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Readers Respond: What Email Etiquette Hint Do You Wish Others Would Follow?

Responses: 193


Don't share personal messages

Throughout my husband's illness I regularly emailed his large group of friends with updates. These emails were carefully worded to, first a close group of friends, then adapted for the next 'layer' of friends and finally for our general friends who did care but didn't need the more detailed report. I worded and chose carefully. One friend from within our close group of friends repeatedly sent my personal message off to everyone in HIS address book whom he thought 'might' like to have the update. It was a long while before this got back to me and after that I took him off our list entirely. I really did feel betrayed.
—Guest freda

Reply to All…

"reply to all"… emails originating with a large group, regarding an event, for example. Recipient hits "reply to all" letting 150 people know that he won't be attending because of some personal reason which no one else cares about or should know about.
—Guest freda

Large Attachments

I agree with almost all of the above, but one I did not see was stop sending huge file attachments - usually photos. If you are sending photos larger than 150kb, then upload them to one of the bazillion free photo hosting sites and send me the link!
—Guest Clair

Changing Subject w/o Changing Subj. Line

A co-worker who is too lazy to type in the subject line will simply forward me an older email, but about a new subject totally unrelated to the previous email. This makes me think I have already read the email and delete it when it may be about a totally new project on which we need to work!
—Guest Juan Ton

Spelling and informative subject lines

There are several, but most people don't check their spelling and punctuation before hitting the "Send" button! It drives me nuts! Just about as annoying is when e-mailers keep using the same "Subject:" line, even though the CONTENT of the message has changed, and they include all the previous, irrelevant messages! Grrr!
—Guest Karl K

Forwarded Email

If it's worth forwarding, it's worth cleaning up. Please take out all the old message headers, signatures etc. Otherwise just keep it to yourself.

All those >

Bad enough that people I know only slightly feel free to pelt me with inane jokes, dirty unfunny stories and, worst of all, sentimental "send this to 53 friends" and "Love your Mom" and "Wow, see these great photos of kittens" messages, but also these forwarded messages contain pages of unknown names and > symbols, and, oh yes, very often the interpolated comments are full of errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. If only the Wish Fairy could make everyone (not just emailers) understand that grammar, spelling and punctuation are there for the very good reason that they make miscommunication less likely ... as in "EATS SHOOTS AND LEAVES". Regards to all from Limey Di of the Grammar Police.
—Guest LimeyDi

What irks me about email etiquette

My, where do I begin... Like so many others, the spell checker should not be a possibility, but a necessity. Also, please, if you have to forward me some nonsense, can you please erase the first 20 FW's in the subject line and leave just one, again, if you must send it in the first place. Last, don't assume I know the following: who you are, what your email address is, or what those acronyms mean, LMFAO... [a slightly more emphatic and expletive form of "LOL", which in turn means "laughing out loud"] And of course, for the love of God, PLEASE DON'T SHOUT AT ME!!
—Guest Annie B

Message in Subject line

When you send a message that is only in the subject line — that is fine — just include the acronym "EOM" for "end of message". Saves from opening up really short EMs.
—Guest Rhiadain

Life is enjoyable without it!

[It bothers me] when people believe that life is not enjoyable without the use of a computer! C'mon, you really need to get out more often.
—Guest Baby Face

Oh my god, so annoying

It's just plain awful to have people use OMG, or BTY or LMFAO or any of the others when writing to me via email. There is no need for it and we aren't teenagers texting each other during class either. JUST AS BAD, POSSIBLY WORSE IS THE USE OF ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, a personal pet peeve since 1995, when will people ever learn?

Emails without Name of Company

People who send emails for a company but only include their name and no company info. Company name should be in their email address or show with their name. More time is wasted trying to find out who "Joe" is and what company he works for.
—Guest J Iriana


Why didn't you mention using BCC when sending to multiple addresses? Clean up old stuff.
—Guest cspiva

Do you know what "your" means?

Too many people use "your" when they mean "you're". "You're" is the contraction for "you are". I am amazed at the number of people who use "your" instead of "you're". No matter how well written the rest of the email may be, when I see "your" used incorrectly, I automatically deduct 10 points from the writer's IQ.
—Guest Karen W

Polarizing sign-offs and tags

People who sign off each post with religious references that infer they think their values are higher than others are passive aggressive and bring a polarizing element to any list. Inevitably cliques of people who are of the same faith (or extreme political position) form, even on lists that are about some universal hobby, and periodically they cause trouble. I've left groups when this behavior was not well contained. I'm about to start a group for my family and am looking for a way to word the rules to forbid that sort of tagging, because I want everyone to feel equally welcome.
—Guest Poupon

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