|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
There is one critical aspect to on-line communication which many people misinterperate - emotion.
Emotion is a difficult thing to convey via *any* written word. You start to delve into connotation. For instance, see (I think) Santa Barbara's ban on the word 'minority'.
Unless you craft your on-line speach ~very~ carefully, and the person(s) receiving the message follow(s) your policy, your message can be misinterpreted. REMEMBER - everyone is a method actor! Most will bring their own baggage into your message. Tech folks, Monks included, tend to see email and on-line communications as generally void of emotion unless *OBVIOUSLY* stated.
Beware of the workplace!!! Non-tech people work there, too. I received a negative performance apprasial (only negative one in four years) because my emails were misinterpreted as arrogant and rude. The emails offered to me by me were concise, writen w/o emotion, and offered direction. They were, in my mind, good workplace emails. They were deviod of amything anyone could misconstrue as hurtful or insensitive or abusive. Oh well...
I propose a tag at the top of on-line communication, like 'emote on' and 'emote off'.
As Dennis Miller says, "That's just my opinion. I could be wrong.".
I miss the days of yore where '~', '*', CAPS, and other keyboard gymnastics could handle the load, and everyone agreed on a system. Too few people ever grew up on net news (Net::NNTP for the uninitiated).