Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Core Netiquette For Email Attachments Via Netiquette IQ

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The following is an excerpt from my book "Netiquette IQ . . ." You can read more about email attachments by purchasing the book. More details are below.
Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.

—Mitchell Kapor


Using attachments greatly enhances the capabilities and even potential hazards of email. Due to the significant differences and compatibilities of different mail programs, many attached items—such as tables, charts, documents with advanced formatting, and items that require or demand editing integrity—are critical to communication dynamics. Nonetheless, many obstacles and potential for problems exist when utilizing attachments. What follows are examples where attachments can manifest poor results and loss of productivity or worse.

        In the earliest days of email, a limited number of formats existed. However the rapid proliferation of programs has produced hundreds, if not thousands, of formats. These are identified by their file extensions (e.g., .txt, .pdf). Although many programs can read multiple formats, these are no universal file readers. It follows that to read these attachments, the native program must be installed.

        The sender must take care to ensure that the recipient(s) can easily open an attachment, particularly an important or critical one. This is, of course, crucial in business communication and less so in personal email. Nonetheless, it may take a significant amount of time to open an attachment that might have been intended for quick review or action. Often, once a new program is installed, it may take the user some time to negotiate or operate the program. If this fails, the attachment may never be opened.

        For many, attachment size is not a problem. For many others, the size of an attached file is a consideration, as it may have even a greater negative effect than a file attribute or format. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have limitation for file size or mailbox size. Large files (5 GB or more) can be rejected altogether, or they may exhaust allotment of mailbox capacity. Thus, a recipient may not even know a message was sent and rejected. Large attachments, even when accepted, might fill the recipient mailbox, which will result in disruption of their service. Finally, small laptops or most smart phones could have performance issues when attachments are opened. There are several ways to avoid the pitfalls of attachment size. The first is to be selective when sending large files or multiple smaller ones. In the former case, many files can be significantly reduced by file compression programs, of which there are many. At least one of the popular ones is resident on most desktops or laptops. If other formats for document-size reduction are appropriate, such as .pdf, this is a very good approach. In the case of the latter, multiple-attachment email, simply sending multiple messages with fewer attachments per email is practical, straightforward, and sure to reduce or eliminate the stress of unwieldy attachments.

Potential hazards of attachments

        Most attachments are simply a means of document delivery. However, it has also become commonplace for hackers to use attachments to launch cyber attacks, typically with executable code, which produce many varied effects, some highly destructive and malicious. When a recipient receives a suspicious attachment, it should be scanned and, unless it is from a trusted source, not opened. Some corporations, hosting companies, and ISPs will block, quarantine, or remove files with specifically identified file extensions. It is beneficial to consider at least some of these security measures  to prevent inadvertent file removal. Care should be taken as well not to forward such messages without a security scan.
  1. Do not send attachments that are not needed.
  2. Do not return attachments when replying. The original sender knows what they attached.
        Finally, when attachments are sent, some may have similar names to other files on the sender’s system. With an inadvertent slip, the wrong attachment may go out, perhaps a compromising or confidential document. Therefore, opening attachments to validate they are appropriate and correct is critical to a proper email process.

        Titles of attachments are often visible in a mailbox preview mode. These titles can be very important for a number of reasons. Primarily, an accurate and appropriately named attachment will encourage the recipient to open the email and read the attachment. If an attachment is not appropriately named, opening it may be delayed or dropped altogether. Some important considerations to utilize in titling attachments are date, specific content (e.g., proposal, invoice, résumé, or author). Avoid using titles that are very long, contain all numeric characters, do not represent the content, or have inappropriate information. The last  might contain dates long since past or very generic names such as “letter,” “schedule,” and so forth. Maintaining a structured process such as consecutive numbering or defining categories is not only useful for the recipient but also  for the sender. It is also important to adhere to Netiquette in attachment titles by utilizing correct punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.

Meta data and drafts in attachments

        Certain programs can actively send all of the corrections already visible. Some programs leave hidden information or meta data, which can be retrieved. Care should be given to prevent this, as it may lead to lawsuits, security breaches, or other negative situations. Attention should be given to “clean” these files or utilize an attachment format that will erase the meta data. Even better, converting attachments to a .pdf or other unchangeable file format eliminates this danger.

Dos for attachments
Don’ts for attachments
·         Be consistent with names or descriptions
·         Have too few or too many characters
·         Verify an attachment need
·         Send “v” card attachments unless requested
·         Capitalize the title
·         Reply to someone with the attachment they sent you
·         “Zip” or compress large files
·         Send attachments with possible compromising meta data
·         Use universal formats

·         Clean meta data

·         Title attachments for convenience in storage

    Good Netiquette And A Green Internet To All!  =====================================================================Tabula Rosa Systems - Tabula Rosa Systems (TRS) is dedicated to providing Best of Breed Technology and Best of Class Professional Services to our Clients. We have a portfolio of products which we have selected for their capabilities, viability and value. TRS provides product, design, implementation and support services on all products that we represent. Additionally, TRS provides expertise in Network Analysis, eBusiness Application Profiling, ePolicy and eBusiness Troubleshooting

We can be contacted at:

sales@tabularosa.net  or 609 818 1802.
In addition to this blog, Netiquette IQ has a website with great assets which are being added to on a regular basis. I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, “Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". My new book, “You’re Hired! Super Charge Your Email Skills in 60 Minutes. . . And Get That Job!” has just been published and will be followed by a trilogy of books on Netiquette for young people. You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:


Anyone who would like to review the book and have it posted on my blog or website, please contact me paul@netiquetteiq.com.

In addition to this blog, I maintain a radio show on BlogtalkRadio  and an online newsletter via paper.li.I have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and  Yahoo I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ and  PSG of Mercer County, NJ.

Additionally, I am the president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a “best of breed” reseller of products for communications, email, network management software, security products and professional services.  Also, I am the president of Netiquette IQ. We are currently developing an email IQ rating system, Netiquette IQ, which promotes the fundamentals outlined in my book.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have enjoyed a dynamic and successful career and have attained an extensive background in IT and electronic communications by selling and marketing within the information technology market.

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