I’m still catching up on the 1000 or so posts in my Reader. Dumping stuff of no value, Tweeting out things I like, and now inspired to write a quick blog post.

First of all, when it comes to the “rules” of the social web (networking and media combined), there aren’t too many. Oh, we all have our personal best practices, but there isn’t an authoritative book on social web as there is on writing styles (are you an AP Style or Chicago Manual of Style person??).

I enjoyed What About Paris? (formerly What About Clients?) post Play Time on the Internet is over. Wanted: A few good rules.

You can’t, of course, legislate rules, and enforce them, for the Internet. You can, however, demand of yourself and others–in your own spheres and “virtual communities”–a bit of fair play, credibility and stepping-up:

1. Tell people who you are. Your real identity. Demand that others do the same. Virtual sandboxes are fun for everyone. Make them a separate zone(s), maybe. But anonymity should not be the norm. Exceptions, e.g.: CIA undercover operatives; Cuban, Iranian, Chinese dissidents; abused housewives; serious risk-takers, productive radicals and genuinely-deserving victims.*

2. Be accurate. You just gave us your name. Try to get it right. Work at your content. Don’t waste our time.

3. Be willing to take a hit. Again, you just gave us your name. You’re without armor–we are proud of you. Now step up and take the pain, if you are challenged, criticized or even called a worthless cretin. That’s the freight you pay. Respond if you want. But you have nothing to be ashamed of.

And, finally, our suggestion on anonymous “challengers”. Ignore them. They are rarely worth your time or respect.

That’s about all the rules you need.

I’m sure we need a few more rules, but this is a good place to start.

First of all, I’m seeing a glaring rule that is missing: Transparency.

All of the above rules cover parts of transparency, but not fully. I believe that we on the social web have an ethical obligation to build trust with our readers, followers, friends, fans, etc. We can only do that by actually standing behind what we write and say, without hidden agendas. Include links and hat tips (ht) to the authors from whom you garner inspiration. If you’re shilling a product or program, be up front about it. Nothing kills trust like feeling you’ve been deceived.

So, Coolerites … what say you?? What are your rules for the “Social Web” (ht to Jayne Navarre for introducing me to that term).