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Netiquette 1 Netiquette
What is Netiquette?
Netiquette, which is short for “Network Etiquette”, is the name given to the
set of rules and guidelines about how to properly behave online. Formal Netiquette
Netiquette can be formal or informal. Formal Netiquette involves a strict set
of rules that are imposed by online groups like message boards, chat rooms
and social media sites.
The most common rules imposed in online communities are intended to
prevent actions and practices that are disruptive or harmful to other users
and the community in general. The following are examples of such actions:
1. Foul language
This is a common rule in formal settings such as corporate and academic
websites. Like in real life, foul language is frowned upon in such
As we learned in the previous chapter, a spam is an unwanted and
unsolicited message or email. Spamming is banned in most chat rooms and
forums because it takes up a lot of space and is annoying to other users.
Recently, a lot of attention has been given to the act of bullying and how to
prevent it. Bullying is the use of strength or power to intimidate someone
into doing something that he does not want or to make him feel bad.
Cyberbullying is bullying that is done using electronic technology.
A troll is an unruly member who deliberately breaks the rules of an online
community. The most common acts of trolling include posting inappropriate
or banned contents, posting off topic messages, and leaving sarcastic
comments. These actions are intended to disrupt the normal operation of
5. Sock puppets
“Sock puppets” is the term used to refer to multiple accounts that are used by
the same person. Trolls use sock puppet accounts to pose as different
persons in order to advance their agendas.
Course Module 6. Flame Wars
Online discussions or “threads” may get out of hand when the users who
disagree with each other start getting emotional. They may then post insults
or threats against each other. This incident is called a “flame war.” Flame
wars are harmful to online communities because they cause a decline in the
quality of the topics that are being discussed. If allowed to persist, this may
destroy the integrity of the group as a whole.
Breaking these rules may result in a warning from website or group
administrators. An administrator or admin is a member who is tasked with
monitoring activity and imposing the rules. Admins usually have the power
to “kick” or revoke the membership of users who break the rules and to
delete posts that are deemed inappropriate.
Plagiarism is the practice of using someone else’s work as if it is yours. It is
quite common in the Internet because online information is easy to locate
and copy. In most cases, it occurs when someone uses a quote or a part of a
published work without mentioning who originally wrote it and which
publication it belongs to. Plagiarism is considered as a fraudulent act and can
be punishable by law.
Piracy is the act of reproducing and distributing materials without the
owner’s consent. It is harmful because it denies the rightful owners the
proper compensation for their work. Ultimately, rampant piracy can cause a
stop in the production of original works because owners and publishers will
no longer have enough income to fund future projects. Here are the most
common types of piracy of copyright-protected materials based on UNESCO’s
World Anti-Piracy Observatory ( ) Books “Any unauthorized use of a copyrighted work, such as a book, school manual,
journal article or sheet music, represents an infringement of copyright or a
case of copyright piracy, unless covered by a copyright exception. Piracy of
printed works affects both paper copies and works in digital format.” Music “Music piracy includes both traditional unlawful use of music and
unauthorized use of music on on-line communication networks.” Bootlegging is the unauthorized recording and
distribution of a live or broadcast performance. Counterfeiting is the “unauthorized copying of the
material support, labels, artwork and packaging” Film Movies and TV shows are pirated either physically, by making and selling
hard copies or virtually, by distributing unlicensed copies online. Making
copyrighted materials available for online viewing or streaming without the
owner’s permission is also an act of piracy. Empowerment Technologies
Netiquette 3 Software Commercial software such as productivity tools and games are also
counterfeited by making and selling physical copies such as DVDs but the
most common form of software piracy is still unauthorized online
All the forms of piracy mentioned above are violations of copyright.
Copyright is the legal right to own an original work. Copyright laws may
differ in every country but in all cases, they govern the use and distributions
of original works such as music, film, literature and drawings.
In the Philippines, the REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8293, also known as the
Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines or IP Code, protects
intellectual property. The IP Code lists 15 types of works that are covered by
copyright protection. This includes books, musical compositions, drawings,
and photographic works. (Source: ipophil.gov.ph) Informal Netiquette
Informal Netiquette is a lot like real-world etiquette. These are guidelines
that may not be imposed by law but are expected to be followed by everyone.
Many real-life etiquettes apply online. They are usually simple commonsense actions that make social interaction pleasant for everyone involved.
Here are some of the most useful netiquettes that we can follow.
1. The Golden Rule
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This saying seems to
apply in any form of human interaction. Even in the Internet, it is still a good
practice to treat others with the same fairness and respect that we expect to
2. Act as you would in real life.
It is easy to be disrespectful online because there is no threat of physical
confrontation. Acting as if you are talking face to face with the other person
will keep you grounded and levelheaded in your online interactions.
3. Know where you are and act accordingly.
Like in real-life, our online conduct may vary from place to place. Most online
environments like social media and recreational forums tend to be casual. In
these environments, informal speech and some teasing are considered
normal. However, there are also formal environments like government
portals and university websites. In these settings, be sure to use proper
language and act courteously.
4. Respect people’s privacy.
Course Module Privacy is probably a bigger deal in the Internet than it is in the real world
mainly because it is easier to invade someone’s privacy online. Avoid
communicating with people in ways that are intrusive or overly demanding.
5. Respect other people’s properties
The Internet is a freeway of information but information is not always free.
Many online contents like music, videos and writings are regarded as
intellectual properties of their creators. Like real-world properties, there are
rules that govern the use, sharing and reproduction of these contents.
Illegally copying or taking credit for someone else’s intellectual property is
against the law. Mobile Device Etiquette
Mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets have become parts of our
daily lives. These handy gadgets have many useful features such as Internet
access, playing music, videos and games, taking pictures and videos and of
course making and receiving calls and texts. Their compact and lightweight
designs enable us to use them practically anywhere. Mobile devices have
certainly improved modern living.
However, using mobile devices also have negative effects. Listed below are
the practices that may lead to these negative effects and how we can
minimize or eliminate them:
1. Talking too loudly on your phone
If you talk too loudly on your phone in public places like buses, streets, and
restaurants, you may be disturbing the people around you.
Speak softly. If the line is choppy and if the other part can’t properly hear
you, use other means of communication like texting or email instead of
raising your voice.
2. Making long phone calls
Like raising your voice in public, talking too much on your phone can also be
annoying to people who overhear your conversation. It can also be
bothersome to the person you are talking to.
Keep your phone calls short and concise. Avoid small talk and gossiping
when making or taking calls in public places
3. Putting the other party on loud speaker
Although it is sometimes necessary when you can’t properly hear the other
party, putting him or her on speakerphone adds more unwelcomed sounds to
your conversation. Others also often see it as vulgar and impolite.
Earphones. Most mobile devices come with free earphones. Use one if you
have trouble hearing the person you are talking to. Empowerment Technologies
Netiquette 5 4. Using loud or annoying ring tones/notification sounds
While it is important to be notified when someone calls or sends you a
message, phone rings can sometimes be unnecessarily loud. Also, people
sometimes use notification sounds that can be irritating or even unsettling to
others such as animal sounds, sirens or even gunshots.
Normally, less than half of your phone’s full volume is enough to hear it ring
through your pocket or bag. If you put it in your pocket most of the time, just
set it to vibrate.
5. Playing music, videos, and games too loudly
We usually do these things to pass time and entertain ourselves in public
places. However, it may cause frustration to the people around you if you
play music or watch videos in full volume. Sound effects of games tend to be
sharp and surprising and can therefore be irritating to others.
Again, earphones will do the trick. Plug in and enjoy your music, videos, or
games in private.
6. Taking pictures or videos of live performances
This is a bad idea for 3 reasons. First, because you usually have to raise your
phone above your head to get a good shot of the performance, you may be
blocking the view of the people behind you. Secondly, some artists do not
want people to take unauthorized pictures of their shows. Lastly, focusing on
capturing the moment on camera will cause you to miss the enjoyment of
watching it live without distractions.
If you really want to take a video or a picture of a show, keep it short and
subtle. Make sure that doing so does not spoil the experience for you and
7. Using your phone in cinemas
The light coming out of your device is intrusive and bothersome to the other
members of the audience. More importantly, using your phone in a movie
theatre may give the impression that you are taking a video of the movie,
which is against the law.
Refrain from using your phone in side movie theaters. Most of all do not take
pictures and videos of the movie being shown.
8. Taking pictures and videos without asking permission Course Module Taking pictures and videos of other people and their properties such as
vehicles and pets may not be against the law but it can be seen as unethical
As a sign of respect, always ask for permission before taking pictures of
people and their property.
9. Using your mobile device while waiting in line
Though this is not always a bad thing to do, staring at your phone while
queuing can be distracting and may cause you to hold up the line and be an
inconvenience to others.
It is okay to use your phone while waiting in line but make sure to stay alert
so you can readily react to people and things around you.
10. Using your mobile device while driving
Not only is it dangerous for obvious reasons, it is also illegal.
Don’t do it.
11. Using your mobile device while walking
Like when driving, looking at your mobile device while walking will certainly
cause you to bump into people or get hit by traffic. It may also cause you to
walk slower and get in the way of other people
Avoid doing this as much as you can. If you absolutely have to check your
phone while walking in a crowded place, stop in a place where you won’t get
in the way of people or traffic.
12. Wearing earphones/headphones while walking.
This may seem like a common and harmless thing to do but the sound
coming from your earphones can impede your ability to hear and act on signs
of danger such as car horns, and machinery and traffic sounds.
When walking in streets, sidewalks, and other crowded places, avoid using
earphones that completely block your hearing.
13. Using your mobile device in social gatherings and important events
Using your phone or tablet for extended periods of time while in situations
like group lunches, ceremonies and class discussions is considered rude and
inconsiderate because of two main reasons. The first reason is that it takes
your attention away from the conversation or discussion. Secondly, it gives
the impression that you are not interested in the event and the people
The solution: Empowerment Technologies
Netiquette Excuse yourself and step away from the event or gathering if you have to
check your phone. In more formal settings like meetings and classrooms,
always ask for permission when you have to answer calls or check your
phone. Course Module 7 ...
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