- Articles / Netiquette -
This article is under heavy (re)construction
(NB: I know it's deeply unprofessional to upload WIP's but some folks seem to already value some of the material here. Mostly it's a collection of unsorted notes that needs to be assembled into a better order, edited and re-presented. The rest will be dealt with when I am in a more healthy state of mind in which I can discuss the use of threaded mailers without using, as a main pro-argument, the threat that I'll thumb peoples eyes out if they don't.)
Nettiquette is a word we have for the methods and modes of behaviour that should exist online. Mainly in chat forums, email, usenet etc... the flaunting of these through ignorance and at times contrariness by users tend to infuriate and annoy the rest of the population and is detrimental to the user themselves.
Some people might say that how someone emparts themselves online is their own business and most people have their own way of communication and why should they have to do it the way everyone else says or does? Am I some kind of nazi bastard or what...
That's all shite. Communication needs standard formats. Plus most nettiquette is based on common sense and formulae that make messages easy to read and navigate. Anyone who, learning the formulae, decides to ignore it is little more than a troll for the sake of trolling.
Anyhoo, I'll begin by pointing out some of the no-no's, those irritating habits that annoy and infuriate me and make the said user look like a complete goon and newbie (remember of course that being a newbie is not a crime, we all have to learn to walk. Making such mistakes through naivity is not to be punished, but to the newbie, please be open to criticism. If you think about it these hints make sense):
General hints on grammar
The grammar to be used online is the same as the grammar you should've learnt at school, that is used in literature, in magazines, in letters etc... If you come to the net and see people using a different form of grammar you don't have to feel the need to follow them. Grammar is grammar. There is no real need online for some kind of treny pigin english. Many many years ago when the internet was young and equipment more primative the use of abbreviations and acronyms was heavy use to the cost and time that was expended by the primative technology just moving words around. However in these days of hyperfast Broadband access and unlimited internet access there is no longer any need for unnecessary abbreviations. We can affordto take the extra time to write "you are" or even "you're", rather than resorting to use of the vile term "ur". On sms where space is limited it is passible but when I see this used online I feel my stomach heave. Same goes with use of "u" instead of "you", "c" instead of "see" and "4" instead of "four". these abbreviations became horribly trendy a number of years ago to show that the user was "with" the scene... even if they weren't, and the said 'scene' never even existed. These days use of such abbreviations marks the user as either a AOL user, a 'script-kiddie', or a pre-teen newbie...
In school, in the western world mostly, we are taught to capitalise the first letter of the first word in a sentence. also to capitalise the first letter of name words; trademarks, names, titles... To highlight their importance. Capitalising ENTIRE sentences is considered, online and in some literature, as SHOUTING. It is unnecessary. I've found this is often caused by people who are unused to computers using the Caps Lock key to capitalise text. Please try to learn to use the Shift key instead. I personally almost never use the Caps Lock key. I only know it even works when I hit it accidentally. It'll also help to learn to type while watching the screen so you can see what you are typing. This can be difficult. And to be honest it doesn't really matter how you type. Just how it is comportable for you. However how it comes off to others is important. and fully capitalised paragraphs are irritating and look silly. It's like wearing a T-shirt that says "I'm new here and have no idea what I'm doing".Punctuation
The good laird gave us punctuation to make our written words easier to related to our spoken words. Most of us learn punctuation at school. Please use it online. Try to read what you have written as if you are speaking it and see if it makes sense. Use commas, use fullstops (periods), Exclamation points (though use them sparingly... as Terry Pratchett points out anything more than four exclamation points used in a row is a sign of insanity.). Punctuation is a wonderful thing that is well worth learning. It makes text FAR easier to read and as such more likely to be read.Paragraphs and sentences
In addition to the above on Punctuation, please use paragraphs and sentences. Putting your entire text into one long block of text tires the reader out. Infact many people upon seeing a long page of text with no breaks will not bother to read it.
Posting MessagesOT: On Topic
Many public forums: Mailing Lists, Newsgroups, Message Boards, have a topic. Straying from this topic a little is usually permissable. But it's good to stay in or around the topic at hand. Otherwise you end up flooding a group with unrelated banter that any new users that come to the group will find off putting. What is even worse is posting personal message in public forums. Messages that have meaning to only one other person. This happens but the best thing is to take this discussion to private email. Replying
When you reply to messages, mostly those in newsgroups (usenet) and mailing lists, your software will create a quote of the message you are rersponding to. Probably (hopefully) indented by a ">" and possibly in a different colour from your own text. In many forums the message you are replying to will still be available for other readers so this "quote" in your message has another reason other than just a reminder. It is there to be picked apart. You are to edit it and insert your comments on what they have said below to create a kind of conversation. Any bits you don't wish to reposnd to or which are not relivant you are to remove.Replying: Top Posting
Please don't just ignore this quote and post your reply at the top. this is annoying and it means that this whole wasted piece of quote is left at the bottom of your message... AND if your reply was to a reply to someone else that did the same thing the amount of useless quote at the bottom of the message grows. Increasoing the size of the message to probably 10x what it could be.