Email Guidelines

  1. Questions that you could answer yourself by attending lectures or looking at the course web page, text or your lecture notes for 5 minutes will receive no response.
  2. All email must have a descriptive subject line.
    1. Some good subject lines: "Assignment 1 technical question", "confused on definitions", "'Access denied' error on web page"
    2. Some bad subject lines: "Re: unrelated email to course list", "Re: previous unrelated email", "help!", "dear sir", "question", "Assignment"
    3. Subject lines like "URGENT!!!!" will go to the bottom of the pile. Perhaps to bottom of tomorrow's pile.
  3. Use good grammar.
    1. You have a shift key. Use it.
    2. You have a caps lock key. That doesn't mean you should use it.
    3. "U" is not a word. Neither is "b4".
    4. If your grammar is so bad that we can't figure out what you're saying the first time through, we won't respond.
  4. Be specific.
    1. Questions like "My (blank) isn't working. Can you help?" will get the appropriate response: "No." We aren't mind readers. You should include as much detail as you can. List the steps you took and the results, including specific error messages (copied and pasted, not your vague recollection).
    2. Unless it's clear from the question, mention which course you're in.
  5. Use the medium properly.
    1. Do not send attachments unless absolutely necessary. Large attachments may result in your email being deleted without even being opened.
    2. Do not quote back a previous message unless there's some reason.
    3. Messages sent more than once will decrease in priority.
  6. Send it to the right address.
    1. Some courses have email lists set up for sending questions. If you send questions to elsewhere, they won't get a response.
    2. The same thing goes for courses with email addresses for assignment submission.

Some relevant tips from "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way", which is aimed at people asking for technical help on mailing lists, but parts are relevant anyway:

Other Links

Copyright © , last modified 2010-07-14.