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How-To Geek

Netiquette

Netiquette is a portmanteau of the words Internet and etiquette. Netiquette is broad term encompassing appropriate behavior on computer networks and the greater internet. Much like real-world etiquette governs things like appropriate dress, topics of discussion, methods of communication (such as wedding invitations and RSVP standards), and so on, netiquette seeks to provide similar structure to online interactions.

Some netiquette rules are broad and applicable to many users across many distinct social groups (such as it being considered poor behavior to use the CC: function in email to include people on private communications), while others have evolved specifically for the unique situations from which they arise (such as rules within an MMORPG guild for dividing up game loot between participating players).

The first formal attempt at establishing netiquette as a broadly applied concept was in a 1995 Internet Engineering Task Force memo entitled “RFC 1855: Netiquette Guidelines“. The memo included this advice about heated conversations:

A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages (we call these “flames”) even if you are provoked. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get flamed and it’s prudent not to respond to flames.

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