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Netiquette is the term given to the social code of the Internet, the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of online communication, derived from the fusion of words ‘network’ and ‘etiquette’. Network, in this context, is where a number of computers and other devices connect to share information - the Internet being the most popular network in the world - and etiquette, the formal rules of correct and polite society or among members of a particular profession.[1] Its uses are directly relevant to the common conventions of online communication centred on data and its use.

Underpinning the rules to describe this correct or polite behaviour using the Internet are guidelines that were mapped by the Responsible Use of the Network (RUN) in 1995, a working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force. [2] Their guidelines were clustered into three focused areas that embraced:

  • 1. one to one communication, including mail and using Chat Room
  • 2. one to many communications, such as, mailing lists and news groups
  • 3. information services, embracing authenticity, suitability and administrative procedures.

They provided important information that would enable the growing community of Internet users, unfamiliar with its culture, an immediate though minimum set of behaviours, which organizations and individuals could take and adapt for their own use. For example, the multi-national technology and consulting corporation giant IBM (International Business Machines Corporation) posted a set of netiquette guidelines for its employees that were officially utilizing the computer-based simulated environment of Second Life (launched June 2003).[3] IBM’s netiquette focused on basic professionalism, a friendly working environment, and the protection of its intellectual property. Subsequently, other core rules have emerged that are concerned with behaviours, aesthetics, sharing of knowledge, privacy and accessibility, amongst others. Thus the concept and application of netiquette remains fluid varying from website to website, and community to community.

See also: Chat Room


  1. May 2012)
  2. May 2012)
  3. May 2012)