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E-mail Etiquette Page

Rule #1: (get your attention?)
Please, please, please - don't send virus warnings out on an email list - at least not unless/until you've either done the research required to verify that the virus is real and the warning is warranted, or the warning came to you directly from an authoritative source (CIAC, McAfee, etc).  Feel free to visit our Virus Information page for information and related links.

When replying to a message, make sure you're not quoting more than is absolutely necessary from the previous message.   Not only does the extra stuff fill people's mailboxes, but some people pay per-minute phone charges. For them, all extra traffic costs extra money.

ALSO - BE KIND to the "Newbies" - Those new to e-mail. If you'd like, have them check out:
E-Mail Help and Tips Everything E-Mail at (thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine!)

"Administrative Notes" from Teri:

God bless you and thankyou ahead of time for your fellowship!  Your gifts, input, prayers, and comments are a valuable addition to the Body of Christ, so don't be shy!

Below is some wisdom gleaned from previous experience and scriptural studies--the great majority of this was inspired by dysfunctional lists and the attitudes of their moderators, as I prayed and studied and sometimes stuck my nose in.   The rest is inspired by the Lord showing me how human I am (What a revelation!! ha ha), and the concerns/reports of others.

On words that may cause hard feelings:

Sometimes people mean to sound insensitive, mean-spirited, hard-nosed, and inflexible, and sometimes they don't.  Also, sometimes when someone touches upon a area sensitive for us personally,  we may find ourselves reading into messages something that wasn't really there. We may be reacting to what we think they said, when the reaction isn't necessary.  Or, it may be an overreaction.

Misunderstanding and misperceptions can sometimes happen in verbal or face to face situations. How much more likely is this when it comes to e-mail?  Remember, smileys and other symbols have to be used to try to convey emotion (and they can only convey just so much, and no more). Because we do not see or hear the person who is talking to us by e-mail, we need to be conscious of this fact!

For an interesting Biblical study on misunderstandings, please follow the story of a misunderstood tribe of Israel in the following scriptures:

Numbers 32:4-14, Numbers 36:22, Joshua 4:12-13, Joshua 22:16, Joshua 22:26-27, and Joshua 22:31

You will see that the other tribes of Israel misunderstood an entire tribe of people, and this almost led to the slaughter of this tribe by their brethren. Even MOSES misunderstood the tribe, and it is clear that Mose's perceptions were influenced by the rebelliousness of others in the past.  However, Moses was not foolish enough to swing the sword against a people who did not get a chance to clarify.

SO, my advice is:

For the ungracious judge:

It is not kind nor is it Biblical to twist another person's words for them, insist that you know their intentions according to your individual perception, and then pounce on them or give them the silent treatment accordingly.  Yes, people should be responsible for communicating as well as they can and as graciously as they can.  Knowing how they sound can help them do that.  However, they should not have to labor under a perfectionistic and ungracious audience to their words. Please be kind and don't bump people with your own log while you go on a splinter hunt (Matthew 7:3)!

On heated discussions and debates

There have been people who tentatively wonder if debate is allowed, and there are others who don't want to cope with a list cluttered with senseless arguments.  Some say to just hit the delete button, but sometimes that is not adequate enough for a list in danger of disintegrating into foolish debate.  In addition, the group does not need to be held hostage by someone's inappropriate comments (Eph. 5:1-7).

Debate is allowable and can be healthy. However, I look for a debate to be constructive rather than destructive.  Here are what I consider to be the markings of a constructive debate:

For unmoderated lists, or semi-moderated lists if something is disintegrating and becoming heated or redundantly repetitive (without any additional value), my suggestion is for anyone discerning to call a TIME-OUT.

When Time-Out is called it is not intended as a personal cut on the individuals involved.

It means: Step back, cool off if you need to, pray about it, study the Word, and definitely take it off the list publicly. If you continue the debate privately with person or persons debating, then let us know if your private e-mails lead to anything useful to share to the list.  Iron sharpens iron, so doth one man sharpen another (Proverbs 27:17)!  If your personal time away from this debate (time to regroup and study) yields something useful to share with everyone, feel free! But let's not let the list be taken over by senseless debate (Titus 3: 9-11)!

When Time-Out is called, other list members can object to it or agree about it -- to say they are getting something out of the debate or not.

When Time-Out is called, each person involved in debate has the right to send one last e-mail list to the list, so they may say what they  wanted to say and do not feel cut off.  After the last e-mail, it is strongly urged they observe the Time-Out.

Lastly, for the content of your private or public communications, it may be helpful for you to stop and think, just as our friend John Painter recommended on NETchurch once:

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been   called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

(Ephesians 4:1-6)

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