9. - Netiquette

Our short guide to netiquette (online etiquette)

Communicating online has a specific code of behaviour. This is referred to as netiquette. The following rules or guidelines have been adapted from Core Rules of Netiquette by Virginia Shea, you might want to consider when communicating online.

Pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation

  • Strive to write clearly and correctly
  • Check for spelling mistakes and grammar issues
  • Do not use the kinds of abbreviations acceptable in a text message
  • Use language everyone can understand

Know your context

  • Introduce yourself
  • Remember that culture influences communication style and practices. Stay open and ask questions – avoid assumptions
  • Instructors will usually set the tone and provide guidance/guidelines

Remember the human

  • We all come with personalities. Remember there is a person behind the words. Ask for clarification before making judgement.
  • Check your tone before you publish
  • Respond to people using their names
  • Culture and even gender can play a part in how people communicate
  • Remain authentic and respect the same of others
  • People participate in different ways – some just by reading the communication rather than jumping into it
  • Avoid jokes and sarcasm- they often don’t translate well to the online environment

Text has permanence

  • What you say online is difficult to retract later – once in print. Be judicious.
  • Consider your responsibility to the group and to the learning environment
  • If you are working collaboratively – agree on ground rules for text communication (formal or informal; seek clarification whenever needed, etc)

Flaming: Research before you react

  • Accept and forgive mistakes
  • Consider your responsibility to the group and to the learning environment
  • Seek clarification before reacting
  • Ask your facilitator for guidance*

Respect privacy and original ideas

  • Always quote if you are responding to a specific point made by someone else
  • Ask the author of an email before forwarding it

*Note: Sometimes, online behavior can appear so disrespectful and even hostile that it requires attention and follow up. In this case, let your eFacilitator know right away so that the right resources can be called upon to help.