As I watch threads unfold and develop into occasional unpleasantness, it's a great reminder of how flat email/internet posting is in its inability to fully convey tone, much less body language and intent. You just never know how a reader is going to interpret something based on their experience, beliefs, culture, even mood in that moment. My ears do perk up when people say something, quickly followed by "just joking" - but it's all about context. It's a lot easier to figure out if someone you are two feet away from is kidding around with you in a shared context, or being a passive-aggressive jerk in another, or just awkward in the moment with a poor choice of words. At work yesterday, when I was visiting an office new to me, I was introduced to someone by my boss, with whom I was traveling. All very pleasant. Later, this guy button-holed me out of earshot, starting with "don't take this the wrong way (my radar now on), but I don't need your help with X," and he continued with a negative tone and content, that bordered precariously on the personal-professional line. I smiled warmly and pleasantly, expressed how much I appreciated his candor in helping me to decide where to devote my skills and energy in the office. He also moved into my personal space, and I maintained eye contact, stood tall and held my ground. I ignored his bait and outmaneuvered him, while remaining professional. All that "other stuff" helped me understand his words, and bless my Navy career, I learned to handle all kinds of people in the workplace. So, the humor...I do love Broadside cartoons, and this one resonated with me today, see attached. I would add another option, the adding of a smiley or winking emoji, as an equivalent of "just joking." It can hit readers all different ways. Humans, we just love to rile each other up, but what richness we share.