Internet etiquette question

For those of you whom have never met me in person, I’m pretty ‘animated’ when I speak.  In person when I want to emphasize something I am saying I can use voice inflections, facial expressions and physical posturing.  In writing,  I feel compelled to emphasize the same words and phrases that I would if I were speaking; and the way I happen to do that MOST of the time, is to use capital letters.

While here in my blog, I have several other options for emphasizing words, italics, bold, underline and even different colors! And I admit that I don’t use those features as often as I should.  Probably because I’m just not a very good typist, and those things take extra time!  But, also it’s a bit distracting and interrupts the flow of writing to pause to hit the bold button, then to click it again to stop.  It’s just EASIER to capitalize and occasional word that I want to emphasize; or put it in parenthesis.

Back when instant messaging came into the world, all of a sudden we needed ‘etiquette rules ‘for such; and it was decided that when you type using all capital letters that you are YELLING.  Okay, that’s reasonable.  But now all of a sudden, SOME people who have deemed themselves the internet etiquette police, have decided that if you use ANY capital letters that you are yelling?!?!?  And more than once I have been accused of yelling when I capitalized a word here and there.

WTH?!?!?  Case in point.  I got a convo from a potential customer on etsy.  (A convo is etsy’s internal email system and it’s VERY rudimentary.  Not fancy options, just your basic keyboard functions. ) She was inquiring about buying 2 separate items that she wanted to buy together, and SHE thought that they should fit into a large flat rate shipping box and be able to ship for $15.00; AND even mentioned that the PO would pick it up at my doorstep.  (I KNOW they offer that service to MOST postal customers, but NOT to us who live down a 1/2  mile gravel road!)

IN my reply to her I covered all my bases, as I’ve become accustomed to doing in such instances BECAUSE if I don’t,  I’ll end up with a bunch more annoying convos with more  questions in the aftermath.  Both items (actually 8 items in 2 groups of four) would NOT have fit into such a box, AND left enough room for adequate packing materials to prevent breakage in transit; which I explained to her.

 I went on to explain that IF I forced them into too small of a box with not enough packing material, even IF I insured it; that the PO has the right to inspect the shipping boxes and packing materials used and COULD determine that the breakage was MY fault for insufficient packing.  In which case I’d be out all that money.  And I’m not willing to take that chance.

And even WITH as careful as I always package my items for shipping, that I’ve had three things get broken in transit in less than a year.  So I just don’t push my luck with things like this.

 I further explained that I always only charge exactly what it costs me to ship; whether on single or combined orders,  and will always refund any shipping overages paid of $1.00 or more.    And I wrote all this, just as I ALWAYS write; capitalizing a word here or there that I wanted to emphasize.

Here is her reply to me:

I’m sure some etsy shoppers don’t understand, but I sold & shipped on ebay for years & never had a fragile item break.
By the way, you do realize that using all CAPS is the equivalent of shouting at the other person?
So, after being talked down to & shouted at, never mind.

It doesn’t REALLY bother me.  I actually feel like I dodged a bullet by NOT getting her as a customer!  She obviously does not have much of a grasp on reality.  SHE’S never had a fragile item break, she tells me.    So does that mean that NO ONE has ever had an item get broken in shipping?!?!?  I totally don’t understand her reason for THAT remark.  Does it mean she is willing to risk minimal packaging to get cheaper shipping and she won’t care if it happens to break????

Anyhow, back on track to the etiquette question.  Do YOU feel like I am shouting  when I emphasize words with capital letters in my blog, as I’m quite inclined to do on a regular basis?  Or do you ‘get’ that  I am just typing like I talk, putting more emphasis on certain words?

OR did I miss a recent memo regarding internet etiquette, and ANY use of capital letters is considered shouting???

P.S. I feel like I am spending an inordinate amount of time on my soap box lately?!?!?  Is it just a coincidence, or am I just getting OLD & CRANKY?!?

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. While I too have never had a conversation face to face with you my reply is simply this “You MUST OLD and CRANKY minded ” just like the rest of us who deal with air headed replies on a screen 🙂 lol jk

  2. All caps is shouting, not to mention difficult to read. Occasional caps is emphasis, and totally needed. Yes, I think I would have answered her the shipping is what it is, and I prefer not to sell to her. You were way nicer than I would have been. I always have a problem on shopgoodwill.com and their shipping, because they won’t send a photo in an envelope for 1.00, but will charge 8 or 9.00 to ship. Therefore, I don’t buy from them anymore. Oh, these are the ones in your area, too. It’s ridiculous.

  3. I think you as the seller should offer the product, the rules, and the buyer should accept that or not buy it. Love your blog. People take the “customer” thing too far. Maybe it’s Walmart’s fault! lol 🙂

  4. You dodged a bullet here ;o)

  5. Love your blog, you do seem more sensitive lately but I have no room to talk :/ I think that saying caps is shouting is ridicilous. People are so concerned about being PC these days that we will all have to stop communicating all together to meet all the criteria. Doesnt sound like this behavior would be progressive for mankind.

  6. I read your blog all the time and I have never been offended by your use of all CAPS to make a point. Some people are never happy and I think you dodged a bullet by not having her as a customer! I’ll bet you get more positive comments for your side than for hers. If I were you I wouldn’t change a thing!

  7. Totally obvious to me that your use of CAPS is for emphasis and NOT for shouting. Some people just like to complain I think.xxx

  8. The only person looking out for you is YOU (no pun intended on the caps!) Keep doing what you do! Nevermind the inconsiderate.

  9. You are really having a time with some people, lately. I read your blog every day and not ONE TIME have I thought you were yelling. In fact, I talk like you write…with EMphasis on certain words, or parts thereof. There are a lot of ‘glass half empty’ people out there and they don’t need to read your wonderful blog. You dodged a BIG one! I LOVE your blog! It makes my day.

  10. I have been reading your blog for awhile now and enjoy reading it and always look forward to the next posting. That being said I don’t agree that the use of capitals is shouting necessarily, the reader must use some common sense and realize the nature of which you use your capitalized words as emphasize and the general tone of what you are writing. I am from the old school (that time before Internet) so I totally get the use of captital letters for emphasizing things and do not see a problem with it. Now if you wrote a whole sentence in CAPS and used terse words then and only then would I think you MIGHT be shouting. Just keep on in YOUR style since that is the style that all your loyal listeners enjoy. You don’t need a customer like that and have many good customers to take her place. She is the type person that would NEVER be happy with anything you did and would ALWAYS be a problem. This shouting thing goes in the same vane as your post about mispelling words. Sure I see where you may have mispelled a word here and there but again when being read in context we all know what you are saying, nobody’s typing is perfect and we are all ONLY human. Some people just don’t have anything better to do than to complain about and point out faults of others, they need to get a life. Keep those great posts coming as I always look for the next one everytime I log into my mailbox.

  11. It REALLY does sound like you’ve been dealing with A LOT of ASSHOLES lately! I hope it gets BETTER for you VERY soon!

  12. Not to criticize you at all, after all it is your blog, but for me personally, all caps is irritating at times. I find myself reading your posts and I’m going along reading, and then BANG I read a word in all caps as yelling. Even to myself. It is bothersome. But I’ll still read the blog, this is just my personal thing. Just keeping it honest here.

  13. I’ve just read part II and then decided I wanted to read part I, which I missed. I have never felt offended by any use of caps in your blog and I use it on my own blog to. There are a lot of people out there who are offended by eveything anyone does these days and it’s just not worth your time and effort to worry about it. Just be yourself.


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