread
information on the internet, and many internet users may share content that
contains incorrect or even deliberate falsehoods. Avoid disseminating
misinformation or reposting content that has not been verified as accurate.
3. Keep communication to a minimum. Keep emails, chats, and
other directed communication brief to respect people's time and bandwidth.
Because many people's attention spans are shorter when reading online than when
reading in person, avoid writing lengthy posts or comments.
4. Avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm is a common tool used in
face-to-face communication across many cultures, and it relies on context
clues, body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to alert listeners
that the speaker is being sarcastic. Because online communication is primarily
text-based, it can be difficult to convey sarcasm, resulting in readers taking
sarcastic comments seriously. To avoid misunderstandings, limit your use of
sarcasm on the internet.
5. Be aware of the situation. Internet communication can
vary greatly depending on the contextâ€”for example, in an email correspondence
with a colleague or a discussion post for an online class, you'll communicate
much more formally than in a chat conversation with your best friend. Pay
attention to the various channels of communication and use each context to help
you decide which core netiquette rules to follow for your online behavior. The
formality of each situation will help you determine whether to use emoticons
and smileys, textspeak and abbreviations, or proper capitalization.
6. Be considerate of others' privacy. Many people want to
limit their use of personal information on public, username-based websites and
forums so that others cannot abuse or harm them. To respect the privacy of
others, avoid requesting too much personal information on these sites.
7. Use capital letters sparingly. Using all capital letters
can come across as yelling and can confuse readers. In most internet writing,
avoid using all caps, especially in public or more formal settings.