Basic Netiquette for Beginner Bloggers

girl at computer

If you are courteous off-line then behaving the same way online is not problematic, because online courtesy is primarily a matter of common sense,  and thinking twice before you post. There are some extras  that are specific to online communication but they are easily learned.  If you are new to blogging you may not be aware of   Netiquette.

Netiquette began before the 1991 start of the World Wide Web. Text-based email, Telnet, Usenet, Gopher, Wais, and FTP from educational and research bodies dominated Internet traffic. At that time, it was considered somewhat indecent to make commercial public postings, and the limitations of insecure, text-only communications demanded that the community have a common set of rules. The term “netiquette” has been in use since at least 1983, as evidenced by posts of the satirical “Dear Emily” Postnews column. — Wikipedia

I discovered a 2 minute and 39 second long video that summarizes the basics  so I’m posting it today. I do have many things to say on this issue but I will wait for readers to comment before I share them.

My Tips

  1. Lurk before you  join any online group, forum, social media site, or social networking site. This will provide you with an opportunity to determine whether or not there is any value for you in joining.
  2. Read the FAQs and all sticky posts and policies before your join an online group. After you join consult them and do searches before posting.
  3. When posting to support forums do not:
    • fail to search support documentation, FAQs, and policies prior to posting.
    • use non-descriptive titles like “help!”  when posting forum threads.
    • post off-topic pleas for help  into existing threads AKA thread-jacking.
    • fail to post a link to the article, image, page or post you refer to.
    • fail to provide a detailed description of what you did and what happened when you did it.
    • post an email address in a form spam bots can crawl.
    • use all capital letters.
    • use no capital letters.
    • use excessive punctuation (!!!! ????)
    • use text speak.
    • use profanity.
    • expect instant answers to your questions and bump your own threads or start duplicate threads when you don’t get instant answers.
    • expect emotional support.
    • post personal attacks.
    • fail to thank those who helped you solve your problem.

How to Follow Proper Netiquette Rules

Related posts found in this blog:
How to Become a Better Blogger 2: Online Privacy
How to Become a Better Blogger 5: Your Online Presence
Blogging: Online presence and authenticity
Libel: Blogging Rights and Wrongs

18 thoughts on “Basic Netiquette for Beginner Bloggers

  1. Pingback: WordPress.COM creates splogging farm via reblogging feature « Opposable Thumbz?

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  3. This is a really good post. I’m glad that there’s some good discussion going on the appropriate ways to handle online presence. I think there should be a tutorial like this given before anybody is allowed to use the internet.

    Also this is a fantastic blogging idea.

    • @Chet
      The first time kids these days use a computer they are usually using one that belongs to their parents. As children are imitators if they are supervised and if the parents are courteous online then kids start out on the right foot, so to speak. However, if they are unsupervised then they simply adopt the online behaviors they observe on the sites they visit. The second opportunity to educate kids about netiquette is in schools and once again they rely on the adult role modeling and peer group modeling they observe.

      When adults who have not previously used computers enter cyberspace they bring they same behavior they exhibit offline with them. If they are courteous offline then they will be courteous online as well. Of course, as we mentioned above there are different policies on each different site. Generally speaking though the most abusive and ignorant people I have experienced online have been adult trolls who are not courteous offline and who revel in the assumed protection that anonymity provides. Second in the running are obnoxious adolescents who think that verbally abusing and libeling other people is exercise of freedom of speech, when it most certainly isn’t.

      We are witnessing an extremely emotion-driven cyber society. Many ignorant people find logic and sticking to the point extremely frustrating and are only interested in expressing their feelings on a topic, without any chain of reason. They don’t have a clue about what fallacious arguments are. http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html They react emotionally when those who do know what they are challenge them to stick to the subject matter and stop the ad hominem attacks. For these cyber brats, cyber bullies, and psycho trolls the idea that you’re “entitled to your opinion” has far overshadowed the notion that we have any responsibility to form opinions based on actual data, proven fact, and critical reasoning.

      As the internet community matures and as more and more people conduct their professional services and business online, we are bound to see in increase in legal activity and court challenges when libel is committed. When those who are cyber bullied and libeled can demonstrate to the courts that the defamation (character assassination) has negatively affected them in ways that can be measured in dollars and cents we shall see a leveling of the playing field, and that leveling has already begun. Here’s an example: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2009/08/models_suit_exposes_cyberbully.html?ft=1&f=103943429

      It’s about bloody time that we people in cyberspace were held to the same standards online as we are offline.

      • Wow, as a compliment, you are quite the glut of information on this subject. If I wasn’t already thoroughly impressed with our conversation in the forums you’ve certainly got me ready to preach the good word of “Cyber Responsibility”.

        I mean there are plenty of places that people can go on the web still and be complete goons to one another, and if that is what they choose to surround themselves with I guess that’s up to them, but I thoroughly agree. We need to be responsible for the presence that we are making and the kind of material that we release into the world. The cyber is even more important I believe because our actions are not limited to a circle of people. We have an ever expanding community and it is our responsibility to feed things into the community that are beneficial. IE well built argument and constructive criticism and not just raging ideals or blithe praise.

        Keep it up. I can’t wait to hear more.

        • @Chet
          Thanks so much for your comments. It’s great to experience discussion on a post that IMO is about an important subject.

          I’,m an introvert with an INFJ personality so coming online has helped me to become more outgoing and “social”. I’ve also been exposed to a minority of trolls, whom I wouldn’t tolerate on my property or in my life for single moment. But the vast and overwhelming majority of folks in cyberspace are great people, who want to connect and communicate and build community. They have befriended me and helped me come out of my shell. I salute them. Long may they blog.

  4. Alas, country life, which means dial-up, which means zero HS or BB, which means no You-Tube, which, ultimately sucks. But I’m glad you posted, and will remember to look it back up when I’m in town at the local coffee shop. I’m also looking forward to your opinions.

    • @shesboxingclever
      Dang! I’m sorry you couldn’t view the video. However, you have been online a long time so I can assure you there’s probably nothing in it that you don’t already know. I have posted some of my tips in the post itself and if the discussion opens up then I will add more. I have many things to say about the abuse of free speech, personal attacks, and character assassination I have witnessed online but I won’t start ranting about it until at least one commenter does. ;) Thanks for the visit and comment.

  5. This is a helpful post, and I liked the video, too. Some of these points are less intuitive than others, so it’s useful to have them spelled out.

    By the way, you mention using the Firefox browser. I saw somewhere yesterday on WP.com (support pages? forum pages?) that Firefox is the recommended browser for WP bloggers. Is this true? And do you yourself use it for all your WP blogging? (I ask because I don’t want to switch in order to solve a problem I’m having but then find out later that there is less overall support for FF than for IE (e.g. fewer FAQ’s, fewer troubleshooting guides, fewer forum posts, etc.)

    • @MikeGantt
      Yes, Firefox is an open source browser that rocks! As wordpress is also open source and as Firefox displays our blogs best you did that it was recommended in support documentation.

      ? And do you yourself use it for all your WP blogging?

      I use Firefox for everything. I have many very useful Firefox add-ons and extensions. The top of that list is AdBlock plus. I see no advertising at all on any sites I visit and all pop-ups are blocked. The only time I use IE8 is when I have to help people and need to see what they see. Are you aware of the browser stats? 46.5% of those surfing the web are using Firefox browsers.

      http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

  6. Thanks so much for addressing this issue. That is a really good point about lurking before diving in because the protocols can be different. I’m use to posting in health forums where it’s OK to include your website or blog address below your signature, but someone recently told me this is not OK on their NING forum. It can be so confusing. I realize including your link is not generally accepted when posting a comment on a blog, but I didn’t realize it’s not OK on some forums too. I also like the netiquette point of forgiving people when they get it wrong!

    • @Sandra Lee
      The wordpress.com support forums are the least “spammy” online forums there are. There are two reasons for this (1) we are not allowed to have blogger initiated advertising on our blogs and(2) all the links are “no-follow” links that lack Google juice.

      In any online community where there are “do – follow” forum links you will find make money “do-follow” bloggers are the majority. That means that signature link dropping and self promotion is the order of the day and that’s why I’m not a member of them.

      Thanks for commenting. :)

  7. That was nice!

    But I didn’t understand the bit about the BCC thing for emails. I’d hate to think I’d been doing it wrong all this time!

    Also, while it was kind of implied, I think that using the browser’s spell checking feature needs to be stressed. I’m really a fumble fingers with my typing and I don’t want to be rude by forcing other to guess what I meant to type. Even though I miss something on occasion, I am so grateful for this feature! I just don’t understand why so many people seem to either not have this feature, or simply not to care.

    My spell checker caught at least 6 typos while I was writing this comment! :-D

    • @izaakmak
      I agree 100% about spellchecker use and as I have as I have a Firefox browser it’s easy to do. Nevertheless, at least a few times every day I start answering forum questions quickly, and fielding phone calls at work at the same time. Then to my horror I find I have clicked “submit” without checking and cannot edit. Yikes!

      I think it’s important to know what email address protocol and online privacy is all about. Understanding and following protocol is likewise important in social networks. As each one is different the emphasis on lurking first in the video was good advice. One can learn a great deal from reading forum threads and FAQs, before diving in.

    • Hi there,
      Yes, they are very basic and the next post will take this a little further because it’s going to focus on what to do when you get negative feedback.

      Thanks for the compliment on the header. I have been quietly renovating the blog in the back ground. I have lots left to do but most of it won’t be visible.

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