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E-MAIL NETIQUETTE GUIDELINES

Along with the growing popularity of the Internet, electronic mail is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for business and personal communication. It is not uncommon for the typical e-mail user in a business environment to receive more than 20 e-mail messages a day. Many users are unfamiliar with the network etiquette, commonly called netiquette, which keeps this form of communication both effective and efficient. Following are some helpful netiquette tips and recommended practices.
Additional tips can be found at:
http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/htbin/rfc/rfc1855.html

  • A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. Messages should be concise and to the point. You should not send heated messages (often called "flames") even if you are provoked.
  • Mail should have a subject heading that reflects the content of the message.
  • In general, it's a good idea to check all your mail subjects before responding to a message. Sometimes a person who asks you for help (or clarification) will send another message which effectively says "Never Mind". Also make sure that any message you respond to was directed to you. You might be copied (cc) rather than the primary recipient.
  • Limit ccs to those with a need to know. Watch cc's when replying. Don't continue to include people if the messages have become a two-way conversation.
  • Make things easy for the recipient. Many mailers strip header information that includes your return address. In order to ensure that people know who you are, be sure to include a line or two at the end of your message with contact information (often referred to as a signature file).
  • Remember to use the Enter/Return key to keep the number of characters per line below 80. The recipients of your message then need only to scroll up and down - not left to right - to read the text.
  • Forgery and spoofing (impersonating someone else) are not approved behavior.
  • Be careful when addressing mail. There are addresses that may go to a group although the address appears like it is just one person. Know to whom you are sending.
  • Know whom to contact for help. Check locally for people who can help you with software and system problems. Also, know whom to go to if you receive anything questionable or illegal.
  • Remember that the recipient is a human being whose culture, language, and humor have different points of reference from your own. Remember that date formats, measurements, and idioms may not travel well. Be especially careful with sarcasm.
  • Delivery receipts, non-delivery notices, and vacation programs are neither totally standardized nor totally reliable across the range of systems connected to Internet mail. They are invasive when sent to mailing lists, and some people consider delivery receipts an invasion of privacy. Be very careful if you use them.
  • Save the subscription messages for any lists that you join. These usually tell you how to unsubscribe as well.
  • Don't send large files to mailing lists when Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) or pointers to ftp-able versions will do. If you want to send it as multiple files, be sure to follow the culture of the group. If you dont know what that is, ask.