Behaving Well Online, Middle School Edition

Seven tips for middle school students who will be reading and commenting on blogs.

1. Assume it’s public

Some blogs are private so that only the class can see them. Others are public and the world can read what you say. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell how the blog you’re commenting on is set up. That’s why I suggest you assume everything’s public.

2. Use the “2 Minute Rule”

In person, my rule is that you must be listening to a conversation at least 2 minutes before adding anything. This is kind to the people who in the conversation before you got there and it helps you make the best comments possible.

Online, you need to read the entire conversation before responding.  Same deal as in person.

3. Do unto others

Be kind, be constructive. You can use the sandwich method to leave a good comment: start with praise, go on to your constructive criticism, and close with praise.

4. Build on previous comments

Read not only the original blog post but also the comments. Then attempt to add to the conversation with statements like, “I agree with Peter when he said his favorite rule was the 2 Minute Rule.” Go on to explain why. The “why” is the more important part. No one learns from a “me, too!” response but we can all learn from additional explanations you can add.

5. Quote me on that

If you’re responding to one part of what was said, copy-paste the relevant text so we’ll know what you’re talking about.

6. Edit, edit, edit

I like to read all my online writing out loud to see if it sounds right. Then I’ll remove unnecessary words and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

7. Protect your identity

I suggest you use a screen name or your first name only. When leaving a blog comment, your email address is usually given only to the site owner so use a real one.

What tips would you add to the list?

Thanks, Cool Cat Teacher (Ten habits of bloggers) for inspiring this post!

51 thoughts on “Behaving Well Online, Middle School Edition

  1. When I said Quote me on that (rule #5), I wrote “If you’re responding to one part of what was said, copy-paste the relevant text so we’ll know what you’re talking about.” I just applied rule #5.

    I agree that this rule is useful because when someone else reads my comment, they’ll know right away that I’m referring to rule #5 and have the exact quote I’m writing a response to.

  2. The 2 Minute Rule sounds like a great way to help me remember to listen before I speak or write.

  3. I really like tip #7

    it is good advice for using the internet

  4. The two minute rule works really well, for conversations, and for reading the comments and blogs.

  5. Good rules I liked the fact that you were trying to make the internet safer for everyday people! GOOD JOB! and kkep on writing!

  6. The 1st rule, Assume It’s Public, I think is a good rule to follow in any case. Great advice!

  7. I really enjoyed all of that because when I have seen any blogs and wanted to comment, I have not know what to write. Now i know all the proper things to do while writing a comment.
    Thank you!

  8. Hi, I loved this article! It really taught me a lot. It looks like you really put a lot of thought into this article when you were writing it. This article is really useful when you need it. Although I didn’t have enough time to read all the articles that you wrote, I did have time to flip through them a little and they seem fantastic. I think that if I ever need advice or a second opinion on something, your articles will be one of the first resources that I will go to. Thank you for coming here to teach us.


  9. i was very inspired with these comments and such. i think they inspired me because they made me want to think before i do say something as said in the 2 minute rule.

  10. I agree 100% with the “Do unto others” rule. It is an important rule in your social life as well. Also, the “2 minute rule” is an interesting idea of what to try, and it is a great way to be courteous to others by respecting what has already been said.

  11. I am joe

  12. I like the 7th rule you wrote and i agree that every one should use a screen name and not your real name or identity.

  13. Not putting your last name sounds like a good way to keep your personal info safe.

  14. If I ever started my own blog, these would be great tips for helping! As Cowwy101 said, these are great for advice and a second opinion on your own blog. Thank you so much!

  15. I thought that “use the 2 minute rule” was very good advice because when you just pass by someone and you hear the wrong thing then you will go tell somebody else and that is how most gossip and rumors start.

  16. I think blogs are really cool, but on rule #7, where you said to put your real name, I don’t really think that’s very safe to do on other people’s blogs. I know it’s okay to do it on your blog, but I would be pretty skeptical to do it anywhere else.

  17. Just more proof that you TOTALLY rock. This is a great post and will be featured on my blog tomorrow. You are just a delightful person and these are excellently written guidelines that should be shared. Great work!

  18. I really, and 100% agree with step 4 ( build on previous comments) becuse you could teach someone or tell them your opion and tell that perosn how you feel and why you fell that way. Also step number 2 I think is VERY smart becuase even is the first thing comes to your mind you should probably think it through to make sure it’s L.A.R.K, which means,
    L= Leagal
    A= Apporpriate
    R= Responible
    K= Kind

  19. I agree with the first rule “assume its public” because you can never trust anybody on the internet especially blogging websites.

  20. Just bookmarked this for future reference. The rules are simple, easy, and appropriate. Thanks!

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  22. Vicki: Thank YOU for the inspiration! The middle school group I presented this to gave great feedback, so I feel like the post was successful.

    Elle: LARK is a great way to remember the rules for good commenting. Thanks for sharing!

    Alex: That’s right — especially blogging sites. Oops, that’d include me then. But I think going into things assuming your mother can read what you write helps you say something appropriate.

    Ben: You’re welcome!

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  25. yea this blogs all right bit oof a dodgey name i mean seriously the eights hahah any way could be ALOT better in futute sessions

  26. Eric, a pity you haven’t followed rules numbered 3, 6 and 7. Which of the rules do you feel is the most important to follow and why?

  27. My mistake

  28. well i dont have a favourite rule because i dont belive in rules their only made to be broken but probebly rule#7 to protect your identity from petoviles and strangers and stuff

  29. I think the most important rule out of all seven would definetly be number seven, protect your identity!
    If you don’t do this you could be hurt or indangered by the bad people in this world that do the wrong things by our accidental mistakes.
    People should always be careful on the internet!

  30. I think that the best rule is the one about keeping your identity secret.
    The rules are easy to read and understand and I think they would come in handy to those who are just starting or need a helping hand.

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  32. hi wats up

  33. I agree with all of the points mrs golding has mentioned. The most important one in my opinion is rule #7 because if people use their real identity on the web, everyone who reads their comment will know their full name. I can’t think of anything she missed out.

  34. I think that it’s important to keep your identity to yourself and basically being self cautious. The other rules aren’t as important as #7, but it still helps to know about them and blog to your best abilitys.

  35. G’day Ian,
    Just a reminder that this activity was to see if you actually read the post and answered the blog author’s question. Think about rule 7 and also rule 2. Your comment is not really appropriate.

  36. I think all the rules are important, expecially the “do unto others”. If you are rude and mean over the internet, it is considered cyber-bullying, and that is not tolerated. Good blog by the way!


  37. I THINK THAT ALL OFF THESE RULES ARE IMPORTANT n you should listen to them i espasially reckon the rule about not giving your true identifacation if people no all your identifacation things could get dangerouse!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. I was referred to your blog by Miss W. in Australia. I like your Behaving Well Online posting so much that I attached your blog as a link on my class blog for my students to review. I hope you don’t mind. This is very beneficial for my students and me as we just started our journey into the bloggosphere. Thanks!

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  41. I reckon number 7 is the most important.

    You could get stalked by someone. So you have to watch out.

  42. I think rule number seven is the best. Protect your identity.

  43. I think that all these points are pretty important but number 7 is the most important. If you give all your info on the net anybody can read it.

  44. Great list of rules! May I use it with my 6th grade students who will be blogging for the first time this year? Thanks!

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