Every community in the world has social norms. While it may be a good thing to challenge
some of these norms now and then, most people find life is much easier when they follow
the norm that says be polite.|
The identity of the person who coined the term "netiquette" seems to be lost in
the haze of early 'net history. The precepts below, culled from several different netiquette
resources on the web, were originally developed to apply to email and newsgroups.
However, they apply pretty well to email lists such as the EVDL and to online forums.
- Don't use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. That's considered shouting. Besides, it's hard to read.
It's OK to use all caps to emphasize a point. Better yet, enclose the word or words in
- Set your email client appropriately. Use plain text unless you're sure HTML or other
"enhanced" formats are welcome. Configure for lines no more than 72 characters
- Being conversational and casual is fine, but try to be concise. Use good grammar,
spelling, and punctuation. As in all these matters, remember: a future employer may be
- Keep the subject line appropriate. If you're replying to a message, use the same subject
with "Re:" ahead of it. When a thread drifts away from the original matter, it's time
to use a new subject. You may want to add the word "was" followed by the original
subject, if that doesn't make the line too long.
- If you're a newbie, it's considered respectful to "lurk" for a while before posting.
If you have a question, check the FAQ and archives for your answer. Maybe it's just recently
been discussed, and the other members may not appreciate rehashing the material.
- Don't type anything that you wouldn't say to a person's face.
- No one knows from your tone of voice whether you are serious or joking. That's what
are for. Use them (but don't overuse them).
- When you reply, quote or paraphrase the part you're addressing - and only that part.
Writing without context confuses others. On the other hand, including the entire original
message (as is regrettably the default on some - ahem - widely used email clients) wastes
- Don't post just to say "I agree." Especially don't quote an entire message sent
by someone else just to say "I agree." This will get you labeled a "dittohead."
- If you're directing a reply to one person, use private email. Don't CC the list unless you're
sure that it's of global interest.
- Think before you send. Your message is likely to be archived for many years. It could end
up forwarded to thousands of people you don't know. Always ask yourself, "Would I want a
potential employer or life partner to read these words?"
- Finally, if you think that someone else has committed a violation of netiquette, send him or
her a message privately. No matter how rude the person has been, public criticism is
even ruder. And if the violator is a
public discussion of his transgressions is exactly what he wants. Don't "feed the troll."