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Live Wires

"Netiquette, what's that?" you ask. Many years ago, when Spam was just tinned meat, and the Internet was about the sharing of knowledge, people used to send each other civilised e-mails full of useful information.

There was an unwritten understanding that Internet users would be polite to each other.

This courteous behavior, or etiquette on the net, became known as "netiquette". Now either I'm getting old, or standards have declined, or both, but times have certainly changed.

If you've read this far, and you're nodding in agreement, it's almost certain that you're not the sort of person who needs the lecture that follows. It's just there for the hard-of-thinking-types.

Sadly, they'll be sitting there with their mouths agape, their knuckles round their ankles, and a totally blank look on their faces. They won't have a clue what I'm talking about, and probably won't even be bothered to read what follows - but I'm going to say it anyway...

Start of lecture...

If you send us an e-mail, and you find our reply helpful (or not), please let us know. Even if it's just a note which says "thank you". We don't ask for money, or worship. Just a simple "thank you". It means a lot to us.

We're real beings, with real feelings, like you. Just because we're using the Internet to communicate, doesn't mean we have to treat each other like machines. If you were lost, and someone gave you directions, you'd say "thank you". If you asked someone the time, and they told you the time, you'd say "thank you". There's nothing weird or "uncooool" about it. It's quite natural.

Thank you. Just two little words, eight tiny letters. Costs you nothing, but it's got great value.

Over the years we've answered thousands of nature questions for our visitors. While many organisations charge for this service, we're doing it voluntarily - for free. Only one person in a hundred bothers to write back and say "thank you". Just one per cent! They must be really, really special people... or maybe they're just polite.

Here endeth the lecture. Thank you for listening.

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