The internet version of conventional etiquette is known as netiquette (net + etiquette), also defined as the code of proper conduct for communication in virtual online places. Common sense standards (manners) and societal customs govern this code. Every educator whether a parent or teacher who uses technology with a child or student is wise to create a ‘netiquette manifesto’ for their lessons.
The manifesto should clearly state the general standards and rules that govern how to use online communicative spaces responsibly. Effective online communication necessitates an understanding of netiquette’s ethos.
Online communication, particularly text-based forms of communication, is more prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation than in-person face-to-face contact, where the heuristics of body language and facial expressions complement spoken exchanges.
Because text alone does not always convey the full communicative force of words, figures of speech like sarcasm and irony can quickly backfire and create reverse meanings. When we speak, our gestures and body language provide essential indications to support the intended meanings we want to convey through our verbal communication, which is not achievable when typing on a keyboard.
Although emojis and emoticons can improve the expressiveness of textual messages, they will never be able to replace the communication work done by body language, emphasizing the necessity of netiquette.
Netiquette is a set of standards of behavior that governs online communication and assists students in interacting, talking, discussing, sharing, and learning in courteous and meaningful learning environments that value cooperation and diversity. So, what exactly are these internet etiquette guidelines?
Netiquette guidelines are culturally sensitive since they are social norms, and what works in one setting may not necessarily work in another. Parents and teachers must take cultural and societal concerns into account when developing netiquette regulations.
As global netizens who communicate in the same virtual realm, however, our communication is governed by a set of global netiquette guidelines. Because these norms are less context-dependent, they can be used as a guide to polite and courteous online interactions.
For example, when asking inquiries, saying please and thank you, respecting speaking turns, refraining from bullying or being cruel to others, appreciating variety of viewpoints, and so on are all generic netiquette standards that can be used cross-culturally.
Here are some guidelines with a set of netiquette rules that students should follow when participating on online discussion forums. In truth, these netiquette guidelines apply to every virtual environment, not only discussion boards.
- Check to see if your question has already been asked and answered before adding it to a discussion board. Don’t repeat a topic of conversation in a discussion board the same way you wouldn’t in real life.
- Keep your posts relevant – Avoid posting irrelevant links, comments, opinions, or images.
- Don’t type in all capital letters! If you do, you’ll appear to be shouting.
- Even if it’s a joke, don’t write anything that seems angry or sarcastic because your peers might not realize you’re kidding if they don’t hear your tone of voice.
- When asking for help from your classmates, always remember to say “Please” and “Thank you.”
- Respect your classmates’ viewpoints. If you feel compelled to disagree, do so graciously and accept your classmate’s valid comments. Recognize that others have the right to their own opinions on the subject.
- If you respond to a classmate’s question, be sure your response is correct! Do not guess if you are uncertain about when the paper is due. Otherwise, you risk causing major problems for your classmates, who will not like it.
- If you ask a question to which a large number of individuals react, compile a summary of all responses and post it for the benefit of the entire class.
- Be succinct. If you write a lengthy dissertation in response to a basic question, it’s doubtful that anyone will read it completely.
- Don’t make fun of people or label them as foolish. You may disagree with their viewpoints, but don’t make fun of them.
- If you’re referring to anything your classmate said earlier in the discussion, only quote a few essential sentences from their post so that others don’t have to go back and figure out which one you’re talking about.
- Check the class FAQs or the internet before asking a question to see if the solution is clear or simple to find.
- Before responding to an older comment, check the most recent comments to see if the matter has been resolved or if views have changed.
- Be patient and understanding. Don’t berate your classmate if he or she made a mistake. Allow it to pass; it happens to everyone.
- Before you publish anything to the discussion board, double-check your spelling and grammar. It only takes a minute, and it might mean the difference between seeming foolish and sounding informed.
A good rule to remember: Don’t do or say anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in real life.
Each of us can contribute in creating a pleasant environment for all, both online and offline.