Just as in the real world, cyber space has a code of etiquette that newer members to the OPC (Online Pagan Community) might not be aware of. To aid in a smooth transition to being a part of the OPC, here's a list of do's and don'ts that can be quite important to keep in mind.
1. Behave online as you would in person. Remember these avatars and screen names come with people attached. Rudeness isn't any more acceptable when you can't see the person behind the keyboard than it is in person.
2. Follow the rules. It should be obvious, but some communities are more lax than others. Read them. Know them. Live by them here. Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse as they're posted on the front page for all to see.
3. Research your question before asking. People are always willing to help here, but if the answer is easily found through a simple google or site search, it does get rather repetitive after a while. Remember that this path is about initiative. Search on your own a bit and then ask if you cannot find it elsewhere.
4. Remember how emotion comes off on the internet. ALL CAPS is yelling (that's a biggie). Try to re-read your posts to see how it might come off to those on the other side of the screen who don't have the benefit of facial expressions and tone. Smileys and *emphasis* can help with this, but they cannot be expected to do all the work. Phrasing is key.
5. Help the newbies. Remember that we were all newbies once.
6. Use message board formatting. It is impossible to write in traditional paragraphs, so skip a line in between them. It spaces out your writing to make it more manageable and less straining on the eyes.
7. Stay on topic. If a thread takes a turn for a response or two, it's usually fine. If, however, a thread on tarot turns into one about meditation for three pages, it's often viewed as rude. Please create new threads to discuss any topics that come up in an existing thread to avoid this.
8. Be yourself. No one cares if you're a High Priestess of the umpteenth degree. Please don't fabricate training or background. It will not do you any favors, and you'll make more friends and gain more respect by being honest.
1. Post any personal information like phone numbers or email addresses on the forums for all to see. You might just want certain people to respond through those channels, but this is a public forum and any manner of people can get on here.
2. Delete your posts. People take time and effort to respond to any questions you might have. After all that, some people are proud of what they wrote and wish to keep it for themselves and/or to use when a similar situation arises. If you delete your original post, all the responses disappear meaning that those people that were nice enough to respond to you lost all their work. So, even if you realize your question was "simple", get embarrassed by something you or someone else posted, etc. deal with it in another fashion, please.
3. Use netspeak. Yes, we're on the internet, but it's very difficult for some people to decipher what you're saying unless you do your best to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
4. Give advice unless you are sure of what you're saying. It happens often that people ask for medical advice online and get bad and even dangerous responses from people who are just beginning their studies of herbalism, aromatherapy, etc. or those who don't study these areas but what to help. While the desire to help is admirable, it can get the original poster in trouble medically.