Currently, free speech prevails on the Internet - there are no agencies "policing" it. However, there are a few "Netiquette" rules and idiosyncrasies to keep in mind, especially while e-mailing and chatting:
1. You may involve yourself in email discussions via mailing lists and chat rooms. It's good to sit back and read what others say and see how they react to things for a while. This is known as "lurking".
2. You will likely see different symbols within the context of messages sent, usually at the end of a sentence. These are often called "smilies" and are used to convey emotions and tone within the statement. Some examples (and what they mean):
: ) cheeriness
; ) light sarcasm
: ( displeasure
: () alarm
:^) cheeriness in profile
3. You may also see a number of abbreviated words that, at first glance, may be totally confusing! Don't despair, we've listed many of them below:
AFK: Away from keyboard
BRB: Be right back
BTW: By the way…
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
FYI: For your information
IMO: In my opinion
IMHO: In my humble (honest) opinion
IOW: In other words
LOL: Laugh out loud
NP: No Problem
RTFM: Read the "freaking" manual!
ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
TTYL: Talk to you later
TTFN: Ta-ta for now
W/B: Write back
4. Be Careful! Remember, once you click the "Send" button, you can't take your message back.
5. Realize that once you send an e-mail message, it can be easily circulated. Be careful what you write and who you write to - forwarding and printing e-mails are easy to do.
6. Don't send SPAM (the slang but somewhat official term for sending unsolicited mail advertisements). If you do, you will be subject to losing your account, and may receive an unwanted backlash (i.e. Flame letters) from people you send the SPAM to!
7. Flaming: "The pen is mightier than the sword." When people get mad, they often retaliate with angry words known as a "flame". This is often seen in e-mail lists where opinion given are not always shared.
8. Flame War: A series of angry e-mail postings between two or more individuals.
9. DON'T USE ALL CAPS. IT'S THE E-MAIL EQUIVALENT TO YELLING! IT HURTS THE EYES, AND YOU MIGHT GET FLAMED!
10. Just use good judgement. Remember, there's (usually!) a human at the helm of the keyboard. Stick with the "golden rule".