RobertS Rules of Internet Order
                             (by Robert M. Slade, 1994)
1.  Keep your cool.

2.  Understand that bandwidth, the space for information to travel in, is a
shared resource, held in common by all.  Respect other people's right to use
bandwidth, as they respect yours.  This has several corollaries:
    - keep it short
    - Keep it relevant
    - be as clear and concise as possible.

3.  Keep your cool.  Don't waste bandwidth by sending out public messages
chastising people who, in your opinion, are wasting bandwidth.

4.  Broaden your understanding of the net.  Understand the different types of
systems that people use.  Understand that just because *your* system allows you
to send file attachments, doesn't mean that everyone can, and that the garbage
attached to your message may just be an annoyance to them.  Understand that
most people see messages on a maximum 80 character wide screen, but that
"quoting" an 80 column wide message makes it more than 80 columns wide.
Understand that a lot of people come into the net through BBS or commercial
online services and may have no idea what ftp, telnet, gopher and WWW are.  (If
you don't know what these are, understand that a lot of people use them every
day, and may send you instructions and advice assuming you know how to use
them.  "Finding It On the Internet", by Paul Gilster, is a good book for
finding out how to access resources using only email.)

5.  Keep your cool.

6.  Depending upon who you believe, there are between three million and fifty
million people on the Internet.  That is somewhere between the population of BC
and twice the population of Canada.  Many of those people are nice.  Some of
them can be short tempered at times.  Some of them are old, some young.  Some
are downright nasty and evil.  As you explore the net, you will run into all
kinds.  Bear this in mind.

7.  Keep your cool.  Remember, as the saying goes, it's all just ones and
zeros.  They can only hurt you if you let them upset you.

8.  You *can* do business on the Internet.  But remember that email provides
the recipient with an automatic "caller ID".  Don't waste bandwidth.  Don't
waste people's time.  Net people respect information, but *hate* hype.
Respect the topics in public discussions.

9.  Keep your cool.

10. Humour can be very easily misconstrued.  Sending messages is easy, and it
can be tempting to toss off a quick quip in reaction to an email message or
posting.  Be careful.  Your quip can easily be read as an insult, particularly
if the original poster feels deeply about what they wrote.  Especially in a
public discussion, it is likely that the receiver takes something more
seriously than it might have been meant.  And remember that nobody who has been
on the net for any length of time is impressed by a really insulting message
that ends up with the sentence: "For the humour-impaired: insert a :-) every
three words."

11. Keep your cool.  Even if you have been flamed publicly, anyone with any
brains will be able to see who the idiot really is.  If you maintain a
dignified silence, you may find that others will defend you.  Always more

12. You will see some odd markings on online messages that you don't see in
normal text.  This is because online text generally can't support boldface,
italics, underlining or any other form of emphasis.  Emphasis is most often
marked by *asterisks* on either end of the word or phrase.  (This is akin to
italics.)  Some people use _underscores_ to denote that a word or phrase should
be underlined.  (This is fairly rare on the net, and mostly used for
references.)  Text that is typed ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS stands out, and is
referred to as "shouting".  (Messages typed completely in capital letters is
the sign of a newcomer not used to net behaviour.)  The "smiley" or "emoticon"
typed with a colon, hyphen and right parenthesis :-) is a sort of sideways
"happy face", and is used to denote humorous intent.  (There are endless
variations on the smiley: I have a collection of about 800 entries.)  You will
also see the most absurd acronyms on the net: btw (by the way), fwiw (for what
it's worth), imho (in my humble opinion) the use of these acronyms is much more
likely to confuse and annoy people than to promote effective  communications.

13. Keep your cool.  Communicate effectively, and help others keep theirs.

14. When sending a message, please use a subject that clearly indicates what
the topic is about.  Many net workers receive hundreds of mail messages in a
day: a complete and accurate subject line is very helpful.  Also, when
"replying" to a message or posting, be sure that your reply still pertains to
the  subject.  If your reply isn't along the same lines, then don't "reply";
send a new message instead.

15. Keep your cool.  Be specific.

16. Read carefully, especially if you think you disagree with something.
People tend to read email and postings too quickly, and to fail to understand
the real intent behind a message.  Especially if you want to reply to
something, read it three or more times before you start to write.

17. Keep your cool.  Read it again.

18. sPeling kountz.  Too does syntax grammar and.  A number of Internet posters
feel that, since the medium is ephemeral, messages do not need to be composed
with care.  This shows a lack of respect for those who will spend time trying
to read and understand the message.  Remember the Usenet warning: "This message
will cost the net hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to post to all
machines.  Are you sure you want to do this?"  If it is not worth the time to
correct your spelling and grammatical errors, it isn't worth posting.  Read the
postings of others forgivingly, but your own harshly.

19. Keep your cool, D00DZ!

20. There is *NO* rule 20.

21. Keep your cool.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1994