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flowermama 03-15-2005 02:15 AM

Netiquette Guide
Gentle Christian Mothers Message Board Netiquette Guide

originally written by studentmom and updated by flowermama

"Netiquette" refers to good Internet etiquette. This guide is intended to serve as a sort of manners refresher for longtime denizens of the Net and a helpful tool for newbies.

1. Make your intent clear.

Because of the limited nature of typed conversations, misunderstandings abound on the Internet. Sometimes a poster's intent can be unclear--was that a joking comment, or did she really mean I'm a bad mommy? you might wonder after reading someone's comments. There are a couple of things you can do to avoid confusion.

Use Emoticons.

One is to use emoticons, or smileys. To use emoticons at the GCM Message Board, when you hit "reply" look to the left of the message box (where you type). Click on one of the smileys there, or click on the link that says "View more Emoticons" to see more choices.

Preview Posts.

Another way to avoid misunderstanding is to preview your posts. If, when reading over your message, you see that something you wrote is ambiguous, edit your message and make your meaning clear.

2. Be a good witness through your words.

When online, it's easy to forget that those who post on bulletin boards are real, live people with real, live feelings, especially when they post something with which you strongly disagree. When you run across a post that really pushes your buttons in a bad way, first of all, WAIT. Take 30 seconds just to breathe--count out loud if necessary. Remember that your post will be viewed by possibly millions of people. Will your words be a good witness? Then, go ahead and type your reply.

Before posting, click the preview box. Read through your message. No matter how calm and collected you thought you were when you typed the message, chances are there are some things in there that you would not be willing to say to a flesh-and-blood person's face. If this is the case, edit your message and preview again. Repeat as often as necessary until you could have Jesus find your message on a search engine without you being embarrassed about it.

3. If you can't make it sound civil, scrap it.

On the Internet, as well as IRL (In Real Life), your guiding rule should always be "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Sometimes this might mean scrapping an entire post arguing with a fellow GCM member about her personal convictions if you just can't make it sound civil.

4. Take two-person conversations to private email or to private messaging.

If a thread is turning out to be a two-person conversation between you and one other member, it is polite to take that conversation to private e-mail, both to save board space and to avoid making others feel left out. If you've ever been at a party and left with the uneasy conviction that you really monopolized the conversation, you'll understand why.

5. Do not judge another's salvation.

It is not for us to judge whether someone is a Christian or not--especially on a message board! Those who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be accepted on the board as our sisters in Christ. If you have concerns about a member's salvation, please pray for them. (Please see our statement of beliefs for more details about our Christian beliefs.)

6. Respect other mothers' views.

When sharing what God is teaching you/has taught you, please remember we are all at different places in our relationship with God and others may not agree with you; nonetheless, we must respect each other, and sometimes it's best to "agree to disagree." Do not argue, but instead pray for each other and let the Holy Spirit speak to their hearts.

7. Respond to "rants" or "vents" with support, not judgement.

If you are upset about something and are just looking for supportive replies to your post, please put "rant" or "vent" in the subject line. If someone does that (or if their post seems like a rant/vent), please offer only your support (such as validating their feelings or concerns, offering hugs and prayers, etc.). Do not offer alternative opinions or suggestions when responding to such a post unless they specifically ask for them. Getting down on them for other mom's feelings is never acceptable.

8. Join our community!

Finally, this board is here to encourage, edify, and assist Gentle Christian Mothers, as well as provide them with a sense of community. Staying on topic is encouraged but not absolutely required--we love to chat; what group of mommies doesn't? If you're a lurker (someone who reads but doesn't post), you're just not getting the full benefit of the board. We'd really like to meet you, so come out and play!

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