Email etiquette

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Barbara Good
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Email etiquette

Post: # 283340Post daffodiltulip
Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:35 am

I work somewhere, so does a relatively new member of staff. Another company involved with us sent one email message addressed to both of us, not just the email address showing, but also including us both in the greeting, Dear AB and CD. Neither of us works in the office environment so we wouldn't otherwise know each other's email address, nor does the emailer know if there are any problems between the two of us. I commented that the email address I gave was misused and that as the other employee and I are not a couple, it was inappropriate to send an email as if we were. The reason given was one that, in effect, it was easier or more convenient for the sender.
From my experience in working in an office, this is totally unacceptable and unprofessional, but the reply I got made it seem quite normal and nothing worth bothering about. What does anyone else think?

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Re: Email etiquette

Post: # 283341Post Zech
Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:47 am

I think that if you're using your email address for work, then I would not expect that address to be private from people you work with. In other words, it's your work address and therefore relatively public information.

If you want an example of an outrageous breach of privacy, where I used to work, one of the directors expected the IT manager to show him the contents of staff emails.

Take nobody's word for it, especially not mine! If I offer you an ID of something based on a photo, please treat it as a guess, and a starting point for further investigations.

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Re: Email etiquette

Post: # 283342Post Green Aura
Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:10 am

I'm not totally sure I understand your grievance - was it sent to your personal or work email address? Emails are regularly cc'd to other colleagues, but then most employees will have the same domain name on their email address with just their name differing-

To: maryjones@somewhere,com

If emails are the usual form of communication then you should have a works email address so anyone at work should be able to access it, or someone from outside guess it (your name+works domain name). Your employers own that email address. If they're expecting you to use your personal email then that would be a different matter.

As for naming both of you in the content of the email, again that would be standard practice. I can't think of a reason for not mentioning you both (if it was appropriate to mention either of you) unless you work for somewhere like MI5 maybe. :shock:

So try not to worry about it too much. I'm guessing the other person didn't even notice.

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Re: Email etiquette

Post: # 283345Post KathyLauren
Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:18 pm

For emails sent to an office, it is considered normal to send to all recipients with all addresses visible. Most offices do not require or benefit from secrecy: typically, the employees' email addresses are published internally. If you are using a personal email address for work, you should have a separate one that is only for work, and that co-workers and business contacts can treat as a work address.

For emails sent to a private address, it is a different story. Emails sent to people who may not know each other should never be sent with all the addresses visible. Convenience to the sender is not an excuse, since the BCC field of an email exists for exactly this purpose.

When someone does this to me, I always send a severely scolding reply, and I always send it to the entire list. Recently, I received an email, ironically warning of some email scam. Here is the reply I sent:
You have just contributed to the proliferation of this hacking. Gee, thanks! The way this happens is exactly what you just did: sending a mass email to a large list of people with all the names visible. NEVER do this!! ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use the BCC line for lists recipients like this, never the TO or CC line!!

Even if your computer was not hacked, that list was big enough that you can be 100% sure that SOMEONE else on the list has a computer that has a virus. And now, my email address and the address of everyone you sent that message to is on the infected computer. . What does an infected computer do with new email addresses? IT SENDS THEM TO THE BAD GUYS! So now, all our addresses are on YET ANOTHER spam database.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use the TO or CC line when sending a mass mailout to people who may not already know each other. It is the cyber equivalent of sharing a needle with everyone on the list. It is how infections are spread.

I send this message any time someone does this to me, so I am not singling you out. I send it to everyone on the list so that everyone knows what to expect, and how to avoid doing the same thing in the future.

Please don’t contribute to the spread of spam and viruses through this thoughtlessness.
The culprit was suitably apologetic. :D

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Re: Email etiquette

Post: # 283369Post boboff
Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:42 am

There isn't an email etiquette covering this.

Keith is 100% correct, but I think your comments are, how shall I say, petty? That sounds too harsh too, but I cant think of a better word?

If you wanted to communicate the same information to two people in the same company, why on earth would you send two emails exactly the same twice......Personally I prefer this option, as it means you know exactly what information the other person got and when, no room for spinning.
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Barbara Good
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Re: Email etiquette

Post: # 283375Post Uller
Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:54 am

It isn't clear which email address was used - if it was your work email addresses, then no problem, if it was a personal email address I have to ask why you would be using that for work? And why should the sender be concerned whether you and the other person have any problems? If they are sending a business email, to two business contacts, any problems between you are nothing to do with them.

I also disagree with the comment about sharing the content of staff emails being a breach of privacy, assuming that those emails were sent to or from a work email address (if not, again I have to ask why you would use a personal email address for work). An employer can be held responsible for the content of any emails sent through their systems and issue their employees with an email address in order to carry out their business. If you don't use if for personal stuff, there should be no reason for the employer to see the content (and no breach of privacy) and if you do use it for personal stuff - well, you shouldn't be. A work email address isn't your own personal one just because it has your name on it.
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