Offended When Mistake is Pointed Out?

A Site Visitor Writes:

I forwarded a certain photograph to a group of people. One of the people on the email list sent back to the list (whom she did not know) that the photo was a fake. She stated that “she always checked on the accuracy of things before she forwarded.” This went out to all the other people on my list.

I was not upset that the photo was not authentic. I was a little miffed that she sent to out to my list of 4 others. But what I felt was really rude was her comment that “she always checked out her emails for accuracy before forwarding”. So, one would assume that I did not do a good job at these things or I would have done the same. I felt that her comment was really rude. What do you think? Lack of netiquette?

While it is preferred that she would have made her correction directly to you as the Sender — not your entire list, she did nothing wrong by letting everyone know the photo was not authentic if you had everyone’s email address displayed. The number of folks who assume everything in an email is true or correct is surprising! Don’t we all get enough junk email without having those who are uninformed (or don’t make the effort to be informed) sending more junk through the pipeline?

There are two things to discuss here. If we don’t want others on our list to know or respond to those listed, put their email addresses in the BCc: field. That is your call to make after all.

Stating she checks things out (at sites such as before forwarding sounds like a smart thing to do considering all the junk and misinformation being forwarded around. If you had checked this out you certainly wouldn’t have proceeded to send out an inaccurate email — would you?

Good Netiquette dictates you do NOT just forward anything that lands in your inbox as true or real. You should make the extra effort at any of the various websites that cover urban legends, only one of which is

If we do not take the time to vet emails before forwarding, we certainly cannot get mad when someone who does make these efforts points out to you that it is a hoax and simply states they always check things for accuracy before forwarding.

Rather than look at the person as rude, why not send her a short “thank you” with your humble apologies thanking her for letting you know about and that you know you still have things to learn. You now know to check things out before forwarding and she provided you the resource to do just that.

I also have an article on my site called the 5 Rules of Forwarding E-mail that you might find helpful in your quest for knowledge.

Everyone still has things to learn online – I learn something new every day and I’ve been online for almost two decades. There is nothing wrong with that – that is what makes online so exhilarating! 😉

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