Email Etiquette


WOW Framer
Jul 24, 2001
Buffalo, New York, USA/Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
For once I do not have a question of technique or software or hardware, but one of ethics.

I received one of those "animal lover beware of this product" type emails from a friend. I read it, evaluated it, and forwarded it to a handful of animal lovers I have in my address book.

Now I have never in the past used the Blind CC function - for crying out loud, we're talking email forwards here folks! Not state secrets!

However, one of the gals who received this took it upon herself to send a rebuttal to MY LIST!!! I only found out about it when my cousin mailed me back that he had gotten mail from a strange name and he sternly lectured me about the Bcc. I was greatly annoyed.

I put this incident down to my PITA friend, she thinks she knows everything! But I dropped the subject out of friendship.

So NOW I get an email from a different friend, one of those "Dubya said this!" kind, and on its heels, came this email from a total (to me) stranger discounting the veracity of the email and the quote.

Have any of you run into this before? Is this a commom practice (outside spammers) to email total strangers??? I find the whole business just really RUDE, INCONSIDERATE, etc.

Dare I email these offenders and say MYOB? (as opposed to FO&D!)

I realize that this world is very different than the one I grew up in, but for crying out loud - what is going on???

Steping down from the soapbox now (and using Bcc).
To me, that's what the Delete key is for.
It's scary though that some people don't realize that most of these emails were just forwarded on by someone else...

It's also another reason why I prefer forum-based discussions (Grumble) as opposed to email based (HH).

And I think you mean PETA instead of PITA.. right?

PITA - People for the Ineffectual Treatment of Animals

as opposed to

PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals

Gee Steve, I thought we were firing up some Gyro's....
:D Mar, You took the right step: Start using the BCC.

4-5 years ago many just hit forward without wiping out the previous forward people..... and now we have rampant SPAM.
Don't know it that is what caused it, but it sure made it easy.

About 3 years ago our mayor was sending out a email every week to us neighborhood activist and it was a full blanket mailing list for a city of 2.5 million people and about 130 high elected officials (govs, senators, congressmen and we're not talking their official "office" emails here) Someone got a hold of it and blind emailed a composite of the mayor and I'm assuming Anna Nicole Smith in the buff..... attached to a nasty Trojan virus....

I lost a new $1,800 computer and 20 years of writings.... and records.

Many others lost more.

That's why some seem a little testy about multi mail.

Hope this makes it more clear. Welcome to the 21st C.


PS: the mayor now BCCs. I wonder if she got cancer from multi-mailing...
I finally got so tired of people forwarding those things to me, usually with an endless chain of forwards and garbage, that I started hitting Reply All whenever I had a rebuttal. I reserve it for those cases in which the information has been proven to be false, rather than a matter of opinion. That would just incite a flamewar. I do that in hopes of discouraging mindless acceptance of this stuff and that maybe people will start thinking before forwarding these things. If it makes the sender(s) look foolish, well...maybe they deserve it.

I'm talking things like

Pet Owners Beware!!11! Swiffer is deadly!!11!!
Boycott gas on May 12th!
You get the idea.
I seldom EVER forward anything, but on the rare occasions that I do send something to more than a couple of people, I do BCC.

However I have gotten quite a good list of addresses that I've (ahem) "harvested" from others I've gotten. I used to e-mail them saying something to the effect of, "I got your address from the myriad of "forwards" that come across my desk daily. From the subject matter, it appears that you are interested in ... (whatever) and with your permission I'd like to put you on my e-mail list. If you would not like that, please let me know and I'll take you off immediately."

Then after spam became so rampant, I started e-mailing them asking them if I could put them on my e-mail list. Many times they agree to it, and I've picked up another prospect. (Didn't you just know I'd turn this into a marketing thread!?)

Back to the subject, as strongly as I believe in certain areas, I still don't forward the "send this on if you believe in ..." e-mails. I just don't think that is appropriate.

Steve- by PITA I meant Pain in the ***! LOL!

Betty - you are a Marketing Maniac!!! LOL!

Dave- The Swiffer thing was the first one I was talking about - and it was rebutted by guess who, the Manufacturer! "Of course our product is safe - we made it!" Didn't the folks who brought us Thalidomide say that?

Also: Spam is different from Forwards, yes? I mean, I have never actually gotten any of these fabled messages, I only get cute animal stuff, sappy religious stuff (and by sappy - I mean SAPPY!) and Bush-isms. Once in a while someone sends me the "chain-letter" for "5 fabuluous women" sort of thing which I delete as soon as I see those words.

I am sure the website being open to the world will garner me some real spam. Yippee.

And oif I do forward something worthy I use Bcc and I delete all headers. I got an email the other day from someone I trusted enough to open an attachment and I had to go through SIX screens of forwards to open the dumb attachment - which was really DUMB anyways!

I can't get too mad at my know-it-all friend because she sent me a copy of the mass mailing she sent out to all her friends in Buffalo with a ringing endorsement for my shop and my website.

Even PITAS can be friends!
Hah, Mar, I figured since the email was about animal lovers it had to have been PETA.. that's funny.

Last summer when I bought a new house I took a loan on my 401k to cover moving and other misc expenses.. somehow my email address got into the address book of the company that handle's our pension services, and all of a sudden I was getting confidential emails with spreadsheets of other company's employee lists, along with their SSNs!!! Apparently there was another guy who worked at the pension company named Steve and people kept accidentally CCing me instead. Scary huh?
Actually Steve, although I am INDEED an animal lover, I have found that there are not a lot of differences between PETAs and PITAS!!!

Frankenthread alert: I attended the March on Washington for Animal Rights in 1990, and I pretty much quit calling myself an animal rights activist when I saw the crowd boo Christopher Reeve off of the stage for suggesting that we could make life easier for a lot more animals by not throwing blood or paint on anyone's fur coat (because they would just get their insurance to pay for ANOTHER fur coat!).

I attended the March with friends who had adopted a elderly Golden Retriever named Sassy. Sassy was the friendliest and happiest dog - she was in her glory chasing squirrels in the parks and some people hugged her cause they missed their doggies back home - but we got yelled at like we we were running a PUPPY MILL because we had the nerve to be seen with a PUREBRED dog!

The Showtime network series called "BULLSH*T!" (*=i) did an interesting expose on that organization last year.

At first, I would "Reply All" if I got a message that was untrue. Then I changed to only do so if it was untrue and potentially damaging. Now I only reply to the sender him/herself if it's untrue and potentially damaging, and let them decide whether it's worth sending out a correction to their list.

I personally use BCC for most multi-recipient emails. I always do for business related stuff.
I recently "replied to all" when a Grumble friend inadvertently forwarded an email hoax. I included a link to a website explaining the hoax and later realized that the reply list was a very long one and included people I don't know.

It wasn't my intention to embarrass my friend, but that may have been the result.

Emails are easy to send to large groups of people, but very hard to unsend, so they require extra care and thought.