The internet is a very interesting place, I've decided, with rules and guidelines and etiquette like, and unlike, the real world. I've discovered, in my wanderings in cyberspace, an interesting set of rules, as posted on a site called usenet and slightly altered for my own nefarious purposes.
Rule #no number: There are no hard-and-fast Rules on the Internet, only Guidelines, which are more or less strictly enforced (and differ) from group to group; this is why it's generally wise to read any thread for a bit before ever posting to it.
Rule #9: It's *always* September, *somewhere* on the Net.
Dave Fischer's Extension: 1993 was The Year September Never Ended [so far, there doesn't seem to be much evidence he's wrong...]
Rule #17: Go not to the Net for counsel, for they will say both `No' and `Yes' and `Try another website'.
Rule #2: "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
Rule #108 (from the soc.motss FAQ): "What will happen to me if I read soc.motss?" "In general, nothing. (You may be informed or infuriated, of course; but that's a standard Internet hazard.)"
Rule #666: Old alt groups never die. They don't fade away nicely, either.
Rule #7-B: There is no topic so thoroughly covered that no one will ever bring it up again.
Rule #90120: Applying your standards to someone else's post *will* result in a flame-war.
Rule #1: Spellling and grammer counts. So do grace, wit, and a sense of humor (the latter two are different), as well as a willingness to meet odd people, but these are lesser considerations.
Rule #x^2: FAQs are asked frequently. Get used to them.
rule #6 (Eddie Saxe): don't post to the Internet unless you understand the consequences.
Rule #547: When people know they're wrong they resort to ad hominems.
Rule #37: Read the thread from the beginning, or else.
Rule #5 (Reimer's Reason): Nobody ever ignores what they should ignore on the Net.
Rule $19.99: The Internet *isn't* *free*. It just has an economy that makes no sense to capitalism.
Rule #3 ("Why 3?" "Because we felt like it"): For every opinion there is at least one equally loud and opposing opinion; sometimes stated as:
Rule #27: "In cyberspace, *everyone* can hear you scream."
And for completeness' sake:
Rule #4: (Godwin's Rule) Any off-topic mention of Hitler or Nazis will cause the thread it is mentioned in to an irrelevant and off-topic end very soon; every thread on UseNet has a constantly-increasing probability to contain such a mention.
Quirk's Exception: Intentional invocation of this so-called "Nazi Clause" is ineffectual.
Case's Corollary: If the subject is Heinlein or homosexuality, the probability of a Hitler/Nazi comparison being made becomes equal to one.
Also, the first and foremost rule of the internet I, Shematite, have come across:
Rule #24601: Don't feed the Trolls.