I would like to start by reminding members of the community that The Rooster Teeth Safe Room is for advice on dealing with cyber bullying on all social networking sites. The advice will carry over all of the sites mentioned in the group description.

I want to talk today about Netiquette. Netiquette exists to help people to communicate more effectively whilst online, and so avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

WHAT IS NETIQUETTE?

Netiquette is a new term to many of us. It combines two words: internet and etiquette, and is defined as:

‘Showing courtesy and respect to other internet users, just as you would in real life.’

WHY IS IT NECESSARY?

Written communication takes place without the benefit of body language, tone of voice or facial expressions, which means there can be uncertainty about what someone is really saying.

This is why most sites where users can communicate in this way have accepted rules of behaviour. These codes of practice have developed to ensure people are able to communicate clearly and avoid misunderstandings.

Each site – whether a discussion board, social network or forum – will have their own rules about how to use their site responsibly, so always read them before you start posting.

EXAMPLES OF GOOD NETIQUETTE

- Include context. When commenting on a message thread it is good netiquette to include a relevant quote from the original message to give context to your comment.
- Check, then click. Before you post a comment, double check that you are saying exactly what you want to say. One small error can completely change the meaning of your message, so read and read again before sending. We are only human. Remember that an actual person with real feelings, beliefs, imperfections and emotions is behind every message, email or comment. It's sometimes easy to get carried away and write something that you would not dream of saying to someone's face.
- Do you get it? Jokes, dark humour and sarcasm are often difficult to convey over the internet. So to avoid potential misunderstandings always indicate the humourous nature of your comment. You could do this by using emoticons, putting “lol†(laugh out loud) at the end of the message or by starting with a phrase like, “On a lighter note...â€
- Newbies. We were all once new to emails, messaging and forum posts, so always try and help someone new who is making mistakes.
- Be yourself. If you want to get the most out of communicating online, be yourself. Making up false profiles and alter egos will only discourage people from talking openly with you and taking you seriously. Remember that most trolls and cyberbullies use false profiles, so be careful not to be taken as one.
- Express yourself. Don't be afraid to express yourself openly and honestly. Netiquette is not about restricting expression but about making it easier for people to understand.
- Allow others to express themselves too. Remember that everybody has an opinion, so allow them to express it. You may have to agree to disagree on many issues, but just make your point and move on. Don’t let a simple difference of opinion escalate into an argument.
- Don’t SHOUT. Avoid writing whole words or sentences in capital letters. This is the equivalent of someone SCREAMING IN YOUR EAR!
- Respect people’s privacy. Don't pass on another person’s private information or photos unless you have their permission. Not only is this bad netiquette but you may also be accused of cyberbullying or online harassment.
- Avoid conflict. Trading insults and abuse – also known as ‘flaming’ – is not good netiquette. It is pointless and negative and could get you banned from the site. Avoid being drawn into fights and never post abuse on someone’s message board.

To find out more/get help or advice visit CyberSmile.org