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6 Things The Internet Has Taught Me About Etiquette [Opinion]

Joshua Lockhart 08-11-2011

internet etiquetteOver the years, I’ve learned that the Internet has its own sets of rules and etiquette much like any other culture. Granted, I have also learned something else about the Internet – it’s very cynical in nature 7 Things You Should Be Posting On Facebook [Opinion] On one of my last articles, 5 Things You Need To Stop Posting On Facebook, I received a comment from a certain Smumdax that basically begged the question, "Well. What should we post on Facebook?"So... Read More .


Here are six things I’ve learned about the Internet, and granted, I used Reddit for my image sources. However, this could likely apply to YouTube and even Facebook. By the way, don’t take these items as if I support them. In fact, I think they might need to be changed.

Everything Needs A Source

internet etiquette

For some reason, our society is obsessed with finding sources for each every bit of information they find on the Internet. If someone says on a forum, “Well, bluh bluh bluh statistic statistic something,” another person is bound to chime in, asking for the source of their information. That’s fine and all, but part of me wonders if it’s even necessary.

If you want to know if a fact is true or not, why not Google it? Besides, it’s much more impressive if you bring a fact to the table rather than make someone prove a fact.

It’s Not Okay To Be Hurt

what is internet etiquette


The Internet is a cruel place, and there’s quite a bit of reason to be hurt or take offense to something. I’m not saying that being offended is reason for anybody to change their ways, but I am saying that it’s okay to be offended by something (however, the Internet seems to believe otherwise). Just do yourself a favor and don’t expect anyone to do anything just because you’re offended about something.

When someone makes it sound like the fact that you took offense to something (after you’ve made your argument) is embarrassing and shameful, don’t worry about it. Just state your opinion (if you want), and realize that it’s okay to have taken offense.

Even If You’re Wrong, Say You’re Right

what is internet etiquette

On the Internet, there is no such thing as being wrong. Even if you say that the sky is green and two plus two is five, you’re always going to be right. It’s a little bit of a magical concept, but how does it work? Well. Simply, if you say that you’re right, then you’re right. This is due to the fact that there are people out there who believe they always have to win any argument.


So what if the other commenter actually had a credible and logical statement? On the Internet, anything can happen, kids! But seriously, it’s okay to accept the fact that you’re wrong about something. Don’t let your ego get in the way.

Telling People To Kill Themselves Is Reasonable

what is internet etiquette

Commenters on the net are harsh 3 Types of Reddit Commenters That Drive Me Nuts Based on some of my past articles, you may already know that I hail from the online community of Reddit (and so do a couple of my fellow writers). However, as with any online community,... Read More . I’ve seen dozens of people casually tell off others by saying stuff along the lines of “Go die” or “Why don’t you just kill yourself?” People, think about this for just a moment. Say – and this is just a possibility – that the person you just told to commit suicide actually is suicidal and has depression. There’s a high chance that you could actually trigger something, and that’s not right.

What if the fact that he started an Internet argument with you was just a way for him to let off some steam? Some people actually do use the Internet for some kind of stress relief, but is the fact that he started arguing okay? No, but the fact you told him to commit suicide isn’t either. It’s a little different when you’re dealing with actual lives.


The Best Comebacks Come In The Form Of Acronyms

internet etiquette rules

Apparently, and this is just based on my interpretation of the Internet, the best way to to come back at someone on the Internet is by simply stating “GTFO” or “STFU”. I’m not entirely sure what those acronyms mean, but I believe they are something along the lines of “Go taste five onions” or “Stop teaching Freddy unicycling”.

People, these are canned responses. It’s like an Insta-Insult 5 Most Effective Ways To Deal With Arrogant Internet Trolls The Internet is without doubt a great invention. Unfortunately, no one so far has been able to develop and anti-troll device that will help to make it a more civilized place. You might have come... Read More , and they are getting old. Despite the fact that I’m a fan of something called “intelligent conversation”, if you feel the need to hurl harsh words at someone, come up with something a little more creative. Maybe you could talk smack about their car or dog or something.

Never Claim You Have A Girlfriend

internet etiquette


Apparently, it’s totally okay to disrespect women-folk on the Internet. See a girl on the Internet? Go ahead! Ask for the dirty pictures. Does this guy have a girlfriend? See if he’s willing to share a little something. With that being said, you might not want to tell anyone that you have a girlfriend…

Honestly, I believe we should show respect to women here on the net. Don’t automatically assume that just because a girl is on the Internet that she’s available to do your bidding. Granted, I’m still a little partial to the occasional kitchen or sandwich joke, but that’s only if everybody involved finds it humorous.


Basically, I’m just saying we might want to stop the cynicism – rethink what you’re saying on any portion of the Internet. Realize that there is an actual person on the other side of the screen. Does that change anything at all?

What other things have you learned about Internet “etiquette”? Do you agree or disagree with any of the ones shown here?

Image Credit: Digitallatina

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  1. Anonymous
    April 12, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    It truly is a shame to compromise the opportunity of giving out support, by instead being negative. I have personally been tremendously helped by the internet through kind words offered by random people to each other.

  2. Bailey Anderson
    January 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Hooray for a section on women! I usually make my profile picture on any website a picture of myself, and I will get plenty of dirty picture requests. It upsets me that women are mainly portrayed as sex toys and quiet little creatures that don't possess minds of their own and that can be made fun of.

    I've had men get mad at me for winning an argument because women aren't supposed to be smart when it comes to nerdy things. It's sad that people are still oh so very sexist and that they try to compartmentalize people on the Internet when there are so many different personalities to be found on the *World Wide* web.

    It's even sadder then their only retort is "get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!"

  3. R. Campbell
    November 15, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Women should always be treated with respect no matter where one finds one self. They should all be treated like ladies. Respect your mothers. 

    • J. Lockhart
      November 16, 2011 at 12:36 am

      I certainly agree, but I also believe everyone should have some respect in general.

    • timmyjohnboy
      November 30, 2011 at 7:20 am

      Perhaps if men began treating women like ladies, more of them would act more like ladies. In comes the phrase: "Treat your wife like a queen and she'll treat you like a king."

  4. Anonymous
    November 10, 2011 at 5:26 am

    I try to adhere to the rule of only posting something if I'd actually say it to someone's face. I'm sure I don't live up to that 100%, but it's a good guide.

    • J. Lockhart
      November 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      That's typically my rule, too.

  5. Gertrude
    November 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Internet reflects the real world in cyberspace. There are various types of people in there with all human nature that exist in this world: cynical, praise, criticize, etc. By using the Internet, we can accept people with all the character and nature.

    • Stanner
      November 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Dont have to accept rudeness
      I know many sites where the moderator will block a member for rudeness or obcenity or even posting off the subject of the blog


      • J. Lockhart
        November 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm

        Despite the fact I dislike it, I'd typically hate to censor anyone (but I'm sure there is a limit.)

    • J. Lockhart
      November 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      I'm not entirely sure if it reflects the real world, Gertrude. A lot of people say things they wouldn't say in real life. However, much like the real world, there are mean people on the Internet.

  6. Bruce Epper
    November 9, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Regarding offending people: It is their choice.  Anybody, anywhere, at any time will CHOOSE to be offended by anything at all.  I can walk around and find people who are willing to CHOOSE to be offended by pretty much any topic at all.  I have even found people who CHOOSE to be offended that temperatures in Arizona during the summer can (and usually will) top 110 degrees.  Using the internet just makes this easier.  I really don't care if anyone CHOOSES to be offended by anything I say, including this comment.  If they want to be offended by it, so be it.

    • Stanner
      November 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      That just about sums up the reasons behind the original article !!!
      You are going to be rude and offensive if you want to and if the readers of your blogs / comments, etc. dont like it then it's their problem ---  I DONT THINK SO !!!

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- but rudeness comes from the mouth (or fingers) of the sender


      • Bruce Epper
        November 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm

        In many cases, it is not rudeness that causes people to take offense.  As in my example about summer temps in the desert southwest, there is nothing rude about it at all, but people will constantly bitch about the heat when they CHOOSE TO VISIT THE STATE IN JULY.  They will take offense that the heat makes them uncomfortable.  That IS their problem as it was THEIR CHOICE to visit the state when it is hot.  People will take offense to the results of a scientific study if it does not support their beliefs.  That IS their problem.  They are offended that others hold different political or religious beliefs.  That IS their problem.  And if you look in any tech blogs, you will find people who are offended that everyone does not like the operating system that this particular individual believes to be the end-all of operating systems.  That IS their problem.  Some people CHOOSE to be offended by anything at all just so they can be offended by SOMETHING.

        • J. Lockhart
          November 12, 2011 at 7:22 pm

          I think you're focusing a little too much on the petty things, Bruce.

      • J. Lockhart
        November 12, 2011 at 7:21 pm


    • J. Lockhart
      November 12, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      Bruce, I believe people get hurt, and it's not necessarily a choice. If you tell someone they are the ugliest person you've ever seen, then I'm not sure if it's a choice if they are hurt. However, there are some petty things in which people choose to be offended.

      I'm saying it's okay to be offended, but I mean that in the most literal sense – when someone is genuinely hurt and not in a petty way.