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Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 7:03 AM


SSC-Enthusiastic

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Ohhhh, yeah. It only takes one hard lesson to learn you don't blast out flame mail when your temperature is high. As other folks have posted (clearly from wisdom gained through experience) it's probably best to write what you feel, take relish is verbally crushing "their itty bitty head" then lock your workstation and take a smoke break. When you return, hit the delete button and reply with a cooler head. If you really stop to think about it, sending flame mail usually just stokes the fire and makes things worse.

I've actually seen email threads that I replied to circulate over a year after I replied to them. It's really sobering to see your words in an email dated that far back!

Be the better person and compose your mail calmly and civilly while entertaining the thoughts of using a nail gun on a voodoo doll that bears a remarkable resemblance to the recipient. Personally, I'd rather be laughing than angry.
Post #428084
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 7:28 AM
SSC-Enthusiastic

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I got burned, twice, by a (former) friend/co-worker from sending her nasty emails that she then dutifully forwarded to my boss. I've always thought myself to be careful when it comes to online communications, but after those incidents I don't trust ANYONE and I consider anything I write as something that can be used against me in the court of public opinion. Even if you're the best of friends now emails can be saved, or just left in your inbox, and months or years later, surprise surprise. :) Best to leave emotion out of written communications in my opinion unless you don't mind any potential future consequences, or use an online alias. :D

For general email though I always proofread what I've written and spellcheck. Spellcheck catches most egregious mistakes but I tell you grammar is the killer for most things I read. People use the wrong form of they're, their, or there. Forget to include words they may have been thinking but just forgot to actually write. Use an incorrect word, that's spelled correctly, for the concept they're trying to convey. What's worse is that I've seen bad grammar mistakes in official articles from sources such as Reuters or the AP. You'd think editors would proofread their writers' work.

Anyway, after that long spiel about grammar I'm now extremely self-conscious I've gotten my grammar right in this post, haha.
Post #428097
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 7:30 AM


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It occurs to me that this was his toned-down version of the email. It seems likely that his first reaction would have been much stronger.

It is prudent to double-check the "to" list, reread emails and to delay sending ones that may cause trouble. And to always be aware that emails may not remain private. But even the best of us slip up now and then.
Post #428100
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 7:37 AM


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Steve, you said

"CEO of Mandriva fired off an open letter ... The tone of the letter was a little whiny..."

But did you consider that English may be his 2nd language? Maybe something was lost in translation.

I don't speak French, so perhaps somebody else could comment on the French version?
Post #428105
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 7:40 AM
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In an emotional situation, I always write the email immediately, but keep it in my drafts until the next day before sending it. In many instances, I look at it the same day and say, "What the @#$! was I thinking?". There have been times that I have gone ahead and sent the email (with minor editing).

I think it depends on the situation on whether you should send them, but you should always remove the emotions from the situation -- it can only make it worse.

Regards,
J.
Post #428110
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 7:54 AM
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I'm actually bad about this....in the opposite way. I tend to spend too much time looking over an email to make sure that it conveys the message that I intended in the way that I intended it.
Emails, and writing in general, are tough (at least for me) to make sure that the "tone" of the message is done in such a way that it can't be interpreted the wrong way.
I think it just comes down to professionalism in the workplace. Everything I do reflects on me, whether I want it to or not. So I better make sure that the reflection is the one I want.
Post #428122
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 8:08 AM
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Personally, I've gotten better at writing the response and then throwing it away. As noted earlier, this type of 'therapy' can be great for either calming one down or helping one realize that there is no gain to sending the email at all.

Our former CIO came down fairly and squarely on IT for this very issue. For a time after that, I was my boss' official proofreader for any emails to the CIO that had any critical content. More than one I talked him down to something more pleasant and it all worked out in the end.

So make like Santa Claus. Make the email, check it twice. If necessary, get an elf to look over it for you. The embarrassment you save may be your own.


------------
Buy the ticket, take the ride. -- Hunter S. Thompson
Post #428129
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 8:30 AM
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I don't know how many e-mail clients support this, but Outlook 2007 at least offers an option in Client-Side Rules to delay sending of e-mails for a set # of minutes, along with some exceptions such as a high priority or certain To lists. I'm using this now to help catch me even if I do hit send. I still practice a lot of what has been said above, especially if I'm pretty emotional about something. However, this has also helped me stop e-mails from going out about topics that were answered in a group e-mail I just received or sometimes to add/remove people from the list.

It's been useful to delay the speed of e-mail just a little bit in case I have some second/third thought about what was in the e-mail.



Post #428139
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 8:42 AM
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I generally don't address and place in draft for some time an email especially if it is something I am passionate about so I have time to reread it. Occasionally I will pass to a teammember I trust to be honest before I send something scathing. However on a few occasions I have shot off in a hurry becuase the issue had to be addressed right then (and I have some lumps to prove I was right btw). It all depends on the situation and importance of the issue, the one you listed looks bad gramatically. However, I think that was a translation issue from the original french. But still the tone is obvious and for him all I have to say is

"Would you like a little chesse with your whine , sir"

I like Linux, Windows, Mac and even play with OS/2 some still. Nigeria is honoring their commitment but as customers they don't owe anyone an explination. Did MS use bribery or some other underhanded tacktic or is this the resounding "WAAAHHH I cry foul" mentality we see every day when someone doesn't get their way????????



Post #428148
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 8:43 AM


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Wow, great replies and thanks for the debate. Looks like most of you are probably better with this than I am.

Peter, didn't know that. Where is this in Outlook?

William, it's entirely possible that this was a language issue, but he's a CEO. He wrote it in English and French, and should have had someone run through it and try to clean things up. It's out there forever now and you can bet that MS will keep copies around.

As much as I like to see CEOs blogging, like Mr Schwartz from Sun, someone has to go over their writing and ensure it's appropriate for release. They have too much impact in what they're doing.

I'm like Grant, or have been in the past. I can be a jerk, so I try to slow down on the inflammatory emails. I actually have quite a few things I won't write down in email, blog, anywhere, specifically because I know it's out there. I've had emails forwarded on and it's sad because it means that I can't trust people.

I'd add one thing that in addition to being careful about sending what you write, be careful about what you forward. Your name is attached to the email as well and you might be breaking trust or furthering a cause. I often delete email addresses before I forward something since I don't think I should be giving out someone's email if it's not appropriate.








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