Know thy netiquette

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Since more people are depending on the internet as their preferred form of communication, I’ve been wondering about rules of etiquette in cyberspace – “netiquette” if you please.

Since it’s so easy to be misunderstood or pop-off at someone in an instant without giving due thought, I began to investigate the rules of good behavior in cyberspace. When you enter any new culture — and cyberspace has its own culture — you’re liable to commit a few social blunders says Virginia Shea, the author of a great article you can read on-line.

You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it’s not intended that way at all. So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don’t know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

netiquette Shea’s book “Netiquette” has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you’re less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

The list of core rules may be obtained at www.albion.com/netiquette/.  They are offered as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won’t answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

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