Netiquette is a portmanteau of "network etiquette". It was first described in IETF RFC 1855 . It tries to cover the broad conventions for interacting amiably and professionally online. Different communities have different practices with regards to netiquette - what is appropriate on an anonymous image board is not appropriate on a high-level discussion group about an academic topic.
Some of the core rules of netiquette include:
- remembering that other users on the network are also human beings, and acting in such a way as you would want to be treated (as per the Golden Rule, familiar in many ethical and religious systems)
- respecting other people's time and bandwidth - which can translate into not wasting the time of your fellow users with distractions, and not e-mailing large file attachments which can waste bandwidth of users
- understanding that sarcasm and humor do not always work well in online communication, and can be misinterpreted
- not engaging in flaming, trolling, spam or malicious use of the network
- not abusing the power that has been given - for instance, not using moderator powers on mailing lists, message boards, wikis and other systems in order to silence people you disagree with, or to invade their privacy
- reading FAQs and other documentation before posting, and, on USENET and other forums, spending time lurking before posting so that one can pick up the practices of the group
- Postel's Law: "Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others"
- presuming ignorance rather than malice
- not 'top posting'