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Rampant Rudeness on the Internet: What Would Miss Manners Say?

Give some people a computer and an Internet connection
and they think it’s a license for rudeness. What is it
about the Internet that causes some folks to take all
they learned about basic etiquette and throw it right
out the window?

 

Think about it: Just because your reader can’t see you
doesn’t give you the right to be rude, but there are
millions of Net users who feel that it does. I’ve been
called names I’d rather not repeat in polite company
and have been replied to in ALL CAPS. I’m not deaf….
THERE’S REALLY NO NEED TO YELL.

 

I attribute this newfound sense of rudeness to the
feeling of invisibility one gets while sitting behind
the keyboard. I mean, would you really come up to me
face to face and call me a “Jackass” when you can’t
read simple directions on how to unsubscribe yourself
from my ezine? I think not.

 

In this new digital age it appears we’ve taken everyday
common courtesy and thrown it right out the window.
Whatever happened to “please” and “thank you?” My mother,
who taught me as a child to call all adults ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’
would have cardiac arrest over the emails I receive on
a daily basis.

 

Remember the “Golden Rule?” “Do unto others as you would
want them to do unto you.” Translation: before you call
someone names, swear at them, report them to Sp#m Cop
or do any other annoying gesture, stop and think.
Maybe you did subscribe to that ezine and just don’t
remember. Try giving someone the benefit of the doubt
before firing off an ugly email message that a real
live breathing human being with feelings is going
to read. Computers may not have feelings, but people
do and there’s a person behind every email address and/
or website.

 

Here are the ‘Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts’ for online
communication:

 

1) Don’t reply to someone in all caps; it’s equivalent
to screaming at them.

 
2) If you receive a newsletter and can’t figure out how
to unsubscribe, before threatening to sue or reporting
the publisher for Sp@m, politely ask the publisher to be
removed. Any ezine publisher worth his salt will be
happy to oblige. We really don’t want to hold you
captive.

 

3) Try to reply to all of your email messages within
48 hours. If not, many people get annoyed and will
think you’re avoiding them.

 
4) If you publish an ezine make sure you place subscribe
and unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of every
issue.

 

5) Don’t use foul language in an email; that will get
you nowhere. If you’re upset about something, please
state the problem clearly along with how you’d like to
see the problem resolved.

 
6) If you visit a website and it’s not to your liking,
don’t fire off a nasty email stating what a loser
the site owner must be. Remember what your Mom
use to say “If you don’t have something nice to
say, don’t say anything at all.”

 

7) Make sure every page of your website contains an
email address to contact you. Please don’t make
me fill out a long form just to ask you a simple
question.

 

8) When replying to an email, keep the original message
intact so the person you’re replying to knows what
you’re talking about. Personally I receive over 300
messages a day, so I need to see your message in context –
otherwise, I may not understand it.

 

9) If you buy or sell products/services online, make
sure you’re using an online payment service like
PayPal.com in order to move money around quickly.
Don’t make snail mail your only payment option.

 
10) Pay your bills in a timely fashion. If you owe
someone money online don’t make them send out 10
emails telling you your payment is overdue. Pay
promptly.

 
So there you have it; my Top 10 rules for being more
polite and less rude online. If you incorporate
these tips into your daily Internet dealings you’ll
find the Net a little warmer and a friendlier place to be.

 

There’s enough road rage in the world, so when traveling
the information highway please remember that we’re all
human. Your computer is just a tool used to communicate
with others. Please be KIND to them!

 




Merle
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