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5 Rules for Forwarding E-mail

Forwarding of e-mails is one of the topics I get contacted about the most. And, one which also causes hurt feelings and misunderstandings more than any other topic. Daily, e-mails flow in from onliners asking about a "nice way" of telling someone they care about, relative, friend or associate to not forward attachments, chain e-mails, political commentary or the jokes that are so prevalent online.

Netizens are afraid to ask others to stop and those who are asked to stop, no matter how nicely, get offended and feel as though their thoughtfulness is not appreciated. But let's think about this a moment. How really thoughtful is it to click the forward arrow, then a bunch of e-mail addresses and hit send? Well, your brain had to "think" about those steps but does that make the effort truly "thoughtful." I don't think so...

Here are the 5 Rules of Forwarding E-mails that those who are being truly thoughtful follow. If everyone followed them all the problems associated with forwarded e-mails could be avoided. Sticking to these guidelines will assist both those thinking they are thoughtful and those who don't want to appear otherwise:

  1. Don't forward anything without editing out all the forwarding >>>>, e-mail addresses, headers and commentary from all the other forwarders. Don't make folks look amongst all the gobbly-gook to see what it is you thought was worth forwarding. If you must forward, only forward the actual "guts" or content of the e-mail that you are of the opinion is valuable.

  2. If you cannot take the time to write a personal comment at the top of your forwarded e-mail to the person you are sending to - then you shouldn't forward it at all.

  3. Think carefully about if what you are forwarding will be of value (accurate information), appreciated (something the recipient needs) or humorous (do they have the same sense of humor as you do) to the person on the other side. Or do you just think it is worthy? If you cannot think of why the person you are forwarding to would like to receive the e-mail - then don't forward it.

  4. It should go without saying that forwarding of chain letters (regardless how noble the topic may seem), virus warnings or anything that says "forward to everyone you know" simply shouldn't be forwarded because it is plain old B.S. or commentary that many will not appreciate. But I have to say it because folks do so anyway.

  5. If you must forward to more than one person, put your e-mail address in the TO: field and all the others you are sending to in the BCC field to protect their e-mail address from being published to those they do not know. This is a serious privacy issue. Again, be sure to take the time to type a nice little comment about why you are forwarding the e-mail to the recipient(s) at the top of your forward.

The above 5 rules will help qualify if an e-mail is worth forwarding and the right way to do so if it is. If one cannot make these extra efforts, then they really have no excuse to get mad or have hurt feelings when asked to stop. And if asked to stop forwarding, don't get mad; just realize the person on the other side certainly has the right to make that request.

At the end of the day, if you fear hurting someone's feelings by asking them to stop forwarding you e-mail, know they probably meant well, were really thinking of you, were trying to make a point - ahhh, just hit delete!

Submitted by:

Judith Kallos

Judith Kallos is an authoritative and good-humored Technology Muse.

Check out her popular Netiquette site @: http://www.NetManners.com





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