an Ars guide to IRC from
Team Prime Rib ladenedge.


Fridaday, November 7, 2012
Halloween Gauntlet
Posted @ 18:25:00 EDT by TomM

Short -Today the world seems to move faster and faster. Video games demand speed, television commercials zip from scene to scene, and it's rare to find a youngster that can sit through the old classic movies that were so great 40 or 50 years ago. This state of affairs demands that all communications via email (and most others as well) be short and to-the-point. Shorter is better, by far, in the world of email communications.

Signature line - It's considered normal and totally acceptable for an email to include a short signature line. This can be anything from a short quote to a favorite saying, a recipe or a promotional message for your web site. Note that it's considered bad netiquette to include affiliate links (these may also cause mail messages to bounce) or blatant advertising. It is acceptable (and even encouraged) to say something like "Visit my web site" followed by the URL.

Grammar - Check the basic grammar on your email message before you send it off. I don't mean you need to proofread a message a dozen times before it gets sent, but it's good to make sure there are no obvious errors.

Spelling - Virtually every email client and word processor includes a spell checking program. Be sure to take advantage of these wonderful tools to cut down on your spelling mistakes. You should also briefly read through the message at least once before sending as spell checkers do not catch everything.

Don't use CAPS - On the internet, typing something in CAPS means SHOUTING. Unless that's the effect that you want (in a letter of complaint, for example), it's usually wise to use the proper case.

Use BCC - Whenever you send an email out to several people, it's a good idea to take advantage of the Blind Carbon Copy feature. Email addresses included in the BCC field are not sent to all of the recipients, while those in the CC (Carbon Copy) field are sent as a list. Let's say you want to send an email across the internet to 20 people. It's better to include as many addresses as possible in the BCC field.

Why? If that message somehow winds up in the inbox of a spammer, he can harvest all of the email addresses that are in the "To" and "cc" fields, as well as within the subject and message body. Email addresses included in the "bcc" field cannot be harvested.

Protect against viruses - If you have not installed a good antivirus program on your computer, then you should not even be connected to the internet. In fact, you are living on borrowed time as you almost certainly will receive a virus. For your own protection, and the protection of your friends, install an antivirus program today. Once you've done that, make sure you keep the definitions up-to-date.

Subject line - You can really help your readers if your subject line is very specific and to-the-point. A subject of "read this" is very bad as it tells nothing about the message. On the other hand, "Contract details for Welsh deal" or "Question about HTML tag" are relatively good subjects. You see, most people nowadays are flooded with email messages, sometimes hundreds per day. This forces people to quickly judge whether or not a message is worth viewing, and the most common criteria is "does the subject interest me?" Thus, if your subject is not of interest, the email will be deleted. And general subjects get deleted fastest of all.

Active Voice - Active voice means the subject of the sentence acts - it performs the action expressed by the verb. For example, "The writer wrote the article", "Tom hired a new programmer" and "Jessica opened the refrigerator." In passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed by the verb: "The article was written by the writer", "A new programmer was hired by Tom", and "The refrigerator was opened by Jessica".

In email messages, it's usually better to use active voice. This tends to make a message more lively and less tiring to read. Passive voice is flat and uninteresting, although it preferred for technical articles and similar things.