Internet Etiquette

First of all I have to admit that this is a very short and uncharacteristic (for me) post. I do not mean to make a habit of this!

After reading Shail’s delightful poetic post on how we should blog, I found myself thinking about Internet etiquette.

Specifically about comments on a post.

Online discussions are often very interesting and I usually enjoy them. I am new to blogging, but not new to the Internet, and have been part of an online forum for a few years.

We have lively discussions on a variety of subjects. For the most part these discussions stay friendly without too many hurt feelings, because of a rule that we have. That is – Criticise the stated opinion but not the person stating it.

Following this rule generally leads to a healthy discussion where people are not afraid to say what they feel. Personally, I avoid posting a comment where I feel someone will verbally attack me and misquote my opinion.

Of course whoever “shouts” the loudest usually does succeed in having the last word. If increasing ‘TRP ratings’ is the desired result then that is the thing to do!



  1. The internet is such a ubiquitous medium ! And here we have some wonderful unwritten rules !One of them is to leave a comment when you have something to say, and not as evidence that you too read ! Hmm. “Criticise the stated opinion but not the person stating it” is a good one. ONly, that the anonymity of the web encourages free flowing comments that dont conform to this..!!:)about TRP…well, thats a different subject altogether !


  2. very rightly said…its true that oppose the opinion , not the person, but most of the time people start disliking the person for the opinion,gandhiji always said..hate the sin, not sinner,but who follows:(


  3. Comments generate discussion and a healthy discussion is vital to give soul and depth to a post. The honesty with which views can be expressed on the net is what distinguishes this platform from many other mediums and potentially gives it unprecedented power.The flip-side, as you have brought out is that this freedom and anonymity is misused by some to make nonsensically aggressive and offensive type of comments. This may make some blogs ‘popular’ and increase their ‘TRP ratings’ but that, in my view, is ultimately quite meaningless.The right etiquette to follow, as you have highlighted, is to criticise the opinion if you differ with it rather than the person. If one can’t do it, then it best to avoid saying anything at all.


  4. Manju, You are so right! ‘Criticise the stated opinion but not the person stating it’ – It is so true.. I guess it will help, if we all keep this in mind while commenting…


  5. By and large I have met people with good manners Perhaps that has got something (or rather EVERYTHING) to do with me not writing on controversial subjects. Whenever I have (used to blog at Yahoo earlier)I have landed with some irritants. Like the time I wrote about the sexual harassment on New Year Eve’s day. ‘Criticise and argue about the stated opinion and not the person stating it’ is an excellent way of going about it. What I cannot stomach is the unnecessary advice people give (Is it coz I am a woman??) offline as if I am some imbecile!! Sigh perhaps it has something to do with my face methinks!! Check this out :


  6. Kavi- The anonymity of the web was a factor I had not taken into account. Thanks for reminding..Sahaja- Yes intentional criticism is something we cannot do much about.Renu- Welcome! Yes Gandhiji was certainly right!


  7. Vinodji- My thoughts exactly! Smitha- Discussions are fun, they just need to have some rules.:)Shail- Even I hate unwanted advice! I will check out your link.


  8. oh wow..that was a really short post! discussions of the net are fun..sometimes its almost like having a face to face conversation. i think we shud maintain the “Criticise the stated opinion but not the person” norm even in face to face conversations.


  9. Mandira- you are right, this should be the practice even in face to face conversations.I think that we should learn to give others the same respect that we demand from them.


  10. How I wish the same etiquette is followed by people in day to day and face to face interaction.And as Vinod says…Anonymity is misused. Apart from offensive statements, there is a streak of repressed violence that you sense in the person.Probably the cloak of anonymity permits such expression, or maybe, it helps let out repressed feelings and frustrations in another way.


  11. communication can be good, bad or ugly – still being diplomatic.a log about a topic is only a perspective of the writer and comments are an additional rhyme.if a blog cannot welcome different type of opnions than it is as goood as a newspaper article.of course the author of the blog is the sole decision maker if he/she feels comfortable about the comment to be published, however that does not reflect anything about the writer..


  12. Mavin- I agree that anonymity is misused often. And even if we have differing opinions, I think it is possible- even necessary to be civil to each other.Anrosh- A blog should certainly welcome different types of opinions. Just want to clarify- I have never had any problem with any comments on my blog.But I have seen commenters on other blogs sarcastically ridiculing other commenters and the blog-owners encouraging this.


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