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A common sense guide to the Internet...

General Discussion

  • Personal communications on the Internet should be polite, not abusive or harassing.
  • Remember, email is not face-to-face communication, so you cannot control when your message is read or respond to the mood of the recipient at the time they receive it. Carefully consider your remarks and how they may be interpreted by the reader.
  • Sarcasm should be used very carefully, because with email there are no non-verbal queues such as voice inflection and body language which can help prevent misinterpretation.
  • In addition, you may not personally know your audience. This is particularly true when posting comments to discussion lists and newsgroups. To help add the many nuances of the spoken word to written text, emoticons or smileys can be used.
  • Keep line length to a maximum of 60-70 characters so that your text can be displayed on most terminals.
  • Insert line breaks (i.e. carriage returns) so that your messages and postings are not one long continuous paragraph. This makes it easier for recipients to read!
  • When writing text, use mixed case. MESSAGES COMPOSED SOLELY IN UPPERCASE ARE HARSH and give the impression that you are shouting.
  • Don't use specialised formatting such as bold or italics. If you want to emphasize a particular portion of text, use uppercase or *delineate the text* using an asterisk* , or an underscore_.
  • Always *read* your message before you send it. Make sure you have addressed your message correctly.
  • When composing email and postings to discussion groups and newsgroups, always fully describe the subject of the message. With the volume of electronic traffic on the Internet, many users will not pause to read mail or postings which do not clearly indicate the topic.
  • When sending email messages, include your name and preferred email address in your signature.
  • Electronic mail is not secure. Consider, therefore, what you are writing and to whom. If the message should remain private, it is best not to use email or encrypt it.
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