She may favor quill pens, but etiquette maven Miss Manners (Judith Martin, 58) is no Luddite. In her new book, Miss Manners' Basic Training: Communication, the syndicated columnist calls e-mail "the best means of quick communication since the pony express."
Is there a need for netiquette?
It's funny; people always say, "Isn't etiquette terribly old-fashioned?" But people in cyberspace never put down netiquette. They realize that communities work only if they are regulated by etiquette.
Do you frown on smiley faces?
Emoticons are a charming idea, but they're like Washington acronyms—only insiders know them. The recognizable ones, like the smiley face, should be used with restraint.
When is e-mail inappropriate?
People have the misconception that they have privacy. But as the person finds out who writes an impassioned e-mail to a colleague and sees it wind up on the boss's computer, love notes should always be handwritten.
What's the worst bit of incivility you've seen on a computer?
Well, I always think it's very rude when the hard drive crashes.