Death to netiquette abusers! ...nah.

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What are the rules of netiquette? Are they even necessary? Why have them if everyone seems to ignore them completely anyway? Heck, what even is netiquette?

One site defined netiquette as "Accepted, proper behavior on the Internet. The term especially applies to email and newsgroup posts". So netiquette is what is appropriate on the internet. Most everyone follows some sort of code in their life. Netiquette holds that the same should be true for writing in the online community.

So what are the rules of netiquette? Virginia Shea explains the core rules of netiquette in her book Netiquette. The main point that Shea makes is to respect the unknown people out there in the cyberworld. Whether it is their feelings or their bandwidth you are in risk of offending, don't overstep your boundaries when speaking of or towards other people online.

Once you have offended the main rules of netiquette, you can be labeled as a troll. A troll is one who posts messages with the intention of provoking others.

In my own blog, I wrote my response to the article about trolls that we were required to read in class. This article explains what trolling is and certain trolling incidents. The author, Mattathias Schwartz, even went so far as to visit a popular troll, Jason Fortuny. He was intrigued by the way this troll thought and how far he took just this hobby. Fortuny is the mastermind behind the famous Craigslist experiment and has his own blog where many of his postings are controversial and often offensive.

The shock and horror of it! Yes, discovering a troll can be devastating to some. What can the masses do about trolls? Take the first step: a deep breath. Realize that something can be done. Understand that you are not alone in the fight against trolls.

Other solutions have been suggested throughout the internet. Ben on geekmade suggests using design to combat trolls. Use a lighter font color and a bit of wit to prove that you aren't ruffled by the troll's unnecessary comment.

Subversive Puppet Show on blogspot.com directs readers to an article on InformationWeek titled How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community. The title is to the point. The article is full of suggestions that have been used in the path to deal with trolling. My personal favorite is what was referred to as The Troll Whisperer. Having a message board moderator to take care of trolls seems to work wonders.

But what about other offensive things on the internet? Is there a way we can control the spelling and grammatical errors?

One new way of controlling grammatically offensive comments is the new service that can be downloaded, YouTube Comment Snob. This service hides badly spelled, profane, and incorrectly capitalized comments on YouTube. This aids in the process of finding comments that actually pertain to the video.

Another solution for controlling offensive comments is called disemvoweling. This technique includes removing all the vowels from a comment to make it near undecipherable and can be used for both trolling and other types of offensive comments. On wordpress.com, Will Shetterly comments that disemvoweling is unfair and abuse of copyright. Whether it is or it is not, it is just one of the many techniques employed for the purpose of controlling offensive comments on blogs, message boards, and other types of mass communication on the internet.

Netiquette is necessary. Without it, there would be no sort of code to control any aspect of behavior on the internet. While it will not be followed religiously, it gives something to look at to the people that want to act respectfully on the internet.

Of course, we can't completely eliminate trolls and bad spellers. They have just as much right as everyone else to post their opinion, no matter how offensive or grammatically incorrect it might be. But there are many ways to ignore them. Will that solve anything? Not completely. But maybe someone's rude comment about "thier collectable dumbell" won't keep you up at night any longer.

1 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

I don't agree with Will Shetterly saying it imposes on copyright. I think just as we have some limits freedom of press and speech that there are should be limits on the internet (netiquette). There is such thing as slander and libel that people can get sued for in speech and press. You can also get arrested for saying there is a fire in a movie theater (where there is none). Why not take that to the internet too? It's a form of media now.

In my opinion, people should still have free speech on the internet, but they need to learn to limit it. Someone can be prejudice or politically incorrect on the internet, but they still need to be sensitive to others. Just read over what you say before you post it, especially if it is a controversial topic. You don't want to come off offensive if you're not trying to be.

But, I think if people don't follow those unwritten rules they should be allowed to be sued for libel, slander, or another word we make up to deal with Internet scandals.

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