C++ FAQ Celebrating Twenty-One Years of the C++ FAQ!!!
(Click here for a personal note from Marshall Cline.)
Section 5:
[5.4] How can I find out about general netiquette so I don't embarrass myself?


  • Do not say, "Please respond by e-mail because I don't normally read this newsgroup". If you don't have enough time for the newsgroup, don't expect the newsgroup to have enough time for you.
  • Do not post questions that are answered in the newsgroup's FAQ. That's like saying your time (to read the FAQ) is more valuable than the time of hundreds and hundreds of others (to answer your question). Tres uncool. Read the FAQ first!
  • Do not cross post your question to a big pile of newsgroups. Post to the newsgroup (singular) that best fits your question. If you don't get an answer in the "right" newsgroup, post somewhere else but redirect followups back to the "right" newsgroup.
  • Do not top-post. In other words, don't type your reply above the previous author's text. Even if top-posting seems "natural" or "obvious" or "better," don't do it — it's not the comp.lang.c++ "way."
  • Do not post HTML or "rich text." Like it or not, comp.lang.c++ is a plain-text newsgroup.
  • Do not post "attachments."
  • Do not refer to "C/C++." Some people get testy about that, and will (unfortunately!) ignore everything else you say just to correct you with something like, "There is no such language." It borders on pathetic, but you'll probably be okay if you say "C or C++" instead of "C/C++." Sigh.
  • Do not confuse a class with an object. E.g., don't say, "How can I allocate a class?" or "My code creates a class via new." If you say something like that, at least a few people won't even bother to answer the question you intended to ask, but will instead use their entire reply simply to correct the words you used. Sigh (x2).

Many more general netiquette questions are answered in the newsgroup news.announce.newusers. This newsgroup contains many must-read articles for new users.

BTW here's a cute joke that tells you how people feel about top-posting (with credits to "Gordon" on apihna):

A: Top posting!
Q: What is the most irritating thing on Usenet?