From Yahoo! Internet Life
Please Don't Forward This Column

October 2001
By Roger Ebert
Here, Mr. Manners advises you on e-mail etiquette.
1. Strip all unnecessary e-mail addresses from anything you forward. There are two reasons for this: a) Many such messages have a ratio of 95 percent long lists of addresses to 5 percent content (usually a lousy joke). b) Would you want your private e-mail address hitched to a message that goes to untold millions of other users? Don't do it to others.
2. Never forward virus warnings. There are two reasons for this: a) Chances are, they are frauds. b) Invariably these notices refer to Windows viruses, and your correspondents may be using another operating system.
Bonus tip: Find out if the message is a hoax by verifying it at a site such as Symantec: Hoaxes. Then, if it is a fraud, you can notify the person who sent it to you.
3. Never forward a chain letter. There are two reasons for this: a) You do not want everyone to think of you as dumb and gullible. b) The letter moves in only one directionforwardand therefore has no way to "know" what good or ill befell previous recipients of the letter. Therefore, it is all lies.
4. Never send an e-mail message formatted in HTML. Always send plain text. There are two reasons for this:
a) HTML wastes many times more bandwidth than text. If your correspondents have slow modems, they will curse you as your HTML message downloads. b) Any message that comes in a weird typeface with strange colors or backgrounds is obviously from an illiterate.
Bonus tip: Reset your e-mail software so that it defaults to plain text. On Outlook Express, for example, go into Preferences, click on Message Composition, and choose Plain Text instead of HTML. On Yahoo! Mail, Plain Text is the default setting. Make sure that the bullet at the bottom of any outgoing message is checked. This will not only make your correspondents happy, it will also greatly reduce your uploading time.
5. Never send a word-processing document in a formatted form, unless it is absolutely necessary. There are two reasons for this: a) Formatted files occupy many times more space than unformatted plain textsometimes as much as 20 times more space. b) Unless the recipient has the proper software, it may open with strange and meaningless characters in place of some of the punctuation marks.
6. Do not send unsolicited JPEG photographs, especially if you are "testing your new digital camera" (unless you are testing it on Piper Perabo).
7. If you do send JPEGs, there are two things you must do: a) Indicate clearly in the header or a cover message what the photograph shows, so that your recipients can delete it without opening itwhich they will very possibly do, personal photos often being of more interest to those who take them than to those being shown them.
b) Unless it is intended for publication, save it at the "low" or "minimum" resolution. A friend once sent me a 758K photo of his new baby; it looked just fine after he resent it at 27K.
8. When typing ordinary documents and letters, use a flush-left style instead of fooling around with fancy indentations that will appear otherwise at the other end. For example, if you hit the space bar several times to position words, the effect will be different in fixed-width fonts than in variable-width fonts. If you didn't understand that, even more reason to keep it simple.
9. Unless your name is Margo Howard, don't send me any jokes. There are only about three different jokes circulating on the Net on any given dayand you may rest assured that Margo has already sent them to me.
10. Do not start any message with a paragraph apologizing for the message worrying that it is irrelevant, will waste the other person's time, or may be off-topic or "sound dumb." The message may or may not be all of these things, but the first paragraph already is.