It were tech savvy individuals that first used the internet. And then there were - others. In order not to annoy the techies, some rules were invented. The first set of guidelines and best practices to use, e-mail mostly, were developed by researchers at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), back in 1970s California. The set was known as the Electronic mail Briefing Blurb or E-mail Briefing Blurb, or the Blurb.
That was the first netiquette, or internet etiquette. And it included a long and at times even non-comprehensive list of rules. It included all kinds of advice such as DON'T WRITE IN CAPITALS, it means you are shouting, or - wait at least 2 days before answering an e-mail that makes you mad.
However, the rules stuck with the first netizens, as they would stuck with a child who learns not to stick a wet finger into a socket, and not to accept candy from strangers. And those that did not abide, became - wildlings.
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) - Where the Netiquette was Invented (Computer History)
Raison d'être for the Blurb? - "The purpose of this document is to help immigrants adapt to the local computing community."
Insisting on an etiquette in 2013 can seem like a risky bet. Once we have seen the Gangnam video, we have seen it all. Still, here's how to be a momma's boy in the blogosphere. Bearing in mind simple empathy, the gift culture, and showing style - above all.
"To perceive is to suffer." - Aristotle
1. Do not do unto others… what you do not want others to do unto to you. Basically, you don't start a blog to trash anyone else, to focus on weak stuff. You are responsible for whatever you say. Of course you should make inquires, criticize, and disagree - just don't make a great hustle out of it.
2. No flaming. Do not send hate messages, don't vent online. There's always an "unfollow" button, or a private messaging system.
3. Don't feed the trolls. Those that do not abide to rule number 2, do not require your attention at all. They may call you a wildling, but you know you are not one, and thus, you refrain from action. The standard response is to starve the troll.
4. Respond to valid comments. Well argumented, not necessarily well intentioned. It is important to keep the discussion going and to include both well articulated criticism with praises.
5. Don't be tedious with responses. Instead of picking apart the comment, address it in parts or as a whole. Otherwise, you are proving that you are ready to take away much from productive work.
Blogosphere: The Gift
“When we share - that is poetry in the prose of life.“ - Sigmund Freud
6. Learn few basic copyright rules, learn about alternatives. Try to find Creative Commons resources instead of sealed ones. Learn about Creative Commons licensing. There is a legal infrastructure that actually supports maximum creativity and sharing, and you should by all means support it back.
7. Always link to sources, give credit to those you consider authority. They will know how to return the favor, or at least, you won't make them - angry.
8. Verify your sources. There's this supreme technology they call the internet browsing machine. Make sure that every information you include in the blog piece is an accurate one, and well-grounded. The time you have invested in curating your material will be visible, and will pay off in the long run.
9. Quote, unquote, paraphrase. Never re-attach a single sentence to your post that you haven't written yourself. The Internet knows a plagiator when it sees one. There is a difference between retyping and being an unoriginal genius.
10. The others in the blogosphere. If you like them, if they have influenced your work, be generous, and flatter them with links to their webpage.
"If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That's what people remember." - Terry Pratchett
11. Nothing worse than a wrongly typed title to the piece. Partially camelized, sometimes camelized, at other times not. Think of a camel. Its long neck. Its gracious head. Its peculiarity. That's how you want each of your title to look. Capitalize all words in the titles except conjunctions, articles and prepositions. That's - camelized.
12. Do not use capital letters, unless you mean to shout, and you do not want to shout (rule number 2). Do not use leetspeak, the LOLs, emoticons. Leave it to n00bs.
13. Write in readable/short paragraphs. Think of your text as a collage that needs to be layed out nicely to the reader. Guide him through your text with nice bulleting lists, pull quotes, make breaks. Don't choke him with your content.
14. Resize your images, upload them from your own server instead of hyperlinking everything, but don't forget to link to source.
15. Keep a dictionary nearby. (Open it in a new tab) The last and the first rule to blogging.