We enjoy reading blogs and websites in our spare time. Curling up with our laptop in the evening is like calling up a friend to hear about their day. Even for bloggers in far off locations, blogging is a community and we’ve come to love cheering on our friends around the world. There are times, however, that the cheering turns to… something else. Some blogs seem to attract the nitpicking, criticism, or downright rudeness more than others. Luckily that’s rare here on Rue, so thank you! What to do when you are posting on social media or another site and wondering if your comment crosses the line? Think through these simple guidelines and keep your Internet personality as lovely as your true one.

Be constructive. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is a nice sentiment, but can be limiting to discussions. There is a place online for expressing a conflicting opinion! But are you enhancing the discussion, or do you just hate the color of the curtains in the ‘after’ photo? If the latter, maybe keep it to yourself. However, if a designer writes a post about selecting curtains? Share your thoughts!

Give context clues. Emotions are hard to read in text since there is no tone or visual clues. Punctuation including ellipses, exclamation points, and question marks can help. In a casual correspondence, emoticons or even written sounds like laughter or sighs can help convey meaning.

Caps lock is not necessary. A word or two for emphasis, but that’s likely the MAX you should need. We can all agree shouting through the screen isn’t the best way to convey your message.

Tact, tact, tact. Writing words down means that you are thinking about them as you type. Be sure you think about whether you are conveying your message in the best light possible. Rephrase so you are being constructive and if you can’t think of a good way to be tactful, maybe just hit “delete comment.”

Remember, your taste is yours but their taste is theirs. This type especially applies to the design and fashion world. It’s easy to fire off a comment about how this trend is so over, or that the dining table doesn’t work with the chairs, but remember that those pictures are showing the work of a real person (who has real feelings!). If they love the way it looks, that’s all that matters.

Image originally appeared as part of “At Home With: Alice Goa” on September 24, 2013 here.