3.1 Netiquette: Respecting others 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.
When we have a face-to-face conversation, we don’t just rely on the spoken words to establish the other person’s meaning; unconsciously we are also monitoring the tone of their voice, their facial expression and their body language. Telephone conversations are a little more ambiguous because we can no longer see the other person; email and online discussions are harder again, since all we have is text. It is extremely easy to misinterpret words on a page, so the writer must take great care before pressing the button that sends their message to the world.