Style of address on mailing lists / Anrede auf Mailingliste

I quote a mailing list message:

Deshalb ist es ja umso wichtiger, dass sich die Mitglieder ziemen und die entsprechenden Höflichkeitsformen und Ausdrucksweisen wahren, wie z.B. eine entsprechende Anrede überhaupt zu verfassen.

(MM’s emphasis)

Again and again I wonder: is it just in Germany that some lists expect you to write ‘Liebe Forumsmitglieder’ or some such, and are offended if you have no address at all?

I recall a UseNet group for some bookkeeping software where people wouldn’t even reply if you didn’t use a form of address. This was the case no matter if you were replying to an individual or writing a new question to the whole list (in the latter case, there is no really sensible form of address, is there?)

Here are some recent examples:

Liebe Kollegen und Kolleginnen
Liebe KollegInnen
Liebe / lieber X
Hallo Frau /Herr X
Hallo X
Liebe Liste
Liebe Helfer
Guten Abend
Bonjour X
Guten Morgen, X

I really can’t understand why anyone should be offended if one of these is missing. And I believe a formal close is also expected. I have the feeling it isn’t the case on English-language lists.

3 thoughts on “Style of address on mailing lists / Anrede auf Mailingliste

  1. Not that I know of any (n)etiquette that makes that mandatory. As German native speaker, however, I sometimes desperately try not to write “liebe Mitglieder” or such when writing to lists/fora. Indeed, this seems to be a German thing. I don’t know why, but I always find myself trying to address my mails to someone particular, though I have no idea who that person might be. :)

  2. Interesting question, I suppose it’s hard to tell what sounds polite/friendly to whom. I don’t mind starting without any address but I can understand that this might be the case for people for whom a forum message is a kind of letter. It took me some time to get used to messages starting with just the name of the addressee (without “dear” or “hallo”) which sounded very brusque to me in the beginning (not any more), though it is perfectly normal e.g. in French, even in letters.

  3. I certainly got used to the use of a first name alone on FLEFO (Compuserve), and I think that’s where I learnt not always to greet everyone in a thread – the less verbiage at the beginning, the sooner you can read the important bits. So it isn’t rude to me.
    I do often write ‘Liebe Liste’ etc., just to get it over with.
    I usually use ‘Hallo’ in German and ‘Hi’ in English. But I feel that in Britain, ‘Dear’ is expected. Sometimes I feel some pressure to use that, for fear of it seeming like a deliberate insult to omit it.

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