Technology - Email Netiquette | Print |

Some general email etiquette guidelines to keep in mind when using email.


Always include a subject line with your messages. This helps both you and your recipient. When your recipients have inboxes full of messages, they are going to make the decision about which messages to read and answer based on who sent the message and what the subject is. Sending out email messages without a subject line shows a lack of concern for your recipients valuable and limited amount of time.


Check and double check the address before you hit send. In addressing email, spelling counts. If you are unsure of a users email address, please - take the time to check it before you hit the send button.
DUSD's server-side email groups are for internal use only! Never, ever, under any circumstances give out any of our server-side email group addresses to anyone outside of the district. No matter how well intentioned you may be, this is one of the worst things you could do. Imagine the ramifications of having one of our group addresses sold to multiple email lists. This could absolutely choke our email system. Additionally, several times lately, people outside our system have used our server-side groups to send unsolicited email to all DUSD account holders. No one outside our system should be using our server-side groups. Please don't encourage or facilitate this practice.


Use server-side email groups only when appropriate. Do the additional people really want or need to see this message? Will everyone know the context for this message? If you can't answer "yes" to these questions, you probably shouldn't send it to the larger group. Other people are seldom interested in email "chat" between two parties. Often, users will use DUSD's server-side email groups because they are lazy and over target their intended audience. Complaints from frustrated DUSD account holders are commonplace stating that they received email message via a server-side group that they shouldn't have received. Make sure that you use server-side email groups intelligently. If no server-side group accurately reflects your intended audience, use individual addresses. Yes, this takes more time, but as the sender, you have the responsibility to accurately target your messages.


Don't send replies to "all recipients" unless there is a very specific need for everyone to receive the message. It wastes disk space, clutters up inboxes and can be annoying. Sending a reply to "all recipients" from a mailing to a server-side email group is not recommended as your reply will then hit all DUSD account holders!


Treat email confidentially. If somebody sends you information or ideas by email, you should not take it as a license to post that information in a public forum (forwarded on to another person, discussion group, USENET newsgroup, chat site, etc.) Email is one-to-one for a reason: it is often used for personal communication. Unless you are explicitly told otherwise, always assume that email you receive has a big "PRIVATE" sticker on it, and don't spread it around.


Don't expect an immediate response from an email you send. Users tend to think that because sending email is so fast and easy, that they should have a response to their question within minutes. In actuality, many of our account holders are teaching students and may only check their email a couple of times each day. Allow a least a day for a reply. It would be a bad thing to send a email about an 3:00 p.m. meeting at 1:00 p.m. and expect that all recipients would have read the message by then. On the other hand, be sure to read and reply to email messages in a prompt manner


Never send attachments unless there is an important reason for your recipients to view a formatted document. If you are simply sending information, include it within the text of an email message, don't send it as an attachment. Attachments cause problems in several ways; first, because we are a cross platform district, chances are your email client software will encode the message in a way that other people's email software can't decode. On top of that, different versions of compression software are often unable to open their own flavor of compression. Next, it is really a pain to have to open an attachment with another program just to read information. Further compounding the problem is the different programs, with different versions of the software, in use within the district. There is no single type of file, except for PDF files, that everyone can open. Don't send information as an attachment unless there is a very good reason to do so.


Quote the text from the incoming message in a reply. Hours, days, or even weeks can pass between the time a message is sent and a reply received. In that time, people can easily forget what they asked. On the other hand, don't quote text in a reply that is unnecessary. Experienced userss laugh when reading a reply that has their own signature quoted. Basically, it shows that the sender is lazy and didn't take the time to clean up their reply.


NEVER WRITE IN ALL CAPS. Text in all caps is considered screaming by savvy email users. It's okay to use for emphasis in rare instances of passion, but not for entire messages. An alternative is to put an underscore or asterisk before and after the text you wish to _emphasize_. Even if all caps wasn't considered screaming, it's simply harder, and therefore tiresome, to read.
Never create or forward "chain-letter" email. There is nothing funny, cute, or redeeming about this practice. Advice here is a single word; Don't!


Never submit another user's email address to a web site. You are potentially signing them up to receive unsolicited email (aka SPAM). Your intentions may be good, but if you sign up someone to get email, their address can be sold to other companies that further sell their lists and soon they are receiving more junk email than real email. There is nothing that can be done to fix this once it takes place.


Never send email when you are angry. Once you send an email message you can never get it back. Even the DUSD PostMaster can't get it back for you! Recipients can read and reread your message countless times developing their own anger. While writing down your thoughts when you are angry can be therapeutic, sending those thoughts to the object of your anger can be disastrous. A hint on this - if you do want to vent by writing an angry email message, be sure not to address the message so that it doesn't accidentally get sent. When in doubt, save your message overnight and reread it in the light of the dawn. Basically, work out problems face to face, not with email.


Be cautious when using sarcasm and humor. Without facial expressions and tone of voice, they do not translate easily through email. At times, it can be very difficult to determine a sender’s demeanor from the text of their email. Always remember that text is unable to inherit tone, and you, the sender, need to do something in your message to identify your attitude. This is often done with smiles, such as :) or :-).


Write well. Use mixed case and capitals at the beginning of sentences, proper punctuation, etc. It is simply easier to read. Do not sacrifice spelling for speed. This may be acceptable in chat rooms, but there is no excuse in email.


Don't send out computer virus warnings or other potentially inflammatory messages to DUSD account holders. This is the equivalent to shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Please run any of these kinds of concerns past the District Technology Coordinator and if it is a legitimate issue, he'll forward it out to the rest of the staff. Most virus warning email messages are actually hoaxes that tend to be recirculated, sometimes with minor variations, on a regular basis. A dead give-away that a virus warning is a hoax is when the message tells you to send a copy of the warning to everyone you know. Additionally, several "pass it on to everyone you know" advocacy email messages concerning everything from Disney to emailing dying children to Microsoft to Internet usage and more, are being recirculated on a regular basis, too. Don't fall victim to these silly scams. Often they appeal to the heart, but that's just another ploy used to make them seem real. There are several excellent web sites to check the validity of virus warnings and other hoaxes:

  • http://HoaxBusters.ciac.org
  • http://www.vmyths.com
  • http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html


Remember that your email address reflects your association with Denair Unified School District. Even if you don't attach a signature to an email message, your return address shows that you are a member of DUSD's staff. Please make sure that if your email address is posted on a listserve, a newsgroup or on a web site, that it is is appropriate for association with a K-12 school district. Having your DUSD email address posted on the Budweiser web site would send a bad message...