Kinder, Gentler E-Mails
An attitude adjustment for e-mails, the ToneCheck plug-in for Microsoft Outlook scans outgoing e-mail messages and flags wording that could be interpreted as harsh, angry, or offensive. The software flags words like hell or damn, giving you the option to change the words or send the e-mail anyway. It also detects subtler forms of aggression. Start too many sentences with you, for example, and it flags the e-mail. ToneCheck performed well during our test, though it failed to detect sarcasm ("You really need to get a new job.") and alternative spellings of insults (for example, it flagged sad sack, but not sad-sack). The software is in free beta testing.