As the Cyburbia community has grown, it has acquired a wider variety of personalities and cultures. With that growth, misunderstandings and conflicts may occur between users. While the thoughts on Cyburbia internet etiquette (netiquette) is not a black & white forum rule, it does offer guidance on how Cyburbia can be a positive experience for all and can provide some insight into how forum rules are interpreted. "Cyburbia Thoughts on Netiquette" may be used as a moderation reference from time to time.
Link to Forum Rules and Guidelines
Though the following is not a hard & fast rule, you may discuss it in the Rules Discussion Thread
Cyburbia thoughts on Netiquette:
"Netiquette" is a term for online etiquette, and performing an online search for the term will provide much useful information for users new to the Internet forum world (or veterans that have selective memory). Not everyone is familiar with the challenges of communicating using nothing more than words on a screen. Tones of voice, subtlety, and facial expressions are quite difficult to ascertain, although the use of "smileys" helps. If this concept is new, please do yourself and your online friends a favor and take advantage of the opportunity for further research.
In general, etiquette is not difficult. The most important thing to remember is that every opinion expressed is from a real live person with real feelings, and deserves respect just like yours does. Even more than in real life, persuasion and constructive comments will go farther than putdowns or criticism. A bulletin board should be an open environment to share information, and can be a wonderful opportunity to remember that varying viewpoints exist.
Misunderstandings can happen, and if necessary, a quick and timely apology can easily prevent a more serious war. Just remember that if someone writes something that can be taken in two different ways, and one of those ways makes you sad, angry or unhappy, chances are he/she meant the other one.
If you believe someone has violated netiquette, send them a private message; do not post a follow-up to the offending post. Be polite. The offending author may not have realized their mistake, or may be a beginner. We are all adults here... If you work in a planning office, you probably don't appreciate feuding neighbors trying to use Code Enforcement to fight their war--the same holds true for the forum rules and administrator/moderator staff. Try to solve it yourself first, then if unsuccessful contact an administrator/moderator. Please remember the admins and moderators are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, not for profit or power. We do not play favorites--that would just make it more work for us.
Furthermore, a person who breaks netiquette over and over, may be doing it intentionally to disrupt the group (see trolling & one trick ponies in the forum rules), in which case public flaming over the violation would amount to what is termed "feeding the troll". When you feed a troll, you risk further derailing what might otherwise be an excellent discussion, frustrating other participants as they try to cipher through the thread for whatever useful tidbits might remain. Frequent flaming and trolling hurts the perception of Cyburbia and discourages others from participating in the forums.
Rules of Thumb:
- Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive (no, we are not talking about political affiliations). Choose your words carefully and give people the benefit of the doubt.
- Remember the world is a big place full of very different people.
- Never put in a message anything you would not put on a postcard.
- Check your ego at the door.
- If you find a topic that offends you, then don't join it.
- If you find yourself in a thread that becomes offensive to you, leave it.
- Don't assume that the inclusion of a smiley will make the recipient happy with what you say or wipe out an otherwise insulting comment.
- If all else fails, contact an admin/moderator for assistance.