Netiquette: Ethics & Unspoken Rules When Using the Web.

Etiquette for the Net

The definition of netiquette according to Dictionary.com is; the rules of etiquette that apply when communicating over computer networks, especially the Internet.

The internet is a world in and in of its own. It consists of the surface (public) web, the deeper web, and dark web. In such a big cyber environment, you need a set of rules and regulations to be able to navigate safely through the net to find the information you were looking for. It is inevitable, that in a cyber hub where people can gather and socialize, that certain online behaviors become norms or are deemed unacceptable. This is not only to ensure your online security, but the online security of others using the same networks as well.

My list of top 5 Netiquette ethics (without prior knowledge on the subject) would be;

1.) Do not threaten your online security. This means not exposing your full name, or location. You can use a pseudonym, or if you do have to give out your confidential information, use a site that is highly secure (green lock symbol-high level of encryption)

2.) Do not post anything you would not want your grandmother to see. Seriously, in this age of Google, it would not take long for your potential employer to pull up your profile with all your posts about your nights out

3.) Do not open emails from unknown sources. chances are it could be a virus or a phishing scam. Do not input personal information before ensuring that it is on a secure site.

4.) Do not make passwords easy to guess. Change them frequently. Use alternating letters numbers capitals lower case to make a stronger password. Using a passphrase would be even better

5.) Be mindful of others, but don’t lose your voice. the internet can be a melting pot of information. if you are going to use someone’s ideas, make sure it originates from a credible source, so you dont base your opinions on false foundations. Cite your sources. There are real humans out there.

These are just some netiquette rules that would be on my list. I know there are many more that I may not even be aware of!

“While adding an exciting new dimension of human interaction, the increasing use of digital communication challenges our traditional reliance on print media as stable, trustworthy methods of communication and documentation, while also raising questions of privacy and trust” (Plaut, Michael 84–90).

Plaut has nicely summarized the dilemma of the internet. While the internet does add an exciting new dimension to human interaction, it also raises questions of privacy and trust. The increased use of digital communication challenges our traditional methods of communication and documentation on print media. According to Plaut,

the evolving standards for online communication can be classified into six categories: individual courtesies, economy of time and space, honesty and integrity, accuracy of documentation, protection of privacy, and protection of vulnerable populations.

I believe Plaut is correct about the evolving standards for online communication. These standards are a major component of what makes up the rules of netiquette. Each category has its own subcategories of netiquette. For example, individual courtesies would include unspoken rules like not using profane language in a public online forum, etc. For the most part, real world rules and laws still seem to apply online.

[Online Ethics: Social Contracts in the Virtual Community published online January 21, 2015 by author S. Michael Plaut, pg. 84–90]

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