Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 87

protests were lodged. Eventually, the idea was dropped. Unfortunately, the call to action posting wasn't. If you see this story floating around, squelch it immediately.

Email harassment

It's hard to believe, but some people are both stupid and venal enough to harass their colleagues via email. I know of one case in which a male manager started emailing outrageous sexual suggestions to a female employee. Initially, the notes were fairly innocuous -- for example, "That was a great-looking dress you had on yesterday." Over time, they progressed into obscenity. The really funny part was that about half of each note would be more or less pornographic, and the other half would be perfectly reasonable business correspondence.

The employee, being far smarter than her boss, simply saved copies of the notes. When the situation got out of control, she took them to the human resources department. Everything she needed to prove her case was right there, including the dates and times the messages were sent. Her manager, of course, was fired.

With a milder form of harassment -- for example, Joe Schmoe keeps sending the blonde joke of the day to everyone in the department -- less drastic steps might be in order. If you don't object to other people reading blonde jokes but don't want to get them yourself, send a reply to one of Joe's messages and ask him to take you off his mailing list. If you feel that his use of company resources is inappropriate and should be stopped, tell him so. But in either case, keep copies of everything. If the situation ever escalates, you'll have backup.

Worms and viruses

Right up there with the email harassers and the rumor-mongers are the people who get kicks out of sending worms and viruses throughout cyberspace. Cornell graduate student Robert Tappan Morris became notorious in 1988, when he shut down large areas of the Internet with a program -- variously described as a worm or as a virus -- that succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.


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