Yep, you read the title. I'm crazy enough to think my habits keep me from being a dumbass on the net. They don't, but, they help.
The internet is a horrible, beautiful place. Any expectations you have for it will be broken, no matter how low they are. The solution to this, is to simply not have any expectations. Having an open mind and a high amount of self control is a must for anybody who wishes to spend the majority of their free time on the internet.
Step one: Get the basic programs
Spyware Watchdog is a GREAT site for learning about internet privacy and security. It also has links to other useful sites, like Dig Deeper.
Step two: Don't be a dumbass
Never bank online. Just, don't. Don't share your name, address, gender, race, photos of yourself, photos of your personnal belongings, places near you, what clothes you're wearing, the names of your alternative accounts, or anything of that nature. Obviously we all share some of the less identifiable information on this list, but you should be quite careful with when, where, and who you share even trivial information, such as your gender, with.
Step three: choose your confrontations
The amount of times people have come to me complaining about a toxic or unsavory individual is in the hundreds. The standard advice I always give is to just block them. If you don't have enough self control to stop arguing with somebody and just block them, you shouldn't be on the internet. "But they'll think I'm a pussy!" And you won't have to deal with their shit. 90% of the time, blocking somebody is more than enough to get them to go away. If they start making alternative accounts to continue their EPIC TROLL QUEST FUNNY MONTAGE consider contacting an administrator or reporting them for violation of ToS. I've never been on a site with accounts that doesn't have some kind of "don't be an ass" rule somewhere in the terms of service. Tl;dr the block button is a powerful tool, use it.
Step four: Be a smart person
Being smart doesn't mean being in a top percentile or always being right, being a smart person means learning from errors and turning your experiences into self-improvement. Maybe you shared a little too much and now you have to leave a community, learn from that.
Step five: Always be suspicous of websites, governments, companies, and other people
Companies do not have your best interest at heart. They like to say that they do, but companies exist for profit. Google gives you free storage and services? Major red flag, find out how they pay the bills. Websites are often owned by companies, and those that aren't still often have unsavory people running them. Governments (yes even freedom land) want to control you. A controlled population is the best population. DEMAND your rights, DEMAND your needs be met, DEMAND you not be monitored, DEMAND collectives and unions, DEMAND to be in-charge, that's the only reason your government hasn't taken over. Never give the benefit of the doubt online.
If you have anything to add or change to this article, shoot me an email @Coming soon, waiting on Disroot. :)