September 18th, 2004

life begins - me

Online etiquette

So last night I uploaded my web design's company's first commissioned site onto its server.It's a promotional site for a model who offers deportment and etiquette training. Not something I've ever considered taking lessons on myself, but then a bit of a stramash blew up on an email group I'm in that was unrelated but made me think etiquette lessons might be a good thing. Tempers flared, frustrations were aired and feelings hurt (couldn't think of a rhyme there!) And it made me step back and think, if the people involved in the argument met face to face, those same things could have been said and taken a completely different way. Online, you don't get the benefit of tone of voice or facial expreession.

Personally I'm a very sarcastic person, so much so that when I'm talking to people I can string them along for a fairly long time before I give myself away by giggling or laughing. That doesn't happen online, you can't see me doubled over clutching my sides. There's no way for you to tell if I'm being serious or if I'm joking unless I tell you. So I don't tend to be as sarcastic online as I am in real life - and I always give clues when I am (the *g* or the elipses being the examples that come straight to mind).

There are times I've read emails and comments aimed at me and I've had an instant angry reaction to them because of a perceived tone. I never, ever react on that initial reaction. (I used to when I first went online, I learned my lesson very quickly) I've learned to take a step back and read it again, looking for alternate readings. most of the time the thing that provoked the anger was wholely in my own head and the sender was actually being funny.

The group that had the argument last night, and which has had a few close calls over the last couple of weeks, I won't mention names but I know most (if not all) of the members are on my Flist. I apologise for my part in the off-topic rambling last weekend, I'd been out with friends and had a few too many beers so my bullshit censor was on the fritz. I also apologise if I've offended anyone, it wasn't intentional at all. I don't think I have, and if something I've said has offended you then please let me know so I can address it and avoid doing it again.

I wasn't directly involved in the stramash last night but the initial post contained views I did know about and the poster and I had been talking about it between ourselves before that person put it on the list. I think that's how it shuld have stayed - personal. Not dragging the entire group into it in what was a fairly confrontational way. I know the person who made the post will read this and may have an angry reaction to it - before you fire off a reply, please take a second and think about it, re-read your post as if you hadn't written it, it does come across as hurtful.

So far, that group has been a very friendly place, and I've met people in there that I might never have done otherwise - and who I now think of as friends. (or at least potential friends) I have my own issues with some of the things that have been going on with it, but if it comes to a point where I feel I have to react I will contact the person themselves unless it is something which involves the group as a whole. With so many people on a list, not everyone's going to agree with everything that's done and said. It would be pointless if everyone did - conflict can be good - but personalising it to the point where people are insulted and lash out is taking it too far.

Okay, I'm done. Sorry for the rant, for those of you not involved in the list I'm talking about I apologise for taking up your time but I felt it had to be said. If you want to reply but don't want to post, feel free to email me