Good Practices for e-Mailing Rajesh P. Barnwal Information Technology Group CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur, INDIA
e-mail is one of many methods of communicating information
e-mails can be formal or informal, important or trivial.
e-mails can be small or large, simple containing text only or complex containing images and/or attachments.
e-mails can be left in your Mailbox pending an action, filed in a folder or deleted.
Your Mailbox is the file where your incoming emails are stored; it is not a long-term data repository.
Property of Good e-Mails
Always give your email message a concise and meaningful subject.
Keep your email message short, simple, concise and relevant.
Avoid using large font, colour features and any form of graphics unnecessarily. Use plain text for most correspondence unless formatting is required.
Do not request delivery and read receipts.
Do not type in CAPITALS. It is considered to be SHOUTING and is generally classed as UNACCEPTABLE.
Property of Good e-Mails …
When replying, do not quote the whole original message and signature. Be selective in the parts that you include in your response. The original message thread will be automatically included as part of the thread anyway.
Use the To: field for people who are to act on your message, and the Cc: (carbon copy) field for people who are sent the message for their information only.
When replying or forwarding a message, ensure that the Subject: field still accurately reflects the content of your message.
e-Mail: Common Courtesies
Check your mail regularly – it is used for all official email correspondence from the Institute.
Never assume that because you have sent a message it has arrived. Message tracking may not work if the recipient is not on the Institute ’ s e-mail system.
Check the e-mail before you send it. Once you have clicked the SEND button the email cannot be retrieved.
e-Mail: Common Courtesies …
Don ’ t assume all recipients use the same system. Formatting may be lost when the recipient views the message, so it ’ s a good idea to treat all messages as plain text unless you know what system the recipient uses.
Do not label every message as high priority.
Do not send “ chain letters ” , and do not forward such letters.
Send your message to the smallest possible audience.
Don't add attachments for the sake of it when you can place them in shared drives instead.
Use appropriate extensions so that attachments open automatically (eg .doc for Word).
Do not send attachments to more than a few recipients unless absolutely necessary.
Do not use your inbox as a file store. Save necessary attachments to a drive and delete the original email.
The maximum attachment size limit with e-mail via CMERI webmail is 8mb. Don ’ t try to send bigger attachment via web-mail.
Your signature should be brief (4 - 5 lines maximum) and informative (include a phone number or extension number). Please also do not use a large font as it will waste paper when printing emails.
Do not include drawings, amusing quotations or anything un-official related in your signature, particularly HTML.
Do not include a “ virtual card" as an attachment, this creates a large email and occupies un-necessary space.
Signatures should include your direct or sectional phone number, or cell phone where appropriate.
E-Mail is not confidential. It should not be used for transmitting confidential material
Personal messages should preferably be sent from a personal email (Hotmail, Yahoo etc) rather than a CMERI account.
Any personal messages sent on the CMERI account should be marked “ Personal ” in the subject line and should only be stored in a folder marked “ Personal ” .
Personal data transmitted by email should only be kept for as long as is necessary for the purpose (s) for which it was initially obtained. Unwanted data should be deleted immediately.
Information security is critical to the Institute; in particular, the email system can serve as a point of entry to the Institute network for viruses. One should follow these guidelines to protect their work.
Never tell anyone your password, as this would allow them to access your email account as if they were you.
Don't send sensitive information via email such as credit card and bank details, including those not belonging to you.
Don't reply to unsolicited emails from unknown sources as this is often a test to see if you exist
Security Guidelines …
Always set your password to a memorable but not easily guessable word and mix letters with numbers if possible.
Don ’ t click on Web links in emails unless you trust the sender. Web links can fraudulently redirect you to an alternative site. It is better to copy the link directly into the address panel on your Web browser.
Delete all unsolicited and suspicious mail without opening it as viruses are often spread in this way.
Do not click on attachments unless you recognise them as Word/Pdf documents or other familiar file types.
Spam and Viruses
Junk email ("spam") and viruses are common across the Internet. Although CMERI has extensive anti-virus systems in place, please ensure you take preventative measures by being careful with your email address and what you read and reply to.
Sending email to large groups of people is considered as Spam. To communicate with groups of people you should place a notice to on CMERI Intranet; you should not use email for this purpose. ’
If you need to complete a web form that requires an email address, create a free web email account (e.g. Hotmail, Yahoo etc.) and provide that email address in the web form, instead of your official CMERI email address. Most spam originates from web mailing lists.
Avoid suspicious attachments from unknown senders as they may contain computer viruses which can corrupt your computer.
Spam and Viruses …
If you receive junk email, delete it. Never reply to junk email, as this confirms to the sender that they have an active, valid address.
Consider not joining web mailing lists using your CMERI email address; possibly use a public email address like Hotmail or Yahoo instead.
CMERI runs specialist software that attempts to identify SPAM and marks it as potentially junk mail. These are forwarded on to your mailbox and you can set up a filter to automatically divert them to your Junk E-mail/SPAM folder. It is advisable to look through messages marked ***SPAM*** on a regular basis for ones that may have been incorrectly labelled and delete messages from your Junk E-mail/SPAM folder on a weekly basis."
Delete messages you do not need! (e.g.) trivial conversations, working notes/drafts.
Message attachments should be saved to your local drives. Your inbox is NOT your primary file store and should not be treated as a file repository.
Do not use your inbox as a historic store of everything you have ever done. You are supposed to keep your Inbox light to lessen the load on server as well as on network bandwidth.
Unsubscribe from all the email lists or discussion groups you are no longer reading, which is basically creating burden for the server.
CMERI recommends good practice in replying, filing and deleting emails within 30 days. Emails should not be saved in an inbox for longer than 30 days.
Managing Mailbox …
Good practice dictates that important emails should be stored as Word files in relevant data folders at your local harddisk.
Regularly clean your Inbox, Sent, Draft and other custom folders on regular basis, preferably once in a month and empty your Spam folder and purge your Trash folder at least once in a week.
Soon, CMERI is going to adopt policy of assigning mail quota to every mail user, and thus will not normally allow to store older mails in Inbox.