Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Posts tagged ‘Email’

Email Etiquette

Email is NOT new. Email as we know it has been around for at least 25 years. If email were a person, (s)he would be well past drinking age and probably married with kids by now.

I apologize if you’re the choir and I’m preaching, but I need to get this out of my system.  (In my defense, I lasted almost a year and a half longer than John at Taste of Tech before blogging this.  He has particular problems with #7 and #9 ).

DEBBIE’S TOP 10 EMAIL DO’S AND DON’TS

1.  DON’T forward ANY email that says, “Forward this to all your friends.”  Ever. Period.  You know the old question, “If you friends all jumped off a bridge…”  Expect a terse email back if you send these types of emails regularly to me.

2.  DON’T forward every “funny” email you receive, and especially don’t forward them to me.  I’ve probably already seen them.  MAYBE send me the occasional REALLY GOOD ONE if you truly think I’d enjoy it.  Only my dad can get away with sending every dumb email “joke” email he gets – and even HE is going to get reprimanded one of these days!

3.  DO use the “bcc” – blind carbon copy – line and not the “to” line if you insist on forwarding the types of emails listed in #1 and #2.  If you don’t use BCC, you have just potentially sent my email address to thousands of people without my permission.  That makes me grumpy.

4.  DO check SNOPES.COM before sending me a “warning” you received via email.  I know you are well-intentioned, but the thing against which you are warning me is most likely bogus, wrong, or outdated.

5.  DON’T send an email that says only, “Thanks.”  And especially don’t “reply all” with a “thanks” email!

6.  DON’T TYPE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS.  IT MAKES YOU SEEM LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING AND IT IS RUDE!

7.  DO use “Reply All” if you answer via email a question I emailed you with other people copied in.  Otherwise, I just have to forward your message to the other people, which wastes my time.

8.  DON’T click on any links in email.  Copy the link location and paste it into your browser.  Just because your friend sent the email to you doesn’t mean your friend checked it for viruses OR didn’t pick up a virus from another “friend.”

9.  DON’T send an email with a blank subject line.  It only takes a few seconds to title your email.  If it’s important enough to send, it’s important enough to title.  I know people who won’t answer or even acknowledge emails with blank subject lines.

10. DO keep all emails you send for at least a year, if not longer, and DO create a folder filing system for your incoming emails.  It’s simple, it’s fast, and it saves me from having to re-send something you should already have.

So there you go.  I feel so much better!

Before I posted this, I did an informal survey of my Plurk friends.  Their most annoying pet peeves were #1, #2, and #9.  It’s nice to know I am not alone!

So do me a favor and email the link to this blog post to anyone you know who is still email illiterate.  And if a friend sent you to this blog post, don’t be mad, be grateful!  For every one friend who tells you that you are annoying, there are probably 10 who are thinking it and letting you stay that way.

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Thanks for the Memo

In general, public libraries are awesome and my local one – the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library – is no exception. They have an entire floor for children which is always attractively and imaginatively decorated. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable. They even go so far as to pack travel bags of books for you to take on vacation!

The only area I’ve found them lacking is in their collection of business books, but they are always willing to obtain what I need via inter-library loan, so even that “problem” is easily solved.
As good as they are, when I received the following email today, I had a good laugh at their expense. Do you think the people attending this class really got the message? Remember, I received this message via EMAIL!

—– Original Message —–
From: SMFPL Newsletter
To: dschink@neo.rr.com

Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 1:46 PM

Subject: Library E-News Flash

The “How to Use E-Mail” class scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 29 at Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library has been cancelled [sic].

Learn the “Hoax Ropes” at Snopes

I love SNOPES.COM. It is, in my opinion, the #1 site on the internet for debunking myths, hoaxes, and urban legends. Heard of a supposedly new computer virus making the rounds? It might actually be a hoax circulating since 1990. How about that poor sick kid who’s collecting postcards to set a world record? He might be 45 years old and healthy by now – but odds are that Snopes can give you the scoop. Yes, Snopes has got to be one of my top 3 favorite websites!

It took some time, but with the help of Snopes, I have eliminated 95% of the incoming junk emails that used to be forwarded to me by well-intentioned but misguided and gullible friends and family.

Now, I admit that I myself used to be one of the gullible. I used to fall for some of the more believable hoaxes and urban legends. But in this age of rampant internet mis-information, I soon learned to check Snopes to verify the veracity and accuracy of these nuggets of wisdom appearing in my in-box.

Having been set free by the light of truth, I started feeling sorry – really embarrassed – for the myriad people still falling prey to their friends’ well-meaning warnings. I started to educate my friends and family about the resource that is Snopes. I asked them NOT to forward me messages unless they had first been researched through Snopes. Although it took a while and some borderline rudeness to let them know I was serious (Mom – if you don’t stop sending me that junk, I will stop reading ANY of your messages!), they eventually got the message…and I stopped getting the messages!

Now, every so often, I’ll get the odd message from someone who doesn’t know about my short hoax fuse. Newer acquaintances are given the benefit of the doubt and privately requested via email NOT to forward me messages offering to grant my wish if I will just “forward this email to 100 other people in 5 seconds” or messages asking me to “please send this on to everyone else you know.”

Those “friends” who insist on spreading fictitious urban legends as truth start seeing a “reply all” from me that looks something like this:

“Thank you for your concern for me. Here is some accurate information from SNOPES.COM on [insert your favorite emailed urban legend here]. I am working hard to help my friends and family become informed information consumers. I feel that it is important for people to be able to distinguish between truth and fiction and not to circulate urban legends and myths as truth.”

I usually continue: “In the future, please research these types of email on Snopes.com or another trusted and reliable source before forwarding. A good rule of thumb is that any message that tells you to “forward to everyone” should automatically be suspected as a hoax and researched thoroughly before being forwarded on to anyone. I hope this information is useful to you.”

This usually does the trick to stop the unwanted emails, and if it doesn’t, my “reply all” messages get a little more pointed until they remove me from their lists.

Snopes is also useful for researching totally benign stories that you might not otherwise expect to find there. Today, for example, I received a funny story via email, which I will reproduce for you below because it gave me a good laugh! Tonight, I got curious about whether the story was really true, so I went – where else? – to Snopes. Sure enough, there was a blurb about the story and some history. I’ve included the Snopes link below the story so you can check it out for yourself.

If you are a forwarder of hoax emails, do yourself and your friends a favor and bookmark Snopes.com. Better yet, take a minute to be skeptical of what you receive via email and check it out on Snopes before forwarding. Believe me, your friends and family will thank you.

So is the story below real, or a hoax?  Find out yourself by going to Snopes!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hell Figured Out

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so “profound” that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Here is the professor’s “Bonus Question”: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle`s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let`s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle`s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, “it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you”, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore,extinct…leaving only Heaven . . . thereby proving the existence of a divine being . . . which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting “Oh my God.”

THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY “A”

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