1. If you receive an E-mail that annoys you, draft a reply and sit on it for
twenty-four hours. Once you have calmed down, re-read the original posting
that caused so much offense, then re-read your draft reply and then re-write
it. Then read it again. Then send it. If your software does not allow you to
compose off-line, get an E-mail package that allows you to do so.
2. Correspondents come from different cultures, with different ethics,
morals, and norms of behaviour. It is probably a good idea for all of us to
try and consider what the effects of our words, without the modifiers of
body language and intonation, will be, when read by someone who has little
in common with us.
3. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have English as our first
language should be mindful of the fact that there are many who will miss the
subtleties and nuances that are obvious to Anglophones and may therefore
misinterpret or misunderstand the message.
4. When replying to an E-mail, delete those parts of the original that are
not relevant to your reply. Don't delete everything in the original - "I
agree" in isolation is meaningless.
5. Subject - please make sure that the text in the "Subject:" field reflects
the contents of your E-mail
6. Flaming - this is not permitted. If you object to what someone says and
are unable to respond in a civil manner, then don't respond at all, or, if
you really must, don't be upset when the recipient retaliates.
7. Spamming - using E-mail to advertise - again, don't do it. Obviously
there is a fine line between drawing someone's' attention to a product you
think might interest them and trying to sell them a product. If you discover
such a product, let people know the URL or snail mail address of the
business that sells it.
8. Emoticons - these can be used to great effect to substitute for real body
language. Here's a list:
:-) smiley face/happy
:-> devilish grin
:-D shock or surprise
:-P wry smile
:-! foot in mouth
d:-) baseball smiley
9. Acronyms - These can be used to great effect as long as everyone knows
the code to break them:
BCNU Be seeing you
BTW By the way
FWIW For what it's worth
FAQ Frequently asked questions
F2F Face to face
FYI For your information
IMHO In my humble opinion
IRL In real life
OBO Or best offer
ONO Or nearest offer
ROTFL Rolling on the floor laughing
TNSTAAFL There's no such thing as a free lunch
TTFN Ta ta for now
TTYL Talk to you later
10. Try not be too dogmatic. "You are wrong!" will upset the recipient. "I
don't think this is right." or "Are you sure that..." is far softer and less
likely to offend.
11. Avoid the use of racial, religious, sexual, or cultural stereotypes
12. Avoid the use of swear words.
13. Attachments - remember that most people have to pay to download their
e-mail. A large bitmap as an attachment will cost them money. Attachments on
the lists are generally not allowed through. There are exceptions - certain
MIME-type E-mail messages get sent as attachments - or not.
14. Shouting - NOT ALLOWED!
15. Emphasis - can be done in one of two ways, through asterisks.
(*Emphasis*) Alternatively, use underlining _such as this_. DO NOT USE ALL
CAPITAL OR UPPERCASE LETTERS. This is shouting and is frowned upon.