Best examples of internet etiquette  


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The way we perceive people on the internet is very different from the way we perceive people in real life. In life, a person is someone who looks likes this, talks like that. Everything else about the person has to be sought out. Because, our functioning requires that we keep forming judgements and opinions about them, we have to keep iterating through the process of reforming our judgement and improve our opinions.

Anything that causes friction in this process is bad etiquette. And, good etiquette is anything that smoothens this process and makes it a comfortable or even pleasant experience for the other person.

On the internet, every person to us is no longer a name and an appearance. Everyone comes with some sort of a profile, with a lot of information. Everyone has a stream of activity on facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc. You know what interests them. You know who their friends are. You have a whole range of information about a person, if you want it.

However, we generally use the internet to look for information. We don't care who gives me the information, as long as we get what we need. Only when the way we get the information is very striking, we get interested in the who of it.

Simply put, anonymity is not the absence of information about you. Anonymity is the absence of curiosity about this information.

When someone initiates contact with us, via an email or a friend request, we hardly care who it is unless we know- Why should we find out? Is this contact worthy of continuing? How important is this contact?

So, I believe that the primary etiquette on the internet is to first make the importance of a contact clear before getting into introductions and intrusions. 

Second etiquette comes from the fact that because it is so easy to broadcast, we broadcast incessantly and at times, unnecessarily. So, everyone is being bombarded with a lot of contacts, without consent. That is still not the problem. The problem is that the one sided conversation keeps going on, without asking the listener whether it was okay to do so. The second etiquette is consent before conversation and after introductions. In a lot of scenarios, you can safely assume consent. If not, at times you can be interesting enough to get the consent. So, the third etiquette is, be interesting before getting personal.

Again, because we can broadcast, we should try and understand that our online personas are the sum total of our activity on the internet. Keeping that in mind, the fourth is, if you can't speak sense, shut up and don't rant pointlessly about topics that are of no use to you and generally anyone else, unless you are such a short-fused passionate person. Fifth, if you don't know what to say, listen. Listen is not passive. Comment, participate and discuss. Even asking questions is good.

Finally, because in a very weird way, what is said is more important than who says it, when you throw bouquets or brickbats, throw them at the idea and not the person. If a person has spoken absolute nonsense, don't rub your hands and grin before you set out to destroy it. Don't start personal wars. Stick to the topic, please.

Source: Saurabh Shukla

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