Netiquette Guidelines

Online Communication

Online Collaboration

The essence of education is exposure to diverse viewpoints. In your threaded discussion posts you’ll meet students with vastly different opinions and backgrounds. You’re encouraged to disagree with the substance of others’ ideas and opinions, but do so with respect, and without losing focus on the topic at hand. Personal attacks and inflammatory statements do not have a place in academic discourse. Please review these tips and academic regulations.

At Washington State University, netiquette is governed by both conduct rules and common sense guidelines:

Conduct Rules

Your instructors will promote high-quality academic discussions by removing posts they view as disruptive of the educational process and alerting students whose posts have been removed that they have violated course expectations. Students who continue to misuse the discussion boards after a warning may be subject to removal of access rights, course failure, and referral to the Office of Student Conduct.

Postings must comply with university policy on use of computing resources, including those regarding harassment and discrimination, as well as conform to the Standards of Conduct for Students. Students are encouraged to review the standards, particularly WAC 504-26-218, 504-26-220, and 504-26-222.

Netiquette Guidelines

  • Be polished and professional. Write your post in a word-processing program, such as Word. Reread your post for spelling, grammar, tone, clarity, and relevance. After using spell check, cut and paste into your group discussion.
  • Treat others with respect. Encourage conversations by asking questions and explaining your position: “I didn’t understand what you meant by this. Can you explain it more clearly?” “I found your argument unconvincing because…”
  • First, be nice. Before you raise a concern with someone else’s idea or work, first point out something positive: “That’s a good point, but …”
  • Discuss issues or concerns, not individuals or personalities.
  • Be specific. Responding to individuals by name, commenting on specific ideas and approaches, and providing specific suggestions encourage learning.
  • 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 the situation.
  • Use humor cautiously. Someone else may interpret what is funny to you as disrespectful or negative. Sarcasm and irony often fail to be humorous online.
  • Avoid using jargon and acronyms. If someone uses terms you don’t understand, ask for clarification. If you don’t understand the terms, others may not.
  • Avoid judgmental responses such as, “That doesn’t make any sense.” Try phrasing it as a question: “How do you reconcile that with what we read in Chapter 2?”
  • Be tactful. Read your communications carefully, and try to imagine how they could be interpreted by other people. Be more tactful than you would be in person
  • Encourage others. Your role is not only to learn, but also to help others learn.
  • Be open to being wrong. Remember that you may be wrong, and there’s no shame in that. Nobody is right all the time, and everyone is here to learn.

Online Harassment

The definition of harassment includes a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose.

For more information, please visit the WSU cyber harrassment webpage.