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Apropriate Online Behavior

Distance conveys a degree of anonymity, and as a result, many people feel less inhibited in online situations than in their everyday lives. This lessening of inhibitions sometimes leads people to drop their normal standards of decorum when communicating online. In response, good cybercitizens have developed, over the years, an informal set of guidelines for online behavior called Netiquette. Netiquette can be summarized by three simple precepts: Remember that there is a human being on the other end of your communication, treat that human being with respect, and do not transmit any message that you wouldn’t be willing to communicate face to face.

Be careful what you write about others. Assume that anyone about whom you are writing will read your comments or receive them by some circuitous route. Be brief; Receiving and reading messages costs time and money. Use titles that accurately and concisely describe the contents of e-mail and other postings. Consider your audience, and use language that is appropriate. Avoid offensive language, especially comments that might be construed as racist or sexist. Remember that the law still applies in cyberspace. Do not commit illegal acts online, such as libeling or slandering others, and do not joke about committing illegal acts. Be careful with humor and sarcasm. One person’s humorous comment can be another person’s boorish or degrading remark. Generally speaking, avoid putting words into full capitals. Online, all-caps is considered SHOUTING.

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