Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 78

The PC Flame

This flame can crop up practically anywhere. The classic formula: someone makes a sexist/racist/homophobic/fascist remark, and a hundred watchdogs step in and flame at will.

Those with evolved sensibilities bear special responsibilities here. We must realize that not everyone is as enlightened as we are. The chance that you'll change the mind or heart of an ignoramus via a flame is negligible. In fact, your flameage may be exactly what the sexist/racist, etc. lout wants in the first place. If you're a sensitive person, it may be best to avoid the many hang-outs of the politically incorrect.

On the other hand, Netiquette doesn't require you to stand idly by while other people spout offensive nonsense. Answer as passionately and forcibly as you like, but avoid personal attacks. A calm, logical response always strengthens your position. Listening to what the other person is trying to say doesn't hurt either.

The Advertising Flame

The Advertising Flame is an Internet classic. Given the Internet's research and educational missions, it's not surprising that overt commercial advertising traditionally has been frowned upon by Internet culture. For years, the NSF's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) has flatly forbidden use of the NSFNET backbone for commercial purposes. This stricture is often ignored, in part because it's unenforceable. Even sites where the AUP is in effect allow "informational" postings about new products that read like advertising, are written by ad copywriters, and often contain prices and ordering information.(Endnote #16)

Now, the commercialization of the Internet is in full swing. Thousands of businesses have connected to the Internet in the past few years, bringing with them a more tolerant business climate. Barriers to commercialization will be lifted as the net progresses. Nonetheless, overtly


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