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Basic Netiquette

ALL CAPS IMPLIES THAT YOU ARE SHOUTING - Please do not do it (unless you are trying to shout!) It is better to use underscores or asterisks for emphasizing words. _important_ or *important*

Watch your “tone” - it’s written, not verbal communication. It can be very easy to misinterpret someone’s meaning on-line. Misinterpretation of tone often occurs in discussion boards and emails. It helps to use emoticons to help convey your “tone”. Always remember, never write or post anything on a discussion board or email that you are not willing to say directly to the person face to face. Professional behavior is just as appropriate in the online environment as in the brick and mortar classroom; leave all bad attitudes at the virtual door before you enter your online course.

Check your spelling and your language. On-line language does not equal poor English (contrary to what most people seem to believe) or very high level technical language. Think of your audience and keep your language simple. Do you think the learner would prefer "eschews prescriptive behaviorism in favor of exploratory constructivism" or "quick and filled with examples"?

Remember there is a real live person at the other end reading your posts and email. Treat them with respect. Foul language, insults and harassment are not tolerated (just as it would not be tolerated in a face to face classroom). Flaming is prohibited (a flame is a series of angry responses to someone’s comments).

Think about what you have written before you submit it. Timelines are different online; since you are not waiting until the last minute to post a reply, maybe you could sleep on it and reconsider what you have written.

For more information regarding netiquette, check an online source such as an authoritative text on the Internet regarding netiquette.


Basic Emoticons

When we meet people face to face we usually have a (relatively) clear sense of what is appropriate in the way we act and communicate. Meeting people over the Internet similarly requires a certain level of awareness. On the Internet we cannot read body language such as smiles, nods of the head or looks of disapproval, and we can’t hear the tone of another person’s tone. A quip made with a grin in a face to face situation may come across entirely different in an email message or bulletin board post. Sarcasm, in particular, comes across poorly in Internet communication.

For example: Think of a simple question such as, “Are you serious?” In a friendly situation this could be sincere. In a loud and aggressive tone, it could mean something quite different, perhaps “Have you lost your mind?” When using electronic communications, it may be difficult for others to know what you really intended to convey.

Emoticons are simply sideways faces, also known as smileys. A few examples:

:-) Your basic smiley, ha ha

;-) Winking smiley (I’m kidding or sarcasm)

:-( Frowning smiley (I’m sad, it made me sad or I didn’t like it)

:-| Indifferent smiley (It doesn’t matter to me either way or hmmmmmm)

:-> Biting sarcastic remark

:-O Oops (Oh my, surprised)

:-D or :-)) Big grin (I ‘m really happy)

:-P Sticking out tongue (as in joking)

Here are a couple of examples of how an emoticon can indicate tone for you:

This reading was a challenge :(
really means: I didn’t enjoy it very much. It was a hard read!

This reading was a challenge :)
really means: I enjoyed reading it despite the difficulty!

Use them occasionally where necessary; overuse becomes annoying. General guideline: If you are using more than one emoticon per paragraph and more than three per post, you are probably overusing them.

Emoticon List



Bummed out 
Cold, has a
Getting fresh
:-D or :D
Grin, big
>: )
Grin, evil
Licking it's lips
Lips are sealed
Mad, angry
:-x or :-#
My lips are sealed
No expression face
Raised eyebrow
Religious person
:-( or :(
Sad, really



Shocked. surprised
Smiley big-face
Smiley blockhead
Smirking, Snickering
Sour face
Sticking their tongue out
Uh oh
User has a mustache
User has beard
User has one eye
User has one eye
User is left-handed
User partied all night
Wears glasses
Winking Smiley
Wry and winking
Wry statement

*Many use these without the dash between symbols.     




Abbreviations and Acronyms for Online Discussions


Don’t overuse these; when in doubt, write in plain English to be best understood by the rest of us.


AFK                             Away from the keyboard

BBL                              Be back later

BFN                             Bye for now

BTW                             By the way

CU                              See you…

Db                              Discussion board

FAQ                            Frequently asked questions

FWIW                          For what its worth

FYI                               For your information

GIGO                          Garbage in, garbage out

HTH                             Hope this helps

IAE                              In any event

IDK (DK)                      I don’t know (don’t know)

IMHO                          In my humble opinion

IMNSHO                      In my not so humble opinion

IOW                            In other words

LOL                             Laughing out loud

NRN                           No reply necessary

OIC (IC)                     Oh, I see (I see)

OTOH                         On the other hand

OMG                          Oh my gosh

OMW                          On my way

Psy                              Psychology

RL                               Real life (vs. the online world!)

ROTFL                         Rolling on the floor laughing

Sxlty (Sxl)                     Sexuality (Sexual)

SITD                            Still in the dark

TIA                              Thanks in advance

TTFN                           Ta-ta for now

TTYL                            Talk to you later

TY                              Thank you

TYVM                         Thank you very much

WYSIWYG                 What you see is what you get