posted by Amanda
Our book includes a section about this very topic. I agree that none of the following guidelines are groundbreaking, and many will likely seem obvious. Most online etiquette issues can be resolved by using a little common sense and by reading the rules of the particular discussion board prior to posting.
The book’s advice includes:
Stick to the Topic
Avoid chit-chat and diversions. Other people will eventually have a similar question and weeding through the nonsense really gets in the way of finding the answer.
Search Before Posting
Often times, someone else already posted the same question. Look for it before you start a new thread.
Use Good Grammar and Capitalization
Individual participants in an online discussion can get away with a little looser standards. Posts on behalf of a professional entity do not have this luxury. Errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling make an organization seem less credible.
No Feeding the Trolls
Haters gon’ hate! The most effective response is to ignore them and refuse to give them the attention they seek. Be nice!
Do Not Post Repetitively (or Double-Post)
Sometimes it takes time for an acceptable answer or response. Posting your question more than once simply because it was not answered the first time is incredibly pointless. All this does is split the conversation. Be patient.
No Sock Puppets
The New York Times defines this as “the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company”. It is better to endure a few negative comments than to get caught and look stupid.
Okay, wait a minute. Go back to the trolls thing.
In this post, 18 types of internet trolls are exposed and explained. Although a humorous list describing online creepers, many of the examples parallel the advice from our trusted textbook. Feeding trolls, talking in all caps and the grammar police are all mentioned. (Except in this case WE are the grammar police.)
I found another article, Why People Troll and How to Stop Them. It provides some more insight into the problem of trolling. It says that Facebook and Google executives argue that we should eliminate anonymity on the web and that they cite trolling as the reason.
One section, How to Stop Them, presents a few plans to save the community’s usefulness from being destroyed by a small minority:
Pre-moderate. Only after a moderator approves comments are they posted. This is very effective with competent moderators but it requires lots of time. It also hampers discussion if it delays postings.
Post-moderate. This eliminates the time lag but still incurs the labor costs. Inappropriate comments may get brief airplay.