Let’s Talk Netiquette

Netiquette is simply our online etiquette. Some scoff at the concept. Take for example Reddit user Cylinsier’s opinion:

Its true. Most mainstream comment sections are littered with conversations (can we really call them conversations?) that would shock people if had in the offline world. Reddit user WhenAllElseFail jokes about the depressingly low standard of netiquette:

How sad! Fortunately, it’s not always the case. On more professional mediums like Linkedin, peoples actions online get tied to their offline reputation. It would be unwise to not watch what one says. So yes, a higher standard of netiquette does exist, and there are people who follow this standard. Check out the BBC’s guide for an in depth look at netiquette. My goal here is to simply highlight their main points.

Traditional Etiquette Applies Online

Things like abuse, harassment, and illegal activities aren’t condoned offline. They aren’t acceptable online either. We should be holding ourselves to our offline standards online.

The house Sets the Rules

By house, I mean website. Most websites or online communities have their own rules. They are there for a reason. It is polite to follow these rules. Failure to do so however, might garner backlash from the community and may result in you being banned. Luckily, most websites follow the same set of rules.

General Do Not Do’s

Do not spam. Spamming is the action of posting the same content over and over again within a short time frame. Spam is annoying and is unwelcome on most websites.

Do not post off-topic content. Topics exist for a reason — they help organize all of the conversations taking place. Posting off-topic content defeats the whole purpose of segmenting content. If you don’t know where to post your content, don’t be afraid to ask a moderator.

Do not forget to ask google first. If you have a question, chances are that other people have had that same question and have already asked it online. Choosing to ask before searching is a show of laziness.

DO NOT FORGET TO USE YOUR INDOOR VOICE. Using all capitals is perceived as shouting. Don’t shout. Use your indoor voice.

That’s It!

If you ever find yourself in a situation, where you don’t know if something is appropriate or not, don’t worry. I have stumbled onto a rule of thumb that should generally keep you in the clear:

Did I miss something you find important? Let me know in the comments below.

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