Gentleman's Philosophy

The Gentleman’s Guide to Online Etiquette

Afternoon gents, it’s Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide here! It’s honestly surprising that I haven’t written an article about this sooner, but nonetheless, here we are. In today’s ever-growing world of online communication and with how divided people online have become, online civility seems to be a thing of the past at this point. But in any case, I thought this would be a good topic for young men to know, especially in today’s online climate. So today, I’m going to go over four (4) ways to be more civil online, but before I do that, I thought it would be a good idea to explain why a man should be more civil online.

Disclaimer: Most of what I say in this article is inspired by this one from the Art of Manliness, but I am in no way sponsored or endorsed by them. I also want to acknowledge that just in case I get accused of plagiarism.

Now it should come as no surprise that what draws people most to online communication and social media is the sense of anonymity. A lot of times, people can be more anonymous online, making it much easier to say whatever they want without much consequence. And while I’ll elaborate on why that’s not such a good thing a little later, it still doesn’t detract from this fact: a gentleman should always treat other people with the dignity and respect they deserve, regardless of the medium they are communicating through. Whether online or in person, it’s still another person that the gentleman is talking to, they still have feelings. So with that out of the way, let’s move onto the meat of the article.

1. Remember that there are real people on the other side

This is something that a lot of people forget. While the internet can be and is more anonymous, it’s important that there are still actual people on the other side of the screen. Even if people online don’t always see the person they’re engaging with, they’re still people. They have feelings, and a lot of times, words can hurt to them. Granted, words really only have as much power as the individual gives them, but that doesn’t change the fact that words can hurt, whether stated online or in person.

2. Use your real name

In the words of the AoM article, “…if you’re not proud enough of something to have it associated with your real name, then why are you writing it?” There is a lot of truth to this. I also think of another quotation from Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, “If you believe something, you sign your name to it.” Now there can be some exceptions and caveats to this, but as a general rule of thumb, people should ask themselves why they’re writing in an alias. Is it for legitimately protecting their privacy, or simply because they don’t what they say to be associated with them?

3. Would you say it to their face?

This is a big follow-up to number 1. Since people often forget that there’s an actual person on the other side of their screen, they tend to disregard this idea and just say what they want to with no regard to what the person on the other side is feeling or thinking. People seriously need to ask themselves this question before posting a comment on someone’s post. If they wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, why even write it online?

4. Don’t say anything at all

At times, this can simply be the best option. Whether it’s because there’s nothing respectful or constructive to be said or there’s no use getting in an argument since neither side is going to change their mind, sometimes just letting go of the phone or the keyboard is the best option for everybody. I myself will admit that I haven’t always taken this advice and have ended up saying things I never actually meant or simply regretted saying. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, but sometimes not saying anything can be much more constructive than getting into a debate for no good reason.

So there it is! These are just a few more ways a gentleman can be civil online. If you’d like to know more, the Art of Manliness article I have linked above goes into a bit more detail, so I highly encourage anyone reading to go check it out. I hope these tips can help any readers to be a bit more open-minded and level-headed online, since the lines have become so incredibly divided as of late. In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article. Please be sure to share the article, follow the blog, follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!


3 replies on “The Gentleman’s Guide to Online Etiquette”

Very good points, Maximiliano! However I do think that there are reasons why some people may not adhere to number 2 (but I’ve never understood what it is with taggers, à la “Parks and Recreation”). I also might go further and suggest that women (“gentleladies?”) would also do well to heed your suggestions. You’re right: real people rarely if ever need to be lied to, cursed at, berated, etc., in person or online. We may contradict ourselves at times, but we keep doing our best. You are a perfect gentleman, keep up the good work.


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