Step One Find out whether a particular chat room has its own FAQ (frequently asked questions) section before you enter. If it does, review the FAQ section for specific etiquette guidelines.
Step Two Introduce yourself when you enter a room by typing your age and gender. In some rooms, a general location, such as your city, is also appropriate to mention (a/s/l—standing for age/sex/location, or age/male-female/STATE, or country, if outside the U.S.).
Step Three If you want to address an individual in the room without sending an instant message, introduce your statement or question with the person's screen name and a colon or hyphen (for example, 'SportsFan: What's your favorite football team?').
Step Four Avoid referring to users by their real names.
Step Five Allow all users to make comments and ask questions. Don't try to take control of the room by flooding it with your own entries.
Step Six Avoid direct confrontations with rude users. Report disruptive users to the chat host if a host is available. Otherwise, leave the chat room.
Step Seven Don't harass other users with threats, unwanted sexual comments or anything else that might make them uncomfortable.
Tips and Warnings Some chat rooms offer you the option of blocking out messages and chat room entries from specific users. This feature is a good alternative to abandoning the room or getting the chat host involved. To get a feel for how a chat room operates, try "lurking" - observing the room without making any entries - for a while before offering your own comments. Don't type the same sentence, word or phrase into the chat room over and over again. This is called "scrolling" and is heavily frowned upon by chat room users and hosts.
Additional behavioral tips The first rule of chat is that a real person with real feelings is at the other end of the computer chat connection. Hurting him or her is not okay. The second rule is that because you really have no idea who that other person is, being cautious is okay. Read messages for a while to figure out what is happening before sending a message to a chat group.
Keep your comments short and to the point. Many systems let you create a profile about yourself, which other members can access. Having a profile is polite. You don't have to tell everything about yourself in your profile, although what you do say should be truthful.
If you want to talk to someone in private, send a message saying Hi, who you are, and what you want. More people are out there whom you don't want to meet than people whom you do, although quite a few potential friends are chatting too. If the rudeness and banality of the chat turn you off at first, try other groups.