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Who is responsible for online etiquette? December 14, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Education, Information Technology, Open Source, Web.

David Pogue, who writes for the New York Times, raises some good questions about online etiquette in his blog post, today. I don’t think anyone how has ever read a sample of the gazillion comments on the Internet would disagree with his conclusion, which is that people are less civil online today than they have been in the past, and it’s getting worse.

So, exactly who is (or should be) responsible to teach people online etiquette? Is this something that should be taught in schools? Or is this something that should be taught at home? And, is civility in general also a problem? I would argue that it is, but that’s just my own observation and opinion.

Even though people today seem to be more rude to total strangers in person, the worst or most offensive behavior is by far that of online behavior. I guess that online there tends to be less accountability. Although in the open source community there seems to be a greater amount of accountability. But, that doesn’t seem to be a deterrent to mean-spirited comments and exchanges as ideas are discussed. I not only see that in the comments posted in online forums, but also in blog commends and even IRC chat sessions.

What will it take to make the Internet a better place to express ideas without being flamed? I guess is starts with me and my own behavior. Then, it’s up to me to hold people I know accountable for their behavior and comments. Maybe, just maybe, if we all do our part we can collectively make the electronic world more civil.

Who is responsible for online etiquette? We all are.



1. Anne Zelenka - December 17, 2006

I find the Internet generally a civil place although there are inevitably a few rude people. I agree with you that online etiquette starts with each one of us. I try to be kind even when I disagree with someone and I try to put myself in their position, to what extent I can.

I find your blog quite civil and approachable so it seems like you are doing a good job promoting better etiquette!

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