In my line of work, I spend a LOT of time on the web. Some of that time is spent browsing forums and support sites looking for answers to issues that I, or someone else might be having. The web is full of excellent info. Usually if there is a technical problem, you can find a solution on the web. But that is not always the case.

Sometimes I am amazed by the amount of negativity I see on the web. I truly believe that some know-it-all people get great joy out of spending time on the web just to tell others what dumb questions they ask. Until this week, I just shook my head when I saw it happen to others. I help when i can, and I try not to put others down for asking questions, or expressing themselves.

I’ve had an interesting week. I won’t rehash the whole thing here, but the short version is that due to something said on my blog, and an article posted on CNN.com my site has received way more traffic this week than it was meant to receive. And of course with more traffic come more opportunities for criticism. But, there is a difference between criticism and being rude. I think part of the issue is that the web is like a big wall. On one side is the internet, and on the other is the person with their computer that no one can see. People tend to not worry about who they are offending on the web, because they are not themselves. They are only their “web” identity.

I don’t think that the web wall is as thick as some think. Web life can and does spill over into real life if you are not careful. Employers search the web for information on potential employees. Some may think that they hide behind avatars and screen names, but that information can be connected if need be. So, be careful what information you put out there. This includes things that you post on your blog, forums, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and other’s blogs (comments). And by all means, be nice!

I love sites like Type-A Mom just for that reason. There is a wealth of info, and everyone is nice!

Here are a few of my rules of web etiquette:

  1. Do on to others as you would have them do unto you
  2. Don’t use foul language
  3. Don’t disclose too much personal information
  4. Don’t befriend people under false pretenses (Don’t be a troll)
  5. Do try to be helpful. If you know the answer, share it!

These may sound like very simple, obvious rules, but you would be surprised how many don’t follow them. Of course the web if a free open space to express yourself, so don’t feel that you cannot be expressive. Just be good and have fun!

Kris Cain is mom to 2 sets of twins under 6 years old. She holds a full-time job, runs a photography business, blogs, does web design and more. Check her homepage to link to her many pages.