This article offers guidance to Internet users about net etiquette and net issues.
Jamaica Magazine

Netiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Online etiquette is often referred to as “netiquette.”

  • Think before you act. Remember once it is out there you cannot get it back.
  • Be sure to observe before participating when you first connect with the Internet. Find out the rules and be polite when asking questions.
  • Before posting to a discussion group, bulleting board or chat room spend some time learning the atmosphere and style of the area before launching in. Some of these areas may have FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and archives. Read these first so you won’t be asking a question that has been asked and answered a thousand times before.
  • Some service providers have rules against sending commercial-type messages. Find out your service provider’s policies.
  • Do not pass along warnings about Internet viruses or any other threat without first checking with the Virus Hoaxes and NetLore pageor Symantec Corporation Virus Hoaxes page. This is a common trap for Internet beginners. Try to be the smart one who knows how to end the hoax instead of perpetuating it.
  • Don’t email those silly animated programs (jokes etc) without permission of the recipient. Some of these programs are known to have damaging elements embedded in them and you would be responsible for distributing it.
  • Use the same courtesy as you would extend to someone you were having a phone conversation with but realize that no one can hear your tone of voice. Use emotionsand Internet shorthandto express yourself.
  • Do realize that other people may be joking. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between serious statements and satire or sarcasm. If you are offended by something ask yourself if the other person is being serious.
  • Don’t entice a flame and don’t participate in flamefests. Flaming occurs when you send a message that provokes an angry, and often nasty, response. When others join in, a full-fledged flamefest ensues.
  • Use the same rules regarding good grammar, punctuation and word choice as you would for any written communication.
  • Don’t type your message in all capital letters—they’re hard to read. This is known as SHOUTING and may provoke flaming. Also, all lower-case letters can be hard to read.
  • Some e-mail systems occasionally become plagued with electronic versions of chain letters. Don’t participate in them.
  • Use the subject line to give recipients an idea of the message’s contents.
  • Use the correct address.
  • Keep quotations/excerpts to a minimum when responding to e-mail you’ve received.
  • Check the validity of any message you receive that asks you to do something questionable.
  • Don’t use vulgar language or make racist or sexist comments.
  • Give back. Don’t just ask questions. Try to find ways to contribute.

About the author

Staff Writer