Technology Services HelpDesk

General E-Mail Guidelines


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What are general guidelines for using my E-mail properly?

It is your responsibility to...

  • Check E-mail daily and remain within your limited disk quota.
  • Delete unwanted messages immediately since they take up disk storage.
  • Keep messages remaining in your electronic mailbox to a minimum.
  • Download or extract files to diskette for future reference.

General reminders

  • You are responsible for any use of your Hendrix e-mail account.
  • Never give your password to another person.
  • Never assume your email messages are private nor that they can be read by only yourself or the recipient. Never send something that you would mind seeing on a billboard on the Interstate.
  • Don't use the academic networks for commercial or proprietary work.
  • Limit line length to approximately 65-70 characters.
  • Never send chain letters through the Internet. It is a violation of federal law.
  • Follow chain of command procedures for corresponding with superiors. For example, don't send a complaint via E-mail directly to the "top" just because you can.
  • Be professional and careful what you say about others. Email is easily forwarded.
  • It is considered extremely rude to forward personal email without the original author's permission.
  • Do not “spam” others, meaning sending unwanted e-mail. Technically, the term spam means unwanted commercial e-mail, but do not send mailings to multiple recipients when the recipient likely has no interest in the subject. 
  • Be careful opening attachments to e-mail. If the mail is from your professor and says they have attached a study guide for class or from a co-worker who has attached a document, it is likely to be o.k. However, several recent viruses have been spread by opening .exe (executable) files attached to e-mail.

Things to remember as you compose/send messages

  • Focus on one subject per message and always include a pertinent subject title for the message so that the user can locate the message quickly. Paragraphs in the body and the e-mail message as a whole should be short. If lengthy, files should be attached to the message. However, don't try to send overly large files via e-mail.
  • When quoting another person, edit out whatever isn't directly applicable to your reply. Take the time to edit any quotations down to the minimum necessary to provide context for your reply.
  • Include your signature at the bottom of Email messages when communicating with people who may not know you personally or those who are not directly affiliated with the campus.
  • Create a signature block that automatically attaches itself to the bottom of your outgoing messages. Your signature footer should include your name, position, affiliation and Internet addresses, and should not exceed more than 4 lines. Optional information could include your address and phone number.
  • Capitalize words only to highlight an important point or to distinguish a title or heading. Capitalizing whole words that are not titles is generally termed as SHOUTING!
  • Sometimes you may wish to use tracking options to receive notification of whether a message has been read by all recipients.
  • Be careful when using sarcasm and humor. Without face to face communications your joke may be viewed as criticism. When being humorous, use emoticons to express humor (tilt your head to the left to see the emoticon smile). Use emoticons infrequently as most e-mails are objective and “to the point.”
    :-) = happy face for humor

The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics
by the Computer Ethics Institute

  • Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.
  • Thou shalt not interfere with other people's computer work.
  • Thou shalt not snoop around in other people's computer files.
  • Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.
  • Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness.
  • Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid.
  • Thou shalt not use other people's computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
  • Thou shalt not appropriate other people's intellectual output.
  • Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing.
  • Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that insure consideration and respect for your fellow humans.

Taken From
Computer Ethics Institute
11 Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 900
Washington DC 20036

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