OUCS strongly recommends that all users of email and newsgroups at Oxford University should adopt the following guidelines. They are derived from those in use at many locations on the Internet.

In the established communication media (such as postal mail and telephone) certain widely-observed conventions have emerged which help promote a sound basis for communication between the relevant parties. Email and newsgroups are relatively new forms of communication and consequently many people are unaware of appropriate conventions to use. These are gradually emerging, and the following are based on advice being provided to network users at many sites around the world.

These conventions (often called `network etiquette', or 'netiquette') recognize that it is very easy to despatch email messages or newsgroup postings very quickly, and often little thought is given as to how the message will be received. For instance, if you had intended something in fun, will the humour be evident? If not, it could become quite offensive.

The following code sets out what is considered acceptable behaviour for network users. The guidelines apply equally to the use of email, newsgroups and any other electronic communications medium.

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