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"Politeness" is also a function of culture. What one group of people
consider to be polite may seem quite rude to others.

Email is a notoriously difficult medium in which to indicate "tone" in
one's speech, especially when combined with the cultural differences.
For example, David's use of lots of smileys often "sounds" to me like he
is being condescending, or smirking. I know that's not what he intends,
but it does often "sound" that way.

Some of us (including some people from some parts of America) have more
abrupt methods of speaking, or different turns of phrase, with fewer of
the sorts of phrases that Brits and some others consider important
indicators of politeness. We are not deliberately being rude, but we
often sound that way to others. Trust me, if one of us wants to be rude,
you ain't heard nothin' yet.


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