Netiquette: Safety through Social Conventions


When I was growing up, I was taught various etiquettes: 
Table, phone, greetings, etc. 


I was required to keep my manners intact at all times but somehow, we lost our manners with the anonymity of the internet. The computer screen you are looking at doesn’t show emotion or reaction to what you have posted. Majority of people nowadays will say what is on their mind without considering what is said and how it affects others reading it. Manners do matter both in real life and online. Netiquette is
the answer.
In the past with our Metaverse Mod Squad blog, we’ve often referenced this idea of “netiquette” and online appropriateness.  What is Netiquette? The definition from Wikipedia is “Netiquette (short for “network etiquette” or “Internet etiquette”) is a set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks.”
I found this wonderful blog post “Ten Best Rules of Netiquette” on Yahoo! Contributor Network that sums up the expectations of Netiquette:
1.The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. This rule is an oldie but a goodie and can get you through just about any situation, online or off!
2. No “Flaming”: Flaming is a form of verbal abuse when you intentionally attack or disrespect somebody for whatever reason. Maybe you didn’t agree with something they said, but there’s a nice way to share a different point of view without name calling or attacking someone. Harassing or insulting someone will not likely help you gain many online friends!
3. Respect Others’ Copyrights: There are wonderful things online, information for everyone on just about any topic! However, these things have copyrights and licenses. Copying the works of someone else without permission or saying it is your own will not only ruin your online reputation, but could land you with hefty fines and lawsuits!
4. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS: It hurts our eyes. It makes people think you are shouting at them.  It’s okay to type in caps to accentuate a word or two, but please don’t do it all the time everywhere
5. Don’t Spam: As a blog owner, I get hundreds of spam messages each day. Most of them aren’t even legible, with things like “kjhgsawu” typed in the comments and links to sites with adult or inappropriate content. I don’t appreciate it! Some spammers are getting really sneaky, as they use the same generic post over and over again like “I really like your blog” – if you own multiple blogs like I do though you can quickly identify these types of spammers! There’s a fine line between spam and self-promotion, do it very carefully!
6. Be Honest: Faking website statistics, pretending to be someone else, or trying to cheat people online will not only hurt your reputation but can land you in a lot of hot water. You know the line honesty is the best policy, it’s also one of the 10 best rules for netiquette.
7. Use Proper Grammar & Spelling: If u rite liek this lol ppl might start 2 get mad lol. 🙂 We understand spelling isn’t always easy and typos and basic spelling mistakes will happen. But if it’s distracting from your message, it can be annoying. Using a browser such as Firefox 3 with built in spell check can be a life saver for bad spellers! Be careful not to use too much web jargon, seeing lol used more than twice in a sentence or two is probably unnecessary and does not promote good.
8. Follow the TOS: Most sites have a terms of service policy that also lists rules of netiquette. Read it and abide by it! I am constantly reading discussions on MyLot about people who have had discussions deleted because what they posted did not meet the terms of the website.
9. Keep it PG-13: I never write or say anything I wouldn’t let my kids read. It can really come back to haunt you if you write something that’s not appropriate – as a blog owner, it could mean trouble with Google if you use them for adwords or like to be ranked in search engines since they seem to penalize swearing/adult content sites.
10. Research Your Facts/Cite Sources: I can’t tell you how many times I read something (often politically related) that is not even close to the truth. There is so much information out there online, it can be very difficult to distinguish what is true and not true. Before posting something, forwarding emails, or going off on a tangent, make sure it is factual and cite sources if possible to boost your credibility. Not only will this help keep down on the hoaxes and insanity floating around online, but it can help make you build a solid reputation online.
Having some sort of consensus on general behaviors is necessary to help provide a roadmap for socially expected interactions.  Yahoo! does a great job at covering a variety of Netiquette essentials, from TOS responsibility to researching facts online.  If you find yourself unsure of something you’ve read on Facebook or Twitter, or even in email from your forwards-friendly aunt, check out  That site can be a great resource for debunking crazy internet rumors or hoaxes.
Safe posting and thanks for reading!
Kelly Ammann
Metaverse Mod Squad