Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Email etiquette: D+


Okay, so I did that thing where I forwarded an email and the chain went with it. I had written something dopey — and a little snotty — early in the chain. I feel pretty bad about it. Do I try to apologize? Ignore it and hope no one bothered to scroll down through boring emails to see the one incriminating one? No state secrets involved. Just might make my child’s teacher think I’m a little selfish. *Sigh* Not the best Monday morning.

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  1. Adam Freedman Contributor

    Happens to all of us. Or at least, it happened to me not long ago. In my case, I did not apologize but rather defended my snarky comment, thus digging myself in deeper and deeper. In for a penny, in for a pound, I say.

    • #1
    • May 24, 2010, at 6:54 AM PDT
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  2. Profile Photo Member

    A couple years ago, as room parent, I sent a light-hearted email around to other parents at the beginning of the school year outlining various duties including guinea pig babysitting, making ironic reference to the teacher’s reputation for strictness, etc. And given that it was election year, some non-partisan jokes about the kind of administration I was looking forward to as room parent (no lipstick on the guinea pig, heart of a reformer, etc.)

    I had to endure a severe scolding from the head of the school, and the teacher in question, including a long lecture on the various pedagogical benefits of animal care, political sensitivities, etc. and then of course send my own multiple obsequious apologies, flowers, etc.(Teachers really do appreciate parental groveling.) And Adam, I promise there is a mark next to your name at school which will be passed forward through to college admissions.

    Now the only email I send to the school is regarding attendance. Period.

    • #2
    • May 24, 2010, at 8:08 AM PDT
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  3. Rob Long Founder

    Adam, I like your style: never back down; put all the chips into the pot.

    There really is no way to solve this kind of thing. It’s just the dangers of instant, broadcasted, unreflected-upon thinking. You push some buttons with your thumbs, and out goes your little comment. To everyone.

    Well, there is a way to solve it. Emoticons. Something like: “I really find you irritating. :)” or: “I don’t hate many things in this world, but I really, really, really hate you. :)”

    See? Totally takes the sting out of it.

    • #3
    • May 24, 2010, at 8:46 AM PDT
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  4. Ursula Hennessey Contributor
    Ursula Hennessey

    Thanks, Rob. I feel so much better ;)

    • #4
    • May 24, 2010, at 8:50 AM PDT
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  5. John Boyer Member
    John BoyerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I don’t know, Rob.

    If the Muslim death threats to the South Park guys had used emoticons (“You are the scum of the earth and will all die for drawing pictures of our prophet. ;)”), I don’t know if that would have taken the sting out of the threats.

    But, to be reasonable, I doubt terrorists want to take the sting out. :P

    • #5
    • May 24, 2010, at 8:52 AM PDT
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  6. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Ignore it, Ursula, but if asked deny, make counter-accusations, then blame the CIA for planting it.

    That’s the advice from Turkey.

    • #6
    • May 24, 2010, at 11:45 AM PDT
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  7. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane OyenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Melanie Graham:: Sometimes CATS walk on keyboards. And THINGS HAPPEN!

    (my nonexistent cat is sitting on my caps-lock!) ยท May. 26 at 12:04am

    Every new laptop I buy, the first thing I do is pry off the caps lock key and disable it. It is way too close to the “A” for a clumsy, two-fingered typist.

    • #7
    • May 26, 2010, at 7:01 AM PDT
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  8. Melanie Graham Contributor

    Sometimes CATS walk on keyboards. And THINGS HAPPEN!

    (my nonexistent cat is sitting on my caps-lock!)

    • #8
    • May 26, 2010, at 12:05 PM PDT
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  9. Andrea Ryan Member
    Andrea RyanJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ursula, that is a huge bummer. If one person is on the distribution list that you know and trust I would ask her to read it and give you her perspective on how bad it is. Sometimes our horror makes something seem worse. If you can get away with letting it go that’s probably the best. Second choice, is if you can joke about it a little with self-deprecating humor. If it’s really bad then pull in an outside friend who will tell you it’s not so bad even if it’s horrible. Then let it go and be extra nice the next time you see those people. Or, switch schools. :-)

    Duane, I have the perfect spot for your caps-lock key! My three year old ripped the return off my keyboard and I’m getting a callous on my pinky. I could have happily lived my life without knowing what the inside of a keyboard looks like.

    • #9
    • May 27, 2010, at 2:49 AM PDT
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  10. Biden Pure Demagogue Inactive
    Biden Pure DemagogueJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member


    Its always George W. Bush’s fault. Forever. Madeline Albright said so.

    • #10
    • September 23, 2012, at 2:58 AM PDT
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