The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette
- by Arlene Rinaldi
(Email, LISTSERV groups, Mailing lists, and Usenet)
- Under United States law, it is unlawful "to use any
telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an
unsolicited advertisment" to any "equipment which has the capacity (A)
to transcibe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal
received over a regular telephone line onto paper." The law allows
individuals to sue the sender of such illegal "junk mail" for $500 per
copy. Most states will permit such actions to be filed in Small
Claims Court. This activity is termed
"spamming" on the Internet
- Never give your userID or password
to another person. System administrators that need to access your
account for maintenance or to correct problems will have full priviledges
to your account.
- Never assume your email messages are private
nor that they can be read by only yourself or the recipient.
Never send something that you would mind seeing on the evening news.
- Keep paragraphs and messages short and to the point.
- When quoting another person, edit out whatever isn't
directly applicable to your reply. Don't let your mailing or
Usenet software automatically quote the entire body of
messages you are replying to when it's not necessary. Take
the time to edit any quotations down to the minimum
necessary to provide context for your reply. Nobody likes
reading a long message in quotes for the third or fourth
time, only to be followed by a one line response: "Yeah, me
- Focus on one subject per message and always include a
pertinent subject title for the message, that way the user
can locate the message quickly.
- Don't use the academic networks for commercial or
- Include your signature at the bottom of Email
messages when communicating
with people who may not know you personally or broadcasting
to a dynamic group of subscribers.
Your signature footer should include your name, position,
affiliation and Internet and/or BITNET addresses and should
not exceed more than 4 lines. Optional information could
include your address and phone number.
- Capitalize words only to highlight an important point or to
distinguish a title or heading. Capitalizing whole words that are not titles is generally
termed as SHOUTING!
- *Asterisks* surrounding a word can be used to make a stronger point.
- Use the underscore symbol before and after the title of a book,
i.e. _The Wizard of Oz_
- Limit line length to aproximately 65-70 characters
and avoid control characters.
- Never send chain letters through the
Internet. Sending them can cause the loss of your Internet Access.
- Because of the International nature of the Internet and the
fact that most of the world uses the following format for listing
dates, i.e. MM DD YY, please be considerate and avoid
misinterpretation of dates by listing dates including the spelled out
month: Example: 24 JUN 96 or JUN 24 96
- Follow chain of command procedures for corresponding with
superiors. For example, don't send a complaint via Email
directly to the "top" just because you can.
- Be professional and careful what you say about others.
Email is easily forwarded.
- Cite all quotes, references and sources and respect
copyright and license agreements.
- It is considered extremely rude to forward personal email to
mailing lists or Usenet without the original author's
- Attaching return receipts to a message may be considered
an invasion of privacy.
- Be careful when using sarcasm and humor. Without face to
face communications your joke may be viewed as criticism. When
being humorous, use
emoticons to express humor.
(tilt your head to the left to see the emoticon smile)
:-) = happy face for humor
- Acronyms can be used to abbreviate when possible, however
messages that are filled with acronyms can be confusing
and annoying to the reader.
Examples: IMHO= in my humble/honest opinion
FYI = for your information
BTW = by the way
Flame = antagonistic criticism
Permission to duplicate or distribute this document is granted with
the provision that the document remains intact or if used in sections,
that the original document source be referenced.
Last updated: 03 OCT 96