G+ etiquette: what are the unwritten rules?
Every internet place develops its own specific version of the so called netiquette. G+ is new and has a different structure than facebook, news groups, forums or twitter. So what we need is a new set of guidelines about behaviour on G+ No rules, but practical tips which will keep this place the way we like it.

Let me kick off with some items which are commonly encountered on G+

Q:is it rude if you don´t circle back?
A: No, for several reasons. It´s not meant that way, you might share an interest and your follower could find it compelling, but why would you? Parity: you can only follow 5000 people and the moment you get more followers it´s made impossible by Google.

Style of G+ participation. Let´s face it, you have different types of people. Some like to read and follow others and just place a comment here and there. Others start debates and are thought provoking. Very different human beings and circling back makes no sense then.

Q: is it okay to dump links to your topic in a comment?

A: No, unless.... Link dumps to external content or your own posts can be fine IF they are a real addition to the debate. Not if you just want to spam yourself nor if you want to hijack a lively thread. Great if you see a dead post with just one or two comments and you can show people a similar, but much more active debate. Also great if you have an external link which answers a question or puts a new view on a subject. It´s even fine when you don´t want to hijack a thread but as an aside want to clarify your position.

Q: if I do decide to post a link in a comment, do I use a URL shortener, the full G+ string or different?

A: Different: always describe your link first. Can be just the title of your own post if it would make it clear. Otherwise describe in one or two sentences why you expect a reader to follow a link and why it´s relevant.
You are free to use any url shortener, but experience shows that people are less likely to click a sequence of letters and figures instead of a descriptive full link. Even the extremely inconvenient lengty G+ links will be used more as it shows people they stay within G+ which enhances confidence.
Remember this is not Twitter: there is ample room for text so don´t bother too much about a long url and do give a decent reason to get people to click. And in case you really are out of place on G+: NO SPAM.

Q: Can I comment in another language than the poster uses?

A: Yes, but be polite. If it´s written in Spanish the poster targets a Spanish audience. The same goes for every language. But if you are capable of reading a post but can´t really write in it you don´t have to stay silent. Just be polite. The best thing to do is to place a short comment with your burning question in the language you feel most comfortable with and ask if it´s okay to use it for possible further comments.
Some people will be glad so see reactions from other language groups, others will find it too disturbing for their thread as it might put off others from commenting.

Q: But if I know the poster is capable of answering me in Japanese, Russian, French or Finnish?

A: Could well be but the poster choose to make a post in a language of his choice so respect that even if you know he or she will understand you. Again for a short comment refer to the answer above but don´t hijack a post in Spanish with English comments just because you and your friends know the poster can manage it. There will be a reason it´s posted in a specific language so respect it by reverting to the rule above.

Q: If I notice the poster is a female will she respond to my fav pick up line or appreciate comments on her profile pic?

A: NO For little men with unfulfilled desires there are bars where you could try this all. Guess what: if you can´t pick up a girl in real life just forget about G+. Get a life!

Q: Can I join every public hangout?

A: Yes, you are in fact invited to do so. Two important thing to remember: you are the guest at someone´s party so live up to it or move on. Second thing: maybe it´s your first hangout, or you feel intimidated by some big names and don´t want to participate.
Rarely a problem, but don´t be a lurker. Just say something like ´Hi guys, I´m xxx and I´m here to listen´. You will usually be accepted this way and you don´t make others uncomfortable by staying silent. A good thing to do is to use the chat tool if you find it difficult to say something. Just type a few words about why you are sitting there. It´s less intimidating than actually speaking and people will appreciate the effort and help you get into the conversation.

Q: Any requirements for being the host to a hangout?

*A: Make sure you tried hanging out earlier so you are sure your mic and camera work. Be aware that the people who join are guest to the equivalent of an open house party. Be nice, make sure they get their own drink :) and importantly notice it when someone new arrives. Say something to your new guest to have him feel at ease. And remember: it´s your party and you can mute people at will.

Q: Can I publish a recording of a hangout?

A: Only after asking the participants if they have no objections. Make this clear in the hangout when you start taping. The best thing for Google to do is provide us all with a small option to enable a ´recording now´ icon visible in your window. Until then just ask if recording is okay? Broadcasting it, is an assumption as once recorded this can always happen so if you´re okay with recording you can´t complain afterwards. Make sure everyone is aware of and you´re fine.
(Tip: don´t play music or have a tv visiblee in the background if you intend to publish the recording. YouTube could block the video on copyright issues. This differs per country so if you can see it playing on YT, it could be that it´s blocked in another country).

Q: I see some great content in my stream: can I use it?

A: If it was just a link dump of a breaking article, make your own post and add something so that other people know why they would even click it. Make a summary, give your opinion, whatever but don´t just dump it. There is no If it´s your own blog you are link dumping, make sure it doesn´t come across as pure spam. Make sure people get to see enough to make it worth their time to follow your link. Consider just using G+ as your blog. People love to read here.

If it was original content or a rare find: just share it. Don´t copy it and make it your own post. People put time in these things and sharing the posts is the best way to reward them. Don´t be afraid that you don´t get the thunder. If you do well, you will be treated well. If you really want to give your own take on someones content; fine make a new post and use their post as your linked article. And if all else fails: give credits where they are due. Doesn´t matter if it are words, videos or photo´s, people deserve the credits for the work they put in.

Q: Yes, that´s all fine and dandy, but the world needs to know this breaking story now!

A: Put the link in the G+ search button. Don´t see it: share it with us. Notice it: share it but do so scarcely. A stream full of the latest revelation in your favorite blog or paper is not what people are looking for. They might uncircle you. Remember you´re not on twitter and you won´t get immortalized for being first. We all have our own circles so there is no ´first´.

Q: I have some akward situation which is not covered

A: Use the three best words in English or their equivalent in your language :
Please, Thank you, Welcome. They work miracles.
And consider to ´plus´ the comments you like. Saves you from repeating the same thing and it´s a great way to end a dialogue with someone.

Q: You don´t agree or you want to endorse these guidelines to get people started, you have additions, an improved version or you want to add a list of other G+ etiquettes in the making?

A: let´s hear it in the comments, or share the post and collect the results!

The latest version of this post can be found here: https://plus.google.com/112352920206354603958/posts/cas5ZsVy9vr
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