Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 41

You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing. For most people who choose to communicate online, this is an advantage; if they didn't enjoy using the written word, they wouldn't be there. So spelling and grammar do count. (Endnote #9)

If you're spending a lot of time on the net and you're shaky in these areas, it's worth brushing up on them. There are plenty of books available, but you'll learn more -- and possibly have more fun -- if you take a course. If you're an older adult (Endnote #10), you don't have to take a "bonehead grammar" course with a bunch of bored teenagers. Instead, look for courses on proofreading and copyediting; they usually cover the basic rules of grammar pretty thoroughly, and they'll be filled with motivated students who are there because they want to be. Check your local community college and university extension catalogs -- you'll be amazed at what they offer. A side benefit is that taking courses involves meeting people you can actually see.

Know what you're talking about and make sense

Pay attention to the content of your writing. Be sure you know what you're talking about -- when you see yourself writing "it's my understanding that" or "I believe it's the case," ask yourself whether you really want to post this note before checking your facts. Bad information propagates like wildfire on the net. And once it's been through two or three iterations, you get the same distortion effect as in the party game "Operator": Whatever you originally said may be unrecognizable. (Of course, you could take this as a reason not to worry about the accuracy of your postings. But you're only responsible for what you post yourself, not for what anyone else does with it.)

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