Email Netiquette

The first question to ask is:  Is the email for business/legal purposes or is it correspondence with friends and family?
Next question: Do all parties know each other and do they mind that their email address will be exposed to each other?
An additional question would be:  Is this a communication the recipient is expecting or is it a chain letter, joke email, a hoax, feel good email (all forms of spam)?

If this is a business or legal correspondence the guidelines of communication are closer to the non-electronic media, yet do incorporate the electronic communication enhancements.  For more on this please visit: Business email netiquette

If this is a personal communication with family or friends, the guidelines allow for additional attributes, yet still suggest netiquette will circumvent misunderstandings.  For more on this please visit: Personal email netiquette

The basic rule of etiquette in any circumstance is to have and to show consideration for the other party.  Put yourself in the place of the person who is likely to receive your communication and then proceed accordingly.  Ask yourself: “How would I feel if I received a message such as this?”  This simple act of courtesy will minimize misunderstandings, lessen the chance of offending the receiver and will lead to a successful interaction.

I) Unless the email is a business or legal email that requires all parties be visibly included,  it is considered extremely poor netiquette to include people's email addresses in the To: area as opposed to the bcc: (blind carbon copy).
  • You have exposed their email address to people who do not have permission to have their email address.
  • You have placed them in the address book of all of the other listed people.   This, in turn, makes them vulnerable to virus attacks, virus laden email and for the other parties to use them as spam resources.
  • It makes the tracking of viruses quite burdensome as one does not know who has them in their email address books.
II) Proper protocol, if you are sending the email to more than one individual, is to send the email bcc:
To view the Bcc address box:
       A) With Outlook Express:
              1) Click create mail
              2) View
              3) Check: All headers
              4) All new e-mail messages now
                  display the Bcc address box.
       B) With Outlook:
             1) Click New Mail Message.
             2) Do one of the following:
                 a) If you are using Word as your e-mail editor
                      i) Locate the Options button on the toolbar.
                     ii) click the drop-down arrow right of the Options button
                    iii) click Bcc.
                 b) If you are not using Word as your e-mail editor,
                     i) on the View menu
                    ii) click Bcc Field.
             3) All new e-mail messages now display the Bcc address box.
      C) Place all the email addresses in that bar and you have it made.
III) Check the email content before sending it.  If it is alarmist - it is probably a hoax.
IV) What is a hoax email and how do I check to see if the email I received is a hoax email? Hoax emails are email communications which contain alarmist, inaccurate information and are issued with the sole intent of frightening or misleading users.  Examples of hoaxes and more info...
Hoax debunking sites:

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Last Update: 11/04/2007 07:04:07 PM