Netiquette

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Netiquette (short for "network etiquette" or "Internet etiquette") is a set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks, ranging from Usenet and mailing lists to blogs and forums. These rules were described in IETF RFC 1855.[1] However, like many Internet phenomena, the concept and its application remain in a state of flux, and vary from community to community. The points most strongly emphasized about USENET netiquette often include using simple electronic signatures, and avoiding multiposting, cross-posting, off-topic posting, hijacking a discussion thread, and other techniques used to minimize the effort required to read a post or a thread. Netiquette guidelines posted by IBM for employees utilizing Second Life in an official capacity, however, focus on basic professionalism, amiable work environment, and protecting IBM's intellectual property.[2] Similarly, some Usenet guidelines call for use of unabbreviated English[3][4] while users of online chat protocols like IRC and instant messaging protocols like SMS often encourage just the opposite, bolstering use of SMS language.

Contents

History

Netiquette began before the 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,[5] as evidenced by posts of the satirical "Dear Emily" Postnews column.[6]

Common characteristics

Common rules for e-mail[7] and USENET such as avoiding flamewars and spam are constant across most mediums and communities. Another rule is only using opt-in on forms, when creating accounts like on a forum - and such. Often, the option 'Newsletter' (for example) is already ticked. This is against the netiquette, but widely done (even on wikipedia, when Jimmy Wales asks for a donation). Another rule is to avoid typing in all caps or grossly enlarging script for emphasis, which is considered to be the equivalent of shouting or yelling. Other commonly shared points, such as remembering that one's posts are (or can easily be made) public, are generally intuitively understood by publishers of Web pages and posters to USENET, although this rule is somewhat flexible depending on the environment. On more private protocols, however, such as e-mail and SMS, some users take the privacy of their posts for granted. One-on-one communications, such as private messages on chat forums and direct SMSs, may be considered more private than other such protocols, but infamous breaches surround even these relatively private media. For example, Paris Hilton's Sidekick PDA was cracked in 2005, resulting in the publication of her private photos, SMS history, address book, etc.[8]

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