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A Quick Guide on Chat Room Etiquette

Chat rooms, like any other social interaction, have their own rules of etiquette governing the behavior of the participants. On the Internet, these rules are sometimes refereed to as “netiquette.” It is a good idea to check each online community or website’s own posted rules before using them, but the the following guidelines are good rules of thumb.

One of the first rules of netiquette is to never type in all caps. This comes across as shouting and many people find it offensive. One would not shout at the top of his or her lungs at a local social gathering, so why do it in a local chat? However, it is a good idea not to write in all lowercase either. Proper capitalization and punctuation make writing easier for others to read and understand.

Another part of netiquette is being judicious in the use of chatspeak or “l33t speak.” While many abbreviations save time and are easy to understand (think “lol” for “laugh out loud”), others merely cause confusion for people not as familiar with Internet slang. In a singles chat one wants to come off as intelligent and witty, and not as if he or she is unable to pass the third grade.

Additionally, it is important on the net to respect the privacy of others. If person does not wish to reveal details of their personal life during the course of a chat it is best not to pry. Be inquisitive, but not overbearing. Many people are reluctant to give any sort of personal information over the Internet — and rightfully so.

Do not engage with flamers. Flamers are people who intentionally pick fights and criticize others in chat rooms or forums because the anonymity of the Internet allows them a freedom to bully that they often cannot find elsewhere. These people are best ignored.

Finally, give others a chance to respond. Not everyone types a hundred words a minute. Sometimes it just takes a few moments for a person to get his or her thoughts in order and typed coherently. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.
Following these simple rules will help to keep a chat room experience fun and safe for everyone involved.