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Here is a short guide to "good manners" in communicating via the Internet. Following these simple rules prevents misunderstandings and shows consideration.

  • Focus on one subject per message and use pertinent subject titles.
  • Capitalize words only to highlight a point or for titles -- capitalizing otherwise is generally viewed as SHOUTING! If you want to emphasize a word, put asterisks on either side (Like *this*).
  • Be professional and considerate with your online interaction.
  • In news groups or bulletin boards, when posting a long message, it is generally considered courteous to warn readers at the beginning of the message that it is a lengthy post.
  • It is considered extremely rude to forward someone else’s messages without their permission.
  • It is fine to use humor, but use it carefully. The absence of face-to-face cues can cause humor to be misinterpreted as criticism or flaming (angry, antagonistic criticism). Feel free to use emoticons such as :-) (smiley face -- look sideways) or ;) (playful wink) to let others know that you’re being humorous.

(The above netiquette suggestions are adapted from Palloff and Pratt, Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace, Jossey-Bass Publ., 1999)

Summary with links to more

These Core Rules of Netiquette are excerpted from the book Netiquette by Virginia Shea. Click on each rule for elaboration. ©