Internet Etiquette

Internet Etiquette: From RFC 1855 to Today

The word Netiquette refers to the etiquettes that should be adopted while using the internet. As the name shows, netiquette is derived from two words; internet and etiquette. It is basically how someone should behave on the internet. The Internet is the largest way of communicating with other people.

It often happens that people who are very nice in the real life, do not behave properly while communicating with other people through the internet. RFC 1855 was published in 1995 by Sally Hambridge. It is a memo that has some guidelines about how one should behave on the internet.

Though RFC 1855 is 20 years old, it is still relevant today. It still can be applied to the way how people behave online. There are also many other aspects of netiquette that will be covered in this article.

A Close Look at RFC 1855

It’s been so many years since the RFC 1855 was introduced but it can still be valid today. However, it needs more work to be done so that it can completely be relevant today.
There are three sections of RFC that need more work to be done. In this article, we tried to create a modern version of netiquette. These three sections are explained below:

One-to-One Communication

According to RFC 1855, there are certain acceptable ways of communicating with people by using the internet and transmitting information through it. These ways include:

  • Use correct attribution while communicating with people.
  • Do not forward the chain letters if you are not allowed to do so.
  • Instead of losing your temper in flame wars, wait for a day or two to respond a message.
  • Before hitting the send button on your email, it is always the best idea to read it first.
  • Do not send personal messages in a group conversation.
  • Try to send sorted emails but if your email is more than 100 words, write “long” in your subject line so
  • that he recipient knows that you have sent a long email.
  • Know how to report unwanted messages/
  • While communicating with someone on the internet, try to use smileys and different symbols. Do not
  • use uppercase letters because it will give a sign that you are shouting.
  • Avoid sending attachments that are non-ASCII to people.
  • Avoid using CC box while directly communicating with someone via email.
  • If you are communicating cross culturally or with someone who lives in a different time zone, respect
  • their culture and time zone
  • Be courteous while communicating with strangers
  • When you communicate with someone on the internet, there is no use of body language. So, the clear
  • language should be used so that the message can be understood easily.
  • Always check the owner of communication.
  • When you communicate via email, assume that the security is absent.
  • You should always respect copyright whether you are communicating online or offline.

Our Updates to 1855

Now that you have read some of the guidelines of RFC 1855, following are some of the updates that we have done in it:

  • In the modern era, there is no need of using symbols in your communication. But, still, avoid using upper case in any case. Readers do not like to read emails that are written by using the only upper case.
  • Always keep in mind the local laws before you plan to distribute email on a massive level.
  • When you are making requests for information to someone, behave in a courteous way and be polite.
  • There is no limit on how much words should you put in an email. You can write as many words as you want. But remember that emails that are short are most likely to be responded.

In the modern era of internet, there are many other options of communication along with using email. There are hundreds of messaging apps that you can use to live chat with other people. Video calling is also very easy these days.

Here are some of the guidelines that you should keep in mind if you are using any other means of communication except email:

  • Before starting a voice or video call, it is the best option to send a text message first to let the other person know that you are about to call him.
  • Do not ignore the other person during conversation. Pay attention to their messages.
  • Use those text styles that can be easily read by the reader.
  • If you do not trust a person, avoid sending your personal photographs to that person.
  • Only use video calling option when the other person does not have any problem with it.
  • Always keep an eye on what your kid is doing on the internet.
  • Use appropriate avatars while creating an account.
  • Avoid sending friend and contact requests to strangers.
  • If you are communicating with a person by using an app, stick to that option only. Do not use different means of communications to communicate with a single person unless you have a very good reason to do so.
  • Avoid using lengthy sentences.
  • When you are done with your conversation, close it in a polite way just the way you do it on a phone call.

One-to-Many Communication

The Internet has greatly changed when it comes to one-to-many communication. When RFC 1855 was introduced, it did not have many guidelines on one-to-many communication but now, there are many means of one-to-many communication and we need clear guidelines about how one should behave in a one-to-many communication.

In a modern and easy terminology, one-to-many communication is known as social media. When the RFC 1855 was introduced, a method called “Newsgroup” was used for the group conversations.

What Are Newsgroups?

When there were no social media, people used newsgroups for group conversations. Newsgroups used a platform called Usenet. People used to post their comments on the thread with the help of email. Any person who had the right software was able to access the group conversation thread via the internet.

Just like we have different groups on social media these days e.g. a Facebook group, people used to have a newsgroup and there were thousands of active newsgroups when RFC 1855 was introduced. But, later, newsletters became the hub of spam messages and their relevance was decreased.

However, there were still some points of RFC 1855 about newsgroups and these points are still relevant today. Following are some of those points:

  • Avoid pointing out grammatical errors of other people.
  • It is a good idea to quote small chunks while communicating with other people instead of the whole message.
  • Do not attack anyone personally.
  • Before sending any message, know that your message will reach a huge number of people.
  • Avoid impersonating other people while creating your own accounts.
  • It is better to write a short message instead of a long passage because short messages are most likely to be responded.
  • Users are responsible for their own behavior and platforms will not be liable for their actions.
  • If someone is not using their business account, then it means they are not representing their company.

Here are some of the changes that have been done in netiquette:

  • You can use different social media platforms for the advertisement of your products or services or a business. Always remember that spamming is still not an acceptable form of communication but you can use different advertising techniques to promote your business.
  • Avoid using your personal information on a platform that is not private. It is very risky.
  • Keep in mind the rules and regulations of the platform that you are using. Adjust your tone according to the platform.
  • If you want to say anything, you can quickly and easily jump right into the conversation.

From Flaming to Trolling

What is meant by Internet Trolls?
If you use the internet, you might be aware of the word troll. Trolls are basically people who like to offend people. They are the ones who start a heated debate just to annoy other people. If a person is not behaving appropriately and is sending offensive messages to other people, it means that he is a troll. This act is known as trolling.

Trolls are often unbearable and if you feel you are being threatened by a troll, you should contact the police department of your area. The biggest area in which the internet has changed drastically is “conflict”. With the introduction of social media, the level and speed of communication between people have greatly increased.

Due to this change, the level and number of trolls have also increased. Trolls do not show their identity all the time. And social media has also made it easier to offend other people while staying anonymous. When RFC 1855 was introduced, it did not provide fully guidelines about trolling and flaming. But, this topic needs more discussion in this modern era.

Today, the meaning of troll has also changed. Initially, when this word was new, a troll was someone who used to post in groups so that he or she can get a response from other people. But, now, trolls are people who start a debate or a thread just to see a negative response from people.

Here are a few guidelines related to trolls:

  • If you are being threatened, then report to the police immediately.
  • Learn to ignore the trolls.
  • Avoid responding to hate or offensive comments made by trolls.
  • Learn to understand the behavior of people who are trolls.
  • Avoid communicating with people who are using fake social media accounts.
  • If you feel like badly arguing with someone, try to remain calm and disagree in a polite manner.
  • If you do not like a user, block them

What’s meant by a Flame War?

A flame war is an argument that is done online. It is different from the troll because trolling is a one-way process. Whereas in a flame war, both parties exaggerate and take an active part in the argument.

Here are a few guidelines about flame wars that are still relevant today:

  • If you are being provided with a readme file, read it first.
  • Avoid using older versions of software because they are most likely to be attacked by malware.
  • Keep the information up to date.
  • Always check the ownership of a material before you use it online and offline.
  • If you have any issue related to connectivity, check first if there is any problem with your equipment

Here are a few Updates to 1855 that we have done:

Use a privacy and cookie policy. It will enhance the trust of your audience in you.
Links to different sites are useful but do not include links to low-quality websites.
Do not link your own website in an bad way.
Search engines are welcomed.

Viruses and Malware

Here are guidelines related to viruses and malware:

  • Include your order number in your query so that businesses can help you in a better way.
  • If you receive a malicious email from a business, immediately report that to the business.
  • Interacting with Businesses
  • Here are some guidelines related to interacting with businesses.
  • Always keeping mind ha businesses also have limited resources and they are bound by their privacy policy while helping you.
  • If you receive a message from someone you know and that message contains malicious material, then make sure that you tell the other person about this. Sometimes, they don’t even know about those messages that are being sent under their name.
  • Use moderate and respectable language.
  • Use appropriate language while reviewing a product or service.
  • Avoid using lengthy messages. Use short sentences to convey your message.
  • Avoid getting angry on the issues that are not under the control of a business.
  • Before buying anything online, carefully check the delivery date and order price.
  • Learn the rules and regulations of a platform before using it.

Marketing and Advertising

Here are a few guidelines related to marketing and advertising:

  • If something is published on a website, it should be treated as a copyrighted material.
  • Business should respect the privacy of their customers.
  • While using social media, businesses should obey their rules and regulations.
  • Businesses should avoid sending spam messages to the customers.
  • Users should always be provided with clear guidelines if they want to opt out from any marketing or advertising campaign.

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