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E-Mail (was Re: Where are we?)



Everything that follows here, below, is a copied message (from two years
ago!) from that webdesign list I mentioned, straight out of the list
administrator's mouth, regarding good e-mail practices. I didn't "forward"
it in the usual style but just copied it, so as to avoid all those extra
>-marks (and make it easier for y'all to read). Oh, and I've changed all
names to "[anonymous]" in order to protect the innocent (since I haven't
gone to the trouble to ask for permission to forward this very worthwhile
message).

Ron ;)

***********************************************

At 04:17 PM 8/28/97 -0700, [anonymous] graced us with:
>
> Would it be too obnoxious to remind list members once again that they
> should perhaps not quote entire messages when replying?

[anonymous] is right. The original bandwidth issues which led the original
users of email and Usenet to develop style and content guidelines are
somewhat less important now. However, the fact that so many more people
are using the Net these days makes it even more important to use a little
restraint when composing or replying to email. Why? Because we are all
being bombarded with more and more information every day. The clearer
the information, the better it is for all of us.

I've unsubscribed from lists where the admin used lousy email style,
or where the informative blurb at the end of each post was eighty lines
long. I try to set a good example, if a long-winded one ;-)

For me, it's just a matter of good style. But it also brings up questions
of respect, necessity, attentiveness, usefulness, and even how you will
be received and judged by your peers. There are dozens of good tutorials
for those of us who need to remind ourselves of some of the basic tenets
of email style. Here's a favorite of mine:

 http://www.webfoot.com/advice/email.top.html

The only thing I would add is that "whitespace is free". There's no real
reason why you can't put a blank line between a quoted question or comment
and your contribution. It helps clarify who is speaking. Oh, and the
thing about using lots of punctuation!!!!!!! That annoys almost every
sane person I've ever met. ;-)

Pick your poison, use whatever style you want. But be aware that others
may find it hard to follow your style, or may even be so annoyed that
they don't bother to read your posts. I have a few simple rules I try to
follow when using email, and I expect the members of this list to also
follow them where possible. If your mailreader won't let you use email
in a manner which respects the entire community, use another or do your
best. Most of the more annoying mailers can be configured to act like
real mailers. Here's the list.

 1) try not to exceed 72 characters per line. any more than that and
    some mailers will wrap the text for you, giving you something like
    the following. It's even worse when someone tries to respond and
    quote your message.

<example>
so anyway as I was saying the other day lorem ipsum and so on but really it
was a
matter of not paying attention or having a poorly configured mail reader
which
makes it really hard for others to read my posts.
</example>

    Also, if you tend to just type and type and type, make sure that
    your mailreader is wrapping your text for you. Otherwise, the reply
    will look like this (note the single quote char at the beginning):

<example>
>so anyway as I was saying the other day lorem ipsum and so on but really it
was a matter of not paying attention or having a poorly configured mail reader
which makes it really hard for others to read my posts.
</example>

    ...unless the person who replies to your post takes the time to
    go through and add hard returns and quote characters, which I will
    do from time to time. Sometimes I just delete the message.

<example>
> so anyway as I was saying the other day lorem ipsum and so on
> but really it was a matter of not paying attention or having a
> poorly configured mail reader which makes it really hard for
> others to read my posts.

Boy, you can say *that* again! ;-)
</example>

 2) use courier or some other monospace font. you may think it is ugly,
    but it lets you see how the other 90% of the Net is reading their
    mail, and besides, you can use monospaced ASCII for fun ASCII art.

 3) no rich text, HTML email, WINMAIL.DAT, busscrd.vcf, or overly long
    .signature files. Bill Phillips has the longest .sig I want to see.
    ;-) Some lists say four lines. I start to cringe at six. I've had
    quotes I wanted to share that were just too long for four lines,
    but I try not to go beyond five.

 4) prune messages down when quoting. There's nothing more annoying
    than a message which not only quotes all of the previous messages
    in the thread, but even contains the .sigs of everyone who posted.
    Only send as much info as is required by context. They're threads.
    Many people have been following along, so you don't need to send
    the whole thing, just relevant passages.

 5) one thing I learned the hard way was not to try being clever when
    choosing a quote character. I was using a guillemot for a quote
    character (sort of like a smaller ">>") and some mailers could not
    display it, making my replies completely illegible. Stick to 7-bit
    ASCII. If you don't know what this is, ask.

 6) i have few preferences with regard to punctuation and caps as long
    as the LETTERS ARENT ALL CAPITALIZED. Your clients, business partners,
    colleagues and so forth, however, may think you're a hick if you
    don't try to present yourself in a professional manner. It's up to
    you. Just don't be surprised. It's like wearing a tie for a job
    interview. And I'll stop now before I start to sound like my Mom.

Oh, and try not to go on forever. If you have a tendency to babble,
start your own list and invite the people who like to listen to you
babble. That's how this list was started, after all. ;-)

[anonymous] the Babbling List Admin

Digital Art: like, Beat, y'dig?-> http://www.psymon.com/art/
A Letter To An Imaginary Friend-> http://www.psymon.com/letter/
Sterling Moon Specialty Coffees-> http://www.sterlingmoon.com


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