The mark of a civilised country is to know what it is to be civil. But what if you don't know? Across the ages, social commentators have written guide books to tell the uninitiated how to do the right thing at the right time in the right way.
And it's not just snobs that have published guides - the great Renaissance theologian Erasmus took time out from arguing with Luther to instruct children how to behave in company.
Nor is it yet another invention of Victorian England. Five thousand years ago, Ptah-Hotep set down on papyrus the rules of behaviour that all wise men should convey to their sons.
Episode 5: Modern Manners
The making of manners in cyberspace. How to respond to emails without causing offence, and what is acceptable on social media. In the world of "netiquette", we don't have facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice to help, so rules need to be applied.
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.