Internet is, pretty much, a lawless place. That is why there need to be some unwritten and sometimes written rules about how one should behave online. This is where netiquette, or internet etiquette, comes in. We are going to go over some basic rules that make the internet safer and more pleasant.
Trolling and Flaming
If you’ve ever played an online game or made a status or comment on a public platform, you have come across trolls and flamers. Trolls are people who like commenting on videos, pictures, posts, and in video games for the sole purpose of making someone miserable. Trolling is an action where one internet user is actively trying to provoke, enrage, or simply annoy others.
Flaming sometimes overlaps with trolling, but it focuses more on inflammatory and offensive comments. These comments attack a person’s nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or demand the other user hurt themselves. Both flaming and trolling are forbidden on forums and online games, though it is sometimes hard for moderators to keep track of all the comments. Don’t troll and don’t flame.
One of the reasons people enjoy the internet is relative anonymity. This is why it’s important to respect other people’s privacy much like you would in real life. One of the basic rules of netiquette is not to post another person’s picture or video without their knowledge or consent. Not only that, but the rule extends to other people’s personal lives as well. Never post a person’s address, religious beliefs, family members and their location, and so on. We all have a right to keep to ourselves if we wish to do so.
We will not get into whether computer and video games are sports – that’s a debate for another time. However, some rules in sports apply to online games as well. When winning a game, be a graceful winner. When you are losing, congratulate the winner. There is a reason why in MOBA (Mass Online Battle Arena) games like League of Legends and DotA, matches begin with people typing gl hf (good luck, have fun) and end with gg wp (good game, well played).
Of course, you should be able to express your opinion and your point of view, as well as explain why you do not agree with a certain viewpoint. However, when debating someone online, aim towards a constructive and respectful discussion. As we mentioned before, don’t troll or flame someone just because you don’t agree with them.
Respect others as your peers and ignore any negative comment that might come your way. Most of them are simply provoking you into typing or saying something you might regret later. If you are not willing to do this for moral reasons, consider the consequences – it is not always possible to take what you’ve said back online, as people use screenshots and will forever have your rebuttal in their records. In other words – control your emotions.
Facts and Sources
Before writing a paper, a post, or a comment, make sure what you are about to put online has credible sources. This does not include a random web page that agrees with your conspiracy theory. This is not a rule many follow, but it speaks of your character, as well as intelligence, how you format your opinions online. This doesn’t mean you can’t fool around with your friends online with slang, but serious matters should be addressed seriously.