Academy/Email communication good practices

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(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Email communication good practices is a short writing that documents some of the good practices which can be followed while program/event-related communication or messaging (includes mass emailing).

Please note,

  • This is not an "all inclusive" list of suggestions, and points may be added or modified
  • Some of the points below may represent specific point of views, please feel free to discuss on this writing's talk page.
  • The topic is a part of a broader topic "communication", and there are many modules in it (such as email writing, Google Docs manual of style, writing style etc.). It would not be possible to delve into all these, and nor this writing intends to do so also. This rather documents a few points which might be of quick or immediate use.
    Hopefully this will help A2K, and other programs also.

Before sending an email...[edit]

As a program co-ordinator or communication person before you send an email you may consider pondering on these points.

  1. Is this going to be an unwanted email?: Email inboxes are always flooded these days. Before sending a promotional email, let's think for a while, are we sure that it is not going to be an unwanted email to the recipient? Now there are multiple ways to try to understand or prepare a list (one common reason is possibly: the recipients already showed interest in similar program). However, if we do not know about the target recipients, list preparation methodology, possibly we can spend sometime to ponder on this point.
  2. Respect privacy, do not put all email addresses in "To" or "CC" field: This is possibly an unintended but major error. Suppose we want to send an email to 25 people and mistakenly (or for any other reason), all the email addresses are put into "To", "CC" field". So, all the email addresses are exposed which creates a privacy issue. If you are sending an email to two other friends, where you know the other two people know each other, and you also want them to see who are copied— the only "To" or "CC" field usage makes sense. You may put the email addresses in "bcc" field, but before that please check against #1 above.
    1. Similar topic: Google Calendar invitation: Depending on settings, Google Calendar invitees and their email ids may be visible to each other. Please consider making necessary settings. So a recipient clicks on "show image" expecting some important contextual ignoring the web beacon possibility,
  3. Do not use tracker: Please do not use trackers such as web beacon to find out if an email was opened, read, clicked etc. Sometimes trackers are added unknowingly also. You might see usage of tools like Yet Another Mail Merge (YAMM, deliberately not linked). Your recipient may not even notice this, and yes, some of these tools make things much easier. But, in the Wikimedia movement, let's not spy on someone's email activity, and let's avoid trackers. Please also note, in some other cases such as a Wiki or website, where activities are monitored, necessary information is (to be/generally) added in its privacy policy.
  4. Consider minimal usage of unneeded logos/images: Many email service providers including Gmail block external content in an email by default to primarily defend the web beacons and similar content (Gmail help article). So, very often you might see a banner at the top of an email Show images below or Show external content below. On the other hand very often you might receive emails with an alert "show image", and when you click on it, there is just a logo beside signature. That is not adding any direct value, nor it is a part of the content.
  5. Please give an unsubscribe or opt out option: Sometimes you will see emails or communication which do not give an option to opt out or unsubscribe. A mass message should have an "opt out/unsubscribe" option, and the preference should be respected.

See also[edit]