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Netiquette on the Internet

What is Netiquette?

The word 'netiquette' was coined a few years after the Internet became widely available to the general public and has as its root the word etiquette.

      etiquette:   rules of acceptable behavior: the rules and conventions governing correct or polite behavior in society in general or in a particular social or professional group or situation.
      Encarta On-line Dictionary
Netiquette, then, is the rules and conventions that govern the correct behavior on the Internet.

A very simple guide of accepted protocol for communication on the Internet includes,

      1. Don't Spam
      3. Check your spelling and grammar.
      4. Minimize the length of your communique'.
      5. Avoid cross-posting to multiple recipients.
      6. Avoid sharp criticism or flaming.


    Spam has become an increasing problem over the past few years and is not likely to go away anytime soon. However, there is a growing confusion as to what spam is and what it is not. I will attempt to exlain what spam is according to both the sender and receiver of the message.

    First the sender. If you are sending email, or posting messages on BBS systems, newsgroups or mailing lists, you could, and probably will at some point, be accused of sending spam. The consequense of such an accusation could result in the loss of your email account, newsgroup posting privilages, your website, and even your ISP. These loses will occure even if you are innocent of the charge, so BE CAREFUL.

    So, what is spam and how do you know if you are sending it? The following items are generally considered spam.

        1. Sending email to someone you don't know for the purpose of selling something or getting the recipient to visit your website.
        2. Sending bulk email to a list of people who have not asked to receive your email
        3. Making post on a BBS which is off topic.
        4. Cross posting to more than one newsgroup
        5. Off topic posting to newsgroups

    If you engage in any of the above activities, you are spamming and will likely be reported.

    As a member of the Internet family, you are likely to receive spam in your email, and read it in newsgroups and on bulliten boards around the net. However, some messages that may appear to be spam are really not spam at all. The main guide line we should use when determining whether an email is spam or not, is 'did we agree to receive email from the person sending it?' Many times we opt in to receive messages from a company and forget that we have done so. If you have engaged in business with the company sending the email, they have the right to send you email, and as such the email is not spam. If you have signed up (subscribed) to a mailing list, they have the right to send you email. So, before accusing someone of sending spam, make sure you have not established a past relationship with that person or company.

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