My Information Skills

Self-paced tutorials on research and study skills for TAFE SA students


As well as keeping yourself safe online, you're expected to respect the safety and comfort of other students.  The term netiquette was coined some years ago to describe principles of civil behaviour online - here are some useful points of netiquette for you to follow in your interactions with other students and with the wider Internet community:

  • Avoid writing email or messages in all capitals. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING!  It's also difficult to read.
  • Keep your written communications succinct and focused.  Few people like reading lengthy text on a computer screen. Many people now receive email on mobile phones and other portable devices, and small screens can make reading long messages challenging.
  • Remember that comments you post to a forum or chat session via Skype etc. are publicly available to ALL students and teachers in that session.  If you want to make side comments to individuals during the session, make sure you address it to them only before posting. 
  • Stick to the topic when posting a message. Don't indiscriminately post unrelated comments. This practice, known as spamming, can quickly lead to another unpleasant Internet practice, flaming.
  • What is flaming? Sometimes you might offend someone unintentionally.  This can generate some angry, or even rude, responses in a public discussion such as on Facebook. This is called being flamed. If you retaliate, you may spark a flame war. To contain the heat, the best response usually is no response at all - or a heartfelt apology.
  • When sending email, make sure that the subject line accurately describes what the message is about. If the topic changes during a string of messages, alter the subject line.  This also makes it easier if you want to refer back to an important email message again later.
  • Think twice before you send email. Consider all your electronic communications to be public and act accordingly.  Electronic communications may seem temporary, but when you hit the Delete key, they don't go away.  Email is usually stored on a mail server and can be retrieved.  The same is true for online forums.  What you post can't be retracted and there will be a record of it somewhere, so be aware of that before you post anything in haste.
  • Never send emails or other messages containing:
    • a message that was sent to you in confidence, without the approval of the person who originally sent the message
    • a virus or attachment that is capable of damaging another person’s computer
    • chain letters and hoax emails
    • a message that has been altered without the knowledge of the original author
  • Never post:
    • unacceptable or unlawful material or remarks, including offensive, abusive or discriminatory comments
    • material that is threatening, bullying or harassing to another person, or makes excessive or unreasonable demands upon another person
    • sexually explicit or suggestive content
    • false or defamatory information about a person or organisation

Essentially, netiquette is about treating people online the same way you'd like to be treated.  This will help make your usage of the Web a positive experience.