In order to work together successfully, group members need to feel comfortable with
each other. Netiquette, or online etiquette, is an important factor. On-line
communication lacks some of the cues that we use in person (like body language and
tone of voice), so there is a greater potential for miscommunication. Sometimes typed
language sounds (or is) more confrontational than we’d use face to face.
It’s important to understand netiquette and develop skills in respectful interaction on-line.
Please read and refer to these general guidelines:
On-Line Etiquette and communication strategies
o Be professional. Write your post in Word (or something else), using correct
spelling and punctuation. Re-read your post for spelling, grammar, tone, clarity,
relevance. After using spell check, then cut and paste into your group discussion.
o Include all group members in the communications.
o Treat others' posts with respect. When responding, be considerate and try to open
lines of communication by saying things such as "I didn't understand what you
meant by this. Can you explain it more clearly?" "I found your argument about...
unconvincing because..." "I think your argument would be improved by...."
o Include positive feedback. Before you raise a concern with someone else’s idea
or work, first point out something positive.
o Discuss issues or concerns, not individuals or personalities.
o Be specific. Responding to individuals by name, commenting on specific ideas
and approaches, and providing specific suggestion encourages further
conversation and learning. “Way to go”, “right on”, etc. provide support for the
contribution but are truly helpful only when they are accompanied by rationale.
o Set clear deadlines that allow time for editing, questioning, and revising. If
someone cannot meet the deadline, discuss how the group would like to manage
o Use humor cautiously. Someone else may interpret what is funny to you as
disrespectful or negative. Sarcasm and irony often fail to be humorous on-line.
o Avoid using jargon and acronyms. If someone uses terms you don’t understand,
please ask for clarification. If you don’t understand the terms, others may not.
o Avoid judgmental responses such as, "You made no sense," "You're wrong," "Do
this" or "Don't do this." Avoid inflammatory language.
o Be tactful. Read your communications carefully, imagining how they could be
interpreted by other people. If in doubt be more tactful than you would be in
(Adapted from Netiquette guidelines for on-line coursework by Deana Molinari, Carol Allen, Gerri Gass,
and Janet Spuck http://nursing.wsu.edu/current/Netiquette_for_On_Line3_1.pdf )