Advanced > Netiquette >
every layer of the protocols, there is a general rule whose application
can lead to enormous benefits in robustness and interoperability: "Be liberal in what you accept, and
conservative in what you send".
RFC 1122; Requirements for Internet Hosts; R. Braden; October 1989.
The four basic rules of netiquette are summarized below:
Help the Newbies
With few written
guides for ordinary people, the Net has grown in large part one person
at a time -- if somebody helps you learn your way around, it's almost
expected you'll repay the favor some day by helping somebody else.
- Adam Gaffin, Big
Dummy's Guide To The Internet, 1993.
New users on the Internet are sometimes called "newbies". Everybody was a
newbie once. It is considered to be very good netiquette to share your knowledge
and help others who ask questions by email, in news groups, on mailing lists,
and in chat rooms, thereby passing on some of the knowledge you have gained.
Help the newbies as you wish you were helped.
Research Before Asking
People on the Internet often get far more email than they can deal with. As
a common courtesy to do your part to minimize this email, you should always
check the Frequently Asked Questions files, search
the Internet, and search the newsgroups for
the answer to a question before sending email to a human being. If it turns
out that the question was easily obtainable in an obvious place, you may annoy
the other person and embarrass yourself.
Don't use capitals unnecessarily in email -- it designates shouting, and is
considered rude, as in the following:
I THINK THE FACTS PROVE THIS POINT.
If you want to emphasize a word, use stars or underlines sparingly.
I think the facts *prove* this point.
I think the _facts_ prove this point.
You can use smileys sparingly to signal
emotions like smiles, winks, sadness, surprise, etc.
I wish I'd read this before! ;-)
I wish I'd read this before. :-(
Remember that subtle emotions and meanings do not transmit very well over
email. Satire and humour is particularly hard to transmit, and sometimes comes
across as rude and contemptuous. Particularly avoid sarcasm, which rarely communicates
well. Similarly, don't over-react to email or postings you receive. What looks
to you like an insulting or mean message may only be an absent minded and poor
choice of phrasing, and not meant the way you perceived it.
Be particularly polite when disagreeing with others. Wherever possible, acknowledge
good points made, and then respectfully describe the areas where you disagree
to produce the most productive conversation.
People Aren't Organizations
Many people send email from their work email accounts because that is the
only email account they have. Never assume that a person is speaking for the
organization that they work for.
To ensure that people can make this distinction, some folks put a sentence
in the signature of their email at work
that says something like the following:
"All opinions are personal expressions of the author alone".