The Holy Grail of Netiquette

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; argument an exchange of ignorance” Robert Quillen, an acclaimed journalist. In simpler words, in order to get one’s point across the use of offensive language and an insensitive tone is completely unnecessary on the online web; in fact, it does the opposite effect by showing a lack of communication skills thus, devaluing one’s opinion in the reader’s eyes.

Today’s topic of discussion revolves around the term “netiquette”. What is netiquette? Well, exactly what you’d assume, net + etiquette = etiquette of the net. Netiquette refers to the concept of how to effectively and professionally converse over the world of online forums, group conference chats and general cyberspace. It teaches users’ that respecting other users’ views and showing common courtesy when posting content, is a crucial aspect in online forums and discussion groups in order to be taken seriously and have a respected opinion.


To make things easier, let’s go over the Holy Grail of netiquette.

  1. STAY AWAY FROM “TEXTING” WRITING

Writing in slang and using abbreviations (i.e ‘hbu?’ Or ‘idts’ ) would be considered informal and immature taking away from the importance of one’s opinion. To be respected amongst the cyber community, online discussions require professional writing. Keep the emojis and teen lingo for your friends.

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2. BE BRIEF

We now live in a decade where everyone is in their own hustle and bustle, no one has nor wants to spend their time reading an excessively wordy paragraph. By being concise and to the point your post is more likely to be read and taken into consideration. That being said, avoid overly simple statements that could possibly suggest a lack of interest such as “I agree with you”, giving your justified input is equally as important, just keep it brief.

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3. KEEP IT PG

A loss in translation is one of the most common issues faced with the internet world. Sitting behind a computer, we aren’t able to express ourselves as we could in person through facial and body language. Thus, you should be extra careful in the way you form your sentences as it can be easily misinterpreted. An easy fix to this is to develop a habit of reading your posts aloud. Avoid sarcasm as often it can be taken negatively. Something that sounds good in your head can easily sound rude to someone else!

4. NO ONE LIKES SPAMMERS

If you are under the impression that by constantly reiterating your advertisement you will eventually catch someone’s attention, you are wrong. In fact, you will do the exact opposite. Many companies have an automatic spam detector service that will place you in their junk mail before anyone can even look at it. Don’t be that person, just don’t do it.

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5. PLAGIARISM GOES BEYOND SCHOOL

We hear in school on a daily basis that cheaters never prosper and that there are severe consequences for those who claim others’ work as their own. This golden rule should be the engrained into your mind forever. By posting copyrighted material to which you do not own the right to, you are putting yourself in possible legal complications.

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Simple, right? I’m sure these rules are nothing you haven’t seen before, yet for some reason, many of us forget simple common courtesy when communicating on the web.

In the wise words of Shakespeare, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Wouldn’t have the guts to say something in person? Then your best bet would be to refrain from saying it at all. Feel free to express yourself on the web, just remember your words are a representation of yourself!


WebWise Team. (2012, October 10). What is netiquette? Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-netiquette