Student Netiquette

Netiquette is basically network etiquette, what to do, and not do, when communicating online. Here is a short list of guidelines to help you communicate effectively on the Internet.

  1. Remember we are all human. It is easy to forget that there is a person behind that computer, but try! We can’t see facial expressions or body language, so words can easily be misinterpreted. Be the same person online you are offline — which has two meanings: first behave with the same standards of behavior online that you do offline, and also feel free to let your personality show in your communication.
  2. Know where you are in cyberspace. When in Rome… Pay attention to the type of discussion forum or community you are visiting. What might be OK in a sports chat, would not be OK in an educational setting.
  3. Respect other people’s time. Keep communication to the point and stay on topic. Long rambling comments will probably not get read – most people just don’t have the time.
  4. Make yourself look good. Your words are the only way that people can get to know you – so be on you best behavior.
  5. No flame wars. Flaming is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It’s the kind of message that usually gets a strong reaction from readers. Netiquette forbids flaming and the perpetuation of flame wars — series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed towards each other, which can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It’s unfair to the other members of the group.
  6. Let the subject line work for you. Many people decide whether or not to read a discussion post or email by what is in the subject line, Make sure it reflects the content of the message.
  7. Be forgiving. When someone makes a mistake — whether it’s a spelling error, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer — be kind about it. If you decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public.
  8. DON’T USE ALL CAPS! In Internet or email language it is the same as shouting.
  9. No spamming. Spam is unsolicited advertisements (personal or commercial) sent to large numbers of people.
  10. Lurk before you leap. Observe discussions forums or chat room first to get a feel for the type of language and interactions used. Once you get a feel for the tone, jump right in and participate.
  11. Check out the FAQ. Before you ask questions, check out the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section of the site, your question may be answered on this page. It can be frustrating for administrators to answer the same question again and again. That’s why they post FAQ’s!
  12. We are all from different worlds. Be aware of cultural and language differences. What means one thing to you, may mean something completely different in a different culture. Be sensitive to all people.
  13. Use communication tools for course-related discussions. Course communication tools should be used for course specific communication and not for personal use.