What is Netiquette and is it important?

What does netiquette mean?

what is netiquette

What is Netiquette? To put it simply, Netiquette is also known as network etiquette or online etiquette.

It is a set of rules and good practices associated with the way we should conduct ourselves when communicating electronically/online via non-face-to-face methods such as social media, forums, websites, messaging applications, mobile devices, email, etc.


What is the Golden rule of netiquette?

The golden rule of netiquette is: Do not do or post anything online that you would not say to someone face to face.

Netiquette rules and definitions

Rule 1: Remember the Human

The golden rule here is to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Remember that a human will be reading your message or reply.

Ask yourself, “how would I feel If I read or received this message/reply?” Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.

Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behaviour online as you do in real life

Would you behave or say the things you’re about to if you were face to face?

Rule 3: Know where you are

Written communication varies between websites and different electronic mediums.

An image or text you send to your friend may not be appropriate (and at worst highly offensive or inflammatory) if shared on certain websites, forums and across social media.

Likewise using emojis and smiley faces may not be appropriate in certain circumstances.

Rule 4: Respect other people’s time

We’re all busy people, and with the amount of content available online, it pays to make your communication meaningful and to the point. Time is the new online currency!

Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

The beauty of the online world is that people cannot judge you based on your physical appearance but you will be judged on the quality of your writing and the content you share or publish.

With the above in mind, always ensure that you check for spelling and grammar mistakes, know what you’re talking about and/or cite your sources (you may not have the answer but pointing someone in the right direction is as useful). Be polite.

Rule 6: Share your expert knowledge

No further explanation is needed here. Exactly as it says on the tin!

Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

What is flame wars or flaming?
Flaming is what people do when they express a strong opinion without holding back any emotion which then tends to lead to angry or abusive exchanges between individuals.

Help douse the flames by trying to guide the discussion back in a productive direction.

Rule 8: Respect other people’s privacy

If someone is sharing personal information, circumstances or a situation, this needs to be handled with care. Don’t share or discuss this information with others who were not privy to it first-hand.

Rule 9: Don’t abuse your power

There are many subject matter experts online and just because you have expertise in a certain field or topic, don’t undermine or belittle others who may not know as much as you do.

Help them and as per Rule No.5 – Make yourself look good.

This is relevant in all forms e.g. don’t post a reply if the only purpose is to correct someone’s spelling or grammar. Send them a private message if you can’t look past it.

Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes

Following on from Rule No.9, when you see what (you may deem as) a “stupid” question, inaccurate information or advice, be kind when responding.

As in Rule No.1, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Don’t undermine people publicly. When correcting misinformation, simply post the facts and steer away from pointing out and correcting the previous person’s errors.

If you need to correct someone’s errors directly you could private message them as opposed to ripping them apart publicly on the discussion. There are no points or prizes for doing this. Alternatively…just let it slide.

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