This material has been prepared to accompany the book "Searching and Researching on the Internet and the World Wide Web, Third Edition" (ISBN 1887902716) by Ernest Ackermann and Karen Hartman, and published by Franklin, Beedle and Associates, Incorporated, Wilsonville OR, ©2002. No part of this may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transcribed without permission of the publisher.

Proper Etiquette or Behavior in a discussion Group or Usenet Newsgroup

Rules  Reasons 
Spend some time getting to know the group.  When you first join a discussion group, take a little while to see the types of items discussed and the tone of the discussion. Take the time to read the articles in a newsgroup before posting. You may also find questions you have are currently being answered. 
Write easy-to-read messages. The material you write to the group should be grammatically correct, concise, and thoughtful. It's a lot easier to read something that is well written, and many members of the group may not have the time to deal with writing that is incorrect, long-winded, and without any real point. If the posting must go on for several screens it's a good idea to summarize it and invite others to ask you for more information. 
If you're writing a response to something from the group, include only the pertinent portions of the original message.  Let's say someone starts a discussion in the group and writes something about 40 lines long. You want to respond, but only to one portion of it. Include only the portion that's relevant to your response in your follow-up message. 
When you ask a question of the members of the group, be sure to post a summary of the responses you receive.  That way everyone in the group benefits from the responses to your question. Naturally, this applies only if you get several responses and the answers to the question would be of general interest. 
Posting or sending a message to the group is a public act.  Everything you write to the group may be distributed to all members of the discussion group or posted world-wide through Usenet. If the group is moderated, your messages may be read first by the moderator(s) and then passed on to the group. If you're working with a list that isn't moderated (most aren't), your messages go directly to the group. Don't embarrass yourself. A friend, relative, or supervisor may also be a member of the list. 
The members of a group are people like yourself and need to be treated with respect and courtesy.  Respond to messages as if you were talking face-to-face. A member may be from a different culture, may not be familiar with your language, and may have different views and values from yours. Don't respond too quickly to something that upsets you, and don't criticize others too hastily or without good reason. It's better to think before you write than to be sorry afterward. 
Avoid sarcasm and be careful with humor.  You are communicating entirely by your words. You don't have the benefit of facial expression, body language, or tone of voice to let somebody know you're "only kidding" when you make a sarcastic remark. Members of the group will appreciate well-written, humorous pieces or responses, but be sure your writing will be interpreted that way. 
Think about whether a response to a message should go to the group or to an individual.  Messages to the list should be of general interest, or a request on your part for advice, or help in solving a problem. You'll know the email address of the person who made the original request and you can send a response to that person if it's appropriate. 

If you're working with an email discussion group remember to send messages going to the entire group to the list address. Send commands or requests to be interpreted by the software that manages the list to the administrative address.

Some other places you may want to visit

Searching and Researching on the Internet and the World Wide Web Learning to Use the Internet and the World Wide Web Internet and Web Essentials

This is a Production. © 2002 Ernest Ackermann
Please send comments/questions to Ernest Ackermann, or Karen Hartman

FROM the fortune list ...

Good nature, like a bee, collects honey from every herb. Ill nature, sucks poison from the sweetest flower.