7 Common Netiquette Rules

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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 context—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.

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