Netiquette Q&A

What is netiquette?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines Netiquette as "etiquette governing communication on the Internet".

Why is netiquette important?

In an online environment, communication is primarily handled via the written (or typed) word; there is no "face to face" communication. The lack of facial expressions, voice inflections, and body language are absent in email communications; therefore, there are set standards of etiquette when communicating in cyberspace to help avoid misunderstanding.

Where will I use netiquette?

Netiquette applies to places online that you will be communicating. Key places that netiquette will apply are emails, Canvas messages, discussion board postings, voice board postings, etc.

What are the rules of netiquette?

Identify yourself:

  • Begin messages with a salutation and end them with your name.
  • Use a signature (a footer with your identifying information) at the end of a message.

Includes a subject line:

  • Give a descriptive phrase in the subject line of the message header that tells the topic of the message (not just "Hi, there!").

Communicate effectively and thoughtfully:

  • Acknowledge and return messages promptly.
  • Respect others' privacy.
    • Do not quote or forward personal email without the original author's permission.
    • Copy with caution.
  • No spam (a.k.a. junk mail).
  • Be concise. Keep messages concise—about one screen, as a rule of thumb.
    • Use appropriate language.
    • Avoid coarse, rough, or rude language.
  • Avoid sarcasm.
  • Observe good grammar and spelling.
  • Use appropriate emoticons (emotion icons) to help convey meaning. Use "smiley's" or punctuation such as :-) to convey emotions.
  • Use appropriate intensifiers to help convey meaning.
    • Avoid "flaming" (online "screaming") or sentences typed in all caps.
    • Use asterisks surrounding words to indicate italics used for emphasis (*at last*).
    • Use words in brackets, such as (grin), to show a state of mind.
    • Use common acronyms (e.g., LOL for "laugh out loud").

An additional source for netiquette guidelines: Rasmussen College's 10 Netiquette Guidelines Online Students Need to Know by Ashley Brooks.