can a polite comment hurt anyone?
Very easily. Pressing the reply button
can vary in its effect, depending on the software you use and how it is set up.
Your reply may be automatically copied to all who received the first post, not
just the sender. The contents may include all of the original post; if you choose
to "quote original" but have been reading another post since you read the one
you are replying to, it is possible to quote from the wrong mail.
your reply, however polite, may be taken out of context and might cause inadvertent
pain - easily done when responding around the world, with such variation among
cultures (Never forget that England and America are "divided by a common language").
Why are people easily upset on the internet?
internet combines features of both the written and the spoken word, but lacks
what we all take for granted in speech; visible and audible cues. Thus a 'smart'
comment can become biting sarcasm, a verbal tease can become a mortal insult.
Two solutions have evolved:
The vile and ubiquitous
The cumbersome but <witty> emotag </witty>
Emoticons are the work of seconds from any keyboard, and are widely understood.
On the other hand, some people find them trite, facile and irredeemably stupid
Emotags mimic the text tags used in HTML coding. They take
a little thought and might not be worth that effort - but, arguably, they could
not be worse than <DIRE> emoticons </DIRE>
I copy information from the internet?
All the usual editing functions of
your computer will work within your internet browser, so you can cut or copy material
from the internet without any problems. It is also possible to download whole
pages, which can be converted into plain text. Some sites provide special 'downloadable'
files, often in Microsoft Word format or Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format
(PDF). These files can be printed to look like the original document, and cannot
How does copyright work on the internet?
find a lot of serious twaddle talked about copyright - usually by people
who should know better. Copyright applies in the exactly the same way on
the internet as in any other medium; material belongs to the person or organisation
that created the work, unless and until they choose to waive their rights, or
sell them. So anything published on the internet belongs to someone.
will allow - even encourage - downloading and copying; some will ask for payment,
some will forbid copying. In law, it is usually permissible to make one copy for
your own personal use, and to use a reasonable amount of the document for the
purposes of review, news or discussion. In this case, the original source should
be cited. If in doubt, be guided by notices posted on the site.
clear - there is no copyright in ideas; if something inspires you - or simply
helps you - it's good manners to give credit where it's due; but, just as you
don't need to ask the author before citing a reference, so you don't need permission
for links to web sources. Netiquette says you should remove a link if asked by
the site concerned; and you certainly must never use a logo or other graphic without
Can I expect a reply?
point is it polite to send a follow up email when no response has been received?
Should I resend the same request, attach the first email to the second, or just
ask if he got the first one?
If someone encourages reader response, they
should either add "I do not promise an answer - but I'll help if I can..."
or send an auto response, and a full reply at some point. Bad manners not to.
If they give an address, but do not positively encourage response, then
they have a choice whether to reply or not, the Internet being what it is.
the site states "Please do not ask questions, all the info I have is on the
site" then they can ignore all requests!
If they haven't responded
by 14 days-ish, go elsewhere ; If you have to persist, try and find alternate
email addresses on the same site, and copy to 2 or 3; that seems to concentrate
the mind, but also can upset them.
You have to make the judgement; how
much do I need a response; can I afford to upset them; can I take my enquiry (and
my business) elsewhere?
Is it safe to purchase
via the internet?
Yes; provided you deal with an organisation that you
trust. The chance of fraud or theft is tiny, no higher than paying for a meal
in a restaurant or ordering by telephone; probably much lower. Indeed, the risk
is so small that many companies, such as Amazon.com, offer a 100% guarantee without
hesitation. People do lose money on the internet, but through fraud rather than
hi-tech theft. (Consider; if you had the technology to steal via the internet,
would you divert a few pounds from a book purchase, or a few million from a multinational
corporation?). Deal with a trusted organisation and you are probably completely
What is a cookie, and do I need them?
are items of information about your preferences, that a site can place on your
hard drive. Cookies can remember your password, or greet you with a fond and personalised
"Welcome Back" message. Many people resent cookies as an invasion of privacy,
as they are 'planted' on your computer without you having much control. In practice,
however, cookies can save you time getting the information you want from a site,
and there is scant evidence of any problem associated with them. Cookie can be
refused (through your browser options/preferences).
the World Wide Web full of pornography?
There is a lot of pornography on
the web; but it is perfectly possible to use the internet without ever seeing
any of it. The Internet Content Rating Association was set up to develop, implement and manage an internationally
acceptable voluntary self-rating system which provides internet users world wide
with the choice to limit access to content they consider harmful, especially to
Can I complain about VERY rude sites?
sites contain pornography - or simply abusive and vulgar language; there is nothing
that can be done, other than ignoring them and hoping they will go away. Freespeech
on the internet is fiercely protected, and pornography is legal in most countries.
If a site makes specific threats against a person or organisation, or
encourages racial or sexual discrimination or hatred, action may be possible -
but can be expensive and protracted. It is worth complaining to the service provider
(if known) particulary if the site originates in your own country.
How this page works ...
This page is to help anyone with an interest
in Netiquette - or simply in the use of the internet. If you want to ask a supplementary
question, write to me - I do not promise an answer - but I'll help if I can, and
may add it to this page.
I welcome your views on the whole idea - did
you find it useful?