"Netiquette" stands for "Internet Etiquette", and refers to the set of practices which help make the Internet experience pleasant for everyone. Like other forms of etiquette, netiquette is primarily concerned with matters of courtesy in communications. The following sections provide more information.

  • General Netiquette for Email, Discussion Boards and Chat Rooms:
Check spelling, grammar, and punctuation before sending your words over the network. Chatting and posting are more like speaking, but they are still academic when done for a course. Also, avoid using all lower case words. Clear writing is a form of common courtesy and good manners.

Sarcasm or jokes could be misunderstood. Use your common sense and avoid saying things that MIGHT be offensive to others. 

Emoticons are sometimes acceptable, but if others do not know what they mean, they become useless. Better to use straightforward language. In a formal setting, text-message acronyms should not be used at all (i.e., LOL or AFAIK). And remember, ALL CAPS is often perceived as SHOUTING! 

Think about email, chatting, and posting in the same way as making a verbal comment in a classroom. Any words you post can be made public! When in doubt, leave it out. Decorum is crucial in any online correspondence. 

If you attach documents or photos, be sure they follow the standards of respectful classroom behavior. 

  • Email Netiquette: 
Always provide the purpose of the email in the subject line.

Use an appropriate salutation or greeting to begin an email. 

Be brief. Separate ideas into clear, concise paragraphs with spaces in between; do not write one long paragraph containing diverse points and information. 

Double check the “To” line in your replies to make sure that the email goes to the right party. 

  • Discussion Board Netiquette: 
When using the discussion board for academic purposes: 

Pay attention to the discussion question posed by the instructor and answer the question in your posting.

Label your posting appropriately to fit your message; an automatic reply keeps the instructor and class from looking down the list to find your message quickly. For example, if you’re posting your speech topic for approval, could you find your group members’ postings out of a list of 30 subject lines that say “Re: Speech Topic”? 

If other students reply to your posting, respond to their questions or comments. As you would in a face-to-face conversation, acknowledge the person speaking to you. 

If you don’t have anything substantial or constructive to say for your reply, please do not reply. Responses like “that’s nice” do not keep the discussion going. 

For long responses, attach a document and type a message in the discussion box indicating what is in the attachment. 

Avoid attacking a classmate for a point of view you disagree with. Debate should be civil. Resorting to personal attacks is a form of intellectual irresponsibility.

If you are offended by some words typed by another student, please explain how you feel to that student. 

Q: When should I use chat slang?

A: Chat slang has many uses. Acronyms, abbreviations, and other slang terms can help you save time and space when communicating with others. However, some situations are more appropriate than others for using chat slang. Below are examples of appropriate and inappropriate uses of chat slang.

Appropriate Uses

  • Instant Messaging - Type faster messages and responses to other online users.
  • Text Messaging - Shorten your text messages to stay within the 160 character SMS limit.
  • Facebook - Leave your own unique and personalized comments to friends.
  • Twitter - Use abbreviations to say a lot in less than 140 characters.
  • Blogs - Express yourself in your own unique way on the Web.
  • E-mail - Write faster, more efficient e-mails to friends and family members.
  • Web Forums - Save time when posting messages in online discussion forums. 

Inappropriate Uses

  • School Assignments - Papers and other assignments should not contain any chat slang.
  • Research Papers - Using slang terms may detract from the credibility of your paper.
  • Job-related E-mails - It is typically considered unprofessional to use chat slang at work.
  • Formal Text Messages - Only use acronyms when texting friends and family members.
  • Business Websites - Online chat slang is best left for blogs and personal websites.
  • Business Documents - Professional and work documents should not include chat slang.
  • Resumes - If you want the job, don't use abbreviations in your resume!

Since chat slang is considered informal, acronyms and abbreviations should not be used for school assignments or in formal correspondence. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class, using chat acronyms will detract from the impact of the paper and may not be understood by the reader. Therefore, chat slang does not belong in assignments. Similarly, if you are writing a work-related e-mail, using abbreviations will make your message seem less professional and may detract from your credibility.


It is important to remember that people may not know what your acronyms and abbreviations mean. After all, that's why ChatSlang.com was created. Therefore, it is best to write out important phrases in case the other person does not know what your acronyms or abbreviations mean. This can help avoid miscommunication, which is especially important with people you don't know very well.


To summarize, chat slang can be a great time-saver when used correctly. It is a useful tool in the fast-paced information age we live in. Just make sure to think about who your audience is before incorporating any acronyms or abbreviations. After all, your teacher or employer may not be able to decipher your slang terms as easily as your friends can.

"When should I use chat slang?" chatslang.com. 11 May 2012 <http://www.chatslang.com/help/using_chat_slang>.