The Internet is not a commercial service. It is a cooperative community of over 20 million interconnected computer users. When you log-on you become a member of this community, and to remain a member in good standing you should follow the following rules of ``Netiquette''.
The new users newsgroup proivides additional information for news beginners.
Most people on the network receive mail on almost every subject imaginable, as such it is very easy to forget the thread of the conversation you are about to send.
It is normal to reply AFTER the section you are refering to, generally indented which some character sequence. the result is that your reply is often interleaved with the original message, as the `context' changes, creating a sort of multiplexed conversation. It also ensures you reply to everything and do not miss anything important.
Forwarded mail is different as the person recieving will not have seen it before. In such a case it more common to provide a introduction to the forwarded mail, then wrap the forward with begin/end lines without indenting, but keeping the date, from, to and subject lines from the original message.
The subject heading makes it obvious what the content is about; and makes it easier to find again. Do not just use a subject like ``Question'' or ``help''.
Reply to the subject only if your reply is about that subject change the subject if it is warranted. Also be careful to reply to the actual person concerned and not to multiple recipients who may not want their mail boxes bombarded.
It is proper etiquette to edit out all unnecessary include verbiage so readers don't have to wade through the morass to read your pearls of wisdom.
This is the case regardless of if you are repling or forwarding! In particular reduce/delete any mail headers your mail client may have included. Large sections can be replaced ellipsis "..." to denote deleted text which is not relevant or required anymore.
Since the text messages are read on a computer screen, people often like to keep messages, paragraphs and sentences short, with blank lines between paragraphs. However, text does not provide the same communication hints as a voice or face to face communication. So...And always remember that the recipient of your e-mail is a human being. Please treat other people the way you prefer to be treated.
Text completely in uppercase is hard to read and understand and is the electronic equivalent of shouting. Most people find too much of this objectionable (as in a real conversation).
This is usually done through a signature, but when contacting someone who doesn't know who you are, it is a good idea to do this at the start of your message too. This allows the receiver to figure out the correct context.
Signatures are very useful in providing contact information, but keep them short. Some people have to pay for their e-mail, others are blind using a vox box to hear you mail, and others are just annoyed to recieve a email with a longer signature than the message.
Read your mail and dispose of it.
kept mail = disk space = moneyIf you must keep some mail messages you are better off keeping it in a `mail folder' somewhere in your home directory. Ask for help if you don't know how to do this.
Mass distribution of any message via email, or use of the network for commercial advertising in an unsolicited or intrusive manner usally results in thousands of ``flaming'' E-mail messages telling you what an inconsiderate idiot you are.
Distribution of messages to a large audience is viable and preferred through the network news system.
`` Be strict in what you send, and forgiving in what you recieve. ''
-- Mr Protocol, Sun Expert, March 1996.