Principles: how to behave on the internet

The internet isn't a natural environment. At school, they teach you good manners on the table, how to behave in public spaces and how to speak a second language.

But nobody teaches people how to behave on the net.

Maybe because it's a relatively new subject and teachers weren't educated on it.

Internet = real life

Over the past years, I made a ton of mistakes on the internet; the main one was forgetting that it is like real life.

So, when you see someone complaining on Twitter rudely, it should remind you to that guy who acts like a douche when someone drives a car slowly in front of him.

When you sit on the table to eat with strangers, you expect they eat their food with the mouth closed and that they don't burp or fart after eating.

In every discipline, there are no written rules that people should respect. I will try to collect a list regarding the internet. The aim is to reread it every once in a while and see how it evolves.


  1. Messages on the internet are, mostly, read by humans. Think like you were drinking coffee with the person you are communicating with; be nice.
  2. Nobody needs to know your political/religion/ethical thoughts unless someone asks for them (and you aren't obliged to answer).
  3. Don't be impatient with answers. Messaging is an asynchronous communication, let the people take their time to text you back.
  4. Don't say things that you won't say in real life. If you want to share a controversial story with no personal benefit, do it with an anonymous account.
  5. Don't be the spammer who always auto promote himself.
  6. Recognize and promote the good work of others. Don't be envious.
  7. If a human sends a polite non-spammy/non-automated/non-promotional message to you, always reply.
  8. If a human sends a painful message to you, don't answer instantaneously. A good option is to let a day pass by, the best option is to not answer at all.
  9. Don't sell courses or write things on how I make the first X amount of money on something. There is no point in doing it. In real life, you don't tell people about your salary or monetary achievements.
  10. Don't write messages using 100% capital letters.
  11. Don't write messages without initial capital letters.
  12. Avoid grammatical mistakes, but don't point out mistakes of others, people do as good as they can.
  13. Don't be a self-entitled douche. If you have achieved something valuable, good for you, be discrete about it.
  14. Don't try to get attention doing weird things like giving gifts to your audience if they do a favor for you.
  15. Don't get offended if someone didn't understand your message. Try to explain it better the next time.
  16. There will be always people who don't like you. Accept it.
  17. Don't show off the new fancy object that you bought (applies to Instagram especially).
  18. Don't do things only to tell people about them: running a marathon, traveling to Sydney, CrossFit...
  19. Share things that you find interesting. Promote the good work of others.
  20. Write articles that solve problems.
  21. If you feel bad or sad, please write the reasons. You'll help many other people with your real story and you will feel better while writing it.
  22. Don't share things and make them better than they were only to make people jealous.

The list is alive. To be continued...

Hi, I'm Erik, an engineer from Barcelona. If you like the post or have any comments, say hi.