how to walk the 'net without kicking yourself later...

this FAQ began when the above remarq was posted by somebody on Fravia's MB as an idea for an article. I thought about it a lot and for a long time. Yes, a FAQ on how to behave while online certainly is needed. Slowly, it began to take shape. This is the first draft

----Lots of people talkin'. None listenin'....

Millions of us are now online. Each one of us is different, with our own sets of believe systems, knowledge, understanding(or miss-understanding) of how the world works, personalities, moods, sense of humor. We are all online for different reasons too. So it's NOT surprising when we meet somebody online who doesnt share our believes, or maybe our outlook on diff subjects, or somebody who may not like what we say, or what we may do online and we end up getting in ahuge flame war with them. After all, we can barely tolerate the idiots we are surrounded by in "real life" and their stupidity, so whats left for some moron online who is a pompous @ss and thinks he/she knows everything, right?

Topics here include: chatrooms, MB, IRCs, UseNet, Are arguments worth getting into?, free mail problems

Basic tips of course are to:

never give any real info about yourself, name, location, address, credit card, especially if you are in a sensative chat-room, or BBS, MB, Usenet, ets. Before visiting a any place online, think about what you are trying to get out of it. Are you looking for real knowledge, or to kill some time having a few laugfhs? Modify your behavior accordingly. Be wary of quick friendships and of people agreeing with everything you say, or with people fishing for personal info. Do they have your best interests at heart? Ask yourself this questions: would you trust them with your life, your security, your personal possesions? What do you really know about them besides a "nick-name" and a few facts they told you? Do they appear too eager, or maybe they visit daily and stay in that chat-room for hours and hours? Are they there in the middle of the day(their time)? Think about these things.

Using chat rooms, IRCs, MBs and/or BBS:

Does the chat room, IRC, MB and BBS show your real IP number when you are there and/or when you post? Make sure you remind anonimous by using a proxy and/or IP spofing. IRCs are notorious for being totally insecure when using them. Most chat-room, MB and BBS use counters to count how many people access them, so turn your images off because most counters work that way. Do they also use cookies(most likely-everyone uses them today), how about Java, or JavaScript? Turn all that stuff OFF!

Create several personalities("avatars" in Fravia's term) each with their own "nick-name", behavior patterns, personal story, likes, dislikes, trust levels, ets for each online MB, chat-room, ets. Each personality should employ different speach patterns(laak me -a- speakin' d'wn sout' American English I learn'd from readin' Huck Finn in da original), different reactions to stimuly, different interests. Use your imagination here. Make them of several age groups, and different nationalities. Learning a few dozen words in another language and using them sparingly can certanly be heplful, or if English is your natural language, make glaring gramatical and spelling mistakes. One nick can be humorous(Doggystyle), another serious. While participating in a chat room, MB or BBS use the main personality to post remarqs, the lesser personality to ask questions that may be deemed silly or stupid and a 3rd personality to post links for example. Remember, do not come online or post when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I have seen many idiotic posts where the person later came and appologized saying: "Duuh, please ignore what I said, I was ______ at the time"(fill in the blank with your fav drug of choice).

"Measure twice, but cut once." the wise tailor said. Think carefully over your words before you post them. Can somebody missunderstand what you are trying to say?(my bad English sometimes makes it quite difficult for me to express myself articulately) Remember, words by themselves are dry and impersonal, easily taken for something else, while in a face to face communication facial expressions and body language plays a big part. Sarcasm, humor, jokes can easily be miss-interpreted. What "humor" is differs from country to country.

Remember, there will always be people out there who will try to provoque you, especially if you are online doing something they have deemed evil, obscene or indecent. They are simply itching for a fight. Ignore them. They are NOTHING more than trolls and that's all they will be. Simply stay away from them, for you don't really want to inspire them to return and they will return, often enough with reinforsments in the form of their friends or even the cops.(tip-the "SCRIPT" and "/SCRIPT" html tags can be very helpful if you know how to use them on a MB ~_^!) Most arguments in MBs or BBS or on Usenet cannot be properly executed anyway, for the simple reasons they:

While on Usenet:

I have met the biggest morons on Usenet, for its free and uncontrolled nature makes it a prime target for a place to be for all sorts of major idiots. Usenet is way better than WWW anyway, you can find as much info on any subject there as on WWW, and it also has tons of free stuff just waiting for you to find it and d/l it...~_^. All of the above said strongly applies to Usenet too, and 200% over. Worse, lots of so called politically-correct nazies today just LOVE to get a knee jerk over the smallest excuse and can get "offended" when somebody uses ordinary words they have deemed racist, offensive, degrading, ets.

I was for example recently literally assoulted by a bunch of morons when I used the words "fat" and "ugly" to describe several fat and ugly women. Things got so bad because I ignored my own good advice and got in 10 arguments with 10 different people at the same time, some of those politicaly-correct language nazis even began urging people to contact my news server and complain. Luckily, either my news-server simply ignored them or they werent as organized as they thought they were. Either way I am still using that news server ^_^.

Are arguments worth getting into?

Sadly, you can't really change people and their mind or teach them something. They simply won't listen to you, so your time will be wasted if you try to argue with them and all you will get is agrivation. For example, Americans are very good debators I found out. They even take debate classes in their schools, so it's hard to argue with them. You have to be quick and think fast on your feet with them. They think they are the best, and the rest of the world is just some 3rd world country without in-house toilets. Sadly, their "politically-correctness" movement has penetrated into the rest of the world, making it eerily simular to George Orwell's 1984 double-speak. They get "offended" to the point of becoming language nazis, and everything is "controvercial" to them. Americans are always deciding what's wrong and what's right, forgeting everything is mostly relative, depending on the observer.

Take the case of Linux VS Windoze for example. Yes, Windoze is very easy to use, specially designed to be for the average(or bellow average inteligence) person. Yes, Windoze's easy use has nurtured the explosive growth of the Internet. But so what? Linux nowdays includes the K Desktop Enviroment which is as easy to use as Windoze, actually much easier. With Linux, you have the freedom of knowing exactly what is going on with your system, and in the long run, Linux is cheaper to buy, use and maintain and most of the apps are free of charge too. So if somebody tells you about Windoze's benefits, just listen to them and them tell them: "Well, that's all fine and good, but your arguments are nothing but words in the final run. Linux is definetly better than Windoze in many aspects and I can list them."

Confronting people directly is the worst thing you can do. Take your time first and observe them. Read their responses, watch their reactions. Do this for a week or for a month if nessesary.

"Free e-mails" problems

Yeah, there are pleanty of free mail services around, and using them is definetly adviceble over giving your real email address. There are Hotmail,, ZipLip,, MyNewMail, HushMail, YahooMail and many more.

Final tips: trust your first impressions, judgements and guesses. If something doesn't feel right or sounds fake, it most likely is. Learn to listen to your inner voice. It is rarely wrong. Learn how the Internet works and apply that knowledge when online. Technical know-how is aa wonderful weapon and it can probably save your @ss.

This is all so far. As usual, I welcome any corrections, suggestions, ideas to add here, ets. This FAQ is in progress and I hope to be adding much more useful info here.