Jamboree on the Internet - Netiquette Guidelines


(And Beyond!)




Netiquette - 1. Practicing the Scout Law while on the Internet. 2. The forms, manners, and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable, or required, in social relations, in a profession, or in official life while using the Internet. 3. The rules for such forms, manners, and ceremonies while using the Internet.



This document was developed by a Team of international Scouters, including this site's Webmaster, for the World Organization of Scouting Movement -1997 Jamboree On The Internet Website. It is a minimum set of guidelines for Internetwork Etiquette (Netiquette) that can be followed by all Scouts and Scouters while using the Internet. It is structured in two sections. One for Scouts using the Net, and one for Adult Scouters and/or System Administrators

This is a "living" document. We invite all comments and critique, as it is our objective to set a standard for safe, and professional use of the Internet by all Scouts and Scouters.

Please reference the appropriate section for your role in CyberScouting:

  • Netiquette For SCOUTS

  • Introduction - For SCOUTERS

  • One-to-One Communication - For SCOUTERS

  • One-to-Many Communication - For SCOUTERS

  • Information Services - For SCOUTERS





Netiquette For Scouts

As Scouts, we live our lives according to a code of behaviour. This code is expressed in the Scout Law, Promise, and Motto. When applied to the Internet, this code can be referred to as NETIQUETTE.

Scouting on the Internet is a two-way educational experience. It allows Scouts from all corners of the Earth to share their ideas and something of their cultures. In turn, it also allows Scouts to learn about technology, how other Scout organizations work, and the cultures of their brother and sister Scouts around the World!

Scouting on the Internet is also FUN! But, like most fun things, you've also got to be CAREFUL! When using the Internet, we have RULES that should be followed to show our Scouting Spirit, and protect our friends, and ourselves!

Please become familiar with the following information to ensure a safe and fun Internet experience. (Select from the following links:)

  1. For Your Safety!

  2. Scouting Courtesy

  3. E-Mail Guidelines

  4. General Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Guidelines

  5. Some Additional IRC Rules from ScoutLink

  6. World-Wide-Web Guidelines


For Your Safety!

  1. It's easy on the Internet to pretend to be someone else. Some of the people on the Net can be pretending to be a Scout, or a group of Scouts. So to be safe, never give out your full name or your home address when sending e-mail or chatting with IRC.

  2. If you receive an E-mail or other Internet communication that you think is strange our unusual, tell your leader or one of your parents to have a look at it, just to be safe.

  3. If you receive an E-mail or other Internet communication from anyone that WANTS TO MEET YOU, or asks for any personal information, DO NOT REPLY! Tell your leader or one of your parents! Private and personal information that you should not use on the Internet includes the following:
    - Your NAME
    - Your ADDRESS
    - Your SCHOOL
    - Or ANYTHING else that you think is personal


  4. If you have any questions about our 'code of behaviour,' please discuss them with an adult who is familiar with ALL of our posted Netiquette guidelines.


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Scouting Courtesy


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E-mail Guidelines

  1. Unless you are using an encryption device (hardware or software), you should assume that mail on the Internet is not secure. Never put in a mail message anything you would not put on a postcard.

  2. Respect the copyright on material that you reproduce. Almost every country has copyright laws.

  3. If you are forwarding or re-posting a message you've received, do not change the wording. If the message was a personal message to you and you are re-posting to a group, you should ask permission first. You may shorten the message and quote only relevant parts, but be sure you give proper attribution.

  4. Never send chain letters via electronic mail. Chain letters are forbidden on the Internet. Your network privileges will be revoked. Notify your local system administrator if your ever receive one.

  5. A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages (we call these "flames") even if you are provoked. On the other hand, you shouldn't be surprised if you get flamed and it's prudent not to respond to flames.

  6. In general, it's a good idea to at least check all your mail subjects before responding to a message. Sometimes a person who asks you for help (or clarification) will send another message which effectively says "Never Mind". Also make sure that any message you respond to was directed to you. You might be cc:ed rather than the primary recipient.

  7. Make things easy for the recipient. Many mailers strip header information which includes your return address. In order to ensure that people know who you are, be sure to include a line or two at the end of your message with contact information. You can create this file ahead of time and add it to the end of your messages. (Some mailers do this automatically.) In Internet parlance, this is known as a ".sig" or "signature" file. Your .sig file takes the place of your business card. (And you can have more than one to apply in different circumstances.)

  8. Be careful when addressing mail. There are addresses which may go to a group but the address looks like it is just one person. Know to whom you are sending.

  9. Watch cc's when replying. Don't continue to include people if the messages have become a 2-way conversation.

  10. In general, most people who use the Internet don't have time to answer general questions about the Internet and its workings. Don't send unsolicited mail asking for information to people whose names you might have seen in RFCs or on mailing lists.

  11. Remember that people with whom you communicate are located across the globe. If you send a message to which you want an immediate response, the person receiving it might be at home asleep when it arrives. Give them a chance to wake up, come to work, and login before assuming the mail didn't arrive or that they don't care.

  12. Verify all addresses before initiating long or personal discourse. It's also a good practice to include the word "Long" in the subject header so the recipient knows the message will take time to read and respond to. Over 100 lines is considered "long".

  13. Know whom to contact for help. Usually you will have resources close at hand. Check locally for people who can help you with software and system problems. Also, know whom to go to if you receive anything questionable or illegal. Most sites also have "Postmaster" aliased to a knowledgeable user, so you can send mail to this address to get help with mail.

  14. Remember that the recipient is a human being whose culture, language, and humor have different points of reference from your own. Remember that date formats, measurements, and idioms may not travel well.Be especially careful with sarcasm.


  16. Use symbols for emphasis. That *is* what I meant. Use underscores for underlining. _War and Peace_ is my favorite book.

  17. Use smileys to indicate tone of voice, but use them sparingly. :-) is an example of a smiley (Look sideways). Don't assume that the inclusion of a smiley will make the recipient happy with what you say or wipe out an otherwise insulting comment.

  18. Wait overnight to send emotional responses to messages. If you have really strong feelings about a subject, indicate it via FLAME ON/OFF enclosures. For example: FLAME ON: This type of argument is not worth the bandwidth it takes to send it. It's illogical and poorly reasoned. The rest of the world agrees with me. FLAME OFF

  19. Do not include control characters or non-ASCII attachments in messages unless they are MIME attachments or unless your mailer encodes these. If you send encoded messages make sure the recipient can decode them.

  20. Be brief without being overly terse. When replying to a message, include enough original material to be understood but no more. It is extremely bad form to simply reply to a message by including all the previous message: edit out all the irrelevant material.

  21. Limit line length to fewer than 65 characters and end a line with a carriage return.

  22. Mail should have a subject heading which reflects the content of the message.

  23. If you include a signature keep it short. Rule of thumb is no longer than 4 lines. Remember that many people pay for connectivity by the minute, and the longer your message is, the more they pay.

  24. Just as mail (today) may not be private, mail (and news) are (today) subject to forgery and spoofing of various degrees of detectability. Apply common sense "reality checks" before assuming a message is valid.

  25. If you think the importance of a message justifies it, immediately reply briefly to an e-mail message to let the sender know you got it, even if you will send a longer reply later.

  26. "Reasonable" expectations for conduct via e-mail depend on your relationship to a person and the context of the communication. Norms learned in a particular e-mail environment may not apply in general to your e-mail communication with people across the Internet. Be careful with slang or local acronyms.

  27. The cost of delivering an e-mail message is, on the average, paid about equally by the sender and the recipient (or their organizations). This is unlike other media such as physical mail, telephone>

    Transfer interrupted!

    may also cost them in other specific ways like network bandwidth, disk space or CPU usage. This is a fundamental economic reason why unsolicited e-mail advertising is unwelcome (and is forbidden in many contexts).

  28. Know how large a message you are sending. Including large files such as Postscript files or programs may make your message so large that it cannot be delivered or at least consumes excessive resources. A good rule of thumb would be not to send a file larger than 50 Kilobytes. Consider file transfer as an alternative, or cutting the file into smaller chunks and sending each as a separate message.

  29. Don't send large amounts of unsolicited information to people.

  30. If your mail system allows you to forward mail, beware the dreaded forwarding loop. Be sure you haven't set up forwarding on several hosts so that a message sent to you gets into an endless loop from one computer to the next to the next.


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General Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Guidelines

IRC is a way of hooking up with other Scouts and Net users to exchange written comments ... live and in real time. To do this, you need IRC client software on your workstation, and an IRC server to host your Chat. Once connected to the server, you join a channel, or discussion group, which can include Scouts from all over the world. IRC channels may hold discussions about anything under the sun. It is very important to follow the following Netiquette guidelines while chatting:

  1. It is wise to "listen" first to get to know whats being discussed on the channel before jumping in.

  2. It's not necessary to greet everyone on a channel or room personally. Usually one "Hello" or the equivalent is enough. Using the automation features of your client to greet people is not acceptable behavior.

  3. Don't assume that people who you don't know will want to talk to you. If you feel compelled to send private messages to people you don't know, then be willing to accept gracefully the fact that they might be busy or simply not want to chat with you.

  4. Respect the guidelines of the group. Look for introductory materials for the group. These may be on a related site.

  5. Don't badger other users for personal information such as sex, age, or location. After you have built an acquaintance with another user, these questions may be more appropriate, but many people hesitate to give this information to people with whom they are not familiar.

  6. If a user is using a nickname alias or pseudonym, respect that user's desire for anonymity. Even if you and that person are close friends, it is more courteous to use his nickname. Do not use that person's real name online without permission.


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Some Additional IRC Rules from ScoutLink

Violation of any of these rules, depending on severity, can result in anything from a verbal warning, time bans or even k-lining an ISP from the server. These rules and regulations are to protect ScoutLink, the channels and the users. Please note that all channels are logged.
  1. Conduct - Please conduct yourselves according to the Scout Law, Oath/Promise. Many problems can be avoided by keeping this in mind.

  2. Idling - Channel sitting or idling is not permitted. People are here to talk to others. There is nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who is not there.

  3. Bots and Scripts - No unauthorized bots or scipts are permitted.

  4. Sounds - No random wavs or midis are to be played on channels. They may be played if they are part of the conversation, such as "hello.wav". If you wish to shareyour sounds with others, #sounds is a channel designed for that. Inviteothers into #sounds and have fun.

  5. Language - No abusive or foul language will be permitted.

  6. Flooding - No flooding by type, color or sound will be permitted.

  7. Patch Trading - We realize that patch trading is a normal part of Scouting. However, please keep your requests to a minimum and don't annoy everyone who joins the channel. A DCC Chat request would be preferable. If enough interest is shown, ScoutLink might create a trading channel.

  8. FServers - No open or public fservers are permitted.

  9. Channels - No channels may be created without permission of IRCOPs.

  10. Personal Info - PLEASE! Do not give out your phone number or address on open channel!


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World-Wide-Web Guidelines

Also known as the WWW, the W3, or most often simply as the Web, it originally developed by CERN labs in Geneva, Switzerland. Continuing development of the Web is overseen by the World Wide Web Consortium. The Web can be described (simply) as a workstation/host (client/server) hypertext system for retrieving information across the Internet. On the Web, everything is represented as hypertext (in HTML format) and includes (hyper)links to other documents by their unique name or URL. The best way to learn about the Web, however, is to try it for yourself!
  1. Remember that all Websites belong to someone else. The people who pay the bills get to make the rules governing their usage. Information may be free - or it may not be! Be sure you check.

  2. Know how file names work on your own system.

  3. Do NOT assume that ANY information you find is up-to-date and/or accurate. Remember that new technologies allow just about anyone to be a publisher, but not all people have discovered the responsibilities which accompany publishing.

  4. Remember that unless you are sure that security and authentication technology is in use, that any information you submit to a system is being transmitted over the Internet "in the clear", with no protection from "sniffers" or forgers.

  5. Since the Internet spans the globe, remember that Information Services might reflect culture and life-style markedly different from your own community.

  6. When wanting information from a popular server, be sure to use a mirror server that's close, if possible.

  7. When you have trouble with a site and ask for help, be sure to provide as much information as possible in order to help debug the problem.

  8. When bringing up your own information service, such as a homepage, be sure to check with your local system administrator to find what the local guidelines are in affect.

  9. Consider spreading out the system load on popular sites by avoiding "rush hour" and logging in during off-peak times.

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Last Modified 21OCT97 - 0809 PST - d_deyoung@moc.ual.com
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