RFC 1855

In October of 1995, just over two years after the Eternal September, Sally Hambridge from Intel published Request for Comment 1855 outlining some Netiquette Guidelines. The objective was to have a singular place for newly-connected people to go and learn how to interact online in plain language. The abstract reads as follows:

This document provides a minimum set of guidelines for Network
Etiquette (Netiquette) which organizations may take and adapt for
their own use. As such, it is deliberately written in a bulleted
format to make adaptation easier and to make any particular item easy
(or easier) to find. It also functions as a minimum set of
guidelines for individuals, both users and administrators. This memo
is the product of the Responsible Use of the Network (RUN) Working
Group of the IETF.1

Reading through the document it's interesting to see how many of the annoyances and generally bad habits that people dislike about modern social services and websites also existed nearly a quarter of a century ago. Some forms of abuse have certainly evolved, but very little has changed. What RFC 1855 tries to communicate, however, is most certainly something that a lot of online services should strive for. Treat people nicely. Take your hate somewhere else. Observe.

Heck, I like these guidelines so much that it seems like a good idea to put many of them on the 10C home page for people who might consider joining to see. Everyone who uses the service is already awesome. Anyone who joins should understand that it's a community effort to maintain the awesomeness.

I stumbled across this old RFC while listening to Bryan Lunduke's episode on the subject. 1995 was an interesting year in technology. Intel's Pentiums were top of the line. Windows 95 was everywhere. IRC and newsgroups were the ways people interacted and shared things. This was a year after I took the name "ablematigo" as my online handle but before shortening it to comply with EFNet's 9-character limitation. Our technology was a lot easier to understand back then, and a lot more people understood the between the web and the Internet. What artefacts from this time period will people look back fondly on in a quarter century?

  1. Page 3 of the Netiquette Guidelines: Limit line length to fewer than 65 characters and end a line with a carriage return. The abstract maintains this rule … but it's going to look awful on really narrow — or really wide — screens.