The term, Netiquette, has been mentioned as early as 1994 in the writing of Virginia Shea. Virginia Shea mentioned 10 core rules, which are still applicable nowadays. Let’s us review the key points of the core rules.

The rules of etiquette are just as important on online social platform as they are in the daily life. With the robust development of social media, everybody can speak their mind via instant messaging software, email or discussion forum. However, it is common to cause misunderstanding in online communication for the absence of face expression or voice tone behind the uses of text, emoji or stickers. Besides, due to the anonymity and instantaneity on the Internet, some people’s online behavior may fail to meet the moral standards in the reality, making others feel offended or annoyed.

10 Core Rules of Netiquette

Remember the Human

When communicating on a screen, you may forget that you are interacting with other real people in the absence of face expression or voice tone. Even the correspondent is a stranger, you should keep respectful and empathetic manner to others. Remember, all words you would not say in face-to-face communication should not say in cyberspace. Additionally, almost every online conversation has been recorded and there is no way to completely remove them. Please re-think before you press “send” or “submit”.

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

The cyber world is not a virtual space not bound by law. Existing laws in the real world apply also in the cyber world, so one should follow the same moral standard online

Know where you are in cyberspace

Netiquette varies from domain to domain. Jokes that perfectly acceptable in family chat group may be considered inappropriate in your working group. When you enter a domain of cyberspace that’s new to you, take a look around. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act.

Respect other people's time and bandwidth

It takes time to read frivolous messages or emails. To avoid causing nuisance to others, think carefully before forwarding messages or emails. Do not assume others would read and reply to your messages immediately.

Make yourself look good online

You will be judged by the quality of your writing. Poor spelling and grammar, illogical writing will make you unwelcome in the cyberspace. Sensationalism or exaggeration can even lead to hatred. When you are not sure whether your writing is appropriate, remember “Silence is golden”.

Share expert knowledge

The Internet is a convergence place where information and knowledge are shared. Almost all knowledge can be obtained for no cost on the net. If everyone does his/her part, it will make the world a better place.

Help keep flame wars under control

There are always divergent views in online discussions on different topics, such as current affairs, politics and economics, sports. Remember, keep rational and respect others, share your views politely

Respect other people’s privacy

Just as you expect others to respect your privacy, so should you respect the privacy of others. You can start from the very basic, do not use other people’s electronic devices without their permission, or readily disclose or share others’ personal information.

Don’t abuse your power

Don’t take advantage of being a group or system administrators. With greater power comes greater responsibility.

Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

To err is human. If it was a minor error, such as typo, asking repeated questions, you may not need to say anything. If you do decide to inform someone of a mistake, preferably by private message or email rather than in the public.


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