Communication Etiquette in Modern Media
When involved in communications, especially in computer echos,
awareness of certain concepts make the activity more fun for everyone.
Two main concepts stand out, primarily because people tend to REACT to negative messages with negative responses.
1. Impersonal responses to personal attacks: Computer communications
are almost always written. Due to the fact that words carry only
limited information, the noise to information ratio can become very
dense, with a sentence the sender considered very mild becoming a
hurricane of emotion in the mind of the receiver. Therefore try to
keep personal nouns and pronouns, like "you" and "your" out of any
message that may cause disagreement among the other members of the
echo or net.
If necessary to express disagreement with an idea, couching the words
of your message in impersonal terms works best.
"I think you are stupid to think motherboards should just be thrown
away rather than fixed." This message may well cause the receiver to
respond with some nasty reply, clogging the net with negative personal argument.
"I have always found that motherboards could be fixed." This presents
an opposite view, but the receiver will less likely consider it a
If someone disagrees with you personally, or even attacks you
viciously, you have three options on an Echo or Net. You can simply
ignore the message rather than responding. You can respond in an
impersonal but polite way, not letting the attack affect you at all.
Or you can send a message to the Moderator, expressing your unease at
the tone or attack of the message you received and let the moderator
take care of it.
2. Understanding the Twit: Occasionally, someone joins a net or echo
with only one interest, to cause as much uproar as possible. They may
simply personally attack every person on the net, or sometimes they
attack every idea or subject thread they find, for the same purpose.
They are often racist, sexist, nationist, or just plain stupid. If the
rest of the members of the net refuse to communicate with the twit,
s/he will usually lose interest and stop posting.
Sometimes normally reasonable people become twits without realizing
it, taking some argument or disagreement past the point of courtesy
and drawing in others. The discipline of electronic communication
really requires a more detached viewpoint than normal in other
communication medias, because the usual subliminal undercurrents of communication one receives in other two-way mediums do not exist.
Sarcasm and humor can easily become misunderstood, and cause
unintended ill feelings.
In electronic mediums, honesty, tact, and straightforwardness are of
great significance. Without them, communication can stop cold.
In dealing with twits, especially the more obvious ones, there are
five common sense rules to always use:
Echoer's Common Sense Rule #1 (ECSR1): If possible, never READ twit's
posts. Step over manure or your shoe will stink.
Echoer's Common Sense Rule #2 (ECSR2): Never ANSWER a twit's
posts!!!!! Stirring manure makes it stink worse.
Echoer's Common Sense Rule #3 (ECSR3): Never QUOTE a twit's posts!!!!! That's like smearing manure on your friends!
Echoer's Common Sense Rule #4 (ESCR4): Never MENTION a twit to another echoer!!! That's like sharing a manure sandwich!
Echoer's Common Sense Rule #5 (ECSR5): LET THE MODERATOR HANDLE THE TWIT!!!!! He has the right kind of manure shovel.
With these few hints, communication over computers can become a true
joy instead of a cold hassle.
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