|These phrases have become Internet clichés, but they still turn up often
enough to make it useful to know what they mean.
Here are some rules to help keep
e-mail an enjoyable experience for everyone:
1. Using ALL CAPS is said to be shouting and is therefore considered very impolite. On
the other hand all lowercase messages are called mumbling. Remember, you use lowercase
letters for most e-mail addresses and Internet searches but good writing conventions
should be observed in e-mail messages, even when in a hurry.
2. Smilies are useful to convey tone but using too many of them can be annoying.
3. It is often recommended that you lurk before you leap into a discussion.
Lurking means to hang around, read and make sure you understand
what is being discussed before joining in. This rule can often help avoid embarrassment
for all concerned.
4. When replying to an e-mail it is best not to quote the whole message sent to you.
Keep quotes brief by removing the unnecessary text from the quoted message.
5. Make sure that you do quote enough to make the answer make sense. Dont reply
with a message that just says something like I agree, Me too!
Nobody will know what you are talking about and many will be annoyed.
6. Send questions and comments to everyone on a list only if many people could be
interested in receiving it. Dont send a message like Is my e-mail
working? to 200 people when a note to one friend can serve as well. However, when
setting up a mail group you do need to test that everyone is receiving (at least once).
7. Keep it brief, if you can. Several short messages are much better than one very long
one. Teachers do not have the time to read through several pages of text.
8. Break your writing into short paragraphs. Long paragraphs are more difficult to read
on a screen.
9. Never forward or redirect a message sent to you personally to someone else without
permission from the author.
10. Dont put anything into an e-mail message that you would not want to see on
the evening news. E-mail is about as private as a Fax. It is quite possible that someone
else could read it. Also, e-mail can accidentally be re-routed to other people by
11. Spamming is considered very bad netiquette (internet etiquette). A spam is defined
as sending the same message to a very wide audience. This is not referring to a discussion
group where a few hundred people exchange e-mail and everyone gets a copy. That is normal
discussion group activity. Spamming is the practice of sending the same message to several
different discussion groups or news groups at the same time.
12. If you do get into discussion groups (and there are many excellent educational
groups available) remember to stick to the topic of the group. If the news group is called
psychology it would be inappropriate to tell them about your hobbies, unless
they are related to psychology.
13. Chain letters are forbidden on the Internet. System administrators often revoke the
Internet privileges of people who send them.
14. It is not a good idea to respond to junk e-mail. You may well wonder where they got
your e-mail address. If you check your address at the top of the page, you might be
surprised to see they dont have it. Junk mail may be sent out like a spam message.
They often say they will take you off the list if you reply asking to be removed from the
list. However, if you do reply, your address is automatically attached to the message and
then they really will have it.
15. Be sure to keep your antiviral software updated every
week and check all shared
disks and e-mail attachments before opening them. Viruses can cause serious damage to your
equipment but only if they infect your machine. E-mail messages cannot carry viruses. If
you get an e-mail message telling you about an e-mail message that will destroy your
machine, it is probably a hoax. But e-mail attachments can carry viruses. Executable files
(programs) can be infected with viruses, but the virus cannot infect your machine until
you execute the program. Word document attachments are also capable of carrying macro
viruses. These are fairly common. A macro virus turns up in one of our schools almost
every week, sometimes as often as several times a day. Macro viruses are not usually as
dangerous as infected executable files. Be aware that most viruses are spread by disks not
by e-mail. The virus gets attached to files on the disk from being inserted into an
infected machine. When the disk is inserted into another computer the virus attaches
itself to files on that machine, and so on. To be safe: download software from
reputable sites only, always check for viruses before unzipping, opening or installing
programs, and also check all shared disks before opening the files.
When in doubt, check it out at Symantec
AntiVirus Research Center.
16. Always ask your correspondents if they are willing to accept an e-mail attachment
and if their mail box can handle the size of the file before e-mailing attachments to
them. This is particularly important when e-mailing to teachers in our District who may be
automatically downloading their e-mail to a 1.4 Mb disk.
17. Try not to interrupt the e-mail while it is downloading. If you do, be aware that
the download will start over from the beginning next time you log on for e-mail. This has
been a source of great frustration for some teachers. The mail box gets plugged until
downloading the attachment is complete. In the meantime no other e-mail can be received.
E-mail attachments must download completely to clear the problem. A very large attachments
can up to an hour to download.
check your e-mail daily! The mail groups that have
been set up are great for
sharing questions and keeping up-to-date. However, email boxes have a
limited capacity. This vital and timely information
exchange only works if we check e-mail and empty the deleted messages box regularly. Dont wait until the news is
old and the mailbox has 99 messages. Your email box will bounce
messages back to the senders if you exceed your limit.
As I said, no one is in charge of the Internet, but what I did not say is that everyone
on the Internet contributes to its regulation. If we all observe these guidelines, e-mail
should be a positive, rewarding, and very useful experience for everyone.