By Wendy Nikiforuk

Netiquette Defined:

Net Abuse - Usenet Groups

Net-abuse is an action that undermines the ability of one or more Usenet groups to serve as discussion forums. Whether or not a message is net-abuse is not a questions of the content of the article, but rather the manner or place of the posting. There is a consensus that some things are definately net-abuse:

1. "Spamming" the newsgroups. This is when a user posts one or more messages with substantially the same content to a large number of newgroups, in many of which the post is off topic. The problem is that the newreader software will not be able to determine whether the message has already been ready by another newsgroup.

2. Flooding a newsgroup. This occurs when a user posts so many messages to a group that it is rendered unusable. Although people have freedom of speech, they should not prevent others from exchaning information as well.

3. Forging articles. Articles appear under some other person's name.

4. Flaming. Sending or posting information which is slanderous to any other party.

The biggest and most well known occurance of net-abuse occured on April 14, 1994, called the "Green Card" spam. A lawyers firm, Canter and Siegel, posted an advertisement to 5000 Usenet newsgroups. The posting offered to help aliens fill out a form for the upcoming green card lottery. The Green Card lotery was a federal lottery that awarded 55,000 "green cards" extending permanent residency status to immigrants. The net community was outraged, Canter and Siegel's internet access provider, Internet Direct, repeatedly crashed as over 30,000 angry mail messages were received by the system.

What Canter and Siegel had done was not illegal in any manner, but it was wrong. Subsequently, Internet Direct suspended Canter and Siegel's account for violating the customer service agreement and the lawyers threatened with a $250,000 law suit. As well, four other Internet providers that Canter and Siegal had been linked with either restricted them from posting or had taken away their access altogether. Because of their actions, other users have been anything but polite. Ms. Siegel claims to have received obscene phone calls and 'carloads' of magazines to which she have never subscribed. Because of all the controversy, the firm has now created its own web home page.

The Net: A Users's Guidelines and Netiquette

By Arlene H. Rinaldi - 1995

A complete guide to netiquette.

The author wrote this book/on-line document after she found that there was no information of this type available for new and unexperienced internet users, called newbie's. This guide has been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Japanese. Before this book had been written, the only types of netiquette guides pertained only to E-mail and Usenet, but there are so many other areas of the internet that can be explored. The book was written only as a guide to help newbies, it should not be misconceived as laws, nor rules that detract from the concepts of free speech. They are just good standards that all users should follow.

E-Mail Disk Storage Telnet
Anonymous FTP - File Transfer Protocol
Electronic Communications - Email, LISTSERV groups, Mailing lists and Usenet
ListServs/Mailing Lists/Discussion Groups
World Wide Web The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette

Top 10 Core Rules of Netiquette

These rules come from a book written just on netiquette. It is roughly 160 pages in length, and sells for $19.95 for the paper back version, or $6.95 for the online version. The book takes you through all of the issues that pertain to good etiquette on the net.

Rule 1: Remember the Human Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life. Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace. Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth
Rule 5: Make yourself look good online
Rule 6: Share expert Knowledge
Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control. Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy
Rule 9: Don't abuse your power
Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

Core Rules of Netiquette

Emily Postnews

If going through all of these lists of netiquette rules, and you are still unclear, there is an online Netiquette authoriy, Dear Emily Postnews, who will answer any question you have. As well as answering questions in English, Dear Emily Postnews can also answer questions in French, Italian, and German. The creator, Brad Templeton had created Emily Postnews of course using the pun from Emily Post, who in her day was one of the foremost authories on etiquette.

Dear Emily Postnews

Netiquette Comic Strip

If you haven't had enought of the netiquette yet, you can take a look at the Netiquette Comic Strip Home Page. The comic strip was created by Dave Menter in the hope of providing a commentary regarding behavior, protocol and diversity of electronic life on the Internet.

The comic strip has two characters, Newbie - which is a nickname for a naive new Internet user and his pet goldfish Scuzzy - a fish philosophers who helps Newbie understand his human faults.

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Netiquette Comic Strip Home Page
The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette
Dear Emily Postnews
The Usenet Site Administrator's Guide to Netiquette
Law, Ethics, and Society on the Information Superhighway
Core Rules of Netiquette