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  From the July 2008 Issue of Prestwood eMag
Proper Online Netiquette
Posted 15 years ago on 6/11/2008 and updated 1/26/2009
Take Away:

Good behavior while participating in online communities, blogs, newsgroups, message boards, etc. Although this article is specific to our website, it's intention is general in nature.


Be proud of your postings but don't post just to see your name in pixels. Remember: your future employer or your family may be reading!

  1. Think! - The most important rule of netiquette is "Think before you post". If what you intend to post will not make a positive contribution and be of interest to several readers, don't post it! Personal messages to one or two individuals should not be posted, use private e-mail instead.

  2. No Flaming - Flaming is when you reply to a post negatively with the intent to criticize. Constructive criticism when done correctly and professionally is acceptable, but slamming someone for posting something you don't like, is not. If you wouldn't say it in person to a real live person standing in front of you, then don't say it on-line either.

  3. 100% Professionalism - 100% of your posts should be professional (respectful and helpful). Posting flame-posts even 1% of the time is NOT acceptable.
  4. Minimum Quoting - When following up on a post, quote the minimum necessary to give some context to your reply and be careful to attribute the quote to the right person. If the article you are responding to was posted to several groups, edit the distribution ("Newsgroups:") header to contain only those groups which are appropriate to your reply, especially if the original message was posted to one or more inappropriate groups in the first place.
  5. No Test Messages - Don't post test messages - wait until you have something to say. However, we encourage you to introduce yourself in our member introductions topic in our message boards as well as add "thank you" type comments to existing posts.
  6. Posting Code - When posting a fixed font (preformatted), limit your lines of code to 70 characters or so. This is important so that readers don't have to scroll horizontally.
  7. Handling Violations (Moderators) - If you believe someone has violated netiquette, keep in mind they may not know. Answer as politely as possible or, better yet, send them a private message if possible. And be polite, they may not realize their mistake, they might be a beginner or may not even have been responsible for the "crime" - their account may have been used by someone else or their address forged.
  8. Handling Violations (Non-moderators) - As much as possible, resist correcting members netiquette mistakes. Leave that to the moderators of the group. If no moderators are around and you wish to "fill-in" for the moderator, make sure your post is especially polite and professional.


  1. No Spam - Absolutely no spamming ever, for any reason.
  2. How to advertise your website - People participate on-line for various reasons. They may need help, they like to give help, they want to promote their product or services, they want to promote their on-line community, etc. Make sure you read and understand the rules of the on-line community you wish to post to. If advertising is forbidden, don't do it. Understand the communities position with regard to posting links.

    PPC Note: Please review our Programmer Community Rules & Disclaimers for details but essentially you can post resource links to our resource page and pretty much anything you want on your home page.

Special Netiquette Notes

Okay, I can't believe I have to list the following netiquette rules but over the years, we've actually had violators of these rules participate in our on-line community.

  1. Don't Condemn Other Communities - Never categorically criticize another on-line resource. This is important if you own or are a major participant in the community you are trying to drive people too. All resources deserve the opportunity to grow as a community. If you are NOT a major participant in another "better-in-your-eyes" community, then constructive criticism is sometimes acceptable, but you should be extremely polite and professional in how you phrase your personal opinion. It's okay to let readers know other resources are available, but do so with care. If your resource is better, people will find it!
  2. Respect Bans - If you've been banned from an on-line community, do NOT go back as an alter-ego. Simply learn your lesson and move onto other communities. If you wish to participate in a community you've been banned from, contact those running the community and make your case. Those running on-line communities are usually more than happy to give you a second or even a third chance.
  3. Respect the Hand that Feeds You - When participating on-line in a special interest group, there is an implied understanding of interest and support. Whether you are posting a question or answering a question, the underlying theme of your attitude must be interest and respect; otherwise, don't participate. Per the notes above, constructive criticism is welcome when done correctly, bashing is not. For example, if you are on a Microsoft community website, then bashing Microsoft generally is not good netiquette. If you are on a Borland or CodeGear community, bashing them is not acceptable. Also, you should, for example, never drive people away from the official resources.

Programmer Community Rules & Disclaimers

Please review the following:

More Info

KB Post:  Prestwood Community Rules & Disclaimers
KB Post:  Prestwood Security & Privacy Policy


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KB Post Contributed By Mike Prestwood:

Mike Prestwood is a drummer, an author, and creator of the PrestwoodBoards online community. He is the President & CEO of Prestwood IT Solutions. Prestwood IT provides Coding, Website, and Computer Tech services. Mike has authored 6 computer books and over 1,200 articles. As a drummer, he maintains and has authored 3 drum books. If you have a project you wish to discuss with Mike, you can send him a private message through his PrestwoodBoards home page or call him 9AM to 4PM PST at 916-726-5675 x205.

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