Network Working Group
Request For Comments: 1855
FYI: 28
Category: Informational

Sally Hambridge
Intel Corp.
October 1995

Netiquette Guidelines

Status of This Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo
does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of
this memo is unlimited.


This document provides a minimum set of guidelines for Network
Etiquette (Netiquette) which organizations may take and adapt for
their own use. As such, it is deliberately written in a bulleted
format to make adaptation easier and to make any particular item easy
(or easier) to find. It also functions as a minimum set of
guidelines for individuals, both users and administrators. This memo
is the product of the Responsible Use of the Network (RUN) Working
Group of the IETF.

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

In the past, the population of people using the Internet had "grown
up" with the Internet, were technically minded, and understood the
nature of the transport and the protocols. Today, the community of
Internet users includes people who are new to the environment. These
"Newbies" are unfamiliar with the culture and don't need to know
about transport and protocols. In order to bring these new users into
the Internet culture quickly, this Guide offers a minimum set of
behaviors which organizations and individuals may take and adapt for
their own use. Individuals should be aware that no matter who
supplies their Internet access, be it an Internet Service Provider
through a private account, or a student account at a University, or
an account through a corporation, that those organizations have
regulations about ownership of mail and files, about what is proper
to post or send, and how to present yourself. Be sure to check with
the local authority for specific guidelines.

We've organized this material into three sections: One-to-one
communication, which includes mail and talk; One-to-many
communications, which includes mailing lists and NetNews; and
Information Services, which includes ftp, WWW, Wais, Gopher, MUDs and
MOOs. Finally, we have a Selected Bibliography, which may be used
for reference.

2.0 One-to-One Communication (electronic mail, talk)

We define one-to-one communications as those in which a person is
communicating with another person as if face-to-face: a dialog. In
general, rules of common courtesy for interaction with people should
be in force for any situation and on the Internet it's doubly
important where, for example, body language and tone of voice must be
inferred. For more information on Netiquette for communicating via
electronic mail and talk, check references [1,23,25,27] in the
Selected Bibliography.

2.1 User Guidelines

2.1.1 For mail:

2.1.2 For talk:

Talk is a set of protocols which allow two people to have an
interactive dialogue via computer.

2.2 Administrator Issues

3.0 One-to-Many Communication (Mailing Lists, NetNews)

Any time you engage in One-to-Many communications, all the rules for
mail should also apply. After all, communicating with many people
via one mail message or post is quite analogous to communicating with
one person with the exception of possibly offending a great many more
people than in one-to-one communication. Therefore, it's quite
important to know as much as you can about the audience of your

3.1 User Guidelines

3.1.1 General Guidelines for mailing lists and NetNews

3.1.2 Mailing List Guidelines

There are several ways to find information about what mailing lists
exist on the Internet and how to join them. Make sure you understand
your organization's policy about joining these lists and posting to
them. In general it is always better to check local resources first
before trying to find information via the Internet. Nevertheless,
there are a set of files posted periodically to news.answers which
list the Internet mailing lists and how to subscribe to them. This
is an invaluable resource for finding lists on any topic. See also
references [9,13,15] in the Selected Bibliography.

3.1.3 NetNews Guidelines

NetNews is a globally distributed system which allows people to
communicate on topics of specific interest. It is divided into
hierarchies, with the major divisions being: sci - science related
discussions; comp - computer related discussions; news - for
discussions which center around NetNews itself; rec - recreational
activities; soc - social issues; talk - long-winded never-ending
discussions; biz - business related postings; and alt - the alternate
hierarchy. Alt is so named because creating an alt group does not go
through the same process as creating a group in the other parts of
the hierarchy. There are also regional hierarchies, hierarchies
which are widely distributed such as Bionet, and your place of
business may have its own groups as well. Recently, a "humanities"
hierarchy was added, and as time goes on its likely more will be
added. For longer discussions on News see references [2,8,22,23] in
the Selected Bibliography.

3.2 Administrator Guidelines

3.2.1 General Issues

3.2.2 Mailing Lists

3.2.3 NetNews

3.3 Moderator Guidelines

3.3.1 General Guidelines

4.0 Information Services (Gopher, Wais, WWW, ftp, telnet)

In recent Internet history, the 'Net has exploded with new and varied
Information services. Gopher, Wais, World Wide Web (WWW), Multi-User
Dimensions (MUDs) Multi-User Dimensions which are Object Oriented
(MOOs) are a few of these new areas. Although the ability to find
information is exploding, "Caveat Emptor" remains constant. For more
information on these services, check references [14,28] in the
Selected Bibliography.

4.1 User Guidelines

4.1.1 General guidelines

4.1.2 Real Time Interactive Services Guidelines (MUDs MOOs IRC)

4.2 Administrator Guidelines

4.2.1 General Guidelines

5.0 Selected Bibliography

This bibliography was used to gather most of the information in the
sections above as well as for general reference. Items not
specifically found in these works were gathered from the IETF-RUN
Working Group's

6.0 Security Considerations

Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

7.0 Author's Address

Sally Hambridge
Intel Corporation
2880 Northwestern Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95052

Phone: 408-765-2931
Fax: 408-765-3679
E-Mail: sallyh@ludwig.sc.intel.com

Valid "HTML 4.01 Strict" | Valid "HTML 4.01 Strict" | Valid "CSS" | Valid "W3C-WAI WCAG 1.0 Level A"