Netiquette Guidelines
Some guidelines on how to conduct yourself on the Internet
Being able to communicate with others over the Internet is one of the main attractions of this medium. With such a diverse amount of personalities, it is important to communicate your thoughts properly and to conduct yourself appropriately at various sites. Since composing text messages are currently the most widely used form of communication, it is often easy to misinterpret the original intent of a message and here are some key points to remember:

Sentence Capitalization
When writing out sentences or phrases, capitalizing an entire word often implies to the reader that you are yelling. As an example, let's take a simple sentence such as "Today is going to be a sunny day". At first glance, it would appear that the individual is simply stating in a calm voice that the weather is going to be good. Now let's change it to "Today IS going to be a sunny day". With the capitalization of the word "IS", most people would interpret it as if you are counteracting someone else's opinion by heavily emphasizing the word. If the sentence is then written out as "TODAY IS GOING TO BE A SUNNY DAY", it would generally be perceived as if you are overly excited and yelling this statement at others. Not only can writing words entirely in capital letters can confuse the reader, but it is also visually straining for many people to read.

Utilizing Emoticons
As mentioned above, misinterpretation of one's written phrases can be a frequent problem on the Internet. To help avoid this, the usage of emoticons can be a useful tool to aid in communicating your thoughts(Also sometimes referred to as a "smiley"). If I was to write a sentence to you saying "This is easy", most likely it would be very hard for you to tell if I'm being sincere or sarcastic. If I was to add a "smile" and wrote "This is easy :)", you could immediately tell that I am expressing it in a confident/positive manner. If I was to utilize a "sticking out tongue" type of emoticon to write "This is easy :P", it would be more clear that I am expressing it with an arrogant/egotistical attitude. Remember to use this tool if you feel that it will aid in communicating your thoughts to others to avoid misunderstandings.

Do you enjoy dealing with a telemarketer or solicitor who constantly tries to push their products or services to you in the most unexpected times/places? It is no different on the worldwide web as site owners and communities are constantly flooded with these types of unsolicited advertisements. While it is usually common knowledge that posting up advertisements in inappropriate places are intolerable, there are other forms of spamming that you should be aware of:

1) Message Flooding - It's pretty safe to assume that when one posts up messages for others to read, they generally want their opinions to be heard. However, some people go through extreme lengths to accomplish this goal by frequently re-publishing their message in every place possible. Having to sift through dozens of duplicate messages that people did not find any interest in at the beginning only creates turmoil amongst users.

2) Self Promotion - Just built your first site? For many people, this is an example of an accomplishment that they wish to share with the world. While many people would normally begin to tell everyone about it in hopes to get more visitors, in the midst of the excitement many people also neglect to consider that it may be an inappropriate place to do so. Granted that sharing your work and accomplishments can be a good thing, constantly promoting your personal endeavors in areas that are not designated for such activities can be perceived as being disrespectful to others.

Trolling is often a term used to identify individuals who solely communicate with others in an attempt to stir up a riot. As an example, let's pretend that we are visiting a site in which its primary focus is to provide gaming information for people who play video games. Within the site are specific areas that are tailored towards people who solely play games on a home gaming console while the other is dedicated to PC gamers. Imagine that a game title was released for both platforms with both of them obtaining some kind of noticeable imperfection.

Often, an individual from the opposite group would begin to post up comments in areas such as a public forum regarding the negative points of the other platform's final product which results in a barrage of fans attempting to defend the product in an emotional manner. Meanwhile, the original poster of the message is sitting back and enjoying the ruckus that he or she has created. While encountering people who try to troll various types of sites are usually inevitable, you can help to prevent their efforts by simply ignoring them. One the favorite saying to deal with trolls on the web is that "If you don't feed a troll, it will die".

Flaming/Flame War
The term flaming is used to describe heated arguments that develop as people at times tend to react emotionally to certain comments/issues. Name calling and rude comments tend to be the most common initiators of a flame war. Lifestyle and religion are good examples of topics that can create emotional debates between two parties. Another example of flaming is a person who ridicules a new Internet user who has no idea how to use basic functions of a message board. Just remember that everyone has an opinion and that not everybody has the experiences as you may have in certain fields/topics. Pointless flaming only creates a hostile environment for everyone.

While these are not meant to be the end all answer on how to conduct yourself on every site, hopefully these netiquette guidelines will aid in your ability to communicate with others and to make your Internet experience more enjoyable.