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MLA Full: "19 Ways to Not Suck on the Internet." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 19 June 2015,
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APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2015, June 19). 19 Ways to Not Suck on the Internet [Video]. YouTube.
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In which Hank largely expands upon Wheaton's Law with some advice for building a better, more pleasant, more constructive internet. Of course, I would like to point out that the internet is a pretty great place as is and more good than bad occurs on and because of it. But we've all seen the hate and the anger and the flame wars and the unpleasantness, but we're all citizens of this place, and that citizenship will come with more and more responsibilities as it grows and matures.




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Hank: Good morning, John.  I live in a small town in Montana, where i have several times been asked if I am interested in running for local election.  As a local business owner and a semi-celebrity and a person who is very good at picking karaoke songs, I would have an okay chance of winning.  But what pops into my mind every time someone asks me this question is that I'm not really from Missoula, Montana, I'm from the internet. 

Now that raises some interesting questions about like, the concept of place and the future of local government and the future of the autonomy of the internet, but those are big, abstract questions.  The more pressing one is if internet citizenship exists, then are there some things that we could be doing to be better internet citizens? 

I think yes.  And here is my first crack at some guidelines.

People on the internet are people. 

The internet is real life.  Treat people like people online or off.

Every person is complicated and impossible to fully understand.  If you think you've got somebody pegged completely after reading a 25 word comment, you're wrong.

Removing comments and communities that dehumanize or mock other people is not censorship, it's kindness.

Everybody can see and read the stuff that you put on the internet, and it will probably be there pretty much forever, so be thoughtful.

BS detection is one of the most crucial skills of the online citizen, and it takes a long time to develop that set of skills.  In fact, it's something that I think should be taught in schools everywhere.  The number one rule, though?  Cite your sources and don't share statistics that you can't find sources for.  Just because something seems like it's true does not mean it is.

And in general, don't share things that might be lies, even if they help you make a point that is really important to make.  Mark Twain said it best, of course, "A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.  Don't be part of the problem, help the truth put its shoes on." 

You don't know everything.  Nobody does.  Nobody even knows most things. 

Don't steal stuff from creators and then repost it without attribution. 

Do, however, attempt to source unsourced content by using reverse image search engines like TinEye.  Not only is this good internet citizenship, it's also a great way to hone your research skills. 

Anyone can edit Wikipedia, for real.  If you see a grammatical or spelling mistake, go ahead and fix it.  If you find a vandalized page, you can fix that by going to the page history, finding the change that introduced the vandalism, and then clicking undo.  It's that simple.  If you'd like to do more than just fix small errors and vandalism on Wikipedia articles, you can read more about the philosophy and strategies of the serious Wikipedia editor before you start to actually make big changes. 

And in general, if you're joining any new online community of people doing something together or enjoying something together, recognize that there are probably going to be some rules that you do not yet know, and that you're probably going to make some early mistakes. 

And if you are part of one of those existing communities and new people come in, expect that they're not gonna know all the rules, and they are gonna make some mistakes. 

And finally, don't expect that everyone or even you is going to be able to follow all of these rules all of the time.  Sometimes, we get angry.  Sometimes, we all act like jerks.  Be understanding of yourself and be understanding of others.

When I asked Twitter and Tumblr what the most important rules of internet citizenship were, a lot of people pointed me toward Wheaton's Law, which I like, but is a little bit subjective.  Reworded slightly for the families out there, Wheaton's Law is basically just "Don't be a jerk." 

But the response I liked most went further than that.  "Always leave people and places better than the way that you found them." 

That's what we should be working for in this wonderful place that has, in many ways, become my home.  John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

The second episode of Dear Hank and John, our new podcast, is out and online now.  We're gonna try and have one every single week coming out like, Sunday or Mondayish.  People seem to be liking it.  Here are some Tweets that we didn't even solicit. 

"Dear Hank and John is such a funny awesome podcast, laughing silently on the bus."

"Dear Hank and John is gold!"

"Hank and John's podcast may be the greatest thing ever.  Commutes just got a whole lot better."

"This new podcast and Cereal Time have been the highlights of my June.  I really don't see it getting any better than this.  Thank you."

Which brings up the fact that Cereal Time has been going now for a week, a little more than a week, and I love it.  Also Titansgrave is still happening, and it's so funny, I love it, I mean, it's just me, I--like, it's me being a dork with my dork friends, but it's great. 

You can find links to how to get to Dear Hank and John and all those other things in the description below.  Thanks for watching.  DFTBA.