When we work online in STEMports, communication is a bit different than face-to-face meetings. We don’t get to see your enthusiasm and passion for ideas and topics through your body language (smiling, frowning, etc). And therefore your message may get muddled and people could take your online comments the wrong way.
We want everyone to feel safe and respected in STEMports – and that means that we all need to follow some simple guidelines of online etiquette to make sure that
1. Be respectful. While it is easier to say hurtful or disrespectful things without standing face-to-face with someone, it is important to remember that your STEMporter friends are affected by the words you say and write. It is essential to keep in mind the feelings and opinions of others, even if they differ from your own. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online either.
2. Be aware of strong language, all caps, and exclamation points. It is easy for written text to be misread and misunderstood. Have you ever sent a text message with good intent but your recipient thought you were being rude? If so, then you’ve experienced this firsthand. Tip: Read everything out loud before you send it.
3. Be careful with humor and avoid sarcasm. We don’t want you to avoid being funny. We love to see your personality shine through STEMports. But like mentioned in Rule #2, make sure that it is clear you are being funny and not being rude. Emoticons and smileys can be helpful when being funny so that it is read correctly. BUT – let’s avoid being sarcastic. It’s not really funny and can be hurtful.’
4. Yes, grammar and spelling matter. While texting, textspeak can b gr8 4 ur friends, some STEMporters might not know the “code”. So your written responses in STEMports should be using full words and follow grammar rules – like you are writing a letter to an adult or a response on a school assignment.
5. Cite your sources. Whenever you are sharing an idea that came from someone else (even if it is not word for word), it is good practice to cite that source. (Look below – I adapted these rules from someone else…and I show where it came from). This applies to all the STEMport input as well. If you saw a great idea then we would love you to share it, but be sure you let us all know where you saw it first.
6. Don’t post or share (even privately) inappropriate material. Enough said there. Nothing is truly private online.
7. Be forgiving. Remember that not everyone will know these rules before posting. Try to be understanding of others when they struggle with written communication. It is very different than simply talking to a person face-to-face.
Thanks for following these rules! It will make us all feel safer and happier in our online STEMports space!
This was adapted from “7 Rules for online etiquette” (https://achievevirtual.org/7-rules-for-online-etiquette/)