With all the worry about online bullying and harassment, it can be good to go through a mental checklist before you send an e-mail, hit the "post" button, or add your voice to the mix of a discussion board. Re-read what you were going to send and ask yourself:
- Are you sending it to the right person?
- Is it worth sending? Don't waste peoples' time with junk or false rumors.
- Check for any mistakes or anything that could be misunderstood. Does it say what you want it to say? Is it clear? If something could be misunderstood, or understood two different ways, re-write it or use an emoticon to clear up what you mean. Be especially careful with sarcasm. It can easily be misinterpreted in writing.
- Don't insult others. When in doubt, avoid controversial issues. Don't use all capital letters. Be careful about bad language.
- If you've hurt someone's feelings, find out how and why...and apologize.
- If someone attacks you, before you attack back, figure out what's going on.
- Don't forward people's e-mails or forward their personal information without permission.
- Don't write when you are angry! Give yourself time to cool off. If someone's trying to insult you or make you mad, don't give them the satisfaction of an angry reply! They're just looking for a reaction.
- Let an authority figure know if you receive threatening or hateful cybercommunications.
- Consider: How private is the message you're sending? Are you willing to have others read or see it and forward it on to others without your permission? If no, don't click "send."
These tips and others can be found at Ms. Parry's guide to correct online etiquette.