3.1 Netiquette: respecting other people online
As children. we quickly learn many rules about how to interact with other people. Some of these rules are common sense, such as ‘don’t interrupt a speaker’ and ‘say please and thank you’, and are necessary if we are to reduce the likelihood of arguments or causing offence.
Thank, acknowledge and support people
People can’t see you nod, smile or frown as you read their messages. If they get no response, they may feel ignored and be discouraged from contributing further. Why not send a short reply to keep the conversation going? This can make a big difference in a small group setting. However, do bear in mind that in a large, busy forum too many messages like this could be a nuisance.
Acknowledge before differing
Before you disagree with someone, try to summarise the other person’s point in your own words. Then they know you are trying to understand them and will be more likely to take your view seriously. Otherwise, you risk talking at each other rather than to each other. You should also recognise that other people are entitled to their point of view, even if you consider them to be entirely wrong.
Make clear your perspective
Try to speak personally. That means avoiding statements like ‘This is the way it is …’ or ‘It is a fact that …’. These sound dogmatic and leave no room for anyone else’s perspective. Why not start by saying ‘I think …’ or ‘I feel …’? If you are presenting someone else’s views then say so, perhaps by using a quotation and an acknowledgement.