Network Working Group
Status of This Memo
Request For Comments: 1855
Author: S. Hambridge, Intel Corp.
Date: October 1995
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.
Italicized text are comments I'm making about the text. They were
not part of the original document.
Table of Contents
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
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
2.1 User Guidelines
2.1.1 For mail:
2.1.2 For talk:
Unless you have your own Internet access through an Internet
provider, be sure to check with your employer about ownership
of electronic mail. Laws about the ownership of electronic mail
vary from place to place.
Unless you are using an encryption device (hardware or software),
you should assume that mail on the Internet is not secure. Never
put in a mail message anything you would not put on a postcard.
This bothers many new users. Although the high volume of
Internet mail makes attempts to read other people's mail in hopes
of finding something useful unlikely, it is possible for an
inethical site administrator to set up "sniffing" software to
search for credit card numbers or similar information. It is a
poor idea to send unencrypted credit card numbers through EMail.
Respect the copyright on material that you reproduce. Almost
every country has copyright laws.
If you are forwarding or re-posting a message you've received, do
not change the wording. If the message was a personal message to
you and you are re-posting to a group, you should ask permission
first. You may shorten the message and quote only relevant parts,
but be sure you give proper attribution.
Never send chain letters via electronic mail. Chain letters
are forbidden on the Internet. Your network privileges
will be revoked. Notify your local system administrator
if your ever receive one.
If people really "continued the chain", the chain letter
circulation would increase exponentially, and pose a serious threat
to resources needed to transfer and store mail. That is why it is
a relatively serious infraction of Netiquette... You don't need to
rat on your friends if they send you some, just let them know you
don't want to receive any more. A much more serious infraction is
Spam (addressed below).
A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and
liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages
(we call these "flames") even if you are provoked. On the other
hand, you shouldn't be surprised if you get flamed and it's
prudent not to respond to flames.
In general, it's a good idea to at least check all your mail
subjects before responding to a message. Sometimes a person who
asks you for help (or clarification) will send another message
which effectively says "Never Mind". Also make sure that any
message you respond to was directed to you. You might be cc:ed
rather than the primary recipient.
Make things easy for the recipient. Many mailers strip header
information which includes your return address. In order to
ensure that people know who you are, be sure to include a line
or two at the end of your message with contact information. You
can create this file ahead of time and add it to the end of your
messages. (Some mailers do this automatically.) In Internet
parlance, this is known as a ".sig" or "signature" file. Your
.sig file takes the place of your business card. (And you can
have more than one to apply in different circumstances.)
Be careful when addressing mail. There are addresses which
may go to a group but the address looks like it is just one
person. Know to whom you are sending.
Watch cc's when replying. Don't continue to include
people if the messages have become a 2-way conversation.
In general, most people who use the Internet don't have time
to answer general questions about the Internet and its workings.
Don't send unsolicited mail asking for information to people
whose names you might have seen in RFCs or on mailing lists.
Remember that people with whom you communicate are located across
the globe. If you send a message to which you want an immediate
response, the person receiving it might be at home asleep when it
arrives. Give them a chance to wake up, come to work, and login
before assuming the mail didn't arrive or that they don't care.
Verify all addresses before initiating long or personal discourse.
It's also a good practice to include the word "Long" in the
subject header so the recipient knows the message will take time
to read and respond to. Over 100 lines is considered "long".
Know whom to contact for help. Usually you will have resources
close at hand. Check locally for people who can help you with
software and system problems. Also, know whom to go to if you
receive anything questionable or illegal. Most sites also
have "Postmaster" aliased to a knowledgeable user, so you
can send mail to this address to get help with mail.
Remember that the recipient is a human being whose culture,
language, and humor have different points of reference from your
own. Remember that date formats, measurements, and idioms may
not travel well. Be especially careful with sarcasm.
Use mixed case. UPPER CASE LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING.
Since we usually can't put bold, or italic text in messages,
we use certain symbols and conventions for emphasis. Upper-case
text is used for strong emphasis and is the equivalent to shouting.
Odd as this may seem to the new user, most long-time internet users
think this way, and automatically add the emphasis even when it is
Use symbols for emphasis. That *is* what I meant. Use
underscores for underlining. _War and Peace_ is my favorite
To italicize text, put it in /slashes/.
Use smileys to indicate tone of voice, but use them sparingly.
:-) is an example of a smiley (Look sideways). Don't assume
that the inclusion of a smiley will make the recipient happy
with what you say or wipe out an otherwise insulting comment.
Japanese smileys look like this: (^_^) and are the
equivalent of the 'traditional' smiley in Japan and nearby
countries. There are many variations on the smiley theme.
Wait overnight to send emotional responses to messages. If you
have really strong feelings about a subject, indicate it via
FLAME ON/OFF enclosures. For example:
FLAME ON: This type of argument is not worth the bandwidth
it takes to send it. It's illogical and poorly
reasoned. The rest of the world agrees with me.
Not that many people follow this. It does lend an element of
humor to an otherwise sarcastic post.
Do not include control characters or non-ASCII attachments in
messages unless they are MIME attachments or unless your mailer
encodes these. If you send encoded messages make sure the
recipient can decode them.
Be brief without being overly terse. When replying to a message,
include enough original material to be understood but no more. It
is extremely bad form to simply reply to a message by including
all the previous message: edit out all the irrelevant material.
Limit line length to fewer than 65 characters and end a line
with a carriage return.
Mail should have a subject heading which reflects
the content of the message.
If you include a signature keep it short. Rule of thumb
is no longer than 4 lines. Remember that many people pay for
connectivity by the minute, and the longer your message is,
the more they pay.
Just as mail (today) may not be private, mail (and news) are
(today) subject to forgery and spoofing of various degrees of
detectability. Apply common sense "reality checks" before
assuming a message is valid.
If you think the importance of a message justifies it, immediately
reply briefly to an e-mail message to let the sender know you got
it, even if you will send a longer reply later.
"Reasonable" expectations for conduct via e-mail depend on your
relationship to a person and the context of the communication.
Norms learned in a particular e-mail environment may not apply in
general to your e-mail communication with people across the
Internet. Be careful with slang or local acronyms.
The cost of delivering an e-mail message is, on the average, paid
about equally by the sender and the recipient (or their
organizations). This is unlike other media such as physical mail,
telephone, TV, or radio. Sending someone mail may also cost them
in other specific ways like network bandwidth, disk space or CPU
usage. This is a fundamental economic reason why unsolicited
e-mail advertising is unwelcome (and is forbidden in many contexts).
Know how large a message you are sending. Including large files
such as Postscript files or programs may make your message so
large that it cannot be delivered or at least consumes excessive
resources. A good rule of thumb would be not to send a file
larger than 50 Kilobytes. Consider file transfer as an
alternative, or cutting the file into smaller chunks and sending
each as a separate message.
Many newer programs increase this limit to 500k, but larger
messages are unappreciated and can 'clog' the system when the
recipient tries to download it. This often results in the need
for all the user's unread mail to be deleted (mail messages are
not stored separately, but in one, large file for each user. In
order to delete the large message, they all have to go.)
Don't send large amounts of unsolicited information to people.
Especially advertisements. Sending mass-eMail to strangers
advertising your product is the equivalent of sending Junk mail. This
is known as "Spam", and is a very serious infraction of Internet
guidelines. Most people enjoy their privacy and don't want to be the
target of tons of advertisements. Sending Spam is pretty much a
gaurantee that your account will be terminated and your access to your
If your mail system allows you to forward mail, beware the dreaded
forwarding loop. Be sure you haven't set up forwarding on several
hosts so that a message sent to you gets into an endless loop from
one computer to the next to the next.
Talk is a set of protocols which allow two people to have an
interactive dialogue via computer.
2.2 Administrator Issues
Use mixed case and proper punctuation, as though you were typing
a letter or sending mail.
Don't run off the end of a line and simply let the terminal wrap;
use a Carriage Return (CR) at the end of the line. Also, don't
assume your screen size is the same as everyone else's. A good
rule of thumb is to write out no more than 70 characters, and no
more than 12 lines (since you're using a split screen).
Leave some margin; don't write to the edge of the screen.
Use two CRs to indicate that you are done and the other person may
start typing. (blank line).
Always say goodbye, or some other farewell, and wait to see a
farewell from the other person before killing the session. This
is especially important when you are communicating with someone
a long way away. Remember that your communication relies on both
bandwidth (the size of the pipe) and latency (the speed of light).
Remember that talk is an interruption to the other person. Only
use as appropriate. And never talk to strangers.
While you may enjoy receiving talk requests from strangers, it is
annoying to many people. The request message breaks into what ever
the user was doing. If you wish to talk to strangers, there are many
MUDs and IRC servers available specifically for that function.
The reasons for not getting a reply are many. Don't assume
that everything is working correctly. Not all versions of
talk are compatible.
If left on its own, talk re-rings the recipient. Let it ring
one or two times, then kill it.
If a person doesn't respond you might try another tty. Use finger
to determine which are open. If the person still doesn't respond,
do not continue to send.
Talk shows your typing ability. If you type slowly and make
mistakes when typing it is often not worth the time of trying to
correct, as the other person can usually see what you meant.
Be careful if you have more than one talk session going!
3.0 One-to-Many Communication (Mailing Lists, NetNews)
Be sure you have established written guidelines for dealing
with situations especially illegal, improper, or forged
Handle requests in a timely fashion - by the next business day.
Ideally. Serious problems like Spam or forged mail should be dealt
with as soon as possible. Other problems can wait until some staff member
can get to it.
Respond promptly to people who have concerns about receiving
improper or illegal messages. Requests concerning chain
letters should be handled immediately.
Explain any system rules, such as disk quotas, to your users.
Make sure they understand implications of requesting files by
mail such as: Filling up disks; running up phone bills, delaying
Make sure you have "Postmaster" aliased. Make sure you have
"Root" aliased. Make sure someone reads that mail.
Investigate complaints about your users with an open mind.
Remember that addresses may be forged and spoofed.
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
Read both mailing lists and newsgroups for one to two months before
you post anything. This helps you to get an understanding of
the culture of the group.
We on the Usenet only wish people followed this one. Very few
people will wait two months to get a feel for the group. At the very
least, wait one or two days before posting anything.
Do not blame the system administrator for the behavior of the
Consider that a large audience will see your posts.
That may include your present or your next boss. Take
care in what you write. Remember too, that mailing lists and
Newsgroups are frequently archived, and that your words may be
stored for a very long time in a place to which many people have
Assume that individuals speak for themselves, and what they
say does not represent their organization (unless stated
Remember that both mail and news take system resources. Pay
attention to any specific rules covering their uses your
organization may have.
Messages and articles should be brief and to the point. Don't
wander off-topic, don't ramble and don't send mail or post
messages solely to point out other people's errors in typing
or spelling. These, more than any other behavior, mark you
as an immature beginner.
Subject lines should follow the conventions of the group.
Forgeries and spoofing are not approved behavior.
Advertising is welcomed on some lists and Newsgroups, and abhorred
on others! This is another example of knowing your audience
before you post. Unsolicited advertising which is completely
off-topic will most certainly guarantee that you get a lot of
If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting be sure you
summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just
enough text of the original to give a context. This will make
sure readers understand when they start to read your response.
Since NetNews, especially, is proliferated by distributing the
postings from one host to another, it is possible to see a
response to a message before seeing the original. Giving context
helps everyone. But do not include the entire original!
Again, be sure to have a signature which you attach to your
message. This will guarantee that any peculiarities of mailers or
newsreaders which strip header information will not delete the
only reference in the message of how people may reach you.
Be careful when you reply to messages or postings. Frequently
replies are sent back to the address which originated the post -
which in many cases is the address of a list or group! You may
accidentally send a personal response to a great many people,
embarrassing all involved. It's best to type in the address
instead of relying on "reply."
Delivery receipts, non-delivery notices, and vacation programs
are neither totally standardized nor totally reliable across the
range of systems connected to Internet mail. They are invasive
when sent to mailing lists, and some people consider delivery
receipts an invasion of privacy. In short, do not use them.
If you find a personal message has gone to a list or group, send
an apology to the person and to the group.
If you should find yourself in a disagreement with one person,
make your responses to each other via mail rather than continue to
send messages to the list or the group. If you are debating a
point on which the group might have some interest, you may
summarize for them later.
Don't get involved in flame wars. Neither post nor respond
to incendiary material.
Avoid sending messages or posting articles which are no more than
gratuitous replies to replies.
Be careful with monospacing fonts and diagrams. These will
display differently on different systems, and with different
mailers on the same system.
There are Newsgroups and Mailing Lists which discuss topics
of wide varieties of interests. These represent a diversity of
lifestyles, religions, and cultures. Posting articles or sending
messages to a group whose point of view is offensive to you
simply to tell them they are offensive is not acceptable.
Sexually and racially harassing messages may also have legal
implications. There is software available to filter items
you might find objectionable.
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
Send subscribe and unsubscribe messages to the appropriate
address. Although some mailing list software is smart enough
to catch these, not all can ferret these out. It is your
responsibility to learn how the lists work, and to send the
correct mail to the correct place. Although many many mailing
lists adhere to the convention of having a "-request" alias for
sending subscribe and unsubscribe messages, not all do. Be sure
you know the conventions used by the lists to which you subscribe.
Save the subscription messages for any lists you join. These
usually tell you how to unsubscribe as well.
In general, it's not possible to retrieve messages once you have
sent them. Even your system administrator will not be able to get
a message back once you have sent it. This means you must make
sure you really want the message to go as you have written it.
The auto-reply feature of many mailers is useful for in-house
communication, but quite annoying when sent to entire mailing
lists. Examine "Reply-To" addresses when replying to messages
from lists. Most auto-replys will go to all members of the
Don't send large files to mailing lists when Uniform
Resource Locators (URLs) or pointers to ftp-able versions
will do. If you want to send it as multiple files, be
sure to follow the culture of the group. If you don't
know what that is, ask.
Consider unsubscribing or setting a "nomail" option (when it's
available) when you cannot check your mail for an extended
When sending a message to more than one mailing list, especially
if the lists are closely related, apologize for cross-posting.
If you ask a question, be sure to post a summary. When doing so,
truly summarize rather than send a cumulation of the messages you
Some mailing lists are private. Do not send mail to these lists
uninvited. Do not report mail from these lists to a wider
If you are caught in an argument, keep the discussion focused on
issues rather than the personalities involved.
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
In NetNews parlance, "Posting" refers to posting a new article
to a group, or responding to a post someone else has posted.
"Cross-Posting" refers to posting a message to more than one
group. If you introduce Cross-Posting to a group, or if you
direct "Followup-To:" in the header of your posting, warn
readers! Readers will usually assume that the message was
posted to a specific group and that followups will go to
that group. Headers change this behavior.
Read all of a discussion in progress (we call this a thread)
before posting replies. Avoid posting "Me Too" messages,
where content is limited to agreement with previous posts.
Content of a follow-up post should exceed quoted content.
Send mail when an answer to a question is for one person only.
Remember that News has global distribution and the whole world
probably is NOT interested in a personal response. However, don't
hesitate to post when something will be of general interest to the
Check the "Distribution" section of the header, but don't
depend on it. Due to the complex method by which News is
delivered, Distribution headers are unreliable. But, if you
are posting something which will be of interest to a limited
number or readers, use a distribution line that attempts to
limit the distribution of your article to those people. For
example, set the Distribution to be "nj" if you are posting
an article that will be of interest only to New Jersey readers.
If you feel an article will be of interest to more than one
Newsgroup, be sure to CROSSPOST the article rather than individually
post it to those groups. In general, probably only five-to-six
groups will have similar enough interests to warrant this.
Consider using Reference sources (Computer Manuals, Newspapers,
help files) before posting a question. Asking a Newsgroup where
answers are readily available elsewhere generates grumpy "RTFM"
(read the fine manual - although a more vulgar meaning of the
word beginning with "f" is usually implied) messages.
Although there are Newsgroups which welcome advertising,
in general it is considered nothing less than criminal
to advertise off-topic products. Sending an advertisement
to each and every group will pretty much guarantee your loss of
If you discover an error in your post, cancel it as soon as
DO NOT attempt to cancel any articles but your own. Contact
your administrator if you don't know how to cancel your post,
or if some other post, such as a chain letter, needs canceling.
If you've posted something and don't see it immediately,
don't assume it's failed and re-post it.
Some groups permit (and some welcome) posts which in other
circumstances would be considered to be in questionable taste.
Still, there is no guarantee that all people reading the group
will appreciate the material as much as you do. Use the Rotate
utility (which rotates all the characters in your post by 13
positions in the alphabet) to avoid giving offense. The
Rot13 utility for Unix is an example.
In groups which discuss movies or books it is considered essential
to mark posts which disclose significant content as "Spoilers".
Put this word in your Subject: line. You may add blank lines to
the beginning of your post to keep content out of sight, or you
may Rotate it.
Forging of news articles is generally censured. You can protect
yourself from forgeries by using software which generates a
manipulation detection "fingerprint", such as PGP (in the US).
Postings via anonymous servers are accepted in some Newsgroups
and disliked in others. Material which is inappropriate when
posted under one's own name is still inappropriate when posted
Expect a slight delay in seeing your post when posting to a
moderated group. The moderator may change your subject
line to have your post conform to a particular thread.
Don't get involved in flame wars. Neither post nor respond
to incendiary material.
3.2.1 General Issues
3.2.2 Mailing Lists
Clarify any policies your site has regarding its subscription
to NetNews groups and about subscribing to mailing lists.
Clarify any policies your site has about posting to NetNews
groups or to mailing lists, including use of disclaimers in .sigs.
Clarify and publicize archive policy. (How long are articles
Investigate accusations about your users promptly and with an
Be sure to monitor the health of your system.
Consider how long to archive system logs, and publicize your
policy on logging.
Keep mailing lists up to date to avoid the "bouncing mail" problem.
Help list owners when problems arise.
Inform list owners of any maintenance windows or planned downtime.
Be sure to have "-request" aliases for list subscription and
Make sure all mail gateways operate smoothly.
3.3 Moderator Guidelines
Publicize the nature of the feed you receive. If you do not get
a full feed, people may want to know why not.
Be aware that the multiplicity of News Reader clients may cause
the News Server being blamed for problems in the clients.
Honor requests from users immediately if they request cancellation
of their own posts or invalid posts, such as chain letters.
Have "Usenet", "Netnews" and "News" aliased and make sure someone
reads the mail.
3.3.1 General Guidelines
4.0 Information Services (Gopher, Wais, WWW, ftp, telnet)
Make sure your Frequestly Asked Questions (FAQ) is posted at
regular intervals. Include your guidelines for articles/messages.
If you are not the FAQ maintainer, make sure they do so.
Make sure you maintain a good welcome message, which contains
subscribe and unsubscribe information.
Newsgroups should have their charter/guidelines posted
Keep mailing lists and Newsgroups up to date. Post
messages in a timely fashion. Designate a substitute
when you go on vacation or out of town.
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
4.1 User Guidelines
4.1.1. General guidelines
4.1.2 Real Time Interactive Services Guidelines (MUDs MOOs IRC)
Remember that all these services belong to someone else. The
people who pay the bills get to make the rules governing usage.
Information may be free - or it may not be! Be sure you check.
If you have problems with any form of information service, start
problem solving by checking locally: Check file configurations,
software setup, network connections, etc. Do this before assuming
the problem is at the provider's end and/or is the provider's
Although there are naming conventions for file-types used, don't
depend on these file naming conventions to be enforced. For
example, a ".doc" file is not always a Word file.
Information services also use conventions, such as www.xyz.com.
While it is useful to know these conventions, again, don't
necessarily rely on them.
Know how file names work on your own system.
Be aware of conventions used for providing information during
sessions. FTP sites usually have files named README in a top
level directory which have information about the files available.
But, don't assume that these files are necessarily up-to-date
Do NOT assume that ANY information you find is up-to-date and/or
accurate. Remember that new technologies allow just about anyone
to be a publisher, but not all people have discovered the
responsibilities which accompany publishing.
Remember that unless you are sure that security and authentication
technology is in use, that any information you submit to a system
is being transmitted over the Internet "in the clear", with no
protection from "sniffers" or forgers.
Since the Internet spans the globe, remember that Information
Services might reflect culture and life-style markedly different
from your own community. Materials you find offensive may
originate in a geography which finds them acceptable. Keep an open
When wanting information from a popular server, be sure to use
a mirror server that's close if a list is provided.
Do not use someone else's FTP site to deposit materials you
wish other people to pick up. This is called "dumping" and
is not generally acceptable behavior.
When you have trouble with a site and ask for help, be sure to
provide as much information as possible in order to help
debug the problem.
When bringing up your own information service, such as a homepage,
be sure to check with your local system administrator to find what
the local guidelines are in affect.
Consider spreading out the system load on popular sites by
avoiding "rush hour" and logging in during off-peak times.
4.2 Administrator Guidelines
As in other environments, it is wise to "listen" first to
get to know the culture of the group.
It's not necessary to greet everyone on a channel or room
personally. Usually one "Hello" or the equivalent is enough.
Using the automation features of your client to greet people is
not acceptable behavior.
Warn the participants if you intend to ship large quantities
of information. If all consent to receiving it, you may send,
but sending unwanted information without a warning is considered
bad form just as it is in mail.
Don't assume that people who you don't know will want to talk to
you. If you feel compelled to send private messages to people you
don't know, then be willing to accept gracefully the fact that they
might be busy or simply not want to chat with you.
Respect the guidelines of the group. Look for introductory
materials for the group. These may be on a related ftp site.
Don't badger other users for personal information such as sex, age,
or location. After you have built an acquaintance with another user,
these questions may be more appropriate, but many people
hesitate to give this information to people with whom they are
If a user is using a nickname alias or pseudonym, respect that
user's desire for anonymity. Even if you and that person are
close friends, it is more courteous to use his nickname. Do
not use that person's real name online without permission.
4.2.1 General Guidelines
5.0 Selected Bibliography
Make clear what's available for copying and what is not.
Describe what's available on your site, and your organization.
Be sure any general policies are clear.
Keep information, especially READMEs, up-to-date. Provide READMEs
in plain ascii text.
Present a list of mirrors of your site if you know them. Make
sure you include a statement of copyright applicable to your
mirrors. List their update schedule if possible.
Make sure that popular (and massive) information has the bandwidth
to support it.
Use conventions for file extensions - .txt for ascii text; .html
or .htm for HTML; .ps for Postscript; .pdf for Portable Document
Format; .sgml or .sgm for SGML; .exe for non-Unix executables, etc.
For files being transferred, try to make filenames unique in the
first eight characters.
When providing information, make sure your site has something
unique to offer. Avoid bringing up an information service which
simply points to other services on the Internet.
Don't point to other sites without asking first.
Remember that setting up an information service is more than just
design and implementation. It's also maintenance.
Make sure your posted materials are appropriate for the supporting
Test applications with a variety of tools. Don't assume everything
works if you've tested with only one client. Also, assume the low
end of technology for clients and don't create applications which
can only be used by Graphical User Interfaces.
Have a consistent view of your information. Make sure the look
and feel stays the same throughout your applications.
Be sensitive to the longevity of your information. Be sure to
date time-sensitive materials, and be vigilant about keeping
this information well maintained.
Export restrictions vary from country to country. Be sure you
understand the implications of export restrictions when you post.
Tell users what you plan to do with any information you collect,
such as WWW feedback. You need to warn people if you plan to
publish any of their statements, even passively by just making it
available to other users.
Make sure your policy on user information services, such as
homepages, is well known.
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 experience.
 Angell, D., and B. Heslop, "The Elements of E-mail Style",
New York: Addison-Wesley, 1994.
 "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Usenet"
Original author: jerry@eagle.UUCP (Jerry Schwarz)
Maintained by: email@example.com (Mark Moraes)
 Cerf, V., "Guidelines for Conduct on and Use of
 Dern, D., "The Internet Guide for New Users", New York:
 "Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette"
Original author: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brad Templeton)
Maintained by: email@example.com (Mark Moraes)
 Gaffin, A., "Everybody's Guide to the Internet", Cambridge,
Mass., MIT Press, 1994.
 "Guidelines for Responsible Use of the Internet"
from the US house of Representatives gopher, at:
 How to find the right place to post (FAQ)
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Aliza R. Panitz)
 Hambridge, S., and J. Sedayao, "Horses and Barn Doors:
Evolution of Corporate Guidelines for Internet Usage",
LISA VII, Usenix, November 1-5, 1993, pp. 9-16.
 Heslop, B., and D. Angell, "The Instant Internet guide :
Hands-on Global Networking", Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley,
 Horwitz, S., "Internet Etiquette Tips",
 Internet Activities Board, "Ethics and the Internet", RFC 1087,
IAB, January 1989.
 Kehoe, B., "Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's
Guide", Netiquette information is spread through the chapters
of this work. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ., Prentice-Hall,
 Kochmer, J., "Internet Passport: NorthWestNet's Guide
to our World Online", 4th ed. Bellevue, Wash.,
NorthWestNet, Northwest Academic Computing Consortium, 1993.
 Krol, Ed, "The Whole Internet: User's Guide and
Catalog", Sebastopol, CA, O'Reilly & Associates,
 Lane, E. and C. Summerhill, "Internet Primer for
Information Professionals: a basic guide to Internet networking
technology", Westport, CT, Meckler, 1993.
 LaQuey, T., and J. Ryer, "The Internet Companion",
Chapter 3 "Communicating with People", pp 41-74. Reading,
MA, Addison-Wesley, 1993.
 Mandel, T., "Surfing the Wild Internet", SRI International
Business Intelligence Program, Scan No. 2109. March, 1993.
 Martin, J., "There's Gold in them thar Networks! or Searching for
Treasure in all the Wrong Places", FYI 10, RFC 1402,
 Pioch, N., "A Short IRC Primer", Text conversion
by Owe Rasmussen. Edition 1.1b, February 28, 1993.
 Polly, J., "Surfing the Internet: an Introduction",
Version 2.0.3. Revised May 15, 1993.
 "A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community"
Original author: email@example.com (Chuq Von Rospach)
Maintained by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Moraes)
 Rinaldi, A., "The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette",
September 3, 1992.
 "Rules for posting to Usenet"
Original author: email@example.com (Gene Spafford)
Maintained by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Moraes)
 Shea, V., "Netiquette", San Francisco: Albion Books,
 Strangelove, M., with A. Bosley, "How to Advertise
on the Internet", ISSN 1201-0758.
 Tenant, R., "Internet Basics", ERIC Clearinghouse of Information
Resources, EDO-IR-92-7. September, 1992.
 Wiggins, R., "The Internet for everyone: a guide for
users and providers", New York, McGraw-Hill, 1995.
6.0 Security Considerations
Security issues are not discussed in this memo.
7.0 Author's Address
2880 Northwestern Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95052