Netiquette is short for “Internet etiquette.” Just like etiquette is a code of polite behavior in society, netiquette is a code of good behavior on the Internet. This includes several aspects of the Internet, such as email, social media, online chat, web forums, website comments, multiplayer gaming, and other types of online communication.
While there is no official list of netiquette rules or guidelines, the general idea is to respect others online. Below are ten examples of rules to follow for good netiquette:
- Avoid posting inflammatory or offensive comments online (a.k.a flaming).
- Respect others’ privacy by not sharing personal information, photos, or videos that another person may not want published online.
- Never spam others by sending large amounts of unsolicited email.
- Show good sportsmanship when playing online games, whether you win or lose.
- Don’t troll people in web forums or website comments by repeatedly nagging or annoying them.
- Stick to the topic when posting in online forums or when commenting on photos or videos, such as YouTube or Facebook comments.
- Don’t swear or use offensive language.
- Avoid replying to negative comments with more negative comments. Instead, break the cycle with a positive post.
- If someone asks a question and you know the answer, offer to help.
- Thank others who help you online.
The Internet provides a sense of anonymity since you often do not see or hear the people with whom you are communicating online. But that is not an excuse for having poor manners or posting incendiary comments. While some users may feel like they can hide behind their keyboard or smartphone when posting online, the fact is they are still the ones publishing the content. Remember – if you post offensive remarks online and the veil of anonymity is lifted, you will have to answer for the comments you made.
In summary, good netiquette benefits both you and others on the Internet. Posting a positive comment rather than a negative one just might make someone’s day.