Learn the "Netiquette" of the Internet...

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on May 8, 2000


I am new to this “e-mail” thing and have heard that many new users break a lot of the rules when they first get started. Can you give me an overview of the do’s and don’ts of e-mail?



This question was answered on May 8, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

E-mail was originally created as an informal method of communication that is being abused by millions of people everyday Taking a little extra time when composing an e-mail message can make a big difference for the recipient Learn the “Netiquette” of e-mail and the cyber world will be a better place.

Over the years of receiving messages from readers and listeners, here are the most commonly broken rules:

1 TYPING THE MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS!!! This is the Internet equivalent of shouting at the person It also means I AM LAZY!!!

2 Spelling, Punctuation and capitalization – or lack there of Just as in the analog world, these basic components of communication are critical for getting your point across (i am amazid by how many messages i get that make a mokery of the engilish langage)

3 Long-winded messages – e-mail is meant to be short and sweet Get to the point, as many people get dozens, if not hundreds of messages a day.

4 Refrain from attaching large files (over 50k) to an e-mail message unless the recipient is aware that it is coming Sending a picture of “Muffy with Santa” may seem fun to you, but your recipient may not be amused when they see what a 20-minute download produces!

5 Don’t leave the subject line blank – many people will simply delete any message that has no subject line Make it short and descriptive, so the recipient can make a quick decision about the message without having to open it.

6 Read over your e-mail before you send it, especially if it is an inflammatory message E-mail is a permanent record and is being used in many legal battles (Just ask Bill Gates)

7 Use <a href="http://www.computerproblems.com/acronyms.htm"><font color="#003399">acronyms</font></a> and<a href="http://www.computerproblems.com/emoticons.htm"><font color="#003399"> emoticons :-)</font></a> sparingly They do help to make a message shorter and to the point, but can often be overused

8 Don’t believe everything that you read and don’t forward it to everyone you know! E-mail hoaxes are getting worse because of all of the gullible users that mindlessly send the message without doing any research If a message contains the line “Send this to everyone you know” it is almost always a hoax

9 Don’t repeatedly send jokes to anyone without first getting their permission I receive the same joke dozens of times from dozens of well meaning people, but it is more of a nuisance than it is worth.

10 Learn how to cut and paste items to put into a new message, instead of just forwarding the original message This will keep you from having the long list of previous addresses from appearing at the top of the message that you send.

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on May 8, 2000


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