X Close Search


What is netiquette?

Netiquette exists to help people to communicate more effectively whilst online, and to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and potential conflicts. Without a sound understanding of netiquette you run the risk of displaying abusive or cyberbullying type behavior without even being aware of it. Netiquette is a new word and concept for some of us, but a basic understanding of netiquette is important for everybody that uses the internet.

The definition of netiquette

Netiquette is defined in various ways depending on where you look. A simple definition of netiquette is “Showing courtesy and respect to other internet users, just as you would in real life.”

Why is netiquette necessary?

Written communication takes place without the benefit of body language, tone of voice or facial expressions, which means there can be uncertainty about what someone is really saying.

This is why most websites and social media platforms where users can communicate in this way have accepted rules of behaviour. These codes of practice have been developed to ensure people are able to communicate clearly and avoid misunderstandings (see our examples of good netiquette for more in depth information and examples of acceptable online behavior).

Each website, whether a discussion board, social media platform or forum will have their own rules about how to use their platform responsibly – so always read them before you start posting!

Netiquette golden rules

Check out our examples of good netiquette to make sure you are getting the most out of your time online. In the meantime, use the following golden rules for good netiquette to keep things positive online!

  • Respect people’s privacy  If someone isn’t comfortable sharing information with you, try not to push or pressure them into doing so. Also, never share other people’s personal information such as addresses, phone numbers or emails without permission as this can be considered doxing.
  • Be mindful of your language – Be aware of the language you use online. Although you might believe it to be funny or harmless, another person might take offense to it or find it upsetting.
  • Don’t be sarcastic!  Sarcasm doesn’t translate well on the internet!
  • Choose your emoji’s carefully – Emoji’s or emoticons have now become a recognized language in their own right! Make sure that if you use emoticons, you are using one that is appropriate for the emotion you are trying to convey – they can easily change the context of an entire conversation.
  • Respect other’s views The beauty of the internet relies on varying and diverse opinions and beliefs. Allow others to share their views without the conversation becoming heated or turning into an argument – regardless of your personal opinion!