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e-mail rage

E-mail rage is the online equivalent of "road rage" - in fact, the new social disorder is sometimes referred to as "road rage on the information superhighway." E-mail's immediacy and informal nature have made it a unique medium for messages: communications are sent without the time for consideration involved in traditional written letters, and without the inhibiting social factors involved in face-to-face communication. In an Internet discussion group, sending a message under the influence of e-mail rage is sometimes called flaming .

As in incidents of road rage, e-mail rage happens when people are in an environment where they may tend to respond reflexively, rather than to stop and consider how to effectively react to a given situation. Also as with episodes of road rage, e-mail rage can quickly escalate if the parties communicating both get caught up in the emotion, as the recipient of an offensive or angry e-mail can all too easily hit the "reply" button and have an irate response back to the sender within seconds. Although e-mail rage is less likely than road rage to result in actual physical carnage, careers and reputations have certainly been damaged by it and, at the very least, time has been taken up unnecessarily.

To avoid falling prey to e-mail rage, some experts advise that you should wait a while before sending - or replying to - an angry message, and always try to express yourself without resorting to abusive language.

This was last updated in January 2006

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