Centre of the Chaos

Welcome Package - Netiquette

"When thou enter a city, abide by its customs." - The Talmud

How to post to the lists and how to behave on the list: this has more to do with out of character lists then anything else.


Everyone is tempted from time to time to evangelize, to stride boldly into the enemy's camp and throw down the gauntlet. We will never see the end of people who pop up on comp.sys.intel praising Macs and Amigas; who send mail to the SKEPTIC list that flying saucers really, truly do exist; who enlighten the Buddhist newsgroups that they're all bound for hell, and on and on.

In the entire history of the net, no one has managed to do this without looking like a complete idiot. If you believe you are the one person who will succeed where millions have failed, then you're ready to learn about...


There is nothing you can say that won't offend somebody:

    >It's a bright, sunny day today.
    You filthy *@#?$!, what have you got against Seattle?!

Flames (violent verbal expressions of disapproval), misunderstandings, overreactions, and hurt feelings are par for the course. Four lessons from experience:

  1. Hedge your bets: Rather than saying, "Metal rules! Death to all that oppose!!" try saying "In my humble opinion (often abbreviated IMHO) metal bands perfectly express my feelings, choices, and lifestyle. Your mileage may vary." (another net clichť, less frequently abbreviated YMMV). By the way, BTW is another frequent net abbreviation, for what it's worth (FWIW).
  2. Apologize: When misunderstanding is the culprit, and especially if you respect the person, who misunderstood, take the blame on yourself for being unclear, apologize, say what you meant more clearly (if appropriate) and put it behind you. As in real life (remember that?) people who are quick to anger are often equally quick to forgive.
  3. Avoid flame bait: (Conduct, which gravely offends the norms, mores and folkways of a particular group.) "Now wait a minute!" you say. "Do you mean that something that's accepted behavior on one list or newsgroup will draw dozens of stinging, ridiculing comments in another?" I sure do. What can you do? Lurk a while before you post. Read what's said like an anthropologist, trying to discover what the big no-noís are. The beginning of a school term is a wonderful time to do this, as you will observe the clueless newbies who weren't smart enough to read this paragraph being torn to shreds. There are some things you should NEVER do, and we'll list them in a minute, but let's get to the last bit of advice.

Dos and Don'ts (or "How to Avoid Most Flames")

Yes, It Is Worldwide

A warning: the net is international. If you tell a Belgian she's being un-American (or un-Canadian). SHE ISN'T OFFENDED. Of course she's un-American; you're un-Belgian. She doesn't care about being lectured on the First Amendment or Quebec separatism. She doesn't HAVE a First Amendment or a Quebec and she thinks Belgian values are better. Many people have made fools of themselves by forgetting this everywhere else. Let's try to behave a little better on the net.

Get the FAQ List

Finally, many groups have had the sense to write down some of their norms and folkways in a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list along with (what else?) the answers to frequently asked questions. Many Usenet FAQs are posted monthly or so on the news.answers. List owners of listservs are often quite willing to mail you the FAQ for the list. In fact, they may have already told you where it is in the letter you get welcoming you to the list.


Welcome Package Index

[ Introduction ] [ The Traditions ] [ Back Story of the Game ]
[ What is the World of Darkness? ] [ E-mail Lists and Websites ]
[ Character Creation ] [ What Is OWBN? ] [ Strike System ]
[ Experience Points ] [ Downtime ] [ Glossary ]