from Dianna Alsup Gielstra [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In light of recent postings, I wanted to send a friendly reminder regarding “Netiquette.” I use this information when I teach online in my classroom, and it has helped immensely in keeping the points on topic while being respectful to all individuals. I ask that you keep an open mind during the time spent in the our neighborhood forum when responding to myself and others. I suggest if you feel strongly about a topic, write your email, but do not send it immediately. Walk away and take another peek later to make sure that you are keeping an open mind and are responding in a respectful tone. Below is a reminder on how we can stay respectful of one another while communicating in this online environment.
Just as society has rules of conduct governing interactions in the face-to-face environment, the virtual community also has rules of conduct for electronic interactions. The term netiquette is used to refer to online etiquette. Recommendations include the following:
- Stay on topic. While discussion is encouraged, rambling and tangential conversations may not be conducive to a quality experience.
- Use appropriate subject lines in your replies. As a conversation evolves, it’s helpful to change the subject line of a threaded message to reflect the changing topic.
- Place your message at the top of your replies. The new content you provide should be the first thing the reader encounters. The reader can then elect to scroll down to the previous message(s) if necessary.
- Add multiple comments directly into messages in your replies. While a straight-forward reply is usually appropriate, interspersing your comments throughout an original posting may be more effective if you wish to respond to multiple points. For example, interspersing ***multiple*** comments in the body of the original message ***like this*** increases the readability of a response that addresses various points.
- Avoid ”I agree” and ”Me, too!” messages. Spending time reading messages without substance can be frustrating for all parties.
- Avoid the use of all caps. (IT’S LIKE SHOUTING!) Use caps occasionally for strong emphasis, but only for individual words.
- Avoid writing errors, even when “talking” with one another. Messages in the our neighborhood forum are conversational and often informal; thus, they are prone to occasional grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors. Be sure to consistently post intelligible messages despite the informality of the environment.
- Carefully choose the format for your messages. Long paragraphs are difficult to follow on-screen. As a general rule, limit each paragraph to five to seven lines. Avoid fonts that are difficult to read because of style, color, or size. In addition, do not use stationery, as it adds to download time.
- Avoid responding when emotions are running high. For example, if you are angry, put your message aside. Remember, the ability to write and save messages for later review is a precious gift that can promote neighborly interaction.
I hope you find this information useful. An occasional reminder can keep this forum focused on positive development and information dispersal for the neighborhood.