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Netiquette

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As Internet use dramatically increases the community of Internet users includes people who are new to the environment and are less interested in the technological aspects than those who grew up with the Internet. These "Newbies" are unfamiliar with the culture and don't need to know about transport and protocols but they are using the medium in many ways - not all of them legal or appropriate. There are increasing reports of Internet Misuse leading to the termination of contracts amongst all sectors from junior staff to Board members and this is of concern to organisations across first, second and third sectors.

Here tcm.com provide a very thorough (and lengthy) set of guidelines for Network Etiquette that others can take and adapt for their own organisation's need for standards in email and Internet use. It will enable web administrators and those charged with getting the most out of the new technology to identify good practice. The material is divided into four main sections:

one to one communication - email and talk;
one to many communications - mailing lists and NetNews
information services - ftp, WWW, Wais, Gopher, MUDs and MOOs
selected bibliography.

The bulleted items are sensible if a little wordy at times but there some gems that all Internet users will find useful eg:

'In general, it's a good idea to at least check all your mail subjects before responding to a message. Sometimes a person who asks you for help (or clarification) will send another message which effectively says "Never Mind". Also make sure that any message you respond to was directed to you. You might be cc:ed rather than the primary recipient.'

Here is another:

'Verify all addresses before initiating long or personal discourse. It's also a good practice to include the word "Long" in the subject header so the recipient knows the message will take time to read and respond to. Over 100 lines is considered "long". '

These guidelines also inform:

'Never send chain letters via electronic mail. Chain letters are forbidden on the Internet. Your network privileges will be revoked. Notify your local system administrator if your ever receive one.'

And finally:

'Use mixed case. UPPER CASE LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING.'

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