Message Board and Internet Etiquette (Netiquette)

Here are some simple guidelines to to follow and keep in mind as you post on any message board or forum:

1. The forum is run by the webmaster. He/she is completely in charge. This forum is not a democracy. Free speech is not an absolute right on message boards; there are practical limitations.

2. If you have a problem with how another member's posts, do not leave a message about your concerns on the board. E-mail the webmaster directly. Most people are not interested in hearing complaints or comments, but the webmaster would like to hear from you.

3. Do not include anyone's private information, including your own. This includes full names, addresses, phone numbers etc. This could prove to be very unsafe for you and others. Should you want to give out such information, do so in a private e-mail or in a private message but still use caution.

4. Read over your message carefully before you click the "Add Reply" or "Send" button and think about how the webmaster and others will feel when they read it. Most people will know you only by what you say and how well you say it. Take some time to make sure each posting won't embarrass you later. Minimize your spelling errors and make sure that the post is easy to read and to understand. When you send a message to a message board, people all over the world are reading your words. Remember, if your message can be misunderstood, it will be.

5. Try not to say anything to others that might be offensive. This includes references to race, sex or religion. Stick to the subject on the particular message board so as not to offend someone unintentionally. Know the people on your particular board before using slang, curse words, abbreviations and acronyms.

6. Be brief. Say what you have to say succinctly and it will have a greater impact. Remember that the longer you make your article, the fewer people will bother to read it.

7. Cite appropriate references, especially on medical boards. If you are using facts to support a cause, state where they came from. If they are your personal experiences or opinions, then state as such. For example, do not state that "Brand X is the best!". Instead post " in my opinion, Brand X is the best.". By doing so, you can avoid others taking your opinion or personal experiences as fact which could be harmful.

8. Do not "Flood" the board and don't post meaningless messages. When a user posts a lot of chatty messages, even if his or her messages are not particularly inflammatory, they can be so numerous and off track that they drown out the regular conversations (this is known as 'flooding'). Please don't post just to say hello or to chat with one single person. A message board is not a chat room. Do not clog the message board with repetition, subjects that are not pertinent, long personal anecdotes, or short posts that most people would not care to read. Use private messaging or e-mail for all of the above.

9. Please use mostly mixed case when typing. UPPER CASE LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING, and many people consider it to be rude. However, if you feel that you need to shout to make a point effectively, then that's fine and perfectly acceptable but try not to over-use them.

10. Consider sending a reply by e-mail. Some replies are better sent as e-mail, rather than posted to a board. Personal messages and especially critical comments are more appropriate when sent directly and privately.

11. If you are upset at something or someone, wait until you have had a chance to calm down and think about it. A cup of coffee or a good night's sleep works wonders on your perspective. Hasty words create more problems than they solve.

12. Do not "Jump in with both feet" when you first start posting. Remember, although the board may be a new place to you, it has probably been online long before you found it. Regular posters may have been communicating together for years and they won't "take kindly" to a new poster jumping in like they own the place. Start posting gradually. Introduce yourself at first and read previous message threads so you can get to know the people who are already there. Meeting a group of new friends online is no different than meeting a group of new friends in real life!


Thank you and have fun!