Log in ....Tribune

Monday, September 23, 2002

Mail care
Nalin K. Rai

E-MAIL has come to establish itself as a means of communication that operates in the domain of the virtual world and ensures almost cent per cent delivery to the person.

The advent of e-mail has meant that art of writing and expressing the command over the language, as also the attempt on the part of the individual to be a lingiophile, has become a thing of the past. The faster connectivity and the speed with which the message is delivered and the disengagement has meant that the formal introduction about a topic, its contextuality etc have become a thing of the past. It has attained commandeering nature, and has a combative connotation.

The nature of combativeness is reflected in the subject line itself sometimes, which is left blank mostly and encourages the writer to just get along with the business without the formal exchange of the pleasantries. The clipped, prim and telegraphic nature of the message sometimes turns-off the receiver and he does not even bother to reply. The medium over the years has provided the following shortcomings, which is turning more and more persons to the world of the pen and the paper.

Message board

If accidentally a message that ought to have been for an individual is posted on to the message board then the secrets of the hearts become public expression and butt of ridicule. If the goof up committed is done using a public domain account then it may also lead to the loss of the job as well.


When a new e-mail account is created, a window pops up in the address box that asks for the nickname. There are ample chances that two nicknames may be the same for two different individuals and the mail, which ought to have been directed to the first person, accidentally reaches the second one. This happens because when we enter a nickname, we do not bother to check the e-mail- id in the senderís column. Say if a mail has to be sent to andy@anywebmail.com it may accidentally be addressed to andy@company.com. The way out of the goof-up is always to check carefully the address in "To- and only then should one press the: "send" button.

Reply all

One of the other irritants that commonly arise is when we press the button, reply all. This may be a quickfix solution if happy news has to be announced. However, if the mail marked "reply all" also goes to the business rivals, then it would be just a matter of time before the bosses reply through a termination letter. The best option is to remove the "Reply all" button from the layout. The removal can be done by right clicking on the task bar and then clicking on Customise. After that a window will pop-up, in the window click "Reply- all" and then click "Remove". After that click "Apply" and then one is assured once and for all that one mail will not be sent to all.


Attachments continue to be one of the major irritants in e-mail. Nine out of 10 times it so happens that attachments that ought to be sent are never sent at all. And when the message about the faux pas is received then rejoinder has to be sent along the attachment. To avoid the goof-up in the attachment bar on the pop-up window of the Compose message, one should cautiously check attachment indeed is attached. Only then should the "Send" button be pressed.

It may also happen that the attachment may contain only half a page of message in the text form, but when it is sent as attachment it adds up to the bytes in geometric proportions. One should therefore strive to send as much as text part of the message by pasting it on the body of the "Compose" message window. Only when the tabular information has also to be sent, should one choose attachment as an option.

Besides, if the size of the attachment increases more than 100 KB, it ought to be sent as a zip-file as most of the times, especially when one has a mail account in the free-e-mail service provider sign up, the attachment refuses to open up simply because of its size.


Owing to the quantum of the junk mail that keeps popping in oneís mailbox, many a times it so happens that one presses Delete all button. In the aftermath even the needy mails are consigned to Recycle bin from where retrieval is a big task. Therefore, the option of delete all should not be exercised at all. The following checklist needs to be observed before sending the mail:

1. Carefully check the address to avoid bouncing of the mail or it going to a person other than to whom it has been addressed.

2. Never send e-mail in a fit. Type it, let it go to the Outbox, and after sometime re-read it and then send it.

3. Always keep a back up of the send message.

4. Mail may not provide a facial interaction face but that does not warrant sending something obnoxious that otherwise would not be told to a person on his face.

5. The medium of expression should be good clean English, which is understood by the addressee.

6. Use of polite words like please, thank you etc., conveys the warmth to the reader of the message.

7. The message ought to have a clearly defined subject line so that the urgency of the mail is addressed to and action is taken accordingly.

8. Use of shorthand should be kept to the barest minimum and sanctity of the case sensitivities of the languages ought to be respected.