Netiquette and Online Ethics: What Are They?

Netiquette is a combination of the words network and etiquette, and is defined as a set of rules for acceptable online behavior. Similarly, online ethics focuses on the acceptable use of online resources in an online social environment.

Both phrases are frequently interchanged and are often combined with the concept of a ’netizen’ which itself is a contraction of the words internet and citizen and refers to both a person who uses the internet to participate in society, and an individual who has accepted the responsibility of using the internet in productive and socially responsible ways.

Underlying this overall concept of socially responsible internet use are a few core pillars, though the details underneath each pillar are still subject to debate.

At a high level using netiquette, applying online ethics, or being a good netizen means:

Most internet users automatically apply the same responsible respectful behavior online as they do in every other environment and by nature apply netiquette an online ethics, and are good netizens. The minority that fail to apply societal values in some or any environment - including the internet - are quickly identified as exceptions to be dealt with on a social, or criminal level.