As in the real world, the Internet world also has a set of rules for conduct; it has etiquette. Network etiquette, or netiquette, is basically a list of rules that you should follow when you are online and communicating with other people. It is very important to remember that in your dealings online, in the chat rooms, or in the role-playing programs, it is necessary to remember that the people you are dealing with are real, live human beings like yourself, not some on-screen character.
Here are a few pointers and tips to help as you surf the Internet:
When e-mailing or chatting with other people, remember that the person you are talking to is a real human being. The Internet makes communicating less personal- you can't use facial emotions, body language, different tones, or anything of that sort. All you can see is a line of text. This often makes it easy to forget that you're talking with other people. As is true in "real" life, don't do to others what you don't want done to yourself.
Most people, in the "real" world, are nice, law-abiding folks. Be the same on the Internet. Don't go and do something illegal just because you think that the chances of getting caught are slim. Follow your morals as you would while you're carrying on with your everyday life.
When talking on the Internet, most people tend to forget their periods, their commas, etc. Well, this can be awfully hard for the other person to read. Try reading a letter with no punctuation marks whatsoever. It would look something like this:
hi john how are you im good were coming back tomorrow floridas great i dont want to leave i cant believe school starts in a few weeks it seems like summers just started its really hot today whats it like
Confusing, huh? Of course, most messages aren't that bad, but it's still hard to read a message with very few punctuation marks and with very few words spelled correctly.
Spamming is when you post advertisements on every single news board you can find, and when you send advertisements to every single e-mail address you come across on the Internet. Most people find this incredibly annoying, and probably won't even glance at your advertisement before deleting it.
Flaming is when you say something offensive without holding back any emotions. This is incredibly rude, and if the person you say it to retaliates, then a flame war could be started.
Try not to swear when you're online. If you really feel the necessity to swear for some reason, then you should use asterisks, or think up some other word, like "oh fudge."
You sure wouldn't like it if you found someone snooping around in your room or reading your private diary. You also probably wouldn't like it if you found out that somebody was snooping around and reading all of your e-mail. Well, if you don't like it, then it makes sense that other people might not like it either. So, respect other people's privacy and don't go around reading their e-mail!
When typing messages, etc., don't use all CAPS. THIS IS CALLED SHOUTING AND IS CONSIDERED RUDE. It is also hard to read when something is in all capital letters.
Smileys and Acronyms:
Now that you know some of the moral ethics of the Internet, you might find yourself wandering into a chat room, and seeing all sorts of strange smiley-faces and acronyms. What do all of these things mean?
First, we'll tackle smileys. Since there is no real way to convey emotions in an online chat room, there are what we call smileys, or emoticons. These are basically sideways smiley-faces that can be used to show how you are feeling. To see these, you have to tilt your head at a 90-degree angle- so that your head is almost resting on your left shoulder. As people have gotten more creative, they have invented hundreds of different smileys to show different emotions. These smileys have spread to every corner of the Internet- there's no way to avoid them! Here are some of the basic smileys:
|:-)||Basic smiley. It can mean that you are happy, or some other pleasantry. In addition, it could also be used to show a touch of sarcasm and to tell the other person not to take what you just said too seriously.|
|:-(||Frown. You're definitely NOT happy.|
|8-)||This smiley has glasses|
|:-X||Lips are sealed|
Now, we'll tackle the acronyms. You might walk into a chat room and see people typing things like "BRB" or "LOL." So what do these mean? Well, here's a list of some of the basic acronyms that are used:
And now, you're ready to go chat!