Chad Hall has just written this very insightful piece on the way that conflict tends to get out of control when it is played out over email. The story he tells is a textbook example of how a disagreement can get out of hand because of the limitations of written communication, particularly when it is hastily worded.
I’ve seen this happen, both in a professional and a personal context. People just can’t “read enough” into an email to know where you are at emotionally, and the added temptation to “vent” in an email in ways that one wouldn’t otherwive speak in a face-to-face meeting is also huge.
While you’re on that page, check out Angie Ward’s discussion of why email is not a suitable vehicle for most conflict, particularly where faith-based issues are involved.