Email Usage

Email is not suitable for exchanging larger amounts of data (or executable programs) - for this purpose you can use, among others, the ftp server with anonymous access or the web interface "Bigmail".

How do I use email correctly?

  1. In case of mass mailings (i. e. messages that should reach many users) it should be considered whether one of the newsgroups and/or the announce folder on the student's email servers are not a better option.
    Advantage: The message is stored only once, external visitors also have worldwide access to the newsgroups.

    Distribution lists in TUGRAZonline should not be used inflationary, so that they can fulfill their purpose - fast and secure information of members of Graz University of Technology - otherwise the messages will be treated like spam by more and more users. For sending messages to all students it is even technically not the optimal way.
    At the beginning of the message (or also in the subject) it has to be stated to which distribution list (e. g. IT officers, all students, …) the email is sent, so that it is clear to the recipients why they receive this message (will be inserted automatically by TUGRAZonline distribution lists).

    Attachments should be avoided for mass mailings (economical use of resources): Put the files on a web or FTP server or in the TU Graz cloud and send only the link to it.

    If the mailing is to be sent to a large number of external addresses, we offer a special service.

    For mass mailings (to external addresses), the Telecommunications Act also stipulates that direct advertising is not permitted without prior consent!
    The extent to which invitations to congresses, information about research results, etc. are subject to the Ecommerce Act is unclear, but there is a risk and the range of penalties is very high. In the case of emails without prior consent, at least the Ecommerce List should be queried.
    Whether "existing customers" have to be asked for consent according to the DPA or the GDPR is still unclear, but new contact data may only be used after consent or in case of legitimate interest.

    It should also be noted that our mailgates have limits per SMTP connection or per time unit, i. e. mass mailings should not be made with the personal account but with special robot accounts (the number of recipients is severely limited with personal accounts).

  2. Emails should - if possible - be sent as plain text messages.
    Advantage: all email programs ("email clients", e. g. also many mobile phones) can handle this and the data volume remains small!
  3. If a certain format is absolutely (?) necessary, then the message can be sent in HTML (the web format) and plain text ("multipart": several formats in one message).
    Good email programs (note: Outlook Express and Outlook without Exchange are not recommended by us!) do this automatically in the "HTML" setting, pure HTML messages are often classified as email garbage ("spam").
    Advantage: Email programs that can't handle HTML will see the plain text part, but the message will be about 3-4x as big as a plain text message.
  4. If a certain format is mandatory (e. g. for official mailings - be careful with scanned signatures!), then store the message as HTML or pdf file on a web or ftp server or in the TU Graz cloud and send only a link to it in the email.
    Advantage: If desired, an archive is created automatically on the web or ftp server.
    For most operating systems there are now programs with which you can view pdf files ("pdf reader"), but the HTML variant is still preferable.
  5. For large attachments ftp, TU Graz cloud etc. must be used. (or "Bigmail") must be used - reason:
    Email servers generally only accept emails up to a defined size, which varies from system to system. In case of a mass mailing the way outlined in point 3 has to be followed.
  6. If you really have to send Word documents, please make sure that you do not send the corrections - therefore save the finished document with "save as" - it will generally also be smaller and the recipients can no longer reconstruct the previous (perhaps not intended for them) versions.

    A Word file, which contains only "weakly formated" text, needs on average about 100x more memory (and of course also network resources when sending) than the text file which is completely corresponding in content and, in order to be read, needs a program which can handle doc files - but not every recipient always has such a program installed!


Distribution lists


If you send emails to many recipients, please use BCC (blind carbon copy) - reason:

  1. It is generally nobody's business who else is in the distribution list, possibly even with email addresses that should not be generally known.
  2. If the computer of one of the recipients is infected with malware, then all other recipients have to reckon with increased spam volume - or even worse: with malware that supposedly comes from a known sender (social engineering).

For (regular) mailings to a large number of recipients (50+), it is better to use a distribution server, also because the number of recipients is limited when using the personal account (because spamming is common via phished accounts, which can only be effectively prevented by limiting the number of recipients).
ZID offers such a service via the list server, but the legal regulations (see above) for mass mailings have to be considered.

Especially in TUGRAZonline:
Event announcements are not to be sent with TUGRAZonline distribution lists but are to be entered into the event calendar of TU Graz, can additionally be announced in a newsgroup specially set up for this purpose and can (if really necessary) be filed by the postmaster in the generally accessible folder "announce" on the IMAP server for students.
For job advertisements the newsgroup tu-graz.anzeigen.arbeitsmarkt has been set up especially, TUGRAZonline distribution lists are therefore not the right way for such advertisements!

Not time-critical mailings to all students should generally be done via the "announce"-folder in the way of the postmaster!


Long Internet addresses (URLs)

Please note the handling of long internet addresses (URLs) in emails: depending on the program, these may be truncated and the links will not work (e. g. when sending TU4U links via TUGRAZonline) - in this case you should create a short address via, which can then be sent without any problems.


Screenshots as attachments

Many operating systems allow "screenshots" to be saved immediately as an image, so you don't need to take a (blurred) picture of the screen with a smartphone, for example:

You should then add the image as an attachment (many email programs can then display this directly) and not include it in a PDF or DOCX document that you then attach.


Umlauts, quotes etc.

For this, too, conventions have developed on the Internet over many years that should be adhered to.


Content format of emails

An email is also generally a form of communication that takes place between people: even if the communication partner is not sitting or standing directly opposite you, you should therefore observe certain rules ("Internet etiquette").


Ten commandments for Internet users

  • You should not get upset all the time.
  • You should take into account that no human being is perfect, not even you.
  • You should give others the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Always swinging the moral club is also immoral.
  • You should not make quick judgments.
  • Thou shalt not watch over thy fellow man.
  • Thou shalt not educate thy fellow men without need.
  • Thou shalt not feel responsible for every pipsqueak.
  • Thou shalt always use exclamation points very carefully.
  • Thou shalt, if thou art determined to steal, not steal from me.

(Harald Martenstein, ZEITmagazin, translatet by