Saturday, January 14, 2012

Internet Etiquette

So this is going to be a short post today on Internet Etiquette, and here's the thing: I know it's a double edged sword. Because those who have good internet attitude are the ones reading blog posts like this already. The ones who don't need someone like me to come along and tell them how to act. But if I can get one person this post refers to to come along and read this and learn from it, I call that a success. Right?!

I spend a lot of time lurking around. Lurking in forums, lurking on twitter, lurking on blog posts, lurking on Facebook etc. Sometimes I comment. Sometimes I don't. But I watch. I watch a lot and what I see coming from some individuals is seriously appalling.

The beauty and problem in the internet is that you can be everywhere from the comfy spot on your sofa or in your bedroom. In fact, you can be anyone, if you want. This means that people have this sense of security. You can say whatever because there's not going to be any physical repercussions. No one's going to come to your house and call you out face to face. Which is a cowards way of thinking. These same people are the ones who leave malicious reviews on Goodreads. They are the ones who leave anonymous comments on blog posts. They are the ones who create Twitter accounts just to heckle people. They are the ones who send abusive emails and purposely create arguments on forums.

It has to stop. There is an etiquette we should all be following. And here's what I think it is:
  • Be respectful. Sounds simple enough, but often, people say nasty things to others without thinking of how that's going to make that person feel. How would you like if that was done to you?
  • Be graceful. Okay, your dream agent rejects you. Grumble to yourself as you read through the email again and MOVE ON. There is no point in replying with abuse. It isn't going to get you anywhere and it'll end up blacklisting you with other agents because, guess what, AGENTS TALK.
  • Be civil. This goes for everyone. Starting up hate campaigns on Twitter or blogs or forums about an author, a book, an actress, a wrongful querier isn't the most mature or civil thing to do. You have an issue with someone? Moan to your friends, in private, and get over it. Things happen. A book isn't for everyone. A querier might have been rude. But dedicating your time into publicly humiliation? You're better than that.
  • Be positive. I see a lot of people who only comment to be negative. On a forum, someone will post about a new agent they have found and want to share. Mr. Negative will come along and begin to grumble and complain that this agent has no sales. Well duh! They're new. Of course they won't. This same Mr. Negative will reply to agents/editors/authors to disagree with whatever they have posted. It's fine to disagree. It's fine to have a different opinion. But it's not cool to set out just to be negative about everything.
  • Be Real. If you wouldn't say or do something to someone's face, don't do it online. If you would be scared to go up to a writer and tell them that their work sucks to their face, then don't write a blog post about it. Just be you and remember that a computer is not for hiding behind.
And that is my etiquette list! Sorry if this is a downer post, but I've seen a lot of bad attitudes around the internet globe as recent and I fell like I have to do something about it. Agree with my list? Disagree? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Have a nice day!c


  1. I might also add to this "Be Mature" to a point. I'm all for silliness, but there are some people who comport themselves online like fifteen-year-olds, when they're not fifteen. It seems unprofessional to me, and I think agents/editors/your mom would pick up on it

  2. AGREE! 100%. It's sad that there have to be posts like this. I have read several off and on. I hope people some day learn their lesson. I'm not going to say that when you're mean you only hurt yourself, because you don't. You hurt everyone that reads what you wrote. And that's the sad part about it.

  3. Great post. A must read for everyone!

  4. This is very true! Great post! I'd like to see more people follow these guidelines.

  5. Yes, being graceful is essential. And why be so cruel just because no one knows who you are? It's not clever, it's cowardly.

    Great post.

  6. This is a great post. Words can be supportive, helpful and informative. From the comfort and privacy of the internet connection, there is no need to unkind or cutting - when there is is no need to comment at all.

  7. I try to stay away from those. Negativity breeds negativity.

    Great post. I have had so many posts I've wanted to write, but don't because they will do exactly one of the things on your list. Writing is a business, and we all need to conduct ourselves in a somewhat professional manner.

    Thanks for the reminders. We need it. :)

  8. "Starting up hate campaigns on Twitter or blogs or forums about an author, a book, an actress, a wrongful querier isn't the most mature or civil thing to do."

    The first thing I thought of when you said this is the 'Pickle vs. Nickleback' Facebook campaign from a year ago.

    I think it's smart to have good internet etiquette because karma will make you regret it elsewise.

  9. The hardest thing for me is writing book reviews if you kind of know the author. I feel terrible writing even a semi-negative when I've had positive chats with the author via twitter.

    Or, for instance, when The Carrier of the Mark comes out I'll certainly be reading it, but I'm worried that I won't like it b/c Paranormal Romance is certainly not my genre. I don't want to say I liked it when I didn't, and I don't want to give it a negative review just b/c I don't like the genre.

  10. There is definitely problems for bloggers when it comes to reviews. On the one hand, we should have freedom of speech to be able to say what we want to say. On the other, setting out to hurt an author's feelings who has worked so hard on something you didn't enjoy for whatever reason feels cruel. I think there is a very fine line of being honest and professional vs honest and nasty. As a book reviewer, I don't think I've ever read a book without any negatives that I personally saw. I've rated books five stars before and still pointed out things I saw that could be improved. But then I also went into detail about the things I did enjoy and why.

    Another thing with the internet is that if you are hoping to be a published author one day, you have to remember that people can Google you. Agents and editors and prospective readers alike. I have definitely seen authors who have said some less than graceful things over the net that has stopped me from buying any of their books. We don't want that to happen to us.

    I'm glad you guys all agree. There will always be those anonymous gremlins who enjoy being malicious and cruel, but we can rise above it and try to create a better internet environment :D

  11. I think there are always going to be rude, negative people and we can't let them ruin what is overall a great supportive community of writers on the internet. Those kinds of people crave attention and we shouldn't give it to them.

    I don't do book reviews unless it's something that just blew me away. But I admire the courage of other bloggers who review books all the time and are honest when they feel something is not as good as it could have been. Especially when they handle it gently and professionally.

    This is a great post and really needed to be said.

  12. such a great post, and such great reminders. Here's hoping a few folks who need this stop by... :o) Thanks, Chanelle!

  13. Great post. I appreciate it even if I do practice good netiquette. My favorite tip was to be civil because hating is bad etiquette, but constructive criticism is not.

  14. Hey, That's so true, and it also works with our everyday life. If someone tends to be negative online he probably is quite the bitter man also in his day to day life.

  15. Good reminder! I stopped visiting extemely snarky/flamey/controversial writing sites a while back. So I'd add that it's wonderful to be civil, but don't waste your time looking at internet train wrecks, either. There are too many pretty things on the internet...oooh, look, new squishy yarn to knit in my favorite...