Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 52

that a message that was actually written months ago was written today. And using technology to pretend to be somewhere when you're not is inappropriate, no matter who does it.

On the other hand, any technique that helps projects stay on schedule deserves consideration in the business world. In any case, smart employees will probably figure out pretty quickly which messages were sent live and which were written months ago.

The "urgent" flag

Avoid using the "urgent" flag unless your message is both important and time-critical. It's a real irritation to read a note with an urgent flag and discover that it's (a) completely routine or (b) something that can wait a day or more. Some systems will display a message flagged as "urgent" on the recipient's computer screen immediately, but be aware that this feature can usually be defeated.

"Bozo filters" and intelligent filters

In many discussion groups, you can set up a "bozo filter" or "kill file," which automatically screens out notes from people whose messages you deem unworthy of reading. Some companies are now implementing this feature on their corporate email systems.

Bozo filters pose no problem on recreational discussion groups. But you'd want to be very careful using one on your work email system. Say Joe Schmoe down the hall has a bad habit of sending the Blonde Joke of the Day to everyone on the hallway. Since you're a blonde, you don't appreciate this, and you decide to filter all of Joe's mail. But one day, the department director asks Joe to delegate an important project to you. What are you going to say six weeks later when the director wanders into your office to check on the project -- "Uh, I never read Joe's email because he's a jerk"? Bad idea.

A better kind of filter allows you to prioritize your mail rather than filtering it completely. For example, mail from your boss or colleagues working on an important project might be top priority; mail from mailing lists might be third or fourth priority.


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