Thursday, July 16, 2009

Netiquette - clear cut or not?

Netiquette: Although this is a word that I had heard of prior to starting this course, it was a term that I was not overly familiar with. Even though I didn’t fully understand what netiquette was, I took the quiz posted amongst the information (before reading it all) and surprisingly got 70%. Maybe I did understand some things in regards to netiquette from just being exposed to technology for almost half of my life?

While reading through the information about netiquette on moodle, and reading peoples postings to the discussions, it made me question people’s individual perceptions of different netiquette ‘rules’ and ‘beliefs’. It made me question: Do we all see netiquette in the same way? For example, typing text in all capital letters according to netiquette is seen as shouting or being rude. However when I read all capitals in an email or text, I view it as important information or even excitement(depending on what the content of the message is).

It then made me think, do people really take offence to emails/texts, etc that do not comply with proper netiquette? Personally, I don’t. I understand that not all people know all netiquette rules and conventions (just like me) and therefore I do not take offence to emails/texts, etc, typed certain ways. I just read the message and take in the content of it, no matter how it is formatted. My mind tells me, “I cannot see this person, therefore I do not know for sure what their emotions are”, and therefore I have no reason to take offence unless they have blatantly written something rude. Even though I obviously do know (unintentionally) some netiquette ‘rules’, from looking at my results of the quizzes, I have realised that I may still ‘offend’ people in some way, some time in regards to my nettiquette. Although some people may read it as a direct offence to them, it is unintentional because I haven’t fully understood what is ‘acceptable or unacceptable’ in regards to communicating using technology prior to this course.

So ultimately, if people are not netiquette savvy, is it fair for others to take offence to the way people interact via technological means in different ways? Do we read too much in to how people ‘act’ on the internet or with technology in regards to netiquette? To me, netiquette is not so clear cut, and there are a lot of uncertain areas that can be read different ways by different people of different experiences and beliefs/understandings.



    Although, I agree that it often depends on context, my mind defaults to yelling when someone types in all caps. For example, if I were to read the sentence above, I would see it as being quite rude. Did you? (Case in point)

    Of course, many people may not experience all caps in that manner, but surely the fact that this rule is included in netiquette means that there are enough people out there who do, to warrant keeping the Caps Lock key off, and your pinky off the Shift key.

  2. nope... i didnt see it as rude - just something to take note of... maybe it is just me :S - i must have a very different mind to everyone else. but i do understand everyone reads things differently and the netiquette rules are a good to follow if you know them. However, when people get all upset over peoples incorrect netiquette, i just don't see the point in worrying about it as the person on the other end may have no idea as to what proper netiquette is (as most of us didn't when we started this course). Maybe netiquette should be included/taught in schools to avoid people in the future getting mixed messages and to have one set way of properly communicating using technology.

  3. I think both of you are right. It depends on the person reading the e-mail and the context that the capitals are in.

    Most people don't know about netiquette and probably don't think that they are being rude. People probably do read too much into how people 'act' on the internet.