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Thursday, July 5, 2012


Email Etiquette

·       Do not write in caps because this is considered yelling or shouting in cyberspace.

·       To avoid clogging other people's inbox's or slowing down their incoming messages, you should not send huge attachments unless absolutely necessary.

Some ‘pet hates’ in regards to email etiquette would include:
·       Receiving an email with no greeting.

·       Writing in different fonts and sizes in one long message.

·       Receiving an email with a large attachment that takes forever to download.

·       Spam such as peoples trying to sell themselves or other useless products.

Some tips on emailing would include:

"Re:" means "Reply:" and should only be used in replies.

Make sure recipients can open the attachments you send them by agreeing on their format beforehand.

Don't send personal messages to millions. Double-check where you send your email, especially when you reply to a mailing list message.

Don't clog email systems without permission.

"Me too" is not enough content, but too much annoyance.

I'll see you 020301, right? Here's how to avoid confusion about dates in emails.

Avoid embarrassing emails by sending them to you only (by default).

No, really! I mean it. Honestly!

Make sure the links in your emails work. Punctuation around URLs can interfere with that.

One exclamation mark is certainly enough!! This cannot be stressed enough.

New ideas are better ideas. If you read all replies to a particular message on a mailing list before replying yourself, you can avoid repeating something that's already been said.

Forwarding emails is a great way of sharing ideas, but make sure the original idea is not hidden in obfuscation.

Dear Ms, Mrs and Mr Reader... fortunately, emails can often do without titles and names.

Did the spam filter eat my message? Spare others this nagging question and let them know you got their email.

"Reply" is good. "Reply to all" is better. Right?

Email hoaxes often contain stories that are intriguing, and sure to irritate. Here's how to spot and stop urban legends.

You don't want to be a spammer, do you? Replying to spam that appears on a mailing list may make you look like one, though.

Everything you mail will be used against you.

Share emails by forwarding them in a smart and efficient manner.

Share the full message and the full contents in a clean way, but don't disclose other recipient's email addresses.

You can often find typos or misplaced commas neither your spelling checker nor you yourself catch when proofreading on the screen.

If you need to type characters nowhere to be found on your keyboard, Mac OS X provides comfortable ways to find and insert them in your emails.

Do you want to include some French in your emails, spell a name or place properly or discuss old Chinese writings maybe? Here's how to include foreign language characters in your messages using Windows.

End email conversations without unnecessary "Thank You" and "You're welcome" notes that are more annoying than nice.

Make your email replies easy to read and understand by quoting in a smart and useful manner.

Message for you, you, you, and you. If you send an email to multiple recipients, make sure you enter them correctly.

Make sure you don't send messages from 1981.

Make sure you're not spreading worms and viruses via email or act as a vehicle for spreading spam. All this can be caused by malicious emails. Fortunately, there's protection.

Hint at formatting smartly in the plain text email you write and have it rendered as rich text in supporting email programs while the message still looks good to everyone else. Here's how to employ Markdown formatting in your emails.

Do you make these mistakes in your email subjects? (The key to getting your messages read is not to be clever.)

Do not intimidate recipients with too much text.

"Signature" is a synonym for brief and unobtrusive — or at least it should be, because overly long signatures in emails are an annoyance.

Come visit me, everybody! Unless you want everybody and the whole world to know where you live, don't include your street address in your email signature.

Do you think quoting original text in your email replies perfectly is a lot of work? Don't let the '>' intimidate you! Here's a very comfortable, relaxed, quick and still clean and compatible way to reply properly.

Comma, colon, hyphen and semicolon — all exist for a reason: they make it easier to understand the intended meaning of a sentence. Don't make life more difficult and possibly less interesting for the recipients of your emails. Pay some — though not too pedantically much — attention to punctuation.

Share the message, not email addresses when forwarding an email.

The Subject line of your emails is important, but you shouldn't rely on it being read or paid attention.

Let recipients reply when (ever) they want.

When your photos look good in your email, you look good, too! Here's how to make sure your images are not larger than screens and mailboxes by resizing them in style — online and for free.

What is okay here may be an affront there. Customs differ from mailing list to mailing list, and you should respect each.

You made a mistake, if I'm not mistaken. Pointing out email etiquette mistakes in public is not very polite and a bit annoying — an email etiquette faux pas, so to speak.

Don't use smileys to say something you should not (and don't intend to) say in emails.

Don't send anything you don't want to send.

Help make the world less confusing. Try to talk about one subject per message only. For another subject, start a new email.

Waach prablym? (The problem that you are so difficult to read.)

It's never off-topic to state when your message is.

DYK? Not everybody knows every acronym, and they don't save that much time anyway.

Put a bold face onto your plain text. Here's how to make simple text stand out among its peers by mimicking bold face in plain text emails.

Bullet points make your emails *easier to read and *easier to reply to.
You have the future, and the present of humankind in your hands — even when you just write an email.

Emphasize text the Italian way in your emails by italicizing passages and words, even when you write using plain text only.


Choose wisely when creating a new email address and help avoid email address case confusion.

Sign your signature correctly by employing the standard signature delimiter in your emails.

Do you often (want to) say something without quite saying it? Say something just to be able to take it back? Here's a handy shortcut for doing that in emails, and a way to communicate Freudian slippers, too.

The problem that whatever can be misinterpreted will indeed be misunderstood is not unique to email, but with email it is uniquely severe.

If you don't know how to say good-bye at the end of an email, there's one thing that will almost always be appropriate. Thanks.

Not everybody can receive your fancily formatted emails. Some may even react furious. To be safe rather than sorry, send plain text emails only when in doubt.

Without a line sub-scripted "sign here", how do you decide where to place your email signature? Look here.

Smaller is more beautiful, at least when it comes to email attachments. So make files smaller before your send them via email.

Tell it like it is. Have you notices how people who you understand perfectly well when you listen to them become cryptic when they start writing?

Make your messages a joy to read by ensuring your lines are short and sweet.

Don't shout in your emails (and all caps are so difficult to read).

As a general rule though, netiquette involves the same principles as plain old etiquette -- basic courtesy, respect and ethics.

By following the principles outlined below, the recipient of your email will be more likely to read and act, if not be favourably impressed by your message:

    1. Subject line to summarise the message. Make the Subject line summarise the body of the e-mail. Ask yourself, 'will the recipient(s) know what this e-mail is about'. For example, Instead of Subject: Exam, say Subject: Location of 1508INT Exam, 23 July 05.                
    2. Don't assume the recipient knows the background. Include enough contextual information at the beginning of the e-mail for the recipient to know what the matter is about. If in doubt, put background information in. For example, don't say can I have an extension for my assignment? Instead say I refer to the CIT3622 assignment 1 that I handed in late. I was ill and have a doctor's certificate. May I ask for an extension on the basis that I was too ill to do it on time?                                                                         
    3. Keep it concise. Keep messages brief and to the point, but not so brief that it causes the problem outlined in the previous point. This includes deleting any irrelevant text when an email has been back and forth several times. No-one wants to scroll down through pages of text in order to reach the message they want to read. If the sense of the email will be lost by deleting that text, however, leave it in.                                                                                          
    4. Reply within 24 hours. Try to reply within 24 hours, less if possible. In fact, get in the habit of replying immediately -- it is the polite thing to do, and the recipient will appreciate a prompt reply. It also makes you look efficient. The longer you leave it to reply, the more likely you will forget or have too big a log-jam of unanswered email.  
    5. Allow time for a reply. E-mail messages are not usually required to be answered immediately, though it is good practice if you do. Before sending a reminder, allow some time for a response, sometimes even a few days. Not everyone is online 24 hours a day.   
    6. Use the BCC field when sending bulk email. If you're sending email to a whole list of people, put their email addresses in the BCC field. That way, the privacy of the recipient is respected, and spammers cannot harvest the email addresses for their dastardly purposes.       
    7. Don't shout at people or threaten them. Don't use all capital letters, (UPPERCASE), or oversized fonts. The reader will likely feel they are being shouted at, or even threatened. If you must use UPPERCASE, use it very sparingly and only to emphasise a particularly important point. Ask yourself, 'if I was talking to the recipient face to face, would I be raising my voice to them?' One way to add emphasis is to enclose the word/phrase with an asterisk, for example "It is *important* not to shout at people by using UPPERCASE". Large sized fonts (greater than 12) are useful for people with visual impairment, but are not appropriate for general use.                                                                                          
    8. Avoid angry outbursts... Don't send or reply to email when you are angry. Wait until you have calmed down, and then compose the email. Once written and sent, it can't be recalled. Angry or intemperate email has a way of rebounding on the sender. As a guide, ask yourself, 'would I say this to the person's face?'               
    9. Correct punctuate and grammar. Use punctuation in a normal manner. One exclamation point is just as effective as five!!!!! Use correct grammar as with any written message.                                
    10. Layout message for readability. Use spaces and breaks between paragraphs and long sentences to make it easier on the reader.        
    11. Keep the thread. When replying to an e-mail, use the reply option on the sidebar in your mail. This will keep the message in the "thread", and make it easier for the recipient to follow.                    
    12. Spelling. Check your spelling! If you don't know how to spell something, look it up.                                                                  
    13. Don't Reply to All unless necessary. Think twice about sending a reply to everyone. Perhaps only selected people need to see this email. Sending it to everyone may simply be contributing to an already cluttered In-Tray.                                                             
    14. Acronyms, abbreviations, and emoticons are OK within reason. As long as you don't overdo it, and the recipients can reasonably be expected to know what they mean, acronyms and abbreviations are OK to use in e-mail. Emoticons (for example ;-) a winking smiley face) are good when used in context. As a general rule, you probably shouldn't use them when talking to someone in authority unless you're sure.                                                                                
    15. Forgetting attachments. If the reason for sending an email is to send a file, remember to include it. It’s easy to forget. One strategy is to attach the file before writing the email.                                  
    16. Sharing large files. Avoid sending file attachments larger than a megabyte unless it is directly necessary (like large work-related documents, spread sheets and/or presentations). Most of the time, such attachments might have curiosity value for some but which end up clogging mail servers and in-boxes much to the annoyance of systems administrators. If you want to share photos, videos etc., use Flickr or YouTube or any of the other many such services now freely available.                                                                          
    17. Not Suitable for Work (NSFW) warning. Some workplaces are tolerant of non-work related email, though not too many these days. Especially if the email you are sending contains 'adult' material be sure to include the NSFW warning in the subject line. Not doing this might get someone into trouble with their boss.                              
    18. Edit the superfluous text out of emails... When you are sending email that has 'been around' in the sense that it has been replied to or forwarded many times, take the time to remove the angle brackets '>' from the message. It’s irritating for many people to see text in such disarray. The easiest way is to copy and paste the text into a word processor, and use the search and replace function to remove any unwanted characters. The example below breaks both this rule and the one about shouting at people by using UPPERCASE:  >> >>> >THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM A NEPALESE GOOD LUCK MANTRA. YOU'LL

>> > >>> >do not keep this message. The mantra must leave your hands
>> within 96
>> > >>> >hours or you will suffer harm.                                                   
    1. Chain Letters... It is becoming more common, as more people use email for more varied purposes for it to be used for multilevel marketing, chain letters, pyramid schemes and other dubious purposes. The example above is one of the more benign examples of an implied threat as a way to motivate the recipient to take action. Another example is the chain letter that claims to be for the benefit of a dying child or promises to make you rich overnight if only you send it to five more people, and send $10 to the person who sent it to you. Most people, me included, find these email practices particularly annoying.                                                                   
    2. Don't be over-familiar with the recipient... Many people, me included are offended by strangers being over-familiar. For example I react badly to people I don't know addressing me as 'Dave'. Only friends and family call me that. As a rule, use the title or form of address that you would use in verbal communication.                       
    3. Illegal Activities. These include libel (defamatory statements), discrimination (racial, sexual, religious, ageist etc.), some adult material (child or violent erotica), illegal information (how to kill or injure people, incitement to violence, racial hatred etc.). This advice does not apply to the vast majority of email users, who would never indulge in the aforementioned practices. But for those so inclined, not only are these likely to offend the recipient, people found engaging in illegal activities involving email are likely to have strong sanctions brought against them by the university and by the civil authorities.                                                                                
    4. Email is not confidential. It is almost laughably easy for the contents of your email to be read by others without your knowledge. So it’s wise to avoid saying anything you wouldn't write on the back of a postcard. Also, if you work within an organisation, rather than directly connected to an ISP (internet service provider) it’s becoming more likely that every email you send and receive is scanned for certain words that are 'deemed unacceptable'. Email with 'unacceptable' content is quarantined, and record is kept. People can be disciplined or fired if they send or receive too much such email. The organisation has every user sign an 'acceptable use' contract as a condition of their having an email account. That way, the employee can be deemed to have broken the contract, justifying disciplining him or her.                                                                 
    5. Correct priority. Avoid marking an email 'high priority' when it is really 'normal' priority.

Acronyms & Emoticons

These are a popular and useful way of expressing emotion in email. There is a growing number, but these are the basic ones that people use: 

    • 2L8 -- too late
    • AAMOF -- as a matter of fact
    • AFAIK -- as far as I know
    • B4N -- bye for now
    • CMIIW -- correct me if I'm wrong
    • CUL -- see you later
    • FWIW -- for what it’s worth
    • FYI -- for your information
    • IKWUM -- I know what you mean
    • IMHO -- in my humble opinion
    • KWIM -- Know what I mean?
    • ROTFL -- rolling on the floor laughing
    • TIA -- thanks in advance
    • TTYL -- talk to you later
    • :) happy
    • :( sad
    • :o very surprised
    • ;) wink
    • ;* kiss
    • 8) person with glasses smiling
    • :& tongue-tied
If all this seems too prescriptive, feel free to ignore any or all of it. It makes no guarantees; it is simply a guide to writing email that if applied sensibly will enable you to have constructive relations with people via the medium of email. 

Email etiquette
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