Google+ Netiquette

imageNow that Google has opened the flood gates to Google+ to anyone, without the need for an invite, it’s time to publish the proper netiquette on Google+.  If you’ve been lucky enough to have been in the trial phase, you probably noticed that, for the most part, discussion has been civil. Of the thousands of posts I’ve seen, I’ve only seen less than a handful of people commenting with things like, “well, I blame the!”
Most people on G+ would prefer it to stay civil and if newcomers (and old-timers alike) abide by the same netiquette that’s formed on G+, then G+ will remain a civil place to socialize online.
  1. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated. Continue to do this even when they don’t.  Always be polite, even to people that disagree with you, even if they’re not polite to you.
  2. Avoid posting anything that’s likely to start a fight.
  3. Don’t vilify a person or group that you know many support or respect.  Put special effort into avoiding obvious hot topics like blaming a political ideology for anything.  Other obvious argument starters are: Religion, Global Warming, Politics.
  4. Contrary to popular opinion, you’re NOT legally bound to provide a counterpoint to every statement made that you disagree with.  Let it go!
  5. Agree to disagree.
  6. Don’t draw people into an argument. This is called “trolling”. If someone politely (or even impolitely) disagrees with you, they’re NOT obligated to give you a detailed explanation, complete with footnotes, links to research, etc… to justify their disagreement. They’re not even obligated to give you ANY explanation at all. A simple “I disagree” can simply be left at that.  See “Golden Rule”.
  7. Learn to walk away.
  8. If someone is tired of arguing with you, it means they’re wrong and you’re right because clearly they can’t defend their position. And if you believe THAT I’ve got a bridge to sell to you. People’s personal time is more important than satisfying your debate lust.  And, if YOU walk away, it doesn’t mean “you know you’re wrong” either, in spite of the fact your opponent will undoubtedly say it does.  No one reading the thread is stupid enough to believe it and most likely, neither does the person saying it.  They’re just trying to pull you back in.
  9. Having “the last word” does NOT make you appear as the “winner” to the other readers. It just makes you look pedantic.
  10. If you’d like to debate someone, please leave OR contact them privately and POLITELY ask for clarity. Your intent should be to better yourself by learning more from another viewpoint, NOT to “put them in their place”. If that’s not your purpose, then leave well enough alone.  See “Golden Rule”.
  11. Instead of being pulled into arguing with someone, block users that continue to violate netiquette. Feel free to announce who and why. But, try not to do that until you’ve asked them to respect your differences. If they continue to be a troll, block them.  Blocking is, by it’s very nature, the lastresort.
  12. Write in clear English (or clear in any human language).  You have unlimited space, so write in complete sentences.  Google+ is NOT your phone’s texting service and it’s NOT Twitter.
  13. Just because YOU’RE familiar with Twitteresque writing, doesn’t mean your G+ followers are.  Google+ is Google+.  It’s not Twitter.  Believe it or not, many people on Google+, including many tech savvy people, have never and never will use Twitter.  Leave your Twitter shorthand and hasheson Twitter.  (Update:  Google+ now supports hash tags.)
  14. Don’t cross post.  Don’t set up automation to automatically copy your posts between Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.  Each service is different with different expectations from the users.  Google+ users expect actual content, not just links and unreadable shorthand.
  15. Be forgiving.  People can and will slip up from time to time.  So will you.
  16. Don’t spam (do I really have to say this?)
  17. Don’t hijack someone else’s thread.  Don’t start a separate conversation with a buddy you found commenting on someone else’s thread.
  18. Stay on topic to the original post.
  19. It’s none of your business if someone uncircles you.  Don’t take it personally.  Dealwith it!
  20. And for crying out loud!  If someone has different tastes than you, don’t waste your and everyone else’s time explaining why you think their “taste” is wrong!  Let it be!  (I’m speaking to YOU, you MS vs. Apple, iOS vs. Android, Linux vs. everybody else crowds!!!)
  21. Avoid analyzing, out loud, the other person or people in the thread.  In other words, all your text should be about the subject matter.  NEVER discuss the other person, no matter how much you think they’re a nimrod.  That’s GUARANTEED to start a flame war and YOU will be responsible for it.  Refer to #18 above.  NEVERmake it about someone in the thread.  The best way to avoid this is to never use the word “you”.
  22. Don’t be a jerk (see 1-21 above).

Here’s how a civil disagreement degrades into a pointless pissing match.  DON’T do this!

  1. Person A posts an opinion or some news report about something debatable.
  2. Person B questions the facts.
  3. Person A provides references.
  4. Person B questions the reliability of the source(s) and provides counter facts.
  5. Person A questions the source.
  6. A or B calls the other’s source “biased” or “nutjobs”.
  7. A or B complains about A or B and not the facts.
  8. A or B calls the other a pinhead (usually it’s not quite that nice of a word).

Where did the fail?  At 6.  Don’t do that.


Got any more netiquette suggestions to keep the civility?  Let us know in the comments below.

See these images? imageimage
You’ll find an actual working versions of them at the top and bottom of this article. Please click the appropriate buttons in it to let your friends know about this article.

Check back later for updates too!

Click here to follow me on Google+.

Good Luck and Enjoy your Google+ account!

2 Replies to “Google+ Netiquette”

  1. This was a great post and is destined to become a classic. You have articulated the social media theories I have been discussing in my videos and blogs in basic netiquette rules. Google Plus is going to be the best social network because it's the most civil. The specific rules of netiquette for Google Plus will change, but spirit of civility is highest on this social network.

Leave a Reply