Observing a heated argument taking place on Twitter prompted Coding Horror blogger Jeff Atwood to write an article urging people to consider the public nature of internet comms tools like Twitter, as well as the fact that it's often quicker and easier to nip an argument in the bud by taking it offline.
Know when to escalate from IM to email, from email to phone, and when to drop the ultimate communication A-bomb: a face-to-face meeting. Sometimes people are hesitant to escalate communications even when it's painfully obvious that they should. Resist the urge to reply in kind, however tempting it may be. You'll both have a more productive conversation when one of you finds the wherewithal to escalate to "let's take this to email", "let me call you", or even "let's meet for coffee".
If your online professional conversations turn to flame wars then you are making yourself look bad and making it harder to work well with people. Knowing when and how to call a ceasefire can save you time and keep conversations constructive.
On Escalating Communication [Coding Horror]