Email Netiquette

E-mail Netiquette: Meaningful Subject Lines

When sending an e-mail message be sure to use a meaningful subject line, especially if you are sending a message to a listserv where hundreds of members will receive the message along with many other messages that day.

Don't send: "I have a question"

Instead send: "Question about Leash Law Ordinance"

Don't send: "Help!"

Instead send: "Need help with IT policy on Internet Usage"

E-mail Netiquette: Use Text Only

E-mail applications allow you to create and use "stationary" backgrounds and html to get fancy fonts. These extras add unnecessary size and information to an e-mail. If a recipient has his or her e-mail configured to only accept text messages, your message may not even display. If you do not know how to set your e-mail to send and receive only in text format, contact an IT professional.

E-mail Netiquette: Time Out

The great thing about e-mail is when you click the "Send" button, your message rushes across the Internet almost instantaneously to someone else's computer. The unfortunate thing about e-mail? Once your message is sent, it's gone. You cannot change your mind and take it back.

There have been many times when a click of the mouse has sent the wrong message, sometimes to many people at once. To avoid embarrassing and potentially job-threatening mistakes, take a minute before you click the "Send" button to re-read your message. Make sure what you have written cannot be easily misunderstood. RUN YOUR SPELL CHECK!

If you are sending a message in anger, take this advice one step further. Before you send the message, take five. Go get some coffee, or just walk outside for a moment. When you return, read your message again. You may want to tone down your message after a second look. Most e-mail programs let you set a delay for outgoing messages. That way, when you click "Send," the message actually goes into a queue and is sent the next time your e-mail is checked. For example, in Microsoft's Outlook, look under Tools > Options. Under the Send tab, make sure "Send messages immediately" is unchecked. This gives you a short time to stop your message from going out, in case you change your mind.

E-mail Netiquette: Attachments

Not all viruses are delivered as attachments, but many are. As a result IT departments often block certain attachments (designated by filename [.pif, .eml, and so on]. Some departments may not allow attachments at all. Whenever possible try to send messages as part of the text of a message instead of as an attached word processing file (like a Word document). Some material will not easily fit inside email text, like a PowerPoint file, and you will need to attach it.

File size matters, especially if your attachment is an Adobe Portable Document File (.pdf), a PowerPoint File (.ppt), or an image file (.gif or .jpg). Click on the images below. They will appear the same visually (height and width and resolution), but they will download differently, but one is over 3 times larger than the other! If you are involved in creating any of these file types, be sure to learn the methods for saving the files in sizes that do not compromise quality to a degree that the file content is harmed, but that will help users avoid lengthy download times.

Sample Image, 69 Kilobytes

Same Sample Image, 26 Kilobytes

E-mail Management

Unfortunately, the specific steps to filtering e-mail vary with each application and often with each version of the application. E-mail applications are extremely powerful and each new version tries to add some bell or whistle to justify the upgrade. Regardless of which e-mail application you use, the LOGIC of e-mail is the same. All e-mail routes messages into a default Inbox, all e-mail has management tools (organize in Outlook and filtering in Netscape), all e-mail allows you to send attachments, and all e-mail lets you send messages in text only formats or advanced html formats.