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  • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
    This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
    Message 1 of 30 , Oct 1, 2006
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      This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

      * Rule 1: Remember the Human

      * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

      * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

      * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

      * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

      * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

      * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

      * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

      * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

      * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

      What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

      When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

      So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

      The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

      The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

      Rule 1: Remember the human

      The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

      In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

      When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

      When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

      It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

      The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

      Would you say it to the person's face?

      Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

      Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

      Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

      Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

      Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

      Another reason not to be offensive online

      When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

      Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

      You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

      Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

      In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

      The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

      Be ethical

      Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

      One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

      Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

      If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

      Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

      Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

      Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

      Netiquette varies from domain to domain

      What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

      And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

      Lurk before you leap

      When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

      Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

      It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

      The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

      You are not the center of cyberspace

      Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

      Rules for discussion groups

      Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

      And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

      To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

      In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

      Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

      Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

      Take advantage of your anonymity

      I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

      You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

      If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

      Know what you're talking about and make sense

      Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

      In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

      Don't post flame-bait

      Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

      Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

      Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

      Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

      Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

      The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

      So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

      It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

      If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

      Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

      Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

      "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

      Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

      But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

      Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

      Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

      Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

      The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

      In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

      The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

      Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

      Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

      Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

      Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

      Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

      If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
    • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
      This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
      Message 2 of 30 , Nov 1, 2006
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

        * Rule 1: Remember the Human

        * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

        * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

        * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

        * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

        * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

        * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

        * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

        * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

        * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

        What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

        When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

        So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

        The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

        The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

        Rule 1: Remember the human

        The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

        In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

        When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

        When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

        It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

        The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

        Would you say it to the person's face?

        Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

        Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

        Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

        Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

        Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

        Another reason not to be offensive online

        When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

        Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

        You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

        Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

        In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

        The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

        Be ethical

        Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

        One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

        Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

        If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

        Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

        Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

        Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

        Netiquette varies from domain to domain

        What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

        And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

        Lurk before you leap

        When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

        Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

        It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

        The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

        You are not the center of cyberspace

        Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

        Rules for discussion groups

        Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

        And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

        To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

        In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

        Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

        Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

        Take advantage of your anonymity

        I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

        You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

        If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

        Know what you're talking about and make sense

        Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

        In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

        Don't post flame-bait

        Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

        Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

        Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

        Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

        Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

        The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

        So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

        It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

        If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

        Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

        Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

        "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

        Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

        But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

        Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

        Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

        Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

        The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

        In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

        The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

        Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

        Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

        Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

        Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

        Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

        If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
      • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
        This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
        Message 3 of 30 , Dec 1, 2012
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          This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

          * Rule 1: Remember the Human

          * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

          * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

          * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

          * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

          * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

          * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

          * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

          * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

          * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

          What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

          When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

          So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

          The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

          The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

          Rule 1: Remember the human

          The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

          In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

          When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

          When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

          It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

          The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

          Would you say it to the person's face?

          Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

          Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

          Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

          Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

          Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

          Another reason not to be offensive online

          When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

          Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

          You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

          Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

          In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

          The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

          Be ethical

          Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

          One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

          Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

          If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

          Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

          Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

          Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

          Netiquette varies from domain to domain

          What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

          And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

          Lurk before you leap

          When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

          Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

          It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

          The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

          You are not the center of cyberspace

          Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

          Rules for discussion groups

          Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

          And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

          To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

          In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

          Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

          Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

          Take advantage of your anonymity

          I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

          You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

          If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

          Know what you're talking about and make sense

          Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

          In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

          Don't post flame-bait

          Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

          Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

          Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

          Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

          Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

          The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

          So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

          It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

          If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

          Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

          Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

          "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

          Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

          But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

          Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

          Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

          Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

          The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

          In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

          The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

          Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

          Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

          Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

          Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

          Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

          If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
        • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
          This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
          Message 4 of 30 , Jan 1, 2013
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

            * Rule 1: Remember the Human

            * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

            * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

            * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

            * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

            * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

            * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

            * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

            * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

            * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

            What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

            When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

            So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

            The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

            The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

            Rule 1: Remember the human

            The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

            In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

            When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

            When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

            It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

            The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

            Would you say it to the person's face?

            Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

            Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

            Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

            Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

            Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

            Another reason not to be offensive online

            When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

            Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

            You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

            Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

            In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

            The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

            Be ethical

            Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

            One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

            Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

            If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

            Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

            Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

            Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

            Netiquette varies from domain to domain

            What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

            And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

            Lurk before you leap

            When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

            Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

            It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

            The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

            You are not the center of cyberspace

            Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

            Rules for discussion groups

            Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

            And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

            To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

            In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

            Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

            Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

            Take advantage of your anonymity

            I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

            You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

            If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

            Know what you're talking about and make sense

            Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

            In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

            Don't post flame-bait

            Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

            Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

            Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

            Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

            Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

            The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

            So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

            It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

            If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

            Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

            Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

            "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

            Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

            But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

            Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

            Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

            Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

            The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

            In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

            The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

            Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

            Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

            Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

            Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

            Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

            If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
          • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
            This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
            Message 5 of 30 , Feb 1, 2013
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              This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

              * Rule 1: Remember the Human

              * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

              * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

              * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

              * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

              * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

              * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

              * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

              * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

              * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

              What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

              When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

              So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

              The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

              The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

              Rule 1: Remember the human

              The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

              In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

              When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

              When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

              It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

              The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

              Would you say it to the person's face?

              Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

              Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

              Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

              Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

              Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

              Another reason not to be offensive online

              When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

              Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

              You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

              Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

              In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

              The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

              Be ethical

              Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

              One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

              Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

              If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

              Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

              Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

              Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

              Netiquette varies from domain to domain

              What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

              And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

              Lurk before you leap

              When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

              Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

              It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

              The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

              You are not the center of cyberspace

              Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

              Rules for discussion groups

              Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

              And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

              To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

              In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

              Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

              Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

              Take advantage of your anonymity

              I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

              You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

              If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

              Know what you're talking about and make sense

              Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

              In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

              Don't post flame-bait

              Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

              Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

              Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

              Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

              Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

              The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

              So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

              It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

              If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

              Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

              Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

              "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

              Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

              But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

              Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

              Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

              Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

              The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

              In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

              The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

              Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

              Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

              Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

              Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

              Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

              If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
            • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
              This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
              Message 6 of 30 , Mar 1, 2013
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                Rule 1: Remember the human

                The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                Would you say it to the person's face?

                Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                Another reason not to be offensive online

                When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                Be ethical

                Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                Lurk before you leap

                When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                You are not the center of cyberspace

                Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                Rules for discussion groups

                Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                Take advantage of your anonymity

                I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                Know what you're talking about and make sense

                Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                Don't post flame-bait

                Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
              • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
                This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                Message 7 of 30 , Apr 1 6:10 AM
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                  This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                  * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                  * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                  * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                  * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                  * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                  * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                  * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                  * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                  * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                  * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                  What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                  When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                  So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                  The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                  The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                  Rule 1: Remember the human

                  The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                  In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                  When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                  When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                  It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                  The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                  Would you say it to the person's face?

                  Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                  Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                  Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                  Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                  Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                  Another reason not to be offensive online

                  When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                  Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                  You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                  Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                  In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                  The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                  Be ethical

                  Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                  One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                  Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                  If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                  Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                  Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                  Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                  Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                  What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                  And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                  Lurk before you leap

                  When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                  Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                  It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                  The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                  You are not the center of cyberspace

                  Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                  Rules for discussion groups

                  Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                  And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                  To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                  In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                  Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                  Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                  Take advantage of your anonymity

                  I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                  You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                  If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                  Know what you're talking about and make sense

                  Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                  In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                  Don't post flame-bait

                  Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                  Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                  Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                  Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                  Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                  The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                  So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                  It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                  If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                  Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                  Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                  "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                  Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                  But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                  Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                  Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                  Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                  The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                  In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                  The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                  Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                  Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                  Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                  Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                  Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                  If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
                  This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                  Message 8 of 30 , Jun 1, 2013
                  View Source
                  • 0 Attachment
                    This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                    * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                    * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                    * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                    * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                    * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                    * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                    * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                    * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                    * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                    * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                    What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                    When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                    So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                    The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                    The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                    Rule 1: Remember the human

                    The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                    In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                    When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                    When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                    It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                    The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                    Would you say it to the person's face?

                    Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                    Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                    Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                    Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                    Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                    Another reason not to be offensive online

                    When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                    Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                    You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                    Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                    In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                    The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                    Be ethical

                    Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                    One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                    Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                    If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                    Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                    Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                    Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                    Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                    What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                    And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                    Lurk before you leap

                    When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                    Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                    It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                    The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                    You are not the center of cyberspace

                    Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                    Rules for discussion groups

                    Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                    And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                    To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                    In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                    Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                    Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                    Take advantage of your anonymity

                    I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                    You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                    If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                    Know what you're talking about and make sense

                    Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                    In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                    Don't post flame-bait

                    Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                    Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                    Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                    Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                    Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                    The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                    So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                    It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                    If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                    Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                    Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                    "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                    Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                    But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                    Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                    Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                    Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                    The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                    In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                    The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                    Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                    Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                    Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                    Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                    Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                    If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                  • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
                    This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                    Message 9 of 30 , Jul 1, 2013
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                      This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                      * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                      * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                      * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                      * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                      * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                      * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                      * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                      * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                      * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                      * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                      What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                      When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                      So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                      The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                      The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                      Rule 1: Remember the human

                      The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                      In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                      When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                      When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                      It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                      The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                      Would you say it to the person's face?

                      Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                      Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                      Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                      Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                      Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                      Another reason not to be offensive online

                      When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                      Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                      You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                      Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                      In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                      The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                      Be ethical

                      Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                      One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                      Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                      If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                      Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                      Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                      Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                      Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                      What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                      And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                      Lurk before you leap

                      When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                      Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                      It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                      The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                      You are not the center of cyberspace

                      Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                      Rules for discussion groups

                      Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                      And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                      To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                      In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                      Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                      Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                      Take advantage of your anonymity

                      I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                      You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                      If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                      Know what you're talking about and make sense

                      Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                      In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                      Don't post flame-bait

                      Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                      Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                      Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                      Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                      Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                      The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                      So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                      It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                      If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                      Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                      Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                      "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                      Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                      But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                      Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                      Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                      Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                      The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                      In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                      The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                      Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                      Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                      Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                      Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                      Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                      If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                    • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
                      This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                      Message 10 of 30 , Aug 1, 2013
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                        This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                        * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                        * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                        * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                        * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                        * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                        * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                        * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                        * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                        * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                        * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                        What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                        When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                        So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                        The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                        The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                        Rule 1: Remember the human

                        The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                        In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                        When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                        When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                        It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                        The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                        Would you say it to the person's face?

                        Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                        Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                        Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                        Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                        Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                        Another reason not to be offensive online

                        When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                        Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                        You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                        Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                        In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                        The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                        Be ethical

                        Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                        One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                        Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                        If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                        Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                        Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                        Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                        Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                        What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                        And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                        Lurk before you leap

                        When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                        Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                        It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                        The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                        You are not the center of cyberspace

                        Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                        Rules for discussion groups

                        Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                        And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                        To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                        In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                        Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                        Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                        Take advantage of your anonymity

                        I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                        You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                        If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                        Know what you're talking about and make sense

                        Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                        In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                        Don't post flame-bait

                        Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                        Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                        Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                        Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                        Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                        The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                        So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                        It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                        If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                        Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                        Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                        "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                        Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                        But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                        Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                        Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                        Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                        The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                        In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                        The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                        Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                        Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                        Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                        Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                        Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                        If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                      • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
                        This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                        Message 11 of 30 , Sep 1, 2013
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                          This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                          * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                          * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                          * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                          * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                          * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                          * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                          * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                          * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                          * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                          * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                          What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                          When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                          So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                          The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                          The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                          Rule 1: Remember the human

                          The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                          In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                          When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                          When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                          It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                          The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                          Would you say it to the person's face?

                          Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                          Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                          Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                          Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                          Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                          Another reason not to be offensive online

                          When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                          Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                          You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                          Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                          In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                          The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                          Be ethical

                          Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                          One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                          Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                          If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                          Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                          Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                          Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                          Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                          What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                          And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                          Lurk before you leap

                          When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                          Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                          It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                          The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                          You are not the center of cyberspace

                          Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                          Rules for discussion groups

                          Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                          And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                          To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                          In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                          Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                          Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                          Take advantage of your anonymity

                          I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                          You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                          If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                          Know what you're talking about and make sense

                          Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                          In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                          Don't post flame-bait

                          Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                          Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                          Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                          Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                          Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                          The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                          So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                          It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                          If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                          Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                          Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                          "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                          Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                          But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                          Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                          Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                          Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                          The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                          In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                          The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                          Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                          Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                          Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                          Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                          Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                          If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                        • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
                          This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                          Message 12 of 30 , Oct 1, 2013
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                            This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                            * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                            * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                            * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                            * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                            * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                            * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                            * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                            * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                            * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                            * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                            What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                            When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                            So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                            The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                            The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                            Rule 1: Remember the human

                            The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                            In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                            When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                            When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                            It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                            The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                            Would you say it to the person's face?

                            Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                            Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                            Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                            Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                            Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                            Another reason not to be offensive online

                            When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                            Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                            You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                            Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                            In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                            The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                            Be ethical

                            Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                            One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                            Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                            If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                            Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                            Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                            Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                            Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                            What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                            And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                            Lurk before you leap

                            When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                            Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                            It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                            The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                            You are not the center of cyberspace

                            Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                            Rules for discussion groups

                            Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                            And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                            To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                            In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                            Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                            Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                            Take advantage of your anonymity

                            I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                            You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                            If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                            Know what you're talking about and make sense

                            Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                            In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                            Don't post flame-bait

                            Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                            Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                            Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                            Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                            Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                            The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                            So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                            It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                            If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                            Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                            Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                            "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                            Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                            But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                            Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                            Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                            Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                            The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                            In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                            The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                            Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                            Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                            Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                            Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                            Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                            If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                          • nuts_@yahoogroups.com
                            This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                            Message 13 of 30 , Nov 1, 2013
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                              This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                              * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                              * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                              * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                              * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                              * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                              * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                              * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                              * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                              * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                              * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                              What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                              When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                              So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                              The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                              The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                              Rule 1: Remember the human

                              The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                              In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                              When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                              When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                              It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                              The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                              Would you say it to the person's face?

                              Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                              Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                              Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                              Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                              Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                              Another reason not to be offensive online

                              When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                              Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                              You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                              Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                              In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                              The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                              Be ethical

                              Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                              One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                              Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                              If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                              Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                              Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                              Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                              Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                              What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                              And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                              Lurk before you leap

                              When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                              Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                              It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                              The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                              You are not the center of cyberspace

                              Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                              Rules for discussion groups

                              Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                              And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                              To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                              In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                              Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                              Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                              Take advantage of your anonymity

                              I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                              You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                              If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                              Know what you're talking about and make sense

                              Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                              In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                              Don't post flame-bait

                              Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                              Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                              Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                              Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                              Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                              The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                              So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                              It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                              If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                              Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                              Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                              "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                              Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                              But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                              Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                              Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                              Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                              The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                              In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                              The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                              Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                              Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                              Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                              Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                              Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                              If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                            • NUTS_@yahoogroups.com
                              This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                              Message 14 of 30 , Dec 1, 2013
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                                This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                                * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                                * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                                When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                                So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                                The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                                The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                                Rule 1: Remember the human

                                The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                                In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                                When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                                When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                                It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                                The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                                Would you say it to the person's face?

                                Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                                Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                                Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                                Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                                Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                                Another reason not to be offensive online

                                When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                                Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                                You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                                Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                                The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                                Be ethical

                                Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                                One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                                Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                                If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                                Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                                Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                                Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                                What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                                And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                                Lurk before you leap

                                When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                                Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                                The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                                You are not the center of cyberspace

                                Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                                Rules for discussion groups

                                Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                                And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                                To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                                In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                                Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                                Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                Take advantage of your anonymity

                                I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                                You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                                If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                                Know what you're talking about and make sense

                                Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                                In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                                Don't post flame-bait

                                Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                                Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                                Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                                Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                                The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                                So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                                It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                                If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                                Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                                Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                                Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                                But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                                Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                                Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                                The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                                In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                                The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                                Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                                Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                                Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                                If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                              • NUTS_@yahoogroups.com
                                This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                                Message 15 of 30 , Jan 1
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                                  This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                                  * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                                  * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                  * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                  * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                  * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                  * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                  * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                  * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                  * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                  * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                  What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                                  When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                                  So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                                  The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                                  The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                                  Rule 1: Remember the human

                                  The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                                  In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                                  When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                                  When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                                  It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                                  The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                                  Would you say it to the person's face?

                                  Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                                  Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                                  Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                                  Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                                  Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                                  Another reason not to be offensive online

                                  When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                                  Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                                  You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                                  Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                  In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                                  The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                                  Be ethical

                                  Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                                  One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                                  Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                                  If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                                  Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                                  Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                                  Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                  Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                                  What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                                  And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                                  Lurk before you leap

                                  When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                                  Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                  It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                                  The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                                  You are not the center of cyberspace

                                  Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                                  Rules for discussion groups

                                  Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                                  And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                                  To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                                  In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                                  Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                                  Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                  Take advantage of your anonymity

                                  I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                                  You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                                  If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                                  Know what you're talking about and make sense

                                  Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                                  In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                                  Don't post flame-bait

                                  Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                                  Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                                  Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                                  Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                  Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                                  The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                                  So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                                  It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                                  If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                                  Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                                  Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                  "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                                  Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                                  But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                                  Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                  Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                                  Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                                  The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                                  In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                                  The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                                  Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                  Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                                  Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                                  Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                  Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                                  If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                                • NUTS_@yahoogroups.com
                                  This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Feb 1
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                                    This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                                    * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                                    * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                    * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                    * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                    * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                    * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                    * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                    * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                    * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                    * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                    What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                                    When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                                    So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                                    The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                                    The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                                    Rule 1: Remember the human

                                    The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                                    In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                                    When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                                    When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                                    It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                                    The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                                    Would you say it to the person's face?

                                    Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                                    Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                                    Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                                    Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                                    Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                                    Another reason not to be offensive online

                                    When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                                    Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                                    You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                                    Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                    In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                                    The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                                    Be ethical

                                    Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                                    One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                                    Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                                    If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                                    Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                                    Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                                    Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                    Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                                    What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                                    And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                                    Lurk before you leap

                                    When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                                    Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                    It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                                    The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                                    You are not the center of cyberspace

                                    Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                                    Rules for discussion groups

                                    Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                                    And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                                    To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                                    In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                                    Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                                    Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                    Take advantage of your anonymity

                                    I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                                    You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                                    If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                                    Know what you're talking about and make sense

                                    Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                                    In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                                    Don't post flame-bait

                                    Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                                    Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                                    Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                                    Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                    Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                                    The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                                    So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                                    It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                                    If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                                    Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                                    Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                    "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                                    Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                                    But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                                    Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                    Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                                    Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                                    The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                                    In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                                    The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                                    Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                    Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                                    Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                                    Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                    Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                                    If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                                  • NUTS_@yahoogroups.com
                                    This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Mar 1
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                                      This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                                      * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                                      * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                      * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                      * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                      * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                      * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                      * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                      * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                      * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                      * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                      What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                                      When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                                      So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                                      The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                                      The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                                      Rule 1: Remember the human

                                      The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                                      In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                                      When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                                      When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                                      It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                                      The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                                      Would you say it to the person's face?

                                      Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                                      Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                                      Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                                      Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                                      Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                                      Another reason not to be offensive online

                                      When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                                      Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                                      You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                                      Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                      In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                                      The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                                      Be ethical

                                      Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                                      One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                                      Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                                      If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                                      Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                                      Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                                      Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                      Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                                      What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                                      And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                                      Lurk before you leap

                                      When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                                      Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                      It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                                      The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                                      You are not the center of cyberspace

                                      Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                                      Rules for discussion groups

                                      Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                                      And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                                      To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                                      In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                                      Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                                      Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                      Take advantage of your anonymity

                                      I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                                      You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                                      If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                                      Know what you're talking about and make sense

                                      Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                                      In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                                      Don't post flame-bait

                                      Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                                      Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                                      Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                                      Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                      Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                                      The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                                      So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                                      It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                                      If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                                      Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                                      Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                      "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                                      Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                                      But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                                      Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                      Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                                      Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                                      The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                                      In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                                      The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                                      Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                      Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                                      Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                                      Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                      Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                                      If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
                                    • NUTS_@yahoogroups.com
                                      This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings: * Rule 1: Remember the Human * Rule 2:
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Apr 1 6:15 AM
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                                        This is your friendly reminder from the NUTS group. Please adhere to the following rules of conduct for your postings:

                                        * Rule 1: Remember the Human

                                        * Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                        * Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                        * Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                        * Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                        * Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                        * Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                        * Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                        * Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                        * Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                        What is Netiquette? Simply stated, it's network etiquette -- that is, the etiquette of cyberspace. And "etiquette" means "the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life." In other words, Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online.

                                        When you enter any new culture -- and cyberspace has its own culture -- you're liable to commit a few social blunders. You might offend people without meaning to. Or you might misunderstand what others say and take offense when it's not intended. To make matters worse, something about cyberspace makes it easy to forget that you're interacting with other real people -- not just ASCII characters on a screen, but live human characters.

                                        So, partly as a result of forgetting that people online are still real, and partly because they don't know the conventions, well-meaning cybernauts, especially new ones, make all kinds of mistakes.

                                        The book Netiquette has a dual purpose: to help net newbies minimize their mistakes, and to help experienced cyberspace travelers help the newbies. The premise of the book is that most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends.

                                        The list of core rules below, and the explanations that follow, are excerpted from the book. They are offered here as a set of general guidelines for cyberspace behavior. They won't answer all your Netiquette questions. But they should give you some basic principles to use in solving your own Netiquette dilemmas.

                                        Rule 1: Remember the human

                                        The golden rule your parents and your kindergarten teacher taught you was pretty simple: Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you. Imagine how you'd feel if you were in the other person's shoes. Stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people's feelings.

                                        In cyberspace, we state this in an even more basic manner: Remember the human.

                                        When you communicate electronically, all you see is a computer screen. You don't have the opportunity to use facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to communicate your meaning; words -- lonely written words -- are all you've got. And that goes for your correspondent as well.

                                        When you're holding a conversation online -- whether it's an email exchange or a response to a discussion group posting -- it's easy to misinterpret your correspondent's meaning. And it's frighteningly easy to forget that your correspondent is a person with feelings more or less like your own.

                                        It's ironic, really. Computer networks bring people together who'd otherwise never meet. But the impersonality of the medium changes that meeting to something less -- well, less personal. Humans exchanging email often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.

                                        The message of Netiquette is that it's not acceptable. Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you've never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.

                                        Would you say it to the person's face?

                                        Writer and Macintosh evangelist Guy Kawasaki tells a story about getting email from some fellow he's never met. Online, this fellow tells Guy that he's a bad writer with nothing interesting to say.

                                        Unbelievably rude? Yes, but unfortunately, it happens all the time in cyberspace.

                                        Maybe it's the awesome power of being able to send mail directly to a well-known writer like Guy. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see his face crumple in misery as he reads your cruel words. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly common.

                                        Guy proposes a useful test for anything you're about to post or mail: Ask yourself, "Would I say this to the person's face?" If the answer is no, rewrite and reread. Repeat the process till you feel sure that you'd feel as comfortable saying these words to the live person as you do sending them through cyberspace.

                                        Of course, it's possible that you'd feel great about saying something extremely rude to the person's face. In that case, Netiquette can't help you. Go get a copy of Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

                                        Another reason not to be offensive online

                                        When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.

                                        Never forget the story of famous email user Oliver North. Ollie, you'll remember, was a great devotee of the White House email system, PROFS. He diligently deleted all incriminating notes he sent or received. What he didn't realize was that, somewhere else in the White House, computer room staff were equally diligently backing up the mainframe where his messages were stored. When he went on trial, all those handy backup tapes were readily available as evidence against him.

                                        You don't have to be engaged in criminal activity to want to be careful. Any message you send could be saved or forwarded by its recipient. You have no control over where it goes.

                                        Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

                                        In real life, most people are fairly law-abiding, either by disposition or because we're afraid of getting caught. In cyberspace, the chances of getting caught sometimes seem slim. And, perhaps because people sometimes forget that there's a human being on the other side of the computer, some people think that a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable in cyberspace.

                                        The confusion may be understandable, but these people are mistaken. Standards of behavior may be different in some areas of cyberspace, but they are not lower than in real life.

                                        Be ethical

                                        Don't believe anyone who says, "The only ethics out there are what you can get away with." This is a book about manners, not about ethics. But if you encounter an ethical dilemma in cyberspace, consult the code you follow in real life. Chances are good you'll find the answer.

                                        One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

                                        Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

                                        If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

                                        Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

                                        Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

                                        Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

                                        Netiquette varies from domain to domain

                                        What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

                                        And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

                                        Lurk before you leap

                                        When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.

                                        Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

                                        It's a clich� that people today seem to have less time than ever before, even though (or perhaps because) we sleep less and have more labor-saving devices than our grandparents did. When you send email or post to a discussion group, you're taking up other people's time (or hoping to). It's your responsibility to ensure that the time they spend reading your posting isn't wasted.

                                        The word "bandwidth" is sometimes used synonymously with time, but it's really a different thing. Bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of the wires and channels that connect everyone in cyberspace. There's a limit to the amount of data that any piece of wiring can carry at any given moment -- even a state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable. The word "bandwidth" is also sometimes used to refer to the storage capacity of a host system. When you accidentally post the same note to the same newsgroup five times, you are wasting both time (of the people who check all five copies of the posting) and bandwidth (by sending repetitive information over the wires and requiring it to be stored somewhere).

                                        You are not the center of cyberspace

                                        Presumably, this reminder will be superfluous to most readers. But I include it anyway, because when you're working hard on a project and deeply involved in it, it's easy to forget that other people have concerns other than yours. So don't expect instant responses to all your questions, and don't assume that all readers will agree with -- or care about -- your passionate arguments.

                                        Rules for discussion groups

                                        Rule 4 has a number of implications for discussion group users. Most discussion group readers are already spending too much time sitting at the computer; their significant others, families, and roommates are drumming their fingers, wondering when to serve dinner, while those network maniacs are catching up on the latest way to housebreak a puppy or cook zucchini.

                                        And many news-reading programs are slow, so just opening a posted note or article can take a while. Then the reader has to wade through all the header information to get to the meat of the message. No one is pleased when it turns out not to be worth the trouble. See "Netiquette for Discussion Groups" on page 65 for detailed rules.

                                        To whom should messages be directed? (Or why "mailing list" could become a dirty word)

                                        In the old days, people made copies with carbon paper. You could only make about five legible copies. So you thought good and hard about who you wanted to send those five copies to.

                                        Today, it's as easy to copy practically anyone on your mail as it is not to. And we sometimes find ourselves copying people almost out of habit. In general, this is rude. People have less time than ever today, precisely because they have so much information to absorb. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key.

                                        Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

                                        Take advantage of your anonymity

                                        I don't want to give the impression that the net is a cold, cruel place full of people who just can't wait to insult each other. As in the world at large, most people who communicate online just want to be liked. Networks -- particularly discussion groups -- let you reach out to people you'd otherwise never meet. And none of them can see you. You won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes, or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing.

                                        You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count.

                                        If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult , you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

                                        Know what you're talking about and make sense

                                        Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

                                        In addition, make sure your notes are clear and logical. It's perfectly possible to write a paragraph that contains no errors in grammar or spelling, but still makes no sense whatsoever. This is most likely to happen when you're trying to impress someone by using a lot of long words that you don't really understand yourself. Trust me -- no one worth impressing will be impressed. It's better to keep it simple.

                                        Don't post flame-bait

                                        Finally, be pleasant and polite. Don't use offensive language, and don't be confrontational for the sake of confrontation.

                                        Q. Is swearing acceptable on the net?

                                        Only in those areas where sewage is considered an art form, e.g., the USENET newsgroup alt.tasteless. Usually, if you feel that cursing in some form is required, it's preferable to use amusing euphemisms like "effing" and "sugar." You may also use the classic asterisk filler -- for example, s***. The archness is somehow appropriate to the net, and you avoid offending anyone needlessly. And everyone will know exactly what you mean.

                                        Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

                                        Finally, after all that negativity, some positive advice.

                                        The strength of cyberspace is in its numbers. The reason asking questions online works is that a lot of knowledgeable people are reading the questions. And if even a few of them offer intelligent answers, the sum total of world knowledge increases. The Internet itself was founded and grew because scientists wanted to share information. Gradually, the rest of us got in on the act.

                                        So do your part. Despite the long lists of no-no's in this book, you do have something to offer. Don't be afraid to share what you know.

                                        It's especially polite to share the results of your questions with others. When you anticipate that you'll get a lot of answers to a question, or when you post a question to a discussion group that you don't visit often, it's customary to request replies by email instead of to the group. When you get all those responses, write up a summary and post it to the discussion group. That way, everyone benefits from the experts who took the time to write to you.

                                        If you're an expert yourself, there's even more you can do. Many people freely post all kinds of resource lists and bibliographies, from lists of online legal resources to lists of popular UNIX books. If you're a leading participant in a discussion group that lacks a FAQ, consider writing one. If you've researched a topic that you think would be of interest to others, write it up and post it. See "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133 for a few words on the copyright implications of posting research.

                                        Sharing your knowledge is fun. It's a long-time net tradition. And it makes the world a better place.

                                        Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

                                        "Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective.

                                        Does Netiquette forbid flaming? Not at all. Flaming is a long-standing network tradition (and Netiquette never messes with tradition). Flames can be lots of fun, both to write and to read. And the recipients of flames sometimes deserve the heat.

                                        But Netiquette does forbid the perpetuation of flame wars -- series of angry letters, most of them from two or three people directed toward each other, that can dominate the tone and destroy the camaraderie of a discussion group. It's unfair to the other members of the group. And while flame wars can initially be amusing, they get boring very quickly to people who aren't involved in them. They're an unfair monopolization of bandwidth.

                                        Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

                                        Of course, you'd never dream of going through your colleagues' desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn't read their email either.

                                        Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here's a cautionary tale. I call it

                                        The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

                                        In 1993, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times was caught reading his coworkers' email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn't been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper's foreign bureaus. The reporter read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper's Los Angeles bureau.

                                        The moral: Failing to respect other people's privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

                                        Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

                                        Some people in cyberspace have more power than others. There are wizards in MUDs (multi-user dungeons), experts in every office, and system administrators in every system.

                                        Knowing more than others, or having more power than they do, does not give you the right to take advantage of them. For example, sysadmins should never read private email.

                                        Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

                                        Everyone was a network newbie once. And not everyone has had the benefit of reading this book. So when someone makes a mistake -- whether it's a spelling error or a spelling flame, a stupid question or an unnecessarily long answer -- be kind about it. If it's a minor error, you may not need to say anything. Even if you feel strongly about it, think twice before reacting. Having good manners yourself doesn't give you license to correct everyone else.

                                        If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, point it out politely, and preferably by private email rather than in public. Give people the benefit of the doubt; assume they just don't know any better. And never be arrogant or self-righteous about it. Just as it's a law of nature that spelling flames always contain spelling errors, notes pointing out Netiquette violations are often examples of poor Netiquette.
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