The Internet is a wonderful tool for research and communication, but you can use it more effectively if you understand the "Rules of the Road."
General Good Manners
1. Please use a subject line in your e-mail messages, and be specific.
2. It's OK to type your message in upper and lower case. Although many file names and e-mail addresses are in lower case letters, it really is OK to write your messages using upper and lower case letters, just as you would write a letter. reading all lower case messages i know can be difficult. On the other hand, using all capital letters is considered SHOUTING. The accepted way of emphasizing a word or phrase is encasing it in two asterisks, *like this*.
3. Your signature file. Some may disagree, but I would strongly recommend that you not publish your "signature" including your home telephone number and address on messages to mailing lists. These list messages are archived and can be read by anyone via the Internet.
4. Unsolicited mailings to a large number of addresses is considered SPAM. Most SPAM is commercial advertising. However, any mass mailing that is unsolicited by the recipients is considered SPAM. It is prohibited on all mailing lists. The next time you send a mass mailing to your entire address book, please consider that many people are doing well to read and respond to their personal e-mail messages. Cute sayings, cartoons, jokes, profound poems, etc., should be sent to your personal friends who have expressed a desire to receive them. For those who receive an average of 100 messages a day, about 60% are SPAM. It is the equivalent of Internet JUNK MAIL.
5. Chain letters are considered SPAM. They bog down the entire Internet system. If you receive a message of any kind that asks you to forward it to five other people, or ten, or everyone you know, it is a chain letter...even if it asks for you to support breast cancer research, or pray for little Johnny in the hospital, or to show your friends how much you love them. Before forwarding a chain letter, make sure your friends don't mind (I mind). Don't ever send them to mailing lists.
6. Never send an attachment, such as a document or image file, without the permission of the recipient. Be sure to fully describe the file you are attaching and be sure it is free of viruses!
Genealogy E-Mail and Forum Messages
1. Please, always use a subject line and be as specific as possible. If you are searching for a John Smith who was born in Norwich, Connecticut around 1750, your subject line
should be something like "John Smith, Norwich CT 1750". If you use the subject line "Genealogy" or "Research", or no subject at all, chances are your message will never be read.
2. The body of your message should be very specific, including any dates, parents and spouse's names, and how you need help. If you need a look-up from a specific census record, be sure to say it.
3. If you are responding to a list message but are changing the topic, be sure to change the subject line. Folks (like me) who receive hundreds of e-mail messages a week, scan the subject lines and often do not open messages that are not of personal interest.
4. RootsWeb mailing lists do not accept attachments or HTML. According to McAfee, a virus can be scripted in the .html code of an e-mail message, and can be transmitted directly to the recipient of the message. Aside from the threat of viruses, it is a good habit to use simple text in e-mail messages. Many older browsers have a hard time with fancy fonts and "stationary".
E-Mail Viruses and Spyware - Updated May 2004
In spite of Norton Internet Security (including a Firewall), my new computer was infected with Spyware within two weeks. There are estimates of over 90% of the computers in the world being infected by some type of Spyware. The one I got was contracted by visiting a "free graphics" web site, and clicking on one of the graphic links. Suddenly, I was bombarded with pop up windows, and could hardly close one before two more popped up in its place. My computer was being infected (infested) by Look2Me Spyware, developed by a company in Minnesota called NicTech Networks, Inc. Nictech even bundles this Spyware with the spyware-block software it sells!
This Spyware is considered by Norton Anti-Virus to be a Trojan Horse, but Norton did not prevent the infection, nor has it been any help in ridding my computer of this enemy. When I'm on the Internet, it redirects my browser. I have had problems transferring web pages to my remote host, and I believe Look2Me is to blame.
If you think you don't have Spyware on your computer, chances are you do. The spyware Broadjump was bundled into the DSL software that was delivered with my DSL modem by my ISP.
Apparently, this is not illegal, and the FTC feels that this practice can be handled through industry cooperation. This is bunk. If we track down and prosecute individuals who write and distribute computer viruses, we should be doing the same with these criminals who break into our computers and steal our personal information.
Please read the bill that has been proposed to regulate Spyware, and write your Senators, asking them to support this SENATE BILL # S.2145.
Here's the proposed bill:
Here's where you can find and contact your Senators online:
In April of 2002, I suffered my second devastating computer virus which crashed my entire system. I contracted this virus with updated Norton virus protection and without opening an e-mail attachment - I simply opened and read the message. Many viruses can be contracted by simply opening the e-mail message without ever opening the virus attachment itself, making it extremely "contagious". If you use Outlook Express, you should turn off your Preview option. Launch Outlook Express. Go to "View", "Layout". Click off the "Preview Pane."
E-Mail viruses typically are transmitted through file attachments, and when the attachment is opened, the virus begins its work. The most harmless virus, like Happy 99, will attach and send itself to every address in your address book, but it does not damage your computer or files.
The most harmful are the type that infect the files on your hard drive and replace systems files. These worm viruses also send themselves to addresses in your address book, or reply to your unread or sent e-mail messages. The recipient will receive a message from you but it is actually initiated by the virus. You will never know it is doing it.
If you use .html coding in your e-mail (such as a background color or pattern or a special font) your messages can be infected by a computer virus and transmitted to others. If you insist on using .html coding, please keep your virus protection up to date!!!
Be sure to have a virus protection program, such as McAffee, Symantec's Norton Anti Virus, or Panda Security on your computer, and be sure you update the virus descriptions regularly - at least once a week.
Over 1000 new virus definitions are added each month. Don't EVER open an unexpected attachment, especially from someone you know! You can go here to check out recognized viruses, and both offer subscriptions to their newsletters:
Please Don't be Part of the Problem!
1. Always enter a Subject Line in your e-mails. For folks who receive hundreds of e-mails a week, please be specific in your subject line.
2. Never, ever, send an attachment without getting consent from the recipient. I typically wouldn't open an unsolicited or unexpected attachment, even if it looks innocent enough. I slipped up one time, and I will never do it again!
3. Don't send virus alerts unless you have confirmed that it is, indeed, a virus and not a hoax. It only takes a minute to look it up, and stop the perpetuation of this nonsense!
Go here to check the known VIRUS HOAXES
McAfee Anti Virus Center: http://vil.mcafee.com/hoax.asp?
Symantec (Norton) Anti Virus Center: http://symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html
Forwarding an unconfirmed virus alert is like "Crying Wolf." It makes everyone complacent and less vigilant against real threats.
Note: these sites do not list the many, many NON-VIRUS HOAXES circulated every day via e-mail, but most of those fall into other categories of chain letters and SPAM. I can't say here what words I use to describe this e-mail pollution, but it is shocking how many folks will forward darned near anything! Here are some of the latest Internet hoaxes of a non-viral nature:
Thanks for your cooperation.