The original 1995 Netiquette document (published by Sally Hambridge) was a critical piece of Internet culture during the mid to late 1990s (and even into the early 2000s).

At the time, new users were rapidly discovering the Internet and all of the various services it offered. But most of those users were unaware of both the usage of the systems and the expected cultural norms around them.

Netiquette provided a simple, easy to reference set of minimum guidelines for utlizing Internet systems – focused on communication platforms.

Ranging from items like this for E-Mail:

“Be careful when addressing mail. There are addresses which may go to a group but the address looks like it is just one person. Know to whom you are sending."

To items like this dealing with Mailing Lists:

“Don't get involved in flame wars. Neither post nor respond to incendiary material."

Many of the guidelines (such as those two above) remain just as relevant in 2020 as they were in 1995.

However, as is the way of things, the technology has rapidly (and dramatically) changed since 1995. Here in 2020, 35 years after the Netiquette was published, most people no longer use services like Gopher, Telnet, or Usenet (some of us do, but not most). And some newer services – ones that simply did not exist at all in 1995 – are now in widespread use (and abuse): Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and so many others.

In addition, the usage of these services has skyrocketed. Far beyond the surge of new users in the 1990s which prompted the original Netiquette guidelines.

Time for a new Netiquette

With that in mind, it's clearly time for a new Netiquette document. One aimed at providing a clear, easy to understand (and reference) set of guidelines for the systems that are utilized on today's Internet.

Note: There have been some small documents published over the years that have attempted to provide an updated Netiquette. However, none have captured the spirit, structure, and usefulness of the original. None have adequately addressed a good set of, easily searchable and referenceable, minimum guidelines for the Internet communication systems currently in wide-spread usage.

Today I am starting the Netiquette 2020 project.

This is a collaborative document. No single individual should control and define, unilaterally, what constitutes the minimum set of guidelines for Network Etiquette in 2020.

If you would like to contribute, simply head to the Git Hub Netiquette 2020 page – at which point you can begin creating or commenting on issues or – if you are comfortable with it – submitting pull requests.

Note: Git Hub was chosen for its wide-spread usage as a collaboration platform. It's not a perfect system, but will work for the needs of this project.

Netiquette 2020 is at a very early stage of development and will grow over time.

Once it is determined that the document has reached a satisfactory level of maturity, Netiquette 2020 will be released as a final document – one usable for referencing and for assisting others (be they individuals, companies, or organizations) in practicing good Network Etiquette.

The document itself is being licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 license – which is a great license for ensuring the usefulness of the document for everyone, in a Free way.


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