Yesterday I suggested that it might be time for something along the lines of an Internet etiquette curriculum for modern times. A curriculum that could be used to shape behavior and improve the quality of online discourse.
What would people learn from such a curriculum? Here are a few suggestions.
- How to frame comments so that they make a point without being offensive. This includes how to write an effective sentence – what terms work, what language works, etc.
- How to disagree without being offensive. This includes how to write an effective sentence – what terms work, what language works, etc.
- How to convey humor online
- How to express your own opinions in a positive manner
- How to be critical of public figures in a positive manner
- How to comment on the behavior of others (especially celebrities) without being snarky and ugly about it
- How to suggest changes to public policy, legislation, your favorite cause, or any thing else by making a clear point without denigrating someone else.
- What remarks are neutral, e.g., not pointed at something offensive like appearance, gender, or belief systems, but instead express an idea without attack.
These are a few of my initial thoughts. Do you have other suggestions? In all these situations, I think what people need is practice in framing responses and writing ideas that are positive, down to examples of exact wordings and sentence structures that can be useful.