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Netizen Netiquette

Definition: Netiquette comes from NETwork plus EtiQUETTE. It is the effective use of technology to communicate, both personally and professionally, with understanding and courtesy.

More Definitions: Likewise is Netizens and Lazinets made by combining Net-Citizens and Lazy-internetters. Though these are newly formed words, later there is a much older word used -- plethora. This is used in the sense of "excess".

Netiquette matters. Proper use of technology and common courtesies in email and online sites should be paramount. However, anonymity has created a class of impolite, insensitive lazinets.

The top of my list of Netiquette Issues which irritate most is no "hello", no salutation or "thank you", and no signature. In the business of asking for personal information about people, how can one expect positive replies from anonymous queries, or 'cutesy' email 'handles'.

Due to the many different types of internet browsers it is better not to format messages/queries in HTML. Formatting your letter with color, either text or background, and including images does not make it easier to read your request or information.

When requesting information from email "listers" or site coordinators, such as XXGenWeb folks, identify your request completely with full known name [surname in CAPS], geographic location, and a time frame. Be sure that your subject line reflects this information.

Limit your request to just one or two events.

Proofread your letter for basic grammar and punctuation. Do not type in all caps or all lower case letters. Letters typed in all CAPS is considered YELLING or SHOUTING. Letters typed in all lower case do not display the sentences and words in normal configuration, leading to difficulty in reading. [Note: there are exceptions and those who have difficulty in typing may not be able to readily use the shift key and thus either type in all upper or lower case. Allowances should be made in these cases.]

If you insist on sending a hostile or "nasty" email -- do not expect a response. It has become my experience that very bold and critical email senders do not weigh positive points of any issue. Sometimes these folks are just trolling for reactions in order to elevate their self-esteem. Such letters and requests simply allow me to exercise my "delete" finger.

All private email is considered to be copyrighted by the originator. Posting private email to a public list or board must be done only with the author's permission.

Edit out all non-essential parts of emails when responding. Make the subject line appropriate to your response. Just replying with the entire email just wastes bandwidth, especially on email lists. In addition, on email lists, it costs wasted space in the archives of that list. Take the time to edit out what is not necessary.

Anonymity on line. Many folks just do not seem to care how they are perceived. They do not seem to care about their choice of words, or the content of them. The idea of how their words are perceived by others does not seem to be considered. Frequently they will claim that they have the "right" to say and treat others any way they so feel. If you are such a person, remember that the recipient of your letter has the "right" to absolutely ignore you. If you will not take time to be civil and polite, others are not required to respond.

Always begin your letter with "Hello", "Hi", "G'Day", "Dear" or whatever works for you. Always end your emails with "Thank you", "Sincerely", "Thanks in Advance", "Best Regards", or, again, whatever works for you, and sign off your email appropriately. Without your name, your letter is impersonal and is not conducive to being perceived as a person one would do business with.

You are what you write. Due to the absence of voice and/or nonverbal clues, we forget that eye contact, tone of voice and body language, are not available with the written language. The use of emotional symbols and acronyms when appropriate to convey your meaning is appropriate. The dictionary gives different meanings to words, so is the plethora of choices; if you say it [type it] your recipient will take you at your word. :)

To quote a close friend, "I'm prompting myself to exercise these same courtesies both when asking and responding" [to] email requests and comments.


Bill Oliver

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