Everything you need to know about Internet etiquette
but were too intimidated by a geek with a pocket protector to ask.

"They tell you how smart they are, and you believe them because you can't understand a word they say.

Then they tell you how dumb you are, and you believe them, because you know how smart they are.

Now I tell you how smart you are, and you don't believe me because they've got you believing that you are as dumb as they say you are.

Why don't I show you how smart you really are?"

Right Off the Bat . . .

  • Your bank does NOT need your help in updating its security system or certificates.
  • The IRS, UPS and the Post Office do NOT send unsolicited invoices, receipts, refund or delivery notices by E-Mail
  • DON'T Forward Chain Letters
  • Your E-Mail address was NOT chosen to win the Swiss (or any other) Lottery.
  • No dying child wants your business cards, get well cards and the like. This child died many years ago,and the hospitals, clinics are tired of the mail. (Actually this one had some merit many years ago, but seems to resurface every six months or so.)
  • The FCC and/or Postal Service is NOT planning to add a tax on E-mail. They don't have the authority!
  • Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Sony, Sega, Microsoft and the like WILL NOT PAY YOU, give you a camcorder, Disneyland tickets, iPhones, iPads or whatever for forwarding an E-Mail message.
  • Nobody has awakened in a bathtub of ice after someone stole their kidney.
  • If it says "Send This to Everyone You Know," DON'T!
  • No matter HOW many times you forward an E-Mail, you will NOT see a video, something nifty, learn a secret or get any reward.
  • NO ONE IN NIGERIA Will Deposit ANY Money Into Your Account!
  • You have NOT been 'Specially Selected!'


The Internet is NOT Rocket Science!
OOPS, I guess it really is.....or Was!

Well, not any more anyway. Today, anybody with a credit card (or the ability to crack one) or a free Internet Service Provider (ISP) can either impress or aggravate millions of innocent people with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks.

No Wimps Allowed

The first thing that you must NOT do with the Internet, is be afraid of it. People have been making this sound complicated for years, and it used to be. It still is if you want a job as an Internet Consultant, Web Developer or other "techie" type.

If, however, all you want to do is use computers and the Net as the tools that they should be, PLEASE, don't get wrapped up in the bits, bytes and techno-babble.

You don't have to know how to rebuild a transmission to drive your car. It does help if you know a few things; check the oil, change a tire and maybe jump-start the engine. The days when you had to be a mechanic to drive are over. The days when you had to have a pocket protector full of little screwdrivers and brightly colored pencils in order to compute are also over. Today, you just jump in, hang on, and enjoy the ride.

Sure, today's Internet Access Devices are still computers, with all of their complexities and technical mumbo-jumbo.

That computer, however, is now hidden deeply beneath a User Interface (Control Panel) that is clean, simple and extremely easy to use.

Some say that a person just starting to use some of the newest devices is probably better off having no computer experience at all, otherwise, they try to make it too complicated.

For the most part, we no longer need a Nine-year old around to show us how to program the Video Recorder. So trust me when I say you will learn to use the tools.

BTW (By the way) All the acronyms and techno-babble that confuse you today, will eventually become miraculously clear. Of course, they will have been replaced by a new set of confusing "stuff."

Get yourself a "Net Buddy." Surely you don't think that you are the only one that's learning this stuff?

Find someone at your own skill level, and try things with them. Set up a chat session play with E-Mail attachments, the Internet Phone, and experiment with other stuff before you inflict it on an unsuspecting Net. Set up a Skype account and learn together.

A cartoon has been circulating around the Net since well before the Web. It shows a dog, sitting at the keyboard of a computer, and captioned, "On the Internet, No One Knows You're a Dog!".

The joy of that is -- it's true!

Until you post a public message or participate in some sort of social chat, discussion or conference, or comment on something someone else has published, no one knows and no one cares.

Important note: It is not how you get to the Net, what you use to get there, or what you get from the Net, it's what you leave behind will live forever.

There are a few core rules that will help you get off to a good start as a new net citizen.

In a nutshell, and in no particular order...

Social Networks, Blogs, Bulletin Boards, Forums, News Groups, etc.

  • Don't Participate in Flame Wars! Info Here
  • Please look for and read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for any news group or Discussion Board/Blog before you post messages there. The process of locating and reading a few FAQ's is a good learning excursion out on the Net. Just don't get intimidated.
  • Lurk Before You Leap. Please follow at least 20, preferably more messages on a group before posting your own.
  • If an online community has a place reserved for introductions, introduce yourself there once you begin to feel comfortable with the 'landscape.' Do NOT, however, give anyone any more personal information than makes you comfortable.
  • Read ALL messages in a thread before you add your own comment. What you have to say may have already been covered..


  • Learn To Use Distribution Lists or send Blind Carbon Copies.
    Should you decide something you received is so priceless that you must forward it, DON'T include your entire address list in the To: field.
    I have no interest in the collected E-Mail addresses of everyone you know, but the spammers do.
  • Please don't post or respond to any of the "Make Money Fast" postings. Most are illegal, and the best that they do is suck up disk space needed by real stuff.
  • Respect other people's privacy. If someone sends you E-mail that says, "Now that mother's out of jail, John's whipped his drug problem, and I haven't had a drink in almost a week, I might be able to stop cheating on my husband.", please don't forward that E-Mail to a blog or post it on FaceBook™ or anywhere else.
  • On a related subject, remember -- E-Mail is not private. It's a lot like a postcard. It is highly unlikely that anyone but the recipient will ever read it -- but it is possible.
  • Don't say anything in E-mail that you wouldn't want your grandmother to read. 
  • The Internet Never Forgets!
  • Please don't tell anybody about the "Good Times Virus" if you get an E-mail about it. Just reply to the well meaning person who sent you the E-Mail and let them know it's been a "joke" floating around the Net for years.
  • Use the subject field!
    The subject field is a useful option that is often neglected. The biggest problem in my experience is ineffective or improper use of the Subject field. It's disturbing how many people send e-mails with no subject or the wrong subject, particularly in replies. If you change the topic of an E-Mail in the reply, Please Change the Subject Line To Match!
    Inappropriate subjects also make it difficult to file, forward, or provide meaningful responses.
  • When sending photos, please re-size them down to 800 x 600 pixels or so before attaching them to an E-Mail. It saves the receiver time, disk space and bandwidth.
  • When responding to E-Mail, don't quote the entire original message in your reply. Only quote the relevant parts, and only to the extent that they will help orient the recipient on your reply.
  • All E-Mail should end with a short, descriptive signature line similar to:

T. Stephen Eggleston, DmAt, MSI
Drop By Our JumpGate at: http://www.the-eggman.com/

  • Most E-Mail tools have an automated signature function. This function will attach your signature file to all outgoing messages.
  • Your signature is about the only way that you can legitimately post a commercial message on most social news groups, discussion groups and bulletin boards. Please, however, keep your signature to 4 or fewer lines.. Large sig's, with pretty little text pictures only impress the new net user.
  • DON'T WRITE IN ALL UPPER CASE, it's considered rude, like SHOUTING.
  • If you want to unsubscribe from a public mailing list, (ListServe) please PLEASE make certain that the UNSUBSCRIBE command gets sent to the LIST SERVER and NOT the Mailing List Itself. If you do this, you irritate every member of the list who gets your message, and you will still be subscribed to the list.
  • Practice The Golden Rule on-line.
  • Finally, with apologies to President Kennedy, ask not what the Net can do for you, ask what you can do for the Net. Leave the Net a better place when you log off.

Effective use of the Internet is not really difficult, it merely requires practice, a bit of common sense, and the ability to learn from other people's mistakes.

Flame: A biting, often viscous, personal insult or attack, having little or nothing to do with the topic at hand.

One flame often leads to another and a verbal war of epithets, insults and slams [Flame War] erupts.

If you are flamed (and you will be) please put on your Asbestos Suit and resist the temptation to participate.

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