I haven't played with this one enough to tell how well it works. But, the idea is certainly interesting. ToneCheck is an e-mail app in beta right now exclusively available for Microsoft Outlook.
It works in a very similar way as spellcheck. You simply click on a button and it scans through the body of your e-mail copy (before you send it out - hello!) flagging any sentences or phrases with verbage coming on, perhaps, a little too strongly.
The highlighted flags first point out what may be an exaggerated emotion (too angry, too enthusiastic, etc.) and then offers alternative copy to tone it down.
Clicking through the demo screens made me laugh. The whole thing feels like a Saturday Night Live spoof. Then again, it's answering a very real need. Who among us hasn't stepped in it once or twice from a misunderstood e-mail?
I'm not sure this is the panacea for flame wars. But for the socially awkward, just the practice of stopping to read through an e-mail one more time with ToneCheck may be enough to rethink their words with or without the suggestions.
ToneCheck is free for now. Let's hope they branch out to other e-mail clients, as well, soon.