Netiquette - Guidelines for the use of email

Based on extended experience of e-mail and network use (and misuse) at the University, the following Netiquette is recommended to SHU students. Please adopt these simple points of good practice and etiquette in your use of SHU's networks.

The Do's

* Remember the laws of the land relating to written communication apply equally to e-mail, including laws on defamation, copyright, obscenity, fraud and discrimination.

* Remember that the Internet is an open world - treat the security of e-mail messages about the same as a postcard ie anyone along the chain of distribution might see what you have written.

* Make a good impression in the Cyber-World - your e-mail may be seen by persons who don't know you or the University, so ensure that what you write and how you write it gives the reader the right impression - they may be your future employer.

* Use humour and sarcasm with care - not everyone will appreciate it and without voice inflection and body language, mail messages can be easily misinterpreted. It sometimes helps to use 'emoticons' such as a smiley face e.g. :-)

* Identify yourself - you can use a signature file to put your name at the end of your e-mail automatically (but it's good netiquette to keep it short). You can also set up a personal résumé in FirstClass - but remember a lot of people who don't know you will be able to read it (all of the users on the same FirstClass server; about a quarter of the University), so ensure that it makes a good impression on the reader.

* Ensure your e-mail is going to the right destination - it can be easy to use the wrong e-mail address by mistake and your message may be delivered to the wrong person or group. If you do find a message has been misdelivered, send an apology to the person or to the group.

* Check your reply settings - it is easy to use "Reply-All" by mistake, and this could be very embarrassing for you and very annoying to others.

* Clear out your mailbox regularly - there is limited space in your mailbox and mail may not be delivered if the mailbox is full. Save important messages or files as backup copies on floppies.

* Take care with unnecessarily large attachments - some Internet mail systems will reject large file attachments or delay delivery. A good rule of thumb is to keep them below 50KB.

The Dont's

* Don't broadcast e-mail unnecessarily - this can be easy to do by mistake on newsgroups and list servers and will probably annoy the group members intensely.

* Don't send frivolous, vulgar, abusive or defamatory messages - apart from being discourteous and offensive, they may break the law.

* Don't send anonymous mail or 'spoof' your address - in 99% of cases, your e-mail can be traced back to its source; disciplinary action may then follow.

* Don't 'flame' - Flames are messages or replies that express anger or might anger the reader. Don't get involved in flame wars. Neither post nor respond to incendiary mail.

* Don't 'spam' - ie Don't send electronic garbage. Sending junk e-mail, such as advertisements or other unsolicited material, to mailing lists, newsgroups, list servers or to anyone you don't know is considered 'spamming'.

* Don't reply to chain-letters - these are an absolute 'no-no' on all networks.

And finally... please read and comply with:-

Feedback to: shuspace@shu.ac.uk