N E T I Q U E T T E
Ethics and rules for the correct use of network services
Within the community of network service users, especially Internet users
and, in particular, inside the "news" service Usenet, a number of
"traditions" and "principles of correct behaviour" have been developed
with time: all these rules are generally known as "netiquette". Keeping
in mind that whoever provides your network access (provider, public
institution or agency, employer, etc.) can also control even more
precisely the users' duties, we summarise in this document the
fundamental principles of "netiquette", reminding everybody that these
rules are mandatory.
1 When you join a new newsgroup or a new electronic mail distribution
list, read the messages posted there for at least two weeks before
starting to send your own around the world: in this way you will
understand the topics of the discussion and the methods to be used in
such an environment.
2 If you send a message, be brief and concise, both in the subject field
as well as in the message itself. Always use the "subject" field to
specify the topic. If using the "signature" file, please keep it short.
3 Do not post or send messages to the target newsgroup or distribution
list which deviate from the topic in question.
4 Whenever possible, avoid broadcasting your message to many mailing
lists (or newsgroups) at a time. There is usually only one specific
mailing list representing the correct target of your message and which
contains all interested users in that particular topic.
5 If you answer a message, quote only the relevant sections of the
original message in order to facilitate understanding by users who did
not read it, and avoid systematically reposting the entire original
6 Do not engage in "opinion wars" on the network through the sending of
messages and replies: if you have personal discussions, solve them
via private electronic mail correspondence with the interested parties.
7 Never publish the content of electronic mail messages without the
explicit permission of the author.
8 Do not post stupid messages or take sides to support somebody's
opinion within an ongoing discussion. Always read the Frequently
Asked Questions (FAQ) relating to the discussion topic before sending
9 Never send advertising or commercial promotion messages or any other
unsolicited message via electronic mail, unless explicitly requested
by the recipient.
10 Be tolerant with users who makes syntactical or grammar errors when
posting messages. Users posting messages must in any case improve
their knowledge of the language, in order to be understood by the
Furthermore, to the previously mentioned rules we must add the following
criteria based on common sense logic:
A The network is used as a major work tool by many users. They do not
have time to read jokes, useless or personal messages which are not
of general interest.
B Any activity which heavily affects network traffic, such as bulk data
transfers, reduces the overall network performance. Users should thus
perform these operations outside peak network time (at night for
example), taking into account the different time zones.
C On the network a number of file server sites exists, containing
up-to-date copies of relevant documentation, software and other
objects made available via network. Users must ask in advance which
is the most convenient accessible server node for their use. If a
file is made available on this server, or locally, there is no reason
to load it again via the network, wasting network bandwidth and
waiting much longer for the file transfer to be effected.
D The software made available on network servers can be protected by
copyrights and/or other restrictions on its use. Users must always
read carefully any accompanying documentation before using, modifying
or redistributing this software in any shape or form.
E Incorrect behaviour of an explicit illegal nature by users, such as:
- violating the security of network databases and hosts;
- violating other users' privacy, reading or intercepting their
electronic mail messages;
- compromising the correct performance of the network and of any
equipment which constitutes its service with programmes (virus,
trojan horses, etc.) and other hacking tools;
are explicit criminal violations and, as such, are punishable by
For more detailed information on the principles stated above, please
refer to the documents RFC1855 "Netiquette Guidelines", and to RFC2635
"A Set of Guidelines for Mass Unsolicited Mailings and Postings",
available on-line at the following URLs: