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Part IV: Polishing Your Cybermanners > Extinguishing Flames

Chapter 22. Extinguishing Flames

An e-mail flame is a hostile message that is blunt, rude, insensitive, or obscene. Sending such a message is called flaming. Flames ignite quickly, as people who are upset by something they have read online send back a quick, angry reply. One flame can start an online flame war, involving numerous people transmitting angry electronic messages back and forth. Flames are unique to e-mail because the slow pace of traditional mail does not accommodate immediate, heated reaction. Before sending a flame, ask yourself the following questions:

Would I say this to a person’s face? If not, do not send the e-mail.

Would I be embarrassed if this message were read by my supervisor or a customer, colleague, or other reader whose opinion matters to me? If so, extinguish the flame.

Is it possible that the message I perceive to be a flame is actually an ill-phrased joke? If you have any doubt, assume the best.


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