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4/3/13 11:28 A

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By: Arlene H. Rinaldi
Computer User Services
Florida Atlantic University

The Social Side of Being On the Nets: Local and Global


It is essential for each user on the network to recognize his/her
responsibility in having access to vast services, sites, systems and
people. The user is ultimately responsible for his/her actions in
accessing network services.

The "Internet" or "The Net", is not a single network; rather, it is a
group of thousands of individual networks which have chosen to allow
traffic to pass among them. The traffic sent out to the Internet may
actually traverse several different networks before it reaches its
destination. Therefore, users involved in this internetworking must be
aware of the load placed on other participating networks.

As a user of the network, you may be allowed to access other networks
(and/or the computer systems attached to those networks). Each network or
system has its own set of policies and procedures. Actions which are
routinely allowed on one network/system may be controlled, or even
forbidden, on other networks. It is the users responsibility to abide by
the policies and procedures of these other networks/systems. Remember,
the fact that a user *can* perform a particular action does not imply that
they *should* take that action.

The use of the network is a privilege, not a right, which may temporarily
be revoked at any time for abusive conduct. Such conduct would include,
the placing of unlawful information on a system, the use of abusive or
otherwise objectionable language in either public or private messages, the
sending of messages that are likely to result in the loss of recipients'
work or systems, the sending of "Chain letters," or "broadcast" messages
to lists or individuals, and any other types of use which would cause
congestion of the networks or otherwise interfere with the work of

Permanent revocations can result from disciplinary actions taken by a
panel judiciary board called upon to investigate network abuses.

(E-mail, LISTSERV groups, Mailing lists, and Usenet)

- Keep paragraphs and messages short and to the point.

- Focus on one subject per message.

- Be professional and careful what you say about others. E-mail is
easily forwarded.

- Cite all quotes, references and sources.

- Limit line length and avoid control characters.

- Follow chain of command procedures for corresponding with superiors.

For example, don't send a complaint via E-mail directly to the "top"
just because you can.

- Don't use the academic networks for commercial or proprietary work.

- Include your signature at the bottom of E-mail messages. Your
signature footer should include your name, position, affiliation and
Internet and/or BITNET addresses and should not exceed more than 4
lines. Optional information could include your address and phone

- Capitalize words only to highlight an important point or to
distinguish a title or heading. *Asterisks* surrounding a word
also can be used to make a stronger point.

- Use discretion when forwarding mail to group addresses or
distribution lists. It's preferable to reference the source of a
document and provide instructions on how to obtain a copy.

- It is considered extremely rude to forward personal email to mailing
lists or Usenet without the original author's permission.

- Be careful when using sarcasm and humor. Without face to face
communications your joke may be viewed as criticism.

- Respect copyright and license agreements.

- When quoting another person, edit out whatever isn't directly
applicable to your reply. Including the entire article will annoy
those reading it.

- Abbreviate when possible:

- IMHO = in my humble/honest opinion
- FYI = for your information
- BTW = by the way
- Flame = antagonistic criticism
- :-) = happy face for humor


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