Writing effective email

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Writing effective email

Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 11:48:22 -0700
From: michael@GeekTimes.com (Michael 'Mickey' Sattler, San Francisco)
Subject: Requests of the assembled company

Hello all. I've really enjoyed reading your opinions and following the debates on this list. I see great diversity in your signing and computer-usage experiences, as well as mail-reading and news-reading software (judging from the headers and formatting of your messages). With your kind indulgence, I'd like to make some comments about what you type and how your ideas come across to someone on the other side of the wire.

Not all of us read your postings on a system comparable to yours. We need all the help we can get for your message to be understood (visually). So, please put a blank line between your paragraphs. It allows our eyes to "chunk" your message into units that we can "walk" down. A single block of text requires real work to march through.

At home I read your postings on a vivid high-resolution color monitor; while on a company trip I use my laptop's built-in monitor. Any help you can give me to differentiate words makes a great difference (especially considering the number of messages this list handles). So, unless your posting software absolutely won't let you, PLEASE DON'T TYPE IN UPPERCASE LETTERS. IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO READ BLOCKS OF TEXT IN THIS FORMAT. THE USUAL CLUES THE EYES HAVE REGARDING WORD-SHAPES ARE MISSING IN AN UPPERCASE WORLD. IF YOUR COMPUTER'S OPERATING SYSTEM OR POSTING SOFTWARE CAN ONLY DO UPPERCASE, YOU ARE ABSOLVED.

Uppercase is acceptable (netiquette here) only to indicate shouting. Emphasis is added *this* way, and _underlined_ words are shown thusly. Emoticons for happiness :-), sadness :-(, anger :-O, and the like help, as do emotional hints: <blush>, <giggle>, <righteous indignation>.

Spelling and grammar have long been held (netiquette again) to be above reproach. Typically we ignore people who flame or nitpick others for these types of mistakes. Of course, if you are among the profoundly spelling-impaired then perhaps you might ask for a spell-checker for the next capitalistic holiday on your calender :-)

Please understand the difference between replying personally to the poster of a particular message and replying to everyone on the list. The former is appropriate for private communication and trivial agreement, the latter is for your deep comments that you want readers all over Planet Earth to enjoy. Most software uses a lower-case 'r' for the former, an upper-case 'R' for the latter.

And I've been asked to mention those who copy many lines of a message for the sole purpose of adding "I agree." Please don't do this.

Lastly, your signatures. Netiquette has for many years helth that a four-line signature is a balance between creativity and readability. Don't worry about a five-line one if you have a profound or witty quote, but if you've got a ten-line signature (I've counted a 22-line sig!) please consider us: do we really need to know all your email addresses (give us your preferred one or two), all your voice, data, fax, and TTY numbers (one of each will more than suffice), your home and work mailing addresses, your professional and avocational credentials, ..., ad neauseum. A suggestion:

Firstname Lastname                          Your Title
  Three lines of vaguely interesting or germane information.

Following this message are some signatures I've used over the years for your perusal.

That's it. Thank you very much for reading this far, and I look forward to seeing many, many more of your postings. All the best, Michael

Michael S. Sattler         msattler@netcom.com        +1 (415) 358-3058
Digital Jungle Software    Encrypt now; ask me how.   (finger to get PGP key)
  All that's required for evil to triumph is for good {wo}men to do nothing.
Michael 'Mickey' Sattler, KE6DZF |  All that is required  |  Encrypt now; ask me how.
Digital Jungle Software |  for evil to triumph   |  Finger for PGP key.
  michael@GeekTimes.com   | is for {wo}men of good |  GCSy+n+f+g+t+d--p--c++u+
    +1.415.621.2903     |   will to do nothing.  |  e+m++s++/rhw!l
   F                              Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (msattler@wco.ftp.com)
     T                   West Coast Operations Quality Assurance Manager
       P                      +1.415.978.2213 voice, +1.415.543.9002 fax
Software, Inc.               785 Market Street, San Francisco  CA  94103
Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (msattler@wco.ftp.com) | KE6DZF
FTP Software West Coast QA Manager     | Bay to Breakers EMT/Communications
+1.415.543.9001, +1.415.543.9002 fax   | Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit (BAMRU)
785 Market St, San Francisco CA 94103  | SF Neighborhood Emergency Response Team
Michael 'Mickey' Sattler, FTP Software, West Coast QA Manager____msattler@ftp.com
  Search and rescue (Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit), radio ham (KE6DZF),
  emergency medical technician, net surfer, polyglot, owned by two cats
         "Voice-interpreted for the sign-language-impaired"
   F                                  Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (msattler@ftp.com)
     T                   West Coast Operations Quality Assurance Manager
Software, Inc.        "Voice-interpreted for the sign-language-impaired"

------------------------------------------------------------------------ Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (msattler@wco.ftp.com) FTP Software, West Coast Operations Don't try to teach a pig to sing; Quality Assurance Manager It's a waste of time & it annoys the pig.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (michael@GeekTimes.com), FTP Software, West Coast Operations Quality Assurance Manager WWW = http://www.wco.ftp.com/~msattler/ Don't try to teach a pig to sing; it's a waste of time & it annoys the pig.

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/ _/ Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (michael@GeekTimes.com) Don't try to teach _/ _/ FTP Software, West Coast Operations a pig to sing; _/ _/ Quality Assurance Manager it's a waste of time _/ _/ http://www.wco.ftp.com/~msattler/ and it annoys the pig. _/ _/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

------------------------------------------------------------------------ Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (michael@GeekTimes.com) "Oog make mission statement." FTP Software, West Coast Operations Quality Assurance Manager http://www.wco.ftp.com/~msattler/ "Little furry animals exist."

------------------------------------------------------------------------ Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (michael@GeekTimes.com) San Francisco, California

LOOKING FOR WORK: technical manager, software engineer, trouble-shooter of systems and networks everywhere, documentation writer and trainer, on the streets after the untimely death of an entire west coast development office. Extra points given for advanced technology and network access.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------+ Michael 'Mickey' Sattler (michael@GeekTimes.com) San Francisco, California | Digital Jungle Consulting Services http://www.jungle.com/michael/ | | Santa's got great surveilance for a civilian, and PGP's military-grade | encryption lets Santa hide who's been {naughty,nice} from the NSA. |

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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