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Rated: E · Monologue · Community · #2042658
It's shameful that so few WdC members know how to properly construct a simple email.

Okay, it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Since few others appear willing to tell it like it is, I'll be the bad guy. Among the majority of WdC members with whom I've corresponded over the past many months, especially as regards Newbies, a shockingly small number of individuals seem aware of how to properly write even the most simple of email messages.

This is particularly alarming given the fact that WdC is a literary website, designed specifically for writers. One is as likely to find more respectful, courteous, and well written messages on Facebook, as they are on a site that otherwise prides itself in literature and letters among its members.

Even those who ought to know better, moderators, both senior and otherwise, often set a poor example for others, and it's about time that someone made mention of the fact.

Three possibilities would seem to lie at the heart of the problem: 1) People just don't care enough to do what's right. 2) People simply don't know the basics of a properly written missive. 3) People are in too much of a hurry, or are outright lazy when it comes to the simple, common sense rules of common courtesy.

For those who care, and want to learn how to correctly address your fellow members--especially those with whom you might be corresponding for the first time--here's the recommended way to write a message, whether it's in the form of a reply, a question, a review, or when making contact with anyone for any reason.

1) Whenever possible, begin all letters by addressing the recipient by name. Even if you know the person and have written back and forth many times--always begin by referencing the person by name. This is a great habit to adopt with regard to all your communications, whether written or verbal, and does nothing but spread good will and feelings of friendship and camaraderie.

On WdC we typically don't know the person's real first name. This is somewhat of a shortcoming on the site and should be covered as its own issue. In the meantime, addressing someone by something, anything, is better than nothing at all.

By the way, many members post their names on the profile block of their portfolio. It doesn't take a genius to realize that spending two seconds hopping over to someone's portfolio might also tell you something about the person. Which might make it easier when writing to them. Just a guess on my part. *FacePalm*

My first name, for example, is clearly listed in my profile. First sentence. Yet I can't count the number of times someone has reviewed my writing, or written to me about one thing or another, and not even bothered to see if I had a name, other than "Hey, you." And not even that much, more often than not. And God forbid anyone should take a peek at my personal website, which is clearly listed.

2) Secondly, end all messages by signing off with your name. This not only confirms who the message is from--which in many cases is likely obvious--but lets the recipient know you cared enough to properly end the message. Think of these things as actual phone calls. How many of us simply hang-up on someone without saying goodbye in one form or another? It really bugs me when I sign my name at the end of a letter and when the other person replies, they still don't refer to me by name. Nor do they sign their own name.

Is it me, or isn't that the same as saying, "I'm not really interested in who you are. Nor do I want you to know me, either." Geez, sorry for interrupting your day.

And that's it. Really tough stuff, right? Really hard to learn? You would think it was rocket science based on how few people practice the practice. Maybe it's a sign of the times? If so, it's a sign that robots are already around in large numbers. And they're us.

Some exceptions do exist, of course. Quick replies and posts to Newsfeed items, for instance, don't normally require a formal entry of any kind. It's largely a matter, once again, of treating each situation as its own form of communication, in which some things require a bit more formality than others. In this respect, emails are no different than actual letters or phone calls. And should be treated in exactly the same way.

For those who still don't understand what the big deal is, the big deal is precisely a matter of good manners, courtesy, respect, and the rest of all that "dopey" stuff which is too often taken for granted. And where many never realize what a difference it makes to lots of other people. Or to some people. Or to the few. Or maybe just to me.

In other words, the basic message here is the admonition that we shouldn't treat our fellow members the same as we would the serial number attached to an item in their portfolio. Unless, that is, you think of everyone as nothing more than just a robot. And enjoy being treated like one as well.

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