Every one of our emailed newsletters starts
with the date followed by something called "Netiquette." Some of you have never
heard of it and some might have heard of it but really don't know what it's all about.
Netiquette is derived from the words "Network" and "Etiquette" and
very simply stated it's proper etiquette for Internet usage.
So, how are your Internet Manners? Do you practice good etiquette
when you are online?
All ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have some basic
rules to follow that are referred to as TOS (Terms of Service), Usage Agreement, or
something similar. It's easy to think that once you've read one, you know it all; or some
of us just skip that reading stuff and hit the "I AGREE" button.
Frankly, a lot is left up to "common sense" and
manners in general. However, there are some Internet conventions that go beyond what
"Mamma" taught you.
Here's an example of a little known convention, especially
Have you ever been in a CHAT and someone has told you to
"stop shouting?" Or another in the room has asked you to "turn off your CAP
Using your CAP LOCKS (typing in ALL CAPS) is considered
shouting and bad form. Back in the early days, when computers communicated via a tool like
a BBS or telnet, typing in caps would make the screen "flicker" slightly
(presumably from a change in contrast of light letters on a dark background). This was
hard on the eyes...and was "attention" getting, as shouting in a library would
be in the real world. Hence, typing in all capital letters was considered rude.
There are a few exceptions to the ALL CAPS rule. If
indeed, you are seeking attention for a legitimate reason, well, using all caps would be
at your discretion. The other exception is in regards to the visually impaired or those
that have limitations on their typing ability. For example, if you were in a chat room
that was for accessibility issues, you might expect that there would be people in the chat
that would be able to read LARGE capital letters more easily. For someone that was typing
with one hand hitting the "Shift" key in the middle of typing a train of thought
would be a hindrance--though, it would be just as well for them to type in all small case
and leave the cap lock off.
Unsolicited "junk" (bulk) email is obviously a
plague on the Internet, some states have already passed legislation to make this an
illegal act; other states are developing laws to deal with the matter. Don't be a SPAMMER.
It's annoying, in some places illegal, and it wastes "bandwidth." (Spam and
bandwidth will be explained in another FYI.)
Emails that tell you to "FORWARD THIS TO ALL YOUR
FRIENDS!" are another "groaner." Most often these are in connection with a
hoax or chain mail. The transmission of large emails (hoaxes, chain mail, or not) taxes
the network and bogs down everyone's speed. I have seen some emails that have been
forwarded so many times, with the addition of LARGE recipient lists, that the original
message "truncates" (i.e. is in excess of what an email can hold). A large
email, primarily a list of names and nothing else, serves no useful purpose anyway.
Resist the urge to forward, but if you must, be kind to
others privacy. Forward using a Blind Courtesy Copy (BCC) convention in your email
program. This prevents the spread of email addresses that the owners would rather remain
private. Anyone receiving an email with all those names could be a mass mailing
"Spammer" and you have just given them access to another valid email address to
send Spam to.
"Hackers" will sometimes commit these things on
purpose in order to crash an email server. But it is just as likely that a new user, that
doesn't understand, could do this by accident.
Another faux pas is attached files.
On the one hand, large attached files can crash a users
email program for extended length or time to download. Last week I was subjected to an
email problem because someone sent me two overly large attachments (one 9MG and another
2.4MG). I had to contact my server and have them deleted--all the incoming email after
that was inaccessible until the offending large files were dumped.
If you need to send a file attachment be kind and
considerate. Check the file size and use appropriate methods to make the file smaller
(such as shrinking-resizing a graphic or using a file compression program--ZIP or ARC for
PCs or STUFFIT/SIT for MACS). It would also be wise to send individual attachments in
separate emails rather that multiple attachments in a single email.
On the other hand, be VIRUS-smart. Check files with
anti-virus software before you send or open files attached to email. Not doing so is
tantamount to having a nasty cold and sneezing in the face of everyone you know! Sharing
files with friends is fun and a benefit of being online, sharing a cold is not fun and
takes time and money to get over. An anti-virus utility and Internet "hygiene"
is just what the doctor ordered.
This touches the "highpoints" of Netiquette. To
add to your accomplished manners and understanding I recommend you visit
Rules of Netiquette.