The online medium is poor at conveying tone.
- Consider what you are saying and remember that your intent might not be inferred by your readers (fellow students and instructors).
- Take a moment to re-read everything you write: assume that it will be taken in the worst possible light.
- Extend courtesy to others: assume the most charitable light possible.
If you feel angry or frustrated, give yourself time before submitting a response, possibly even over night. If you aren't sure how something will come across, ask someone else to read it over and give you feedback. Always re- read or preview messages in the discussion board or email before sending them.
Use capitalization, punctuation and properly constructed and grammatically correct sentences in the same way that you would in any other written document. Sending an e-mail in all UPPER-CASE is the equivalent of shouting in some one's ear. ONLY use upper-case words when trying to make a point. Typing the entire message in bold may be interpreted the same.
Flaming is a virtual term for venting emotion online or sending inflammatory emails to a person(s) that has caused that person(s) to respond in not-so-nice words, defensively or flamingly. It's basically a verbal attack in electronic form. Flames are unproductive and injurious to the parties involved.
Things to consider before venting electronically:
- Would I say this to this person’s face? Would I want this student’s family to read this? Am I putting the reader(s) in an awkward position? How would I feel if I got this email message?
Consider the recommended guidelines to follow when communicating through e-mail or a discussion forum:
- 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. Nobody likes reading a long message in quotes for the third or fourth time, only to be followed by a one line response: "Yeah, me too." (Which by the forum discussion etiquette section would never occur in this course.)
- Focus on one subject per message and always include a pertinent subject title for the message, that way the user can locate the message quickly.
- Capitalize words only to highlight an important point or to distinguish a title or heading. Capitalizing whole words that are not titles is generally viewed as SHOUTING!
- Be professional and careful what you say about others. E-mail is easily forwarded.
- Cite all quotes, references and sources and respect copyright and license agreements.
- Be careful when using sarcasm and humor. Without face to face communications your joke may be viewed as criticism.