Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 38

One more point on Netiquette ethics: If you use shareware, pay for it. Paying for shareware encourages more people to write shareware. The few dollars probably won't mean much to you, and they benefit all of cyberspace in the long run.

Breaking the law is bad Netiquette

If you're tempted to do something that's illegal in cyberspace, chances are it's also bad Netiquette.

Some laws are obscure or complicated enough that it's hard to know how to follow them. And in some cases, we're still establishing how the law applies to cyberspace. Two examples are the laws on privacy (see Rule 8 and "Email Privacy -- a Grand Illusion" on page 125) and copyright (see "Copyright in Cyberspace" on page 133).

Again, this is a book on manners, not a legal manual. But Netiquette mandates that you do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace.

Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

Netiquette varies from domain to domain

What's perfectly acceptable in one area may be dreadfully rude in another. For example, in most TV discussion groups, passing on idle gossip is perfectly permissible. But throwing around unsubstantiated rumors in a journalists' mailing list will make you very unpopular there.

And because Netiquette is different in different places, it's important to know where you are. Thus the next corollary:

Lurk before you leap

When you enter a domain of cyberspace that's new to you, take a look around. Spend a while listening to the chat or reading the archives. Get a sense of how the people who are already there act. Then go ahead and participate.


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