This post was mostly written by Dun of RPG-D. I thought it made some good points for basic etiquette regarding the cbox, so I've copied it over here. Used with her permission.
- Discussing OOC drama: It's never okay to discuss drama in a public place. By posting drama somewhere public, you're making the drama worse because you're bringing it to the attention of people who needn't be involved. When you have any sort of issue, keep it in pm. It's easier to find a solution when there are less people involved, and far more pleasant for others.
- Whining about personal problems: You might be derailing a conversation. You're making it difficult for people to discuss other things. It's unlikely that anyone really cares about what you're posting. Cutting into someone's pretendy funtimes with talk of serious, upsetting things or petty nonsense is bound to seem inconsiderate.
- Being a snotty, mean, complainy-complainer: This should be a no-brainer, but some people just don't get it. Don't be complaining about players, characters, and whatnot with any seriousness. That's a great way to make yourself look like an arse, to potentially cause an argument, to make people uncomfortable, and to make the game look unfriendly to visitors.
- Mememe, me, me, me, and me: Sometimes it's hard to know when you're directing a conversation toward yourself too much. It's especially hard for people in cultures in which it's common to respond to what someone else is saying by trying to relate to it, ie. "I went to Paris this summer." "Oh, I've been there! It's gorgeous. I went with some family two years ago." You might not intend to do anything wrong, and it might be that few people even find it bothersome, but you should think twice before going on about yourself too much.
- "Wow, this place is dead": Dun's inappropriate response that she knows better than to post: "Wow, maybe you should stop wasting time and words and do something about that." This is not a good conversation starter. This is a good way to give visitors the wrong message (most importantly), annoy a collection of people (especially staff types), and potentially leave a bad comment like that in the Cbox for an aggravatingly long time. If things are slow at that point, think about how many people are going to see that comment. Think about how long it might be before someone dares to ignore your comment and start posting things that will get that out of sight. Not good.
- Carrying on a lengthy conversation with one or two players: Cboxes are there for chatting, usually, but it's really uncool to go back and forth with someone there in a way that's going to prevent other people from using the chat. If you really need to get a good chat going with someone, take it to PMs, a messenger, or something else. Otherwise you'll risk steamrolling over other peoples' posts and/or seeming particularly rude.
- Advertising (other games): Even if there isn't a rule about it, it's generally considered bad etiquette to use a game's chat service to promote your own game or related site. There's a difference between saying you're working on a game, posting at another game, or something of the like and advertising. There's also a difference between answering questions about your game and just saying, "Hey, I have a game -HERE-. Check it out," but even then-- you need to carefully gauge what sort of people are around you and try your best to be polite and respectful.
- "Is this site active?" Just don't do it. Asking if a site is active makes it seem inactive.
- Being passive aggressive: There aren't many quicker ways to get people to dislike you-- current players and visitors alike. It's wildly inappropriate to post passive aggressive things that target players or staff members in a public chat. If you have a problem, just communicate with people privately, and be direct about it! The lack of privacy and the circuitousness of it are the two main issues here.
- Nagging for posts: Sometimes it's okay to be a bit of a pest for a second with a close RPing buddy of yours who knows that you aren't actually trying to figuratively poke them with a firey-hot, metal poker. . . but a Cbox may not be an okay place to do that. A private chat would be okay, more likely. You just need to remember that anyone could see your nagging. It might be visible for a while. Visitors might assume that you often nag or that this is something people typically do. Other players might think you are being annoying, not humorous.
Just keep in mind:
- Everything you put in there is public: Someone might not understand what you're posting. One or two people (perhaps those who the message is intended for) might be in on your joke, but other people might find it offensive. Some people might understand that you aren't one to complain, but that might be someone's first impression of you . . . etc.
- What you put in there might be visible for a while: If you post something problematic, it might not go away in the near future. It might sit there for a while and be read and remembered by a lot of people.
- What you put in there might be off-putting to potential new players: What you type in a chat might end up being part of a potential player's first impression of the game. Hopefully you want to do your part to make sure that they see the best of what the game has to offer and not the worst. They might take your negative input as a reflection of the community as a whole, and even if they don't, they might form an unfortunate opinion of you as an individual.