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About Netiquette


from the OUI help files

Below are just a few guidelines. The topic of Netiquette is widely discussed (some might even say preached <g>) in Usenet newsgroups. If you follow common sense, you'll most likely be practicing good netiquette. The following was taken from a text file written by a long time newsgroup/list server surfer:

Besides flames, there are a few other things that are frowned upon. Don't send commercial notices. Don't send test messages (except to alt.test) -- these annoy a lot of people. Don't send messages saying merely, "Me too." If you don't have anything constructive to add to a discussion, then it's best not to send anything at all. Any messages you send will increase the work load on the newsgroup's host computer.

Keep in mind that your messages reflect on you. Try to use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. One long block of text is hard to read, so break your messages up into paragraphs. Use both uppercase and lowercase as ALL UPPERCASE IS QUITE OFTEN PERCEIVED TO BE SHOUTING! In the same vein, it's considered bad form to flame someone for poor spelling or grammar. Use clear wording as it is difficult to project emotion through the written media. Don't read thoughts into messages that aren't there. For example, I tend to write formally and people sometimes misinterpret this as being stuffy or preachy when it was never my intention to project this. Sarcasm doesn't come across well either, and many people use a "smiley" to indicate they're joking. This is a smiley: :-) (tilt your head to the left if you can't see it).

Back on the subject of subjects -- don't flame someone for posting an off-topic message or violating netiquette in the newsgroup. This might lead into an endless discussion on what is an appropriate topic, which isn't much fun either. Very important: Be sure of your sources! Don't post something that sounds like an amusing story as it may be a well-known Urban Legend that the users have seen countless times, and you may just end up getting flamed for it. Urban Legends are commonly passed around by well-meaning people, and can be checked out with something as simple as a phone call!

Different newsgroups have different policies on posting copyrighted items, so you should find out what the consensus is before posting a newspaper article, song lyrics or a GIF of your favorite TV personality. As a rule though, you probably shouldn't post copyrighted articles. It's also not recommended to post e-mail received from someone in other places, such as a public newsgroup... this is considered very rude behavior.. Get permission from the author before reposting. E-mail conversations are intended to be read by two people, not the world.