Being online and being able to share practices across geographies is quite a marvelous thing. However the Internet can also readily become a place where a lot of damage is done in a very short period of time. The digital world is a space where perceived distance can lead to words being used that might not otherwise be used or words being used that can engage readers’ imaginations in unproductive ways. We are all pioneers in establishing ethics for online interactions. We’d like to establish some ground rules for how we wish to use this medium. Please contact us with your reflections and proposed additions.


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.


Establishing Ethical guidelines for Our Online Interactions

Many interactions in the Narrative Community are online now and up for consumption by community members familiar, unfamiliar and interested in narrative practices. What are some of the some ethical guidelines for our online interactions? What does it mean to be a good Netizen? Here are some starters proposed by Webroot:

  • Recognizing that the internet is not some new world in which anything goes, but rather a new dimension or extension of our existing society.
  • Applying the same standards and values online as we are accustomed to applying in the rest of our lives. In simple terms this means that the values society has in place against such things as hate speech and bigotry, copyright violations and other forms of theft, child exploitation and child pornography, remain intact. As do the values around courtesy, kindness, openness, and treating others with the same respect we wish to receive.
  • Accepting that the laws which are currently in place to protect the rights and dignity of citizens apply online, and that where needed, laws are updated to reflect these rights in the extended environment. Theft online is still theft, stalking, bullying, harassing, tormenting online is still abusive, and so on.
  • Acknowledging that cultural differences remain, even when national boundaries no longer apply. This requires finding a way to accept that the social values and norms of some netizens will not be the social values and norms of all netizens.For companies, being a good netizen, applying online ethics, or using netiquette also includes:
    – Respecting the rights to privacy assumed and possessed by citizens in their offline interactions.
    – Maintaining transparency in their policies and actions so that consumers can easily and quickly understand how that company is using their information, protecting them from harm, and giving users a clear means of ownership and self-determination as to what is, and isn’t shared about them.

For further description, see Netiquette: Rules of behavior on the Internet by and M.D. Roblyer|A. H. Doering — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall


Trolling is defined as making a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.  We wish to open a forum for very careful, deliberate and earnest responses. Let’s draw from our best skills in facilitating difficult conversations and being relationally respectful. No Trolling Please!