From a newish dental blog by Rick Coker…click the link and read the whole thing.
Here are Coker’s rules of Internet communication, from what I have observed over the last fifteen years or so:
1. Don’t assume that any other person knows you are smiling or laughing when you throw off some bon mot that seems so clever. Often it can be confusing, hurtful or simply opaque. Write more clearly and simply, until you are on solid communication grounds.
2. Don’t even talk politics or religion. Seriously, don’t. Just can’t get the nuances and implied meanings right.
3. Don’t drink and post. You will live to regret it.
4. Resist the urge to get angry with what someone says. Make sure you understand before you get all wrapped up in righteous indignation. If you don’t correct somebody even today, what is the difference? There is usually more to the story.
5. Think about being helpful. When you hear about a situation or a concern, think just a moment about what that person is saying and ask yourself if you might be able to help them, with a word of encouragement, an insight or just a friendly ear (even if it is electronic). Even an offer of help is just so welcome, we often just forget how many people feel lonely and uncared for. (yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition, you English teachers out there!)