So you think you know how to forward an email? Here are my self-imposed
rules, learned over twenty years of emailing humor around the Internet:
After you click Forward, edit the message to remove the name and
email address of everyone on it. As messages are forwarded, the addresses
build. If that email hits any computer with a zombie virus,
all those addresses will be extricated and everyone mentioned will
receive even more spam.
If you forward to more than one person, put all
the email addresses in the BCC: field so recipients see no other addresses.
(If your email program doesn't show a BCC: field, google for "[your program's
name] BCC field" and learn how.) You can tell who does this because
their "TO:" field says "Undisclosed Recipients." (Old
Fogie Note: BCC once stood for blind carbon copy; ask your parents
what "carbon" has to do with email!)
Remove all those >>>'s and ]]]'s from
the left margin. No, not by hand! Use StripMail, a tiny free program that
also cleans up broken paragraphs, bad indenting, and other
email problems, too. Free at stripmail.net.
(I feel this is one problem that’s on the decline.)
Resize those giant 36-point fonts down to 12-point. Who reads five
words at a time?!
Fix broken lines. Who reads three words per line? Again, not by
hand; use StripMail (see above).
Click Forward: from within the email you're reading, not
from the one you started opening. This way your readers
don't have to open ten other emails just to see what you sent. (This rule
seems to be most often violated by AOL users.)
Don't send megabytes of photos; instead send a link to a photo-sharing
site where people can download and view them when and
as they wish. There are many free sites on the web. Make use of them.
Avoid sending unnecessary attachments. Some email programs block
attachments because they serve as a hiding place for
If possible, send plain text so viruses cannot
attach themselves (and your recipients can download it faster). This doesn't
work with photos or links; these must be sent "formatted" or as
Remove the "FW :" from the Subject line.
Rename the subject, if you wish. Fix misspellings.
Never forward anything saying "Send this to 10 people and…" something
will happen. Nothing will happen! If you must forward
the message, delete those segments; someone else usually added
them anyway! No bad luck will happen if you don't forward. Anything
that says that, trash them first!
Never forward petitions; they are valuable only to spammers. Never
add your name or email address to a petition. If you
want to support the position, fine, but a personal email to the intended
recipient will carry more weight anyway. In addition, never believe an email
can be traced. It can't!
Never forward anything that sounds too good to be true, or claims
to be fact, or almost anything but a joke without checking
with http://www.Snopes.com first.
Never forward a Word document as an attachment.
Smart people won’t
open it as that’s a common way of spreading viruses. Instead,
copy the entire document (in Word, press Ctrl-A, then
Ctrl-C) and then paste it into an HTML email. Ditto PowerPoint
slide shows that contain mostly text, Excel spreadsheets, etc.
Never forward "Amber Alerts," "Virus Alerts," or
children wanting get well cards. Again, check with http://www.Snopes.com first.
Usually that "new virus" was found and eliminated by your
AV software months ago.
Never forward anything that promises you'll get something for doing
so, including good luck or bad luck. There is no magic,
not even in computers.
Never forward advertisements. Delete them instead. You pay for your
Internet access; why advertise for someone else for free?
Never forward superfluous graphics, emoticons,
and embellishments. I've received 1MB jokes that contain 1KB of joke and
999KB of unnecessary photos. Your recipients know what a dog
looks like. They don't need a photo or clip art inserted after the