Definition of Netiquette, excerpted from http://www.dictionary.com:
"The most important rule of netiquette is 'Think before you post.'"
Avoid Offending Classmates
Keep Your Voice Down
Avoid Sarcasm and Subtleties
Make the Extra Effort to Be Courteous
Make it Personal
Be Aware of Culture
Write for Readability
Change the Subject
Not Too Little, Not Too Much
What It's About
Spell It Out
One Final Look
What's Written is Recorded
Additional Resource (not required)
USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS online is the equivalent of yelling. Ouch! Instead, use HTML to bold or italicize text in your postings, or use *asterisks* around the text to be emphasized.
Hearing spoken words, seeing people's faces and bodies while they talk, and reading dialogue on your computer screen can convey substantially different impressions. Keeping this in mind may help you realize that it's sometimes easier to sound insensitive and hurt someone's feelings or have them miss the point when you're communicating through text only. To counter this, be clear and straightforward with your language.
Assume any comment you read that sounds abrasive wasn't proofread for tone, and wasn't meant to offend. If you're upset, you might wait a little before posting a too-hasty reply that you'll regret later. Unless the author specifically says they're angry, assume otherwise and ask for clarification of their intent.
At the end of each posting, sign your name. It also adds a personal feel when responding to an individual if you address him or her by name.
It's good to express your opinions in discussions, but don't make disagreements personal. Agree to disagree in your exchanges of information and opinions. Keep your interactions with others friendly, especially when you're getting to know each other.
Be aware of cultural differences. If you suspect classmates might be from other cultures, avoid unexplained references that may not be understood or cause feelings of exclusion.
These little icons can be quite effective in supplying primitive facial expressions to supplement your words. If you prefer, use other more direct ways of being sure your intentions are known, for example, by adding phrasing like "just kidding," "no offense intended," or "this is my opinion." Here are just a few examples of emoticons:
:-) - basic smile
;-) - wink
:-D - big smile
:-( - frown
:-o - oh, no!
:-P - tongue out
Always enter a new subject for each of your postings, even if you are making an additional comment on the same subject as those above yours. Leaving the default subject tells readers nothing about your particular topic. Unique subjects allow classmates to understand the flow of conversations and relocate particular postings without having to open every one.
One word or single phrase responses can seem curt and rude. Use complete sentences and clearly communicate your meaning. Conversely, postings of multiple screens of text can be overwhelming to read online. Compose offline, edit your musings, and consider making bullet points to aid classmates in getting to your point.
When replying to a posting, quote the part of the original posting to which you are replying to help classmates understand the context.
With spellcheckers now available as add-ins for most popular Web browsers, there's no excuse for inadvertent typos. Also remember that trendy abbreviated spellings are best left outside of online classrooms.
After you compose a posting, take a moment to reread your text before submitting. If it's possible, reading out loud can be especially helpful. One final once-over can identify typos, misstatements, lack of clarity, or an unintended tone.
Remember that everything you post is recorded in most asynchronous online discussions.
For more tips on online communicating, read "Following Netiquette Guidelines" (Web site) at http://www.emcp.com/college_resource_centers/listonline.php?GroupID=6168