quoted from 
NYTimes Circuits
3/23/2000

To the Editor: 

The review of the Wired language manual reminded me of my own Ten Commandments for e-mail communications. If you follow them, your friends will remain your friends and will not put your e-mail address in their spam filters. Here they are: 
 

  • First Commandment: I shall not forward. Think twice before you forward jokes sent through e-mail to your list of 50 current and former friends. The same applies to virus warnings, urban legend stories of Congress's plan to tax the Internet, miracle cures, etc. Do not spread the nonsense. 

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  • Second Commandment: I shall use Bcc when writing to multiple recipients. If you use the Bcc option instead of the default To option, each recipient will see only his or her name at the top of the message. 

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  • Third Commandment: I shall always put a subject in my e-mail message. E-mail arriving with an empty subject field is annoying. 

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  • Fourth Commandment: I shall not write in all-uppercase letters. Using words or sentences in uppercase in e-mail is equivalent to swearing. 
  • Fifth Commandment: I shall not e-mail large files. Not all of us have cable or D.S.L. connections. 

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  • Sixth Commandment: I shall not use the MIME option in my e-mail program. That option makes it difficult for people with certain browsers to read incoming e-mail. 

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  • Seventh Commandment: I shall not quote messages indiscriminately when sending replies. If you quote messages in full while sending a series of e-mail messages back and forth to a friend, after a while you have a 10-page e-mail message, showing the complete history of your correspondence.

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  • Eighth Commandment: I shall not respond to ALL recipients. If you get a mass mailing, make sure that a reply does not go to all 75 recipients unless you want to make 74 enemies.

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  • Ninth Commandment: I shall try not to annoy the recipients of my e-mail. If someone has some medical or financial problem, do not offer tons of irrelevant advice. 

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  • Tenth Commandment: I shall think before I click the Send button. Take care of the e-mail mechanics listed in the previous paragraphs, run the spell checker, watch your grammar and style, and then click Send. 


CASS LEWART  Holmdel, N.J.