Netiquette is the contraction used for internet etiquette. It is used to describe the guidelines or conventions adopted by internet users to define proper behavior online from chat rooms to emails. These guidelines are usually enforced by moderators, which can be the website owner, employees, or volunteers (veteran users of the site). Each site has its own guidelines but they generally revolve around making sure that users treat each other with respect and that privacy of individuals are not breached.
Some of the most common netiquette guidelines on the web include:
1. Discrimination – Language that may be deemed discriminatory in any way is not allowed. This includes racist slurs and any other inflammatory language including abusive language such as cursing a fellow internet user.
2. Shouting – Capitalizing an entire word or phrase is the equivalent of shouting online. Shouting is frowned upon since it signals lack of respect and is simply unpleasant. The only time capitalized words are allowed is when important announcements are made, although even then it is usually just the heading (i.e. ATTENTION) that is capitalized.
3. Using BCC – When sending mass email to a group of people that do not necessarily know each other, it is important to type in the email addresses on the BCC field. This is done to ensure privacy of the people’s email address. Using the ‘TO’ and ‘CC’ field will make the email addresses visible to all the people you send the email to while the BCC field will keep it private.
Despite the rules of netiquette, many users are excited to use the Internet as a way to smear, aggravate, or anger people. They take advantage of the anonymity the Internet enables. Such people are called “trolls.” They’re easy to spot—scroll through enough posts on this very blog and you’re sure to find one.