Good email manners

By | April 18, 2011
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We’ve had hundreds of readers send pet peeves. Do you know what most of them are? They’re about email. Yes, about junky forwards, forwards with everyone else’s address showing up in the cc: field, etc.

We started thinking that perhaps many people really don’t know what good email etiquette is, so here are a few (there are more) rules of etiquette to guide you. We’re sure there are more; maybe you can think of some to add.


  • Do not send messages without a subject line
  • Do not send a 2nd email to complain “the first” was not answered quick enough; keep in mind some people are not on their computers every day
  • Do not click reply to an old message and talk about something completely different from the subject line
  • When responding to a message leave the original message intact
  • Do not include oversized attachments in email; try to keep them below 500 kb, or send an email to the recipient and warn them you have a large file ready to be sent
  • Do not send exe files in email; many email services will block the email
  • Never pass on warnings or other alerts by email that say “send to all your friends”. The majority of them are hoaxes.
  • Do not use “Spam Challenge” emails and expect people to prove themselves, especially to a company since most companies would not be able to do this. And, spammers could send these same mails and fool people into “proving” they exist for nefarious reasons.
  • Do not use “vacation responders”. Your close friends will know if you are gone; everyone else can wait until you get home. If you really need to access email use a web mail account like Gmail you can access from anywhere
  • Do not use or expect others to allow “read receipts”. If someone wants you to know your mail has been read, they will respond to you .
  • Don’t send mails with cc’s of all your friends; be sure you use bcc.
  • Don’t assume because you have a high-speed connection that everyone else does too. There are still many people using dial-up. Nothing is more irritating to those folks than receiving an embedded video they can’t watch, or a huge embedded image that takes them fifteen or twenty minutes to download.

3 thoughts on “Good email manners

  1. MaryAnn Larson

    In addition to the above, some people still don’t know that emails DON’T automatically come with carets or blue lines on the left; that they can remove them.

  2. Jann Muhlhauser

    one of my biggest pet peeves is when folks insist on posting ‘one liners’ to a busy list saying ‘thank you’ or ‘me, too!’, that kind of email. when a list averages over 1,000 emails a month, those one liners really suck, especially to those on digest who have to wade thru them all.

    ok. i feel better now. LOL

  3. Mike

    My biggest complaint is those people who can’t be bothered to write to me and consign me to the “undisclosed recipients” list. They seem to think that sending endless chain emails promising me good luck and miracles is an acceptable way of keeping in touch. If I’m not worth the effort I’d rather they just took me off their address list altogether.


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