Modern Humorist - A Guide to Netiquette, Lesson 2
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Lesson 1: E-mail

Lesson 2: Message Boards and Chatrooms
Lesson 3: Business Communication

MESSAGE BOARDS are popular places for people with common interests, such as gardening or plush animal fetishes, to post questions or comments about their hobby. Unfortunately, without the vocal tones or facial expressions we use to give context to our conversation, it’s easy to misunderstand the spirit of a written message. A good example can be seen in the posting below. Can you see where the writer might be misunderstood?

From: Tuvok01
To: SithLord12
Re: ST vs. SW

Why don’t you get a clue what you’re talking about before posting your asanine drivel, you might look less like a idiot. First of all, NO, A STAR DESTROYER COULD NOT DEFEAT A GALAXY CLASS STAR TREK VESSEL, because (try to follow this, pinhead—I know it’s hard to wrap your tiny closed little mind around a FACT, but try) lasers of ANY sort (even Quad Laser cannons) don’t affect navigational shields at all! Picard very clearly states this in "The Outrageous Okona." Period. End of sentence. And by the way, if you really think that "high warp drive is the same as hyperspace" (!!!) then you are more of a pathetic brain damaged subhuman mongoloid than I thought. why don’t you ask your mommy to read you the Star Wars Technical Journal when she gets a break from acting in her latest porn video. You are a MORON and you are worse than HITLER. You would have made a good Nazi, do you know that? Why don’t you do the world a favor and goosestep into the nearest river. You’re mentally deranged. Get help, you sick scumbag.

ANSWER: Although Tuvok01 no doubt means to compliment SithLord12 with his comparison to a famous historical leader, he should remember that not everyone approved of Hitler’s policies and philosophy, and a comparison to Hitler could be quite insulting to some people! No doubt, however, SithLord12 will understand the good intentions in this posting, especially when he sees the concern that Tuvok01 shows for his mental health.

Chat rooms are the new way to socialize. People of all ages enjoy getting together online to "talk" to each other by typing messages in "real time." Some chat rooms focus on a hobby like scuba diving or twelve-step groups, while others are places to enjoy general chat with gay men. But don’t let the informal atmosphere of chat rooms fool you—there are rules to chatting, and if you don’t know them, you’ll soon find yourself getting the cold shoulder. Take a look at this example of a discussion on “Jeffersonian Ideology and the Fall of Federalism” in the American History chatroom and see if you can tell where someone went wrong.

seXyMaMa: heyyyyyy
JelloGirl: lol seXy
Rescue911: any cute girls in here with pics…p2p me
big1 has entered the room.
SeXyMaMa: heyyyyyyyyy Jelloooooooooooooooooooooooo
loverboy25: any sexy ladies in here with pics
slingshot: hey hey hey
JelloGirl: lmao
lady4u: lol jello
loverboy25: if so p2p me
dawg57 has left the room.
bustty: HELLO
seXyMaMa: heehee
big1: hi any girls wanna chat p2p me
JelloGirl: lmao seXy…
MissKitty: hello hello hello
big1: any ladies wanna chat w/30m? p2p me
lady4u: rofl jello

ANSWER: This was a trick question! Everyone is using perfect manners in this chatroom. The only thing I would do differently is to use “lmfao” instead of “lmao” as JelloGirl has done. “lmao” means, of course, “let’s manufacture an ocarina,” but what JelloGirl probably meant to say was “look, my friend, an ocelot!”

Now you’re ready to start chatting in chatrooms and posting on message boards. Keep these simple rules in mind to make it a great Web experience for everyone: 1. Give your name, address, and telephone number to anyone who asks for it. 2. If you’re a cute girl with a pic, always chat with a 30m blonde blue. 3. Be honest! If someone’s being an idiot, tell him or her so—you’ll be doing them a favor!

Happy chatting!

Lesson 1: E-mail
Lesson 2: Message Boards and Chatrooms
Lesson 3: Business Communication

More by Martha Keavney:
Mauve Gloves and Manual Typewriters
The Breakfast Table

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