Some Thoughts from SHAKSPER's Editor Regarding Netiquette


What follows are suggestions for collegial conduct on SHAKSPER. They are voluntary and are not in and of themselves reasons for censure or expulsion. The following is a summary of the main points of a lengthily message explaining the reasons behind the suggestions in a posting from the Editor in 2002 and are to be used as a quick reference.


  • "Count to ten" before hitting the reply key.
  • Be civil toward other members.
  • When a thread becomes individual members talking with each other rather than posting messages that are responding to substantive issues raised in the thread, take the discussion off-line.
  • Consider that some exchanges may be more appropriate offline than online, such as congratulations, thank yous, and I-said-you-said exchanges (see


  • Select one or two threads to respond in any one day.
  • Keep responses as brief and to the point as possible: it is often recommended to keep posts to a screen or two of text. However, occasional long posts are perfectly acceptable when the content of the posting warrants it.


  • If your name does not appear in the FROM line or does not appear correctly (i.e., account is in the name of a spouse, partner, companion, alias, etc.), sign your name at the bottom so that I can cut and paste it next to your e-mail address. You may include your title, academic affiliation, geographical location, or similar information, but signatures should be kept to a maximum of three lines.
  • Do not copy and re-send the message to which you are replying or automatically include the entire original post or digest. Quote, paraphrase, copy and paste, or cite your correspondent by name; give as much of the context as you can to clarify the nature of your reply.
  • If you "cut and paste" information from another Internet or electronic source, which often results in irregularly spaced lines of text, then pre-format that text to be sure that the information is word wrapped and does not require me to spend extra time re-formatting the text for distribution.
  • Avoid the temptation of simply cutting and pasting entire online articles and reviews and forwarding them directly to the list. Posters should judiciously quote and summarize and then provide the URL.


  • Don't bother reading them; use the delete key.
  • Ignore them. Responding to a message often just provides the original poster with the opportunity to continue with the argument that you object to.
  • Address those submissions indignantly; be courteous but be indignant.

Hardy M. Cook
Owner-Moderator-Editor of SHAKSPER

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