blogging gobbledygook and such

In a bit of a blogging block, so here’s something interesting to ponder about.

Taken & edited from The Malay Mail, March 3 2007

Forwarding e-mails is one of the topics that causes misunderstandings more than any other topic. Is there a ‘nice way’ to tell someone they care about (relative, friend or associate) to not forward attachments, chain e-mails, political commentary or jokes that are so prevalent online?

Netizens are afraid to ask others to stop and those who are asked to stop, no matter how nicely, get offended and feel as though their thoughtfulness is not appreciated.

But let’s think about this a moment. How really thoughtful is it to click the forward arrow, then a bunch of e-mail addressed and hit send? Well, our brain had to ‘think’ about those steps but does that make the effort truly ‘thoughtful’? [I don’t think so.]

Here are five rules for forwarding e-mail that those who are being truly thoughtful to follow. If everyone followed them, all problems associated with forwarded e-mails could be avoided. Sticking to these guidelines will assist both those thinking they are thoughtful and those who don’t want to appear otherwise.

1. Don’t forward anything without editing out all the forwarding >>>, e-mail addresses, headers and commentary from all the other forwarders. Don’t make folks look amongst all the gobbledygook to see what it is you thought was worth forwarding. If you must forward, only forward the actual guts, or content of the e-mail that you are of the opinion is valuable. [Some e-mails automatically compress the forwarded content when one presses the forward button; the solution to this is to press the reply button instead, edit the content, delete the e-mail address of the person who sent the forward address and go on from there.]

2. If you cannot take the time to write a personal comment at the top of your forwarded e-mail to the person you are sending to – then you shouldn’t forward it at all. [Not exactly a hard and fast rule to follow, but it does help the recipient to understand why you’re sending this, as that person may not see the reason why.]

3. Think carefully about the value (accurate information) of what you are forwarding. Will it be really appreciated (something the recipient needs) or humourous (do they have the same sense of humour as you do) to the person on the other side? Or do you just think it is worthy? f you cannot think of why the person you are forwarding to would like to receive the e-mail, don’t forward it. [Until a friend pointed out to self, never thought of the validity of a forward claiming certain facts. Since then, have never send out anything that sounds unconvincing and have likewise told people who forward nonsense to self the same thing. Only people who aren’t close to self in the first place; have yet to muster the courage for close friends who do that.]

4. Reconsider forwarding chain mail. It should go without saying that forwarding chain letters (regardless of how noble the topic may seem), virus warnings or anything that says ‘forward to everyone you know’ simply shouldn’t be forwarded because they are often commentaries that many will not appreciate. If you must forward e-mails of this type because you simply can’t help yourself, at the very least check @ to be sure that what you are forwarding isn’t a hoax.

5. Put your email address in the TO: field if you must forward to more than one person, and all the others you are sending to in the BCC field to protect their e-mail address from being published to those they do not know. This is a serious privacy issue! Take the time to type a nice little comment about why you are forwarding the e-mail to the recipient(s) at the top of your forward.

The above rules will help qualify if an e-mail is worth forwarding and the right way to do so if it is. if you cannot make this extra effort, then they really have no excuse to get mad or take offence when asked to stop.

If asked to stop forwarding, don’t get mad; just realise the person on the other side certainly has the right to make that request.

At the end of the day, if you fear hurting someone’s feelings by asking them to stop forwarding you e-mail, know they probably meant well, were really thinking of you, were trying to make a point, then just hit DELETE!

Comments on: "Are you sure you’re being thoughtful by forwarding that e-mail?" (1)

  1. yearofbeauty said:

    Have to agree with you on this one. I would soooo prefer to receive something that was just meant for me alone than a zillion other people.

    And I really miss those old fashioned letters too. Can’t remember the last time I received something like that!! Someday…


    sulz: actually don’t mind to be forwarded an e-mail, if only some thought was put into it in the first place. a lot just send plain rubbish, claiming things like drinking water from a plastic bottle left in the heat will cause cancer! mean, if it’s not written in the papers am not going to believe that load of junk.

    self send cards every chinese new year and xmas, and hardly anybody, if any, sends back. hmmph!

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