Monday, March 22, 2004

Netiquette Guidelines

Request For Comments: 1855 - Netiquette Guidelines was published in 1995, but it is still very relevant today. Granted, many Internet users are paying a flat rate for their bandwidth these days - taking some of the sting out of the argument that quoting whole messages costs your recipients, for example - but goodness knows a thought to brevity wouldn't hurt Internet traffic levels.

I got to thinking about this RFC after I received what I considered to be a rude e-mail at work. The subject was in uppercase, and there was no salutation or complimentary closing. Worse still, it included the question: how did you figure that one?

Now, the tone of that question makes all the difference in the world. Friends, or even acquaintances, could admonish one another easily by putting a teasing spin on it; that spin would force a leap of faith between strangers, but it could still fly, depending on the personalities involved. But take the facial expressions and tone out of the equation, and it will fall hard 9 times out of 10, in my opinion.

I had never met the woman who sent this e-mail. (I'd also done nothing wrong - she had made an incorrect assumption - but that's beside the point.) My response directed her to the proper person, but I'm wondering if I should follow it with a copy of Netiquette Guidelines... Seems like I'd be violating some other etiquette though, and that would defeat the purpose of the whole exchange, no?