Netiquette - rules for legal and fair online communication

A pleasant atmosphere in the digital space thanks to our netiquette

Are there harsh morals on the Internet? On the contrary: Most of us attach great importance to treating each other with respect on social media, because "the internet never forgets." At the same time, the Internet is a place for meetings and communication as well as an excellent platform for further training. That's why it's particularly important that we develop a sense of appropriate behavior on the Internet - our so-called "Netiquette" or Internet etiquette. Below we present the most important rules of our netiquette.

Every now and then you hear about so-called “trolls” - people who make malicious and inappropriate comments in online forums that often offer no added value. If you encounter such a troll, it is best not to engage in provocation. As a rule, these are people who want to attract attention. However, if participants are rude in a course forum, you should point them directly to the rules of communication that apply both online and in real life. It is therefore advisable to set clear rules for our netiquette right from the start.

It is important to remember that misunderstandings can occur more quickly in written communication than in face-to-face conversations because written text does not transmit nonverbal signals. Although there are subtle nuances on the Internet that can be conveyed through signs and symbols, not everyone knows or understands them. Taking this into account is already an essential aspect of our netiquette. Therefore, we will use your first name as an exception, as this is already part of netiquette:

  1. Never forget that there is a person reading your texts on the other side. Imagine this person and think about whether what you want to write is relevant to him or her.
  2. Don't hide behind anonymity. If possible, use your real name and don't write anything that you can't identify with. Otherwise, you may want to refrain from posting comments that you would rather not post.
  3. Note that on the German-speaking Internet the du form is common, and don't be upset if you don't get a message.
  4. Think before writing and reread your message before clicking send. Remember that once something has been said, it cannot be taken back. Also pay attention to spelling, grammar and expression, as mistakes can make reading difficult.
  5. Avoid using swear words. The Internet, although virtual, is still a place of real life, and therefore interpersonal communication should be polite and respectful.
  6. Remember that written words do not convey gestures and facial expressions. Therefore, you should either express yourself clearly or use “emoticons” such as the “wink smiley” (you can find an overview here). However, you shouldn't overdo it with "emoticonization." Emoticons are more suitable for personal chats with friends; In general communication, the written word should take precedence.
  7. Be careful with ironic remarks, as misunderstandings can easily arise. Written text can have difficulty conveying a specific intention.
  8. Don't use too many abbreviations because you don't know whether the person you're talking to will understand them. You can find the most common abbreviations here.
  9. When faced with rude behavior, it's often a good idea not to discuss everything online. If necessary, clarify differences in a personal conversation. Remember that not the entire online community is interested in personal arguments.
  10. If you quote something, make it clear and refer to the author. It is inappropriate to decorate yourself with someone else's feathers.


Although the Internet is viewed by many as a virtual space, "real" interpersonal interaction still takes place here. This should always be designed in such a way that everyone involved feels comfortable communicating. Misunderstandings, conflicts and personal insults should be avoided, and the Internet should not become a place where everyone comments on everything for the sheer joy of commenting.

Netiquette works best if you imagine how what is said would be perceived in a similar situation in real life, for example in a seminar. If a seminar is on first name terms and there is a relaxed atmosphere, this should also be reflected in the associated seminar blog. For more formal occasions, written communication should also be adapted accordingly.

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