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Author Topic: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?  (Read 4296 times)

superboyac

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What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« on: March 15, 2009, 08:33:57 PM »
Before the days of email clients and webmail with beautiful interfaces and intelligent features, people were a lot more anal about how to compose, write, and reply to emails.  Since the pretty formatting that we are used to now were not there yet, it was only text, and it had to be done right to not become a nuisance.

So, my question is, today, when I reply to emails, what is the proper way to do so?

Back in the day, it was common "netiquette" to quote the material you were replying to first and then the response below.  You were also supposed to only quote what was necessary and not the whole thing if it was not relevant.  if you were responding to multiple items, then you would do so in multiple blocks of quote--response, quote--response, etc...

So, should we still abide by this?  I ask because programs now (like Outlook) have their own way of keeping track of threads and such.

Lately, i broke away from this and I just write my reply, and all the quoted material appears below my response.  It's just easier.

Deozaan

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 08:52:20 PM »
I think it depends.

Thanks to Gmail just hiding everything that's been quoted, I usually just press the Reply button and write a response. But if I'm responding line by line to what was said, I'll often show the quote block, response, quote block, response, like you said.

Much like how your actions and speech probably change depending on the context of who you're with, so should your e-mail netiquette.


Target

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2009, 09:01:59 PM »
seems like this has less to do with etiquette, and more to do with clear communications

And like Deozaan says, the method you use will depend on the subject, the context, and the audience

superboyac

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009, 09:09:00 PM »
Yeah, i suppose you're right.  The formatting is controlled in so many ways now, you can't just have one standard for it.

J-Mac

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009, 10:37:40 PM »
In emails top posting - above the quoted content - is perfectly acceptable. Some who were around in the early days insist that only bottom posting is acceptable, but while that was always true for Usenet posts it was never a requirement for email etiquette. Quoting only relevant portions of the original message WAS strongly recommended, since storage memory was a premium cost at the time so there was no good reason to "beef-up" a message with unnecessary quotes. Today, with hard drives being so inexpensive, including the entire original message contents is fine as long as the email message is easy to read and navigate. If the recipient has to scroll through a lot of redundant quoting to see anything they need to see, then you are making your communication a difficult one. Of course allowing a whole slew of back-and-forth replies to build up in your message is usually unnecessary and just a waste of paper if someone needs to print the message. Unless it is important to document the entire exchange for some reason.

Here is a link to a site that is supposedly all about proper email replies etiquette - I did not read this yet; I just Googled it for you. Might be worth a look.  http://www.emailreplies.com/

Jim

superboyac

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2009, 11:53:32 PM »
Thanks Jim, that was informative.  To be honest, the reason I asked in the first place was due to the way The Bat handles signatures.  I've already started another thread about that.  i've gone thread crazy today!

IainB

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2009, 01:16:34 AM »
There's a very detailed post I made about email etiquette/netiquette and the reasons behind it (e.g., the effect of email behaviours on network resources and mailservers). It's not just about "good manners". Might be too detailed for your needs though.
Hope this is of some use/help.

URL is here: email etiquette

J-Mac

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2009, 01:28:28 AM »
There's a very detailed post I made about email etiquette/netiquette and the reasons behind it (e.g., the effect of email behaviours on network resources and mailservers). It's not just about "good manners". Might be too detailed for your needs though.
Hope this is of some use/help.

URL is here: email etiquette

Very nice article, Iain!

About all else that I can add is to use proper language - or at least language that fits the recipient and the company - along with punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc. I am not trying to be pedantic about language but email is not a text message, and a business message should not sound like the kind you may send to your close friends with the latest internet abbreviations/acronyms and the like.

Thanks!

Jim

IainB

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Re: What is the proper way (etiquette) of replying to emails?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2009, 03:57:43 AM »
@AJ-Mac: Thanks for your kind comment, but, as stated on the post, "This material has been consolidated from sound policy advice provided by major computer companies."

The reason I posted it was that it helped answer a general query that I had been hearing from several clients, and it saved me the breath/time of repeating things. Instead, I just direct people towards the post. It was the most comprehensive response that I could come up with.