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Sabanci Workshop:
Netiquette on Email

Etiquette on the Internet is called "netiquette." Here are some suggestions for netiquette on email. A good list of recommendations for netiquette on mailing lists is the Student Lists "Welcome Message to Students" message by Lonnie Turbee at

A. Be polite. While email is informal, it's still writing rather than speech. Something that you can say as a joke often doesn't sound funny in writing. Look at the following. Rank order them from most polite to least polite.

B. Have a clear subject on the Subject: line. Your message is more likely to be read and responded to that way. Which of the following would be easy to understand? Which are unclear?

C. Be discreet. It is easy to print email and to forward it to other people. Don't write anything in email that you would not want to see on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow.

D. Focus your message, and keep it short.

E. In a reply, copy just enough of the original message so that your message is understandable to the person to whom you're replying. Just saying "Yes" doesn't work -- help the reader remember what you're talking about. It's confusing if you include too much of the original message, too. Focus on the point, and delete the rest.

F. Identify yourself. It's both useful and polite to put your name at the end of your message. Some mail programs make it hard to see the email address of the sender, so it helps to put your email address at the end of the message.

G. Attachments can create problems. They don't always work correctly, and it's usually not the fault of the sender or the receiver. Viruses can also come through attachments, so people who don't know you may be cautious of an attachment you put in a message. Use them sparingly.

H. Many people on email have text-only mail programs. Don't count on using bold, italics, and color to make a point. Don't send messages in HTML format, either, for the same reason.

I. People often use punctuation and other symbols on email to add emphasis and emotion. Capital letters and *'s are used to stress information, such as in There are NO tickets left or We have *five* people waiting. Using all capital letters is considered shouting and is very rude. There are also "emoticons" that you have to look at sideways, such as

All in all, follow the basic guideline: Do not post to others what you would not want posted to you!

How well did you understand the concepts and points in this lesson? (Select the closest appropriate option from the three buttons below):

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Provide some comments about your experience in working through this exercise (e.g. it would work with my students, I don't see the point, etc.) Please be sure to give some brief explanation of your comments.

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(Thanks to Jon Dorbolo for the inspiration behind this form!)
Updated 9 September 1999 by Deborah Healey,