Ethical Implications of ICT

Netiquette This is a user’s guide to the polite way you use the web and e-mail, whether on the Internet or an Intranet.  It should be relevant for both personal and business users, and the more public the forum (an e-group or office internal e-forum), the more the user should be aware of and follow basic netiquette.  It comes in the form of general and then some particular recommendations.

Some general points are:

• Treat others the way you wish to be treated yourself.
• Make sure you do not contravene legislation regarding use of computers and IT.
• Use accurate details when referring to other Internet resources or sites.
• Ensure that you are not wasteful of others’ resources when sending emails or in the design of your web page.
• Try and contribute to the network in your area of expertise.
• Adhere to Internet standards for production of e-mail correspondence and web pages.
• Always identify yourself when joining in newsgroups and try not to interject irrelevancies.

And some particular pieces of advice are:

1. Do not type e-mails all in CAPITALS. That is regarded as equivalent to shouting. It is also harder to read.

2. Do not leave the Subject field blank. Always fill in the Subject field with a brief and concise description of the content of your e-mail. This is very important in helping those you communicate with to organise and manage their e-mails.

3. Refrain from formatting your e-mail with coloured text and background colours or images in your day-to-day communications. Your colour and formatting choices can make your e-mails impossible to read. In addition, formatting could make your emails difficult to reply to without obliging your recipient to go through a time-consuming procedure to convert your e-mail to plain text first.

4. On those rare occasions where it is necessary to send a group of people the very same e-mail, it is a courtesy to those you are sending to, to list all of the recipients’ e-mail addresses in the BCC field. (BCC = Blind Carbon Copy – from the old days when typewriters used carbon paper to create identical copies of a document when it was being typed.) When an e-mail address is designated in the BCC field, the recipient will get a copy of the email while their e-mail address remains invisible to the other recipients of the e-mail – some of whom they may or may not know.

5. Do not forward any stupid joke, ‘chain letter’ or unimportant emails to your friends without their permission. Never give out phone numbers or personal information without confirming you are communicating with a reputable party. Never give out personal contact information of others without their specific permission to do so.

6. Make a reasonable effort to search a website for the information you are seeking before e-mailing a colleague for help.

7. Do not use Return Receipt Request (RR) for each and every personal e-mail you send because you like ‘knowing’ when someone opens your e-mail. Not only is this annoying to the recipient, this feature is intrusive especially in an on-line discussion forum or e-group where hundreds of people can get that RR.

8. Do not send inflammatory, highly critical or just plain nasty e-mails, especially to a group.  This is called flaming and can cause great offence.

9. Keep in mind that all private e-mail is considered to be copyrighted by the original author. If you post private e-mail to a public list or board, or forward it to an outside party in whole or in part, you must include the author’s permission to post the material publicly.

10. Always minimise, compress or ‘zip’ large files before sending as your intended recipient may have a slow connection and not be prepared to watch the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy again while waiting for a download they may not even want to receive.  Better still, ascertain that they actually want the file before sending it.

11. Do not forward hoax virus warnings – enough said.




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