Correcting others is a delicate process. You know the saying you attract more bees with honey? When we correct others, doing so helpfully and constructively can make all the difference in how your corrections are perceived.
We have to be uber-sensitive not to make the other side feel bad or that they are in some way less intelligent, experienced, or unable to do things the right way. Truth is they may not know the right way.
But what happens when you are polite, and your corrections are ignored?
“Is it bad netiquette to “correct” others’ netiquette? I did so recently, as politely as possible, and tried to explain this to two of my friends, who either didn’t understand or chose to ignore it, as they continue to do the same thing. Do I give up on them?”[email protected] Site Visitor
Sadly, we live in a culture that isn’t really open to corrections or constructive criticism. Instead, many onliners think they can do whatever they want without thought or concern for others.
When you correct others, no matter how polite, kind, or gentle your corrections may be, some will get upset or ignore you. When that happens, don’t take it personally, as it says more about them than it does about you.
Willingness to Learn Online Skills
I wouldn’t give up. Heck, I’ve been running my email etiquette websites for decades now and know there are those onliners that want to learn. However, some are still resisting and claim I shouldn’t tell them what to do.
We are not telling them what to do. You can explain to your friends that, if anything, all you are trying to do is help them make an effort to have enough knowledge to understand the technology they are participating in.
Ask them if they think is important to use email with courtesy and consideration for those they communicate with. Their answer may allow you to segue into more detail.
Trying to gently and politely expose those you communicate with to email etiquette is something you can do by example. Also, be sure to make those corrections privately, not publicly. Then, when they see how you communicate and don’t do the things you mention, they can see your recommendations in action.
Email is About All Involved
Email is not about one person; it’s about at least two — the sender and the recipient. And, just like anything in life, if you behave without thought for others, there will be ramifications.
Are there actually onliners who don’t want to be viewed as knowledgeable and courteous? I don’t believe so. However, the outcome will be less than positive based on their decision to ignore proper practices and the desire to be courteous.
So, I hope you don’t give up. Folks like you help others learn by making them aware of the information they may not have been exposed to yet. Especially when you lead by example — that’s how most folks learn.
Another approach is to send them a link to any of the posts on my sites to discuss the topics you believe they can improve upon. Let them read and learn for themselves about the importance of all the issues we discuss here. (In other words, let me be the “bad guy.”)
Hopefully, by being exposed to more information and the fact that’s a good thing, they’ll be more open to making an effort to “use technology with knowledge, understanding, and courtesy.” Hope springs eternal.