MARCH 2002

On Netiquette, e-mails, etc. (Part 2 of 2)

Always spell check your e-mail and proofread for errors.

Always edit out unnecessary information from a message you are responding to. Don't just hit the reply button and start typing. Delete unimportant parts of the e-mail you are responding to and reply point by point. At the very least edit out e-mail headers and signature files. Why would you possibly want to have copies of the last 3-4 (or more) e-mails added to the growing list of back and forth? Edit/delete what is not necessary for the conversation to continue.

SPAM (junk e-mail). Never, ever, send anyone an e-mail about anything, (especially your product or service) if the recipient did not specifically e-mail you for that information. Never follow instructions from spammers stating to just hit reply to be removed from further mailings, you have just confirmed you are a LIVE account and your junk mail will increase exponentially as your address is resold over and over again.

Help keep flame wars under control. If you receive a nasty e-mail - don't respond immediately - if at all. Sending e-mail with extremely foul, threatening, or abusive language is crude. This includes obscenities, verbal harassment, threats of slander or comments that would prove offensive based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. Often people are simply trying to get a rise out of you by writing offensive messages. This is called trolling. Trolling is the act of sending or posting messages that are intentionally crafted to enrage or draw someone into flaming. They are obviously unpleasant comments, brutally untruthful statements, or words and phrases that we all know to be those that would instigate a fight if stated in the local pub. The author's mission is to annoy you no matter what your opinion is. If you don't have something nice to say, or at the very least sternly professional just hit delete. Flaming is the act of posting emotionally inflammatory messages, usually due to a lack of restraint or a short temper. Reviewing what you plan to write, particularly when you are agitated or upset is an excellent way to avoid flaming.

Never type in all caps. This is considered yelling or screaming online

Emoticons. Due to the lack of vocal and nonverbal clues in e-mail, we often forget that eye contact, tone of voice and body language, which we take for granted when communicating in person, is not available in the written word. Use emoticons and acronyms when necessary to convey your message. If you are joking, include a smiley face , if you are sad or upset you can use

Here are some common emoticons (tilt your head towards the left to "read" them!

"Cyber Lingo" or Internet abbreviations. The Internet is full of cryptic shorthand that makes a point, without having to spell out every word. The table below shows some common examples. Although these abbreviations are used mainly in chatrooms, you will find them also used in e-mail messages.