This study aims to uncover whether or not factors such as national and professional identities and the medium of interaction (i.e., e-mails), affect the way Turkish and British conference organisers begin their Call for Papers for international conferences (CFPIC), and when and how they use inclusive 'we' pronouns in messages written in English. The survey also examines if there is a relationship between these three factors and the interpretation of (im)politeness by comparing whether or not writers with different cultural backgrounds, while trying to reach their aim (i.e., collect conference papers), (dis)obey some of the politeness rules proposed by Brown and Levinson (1987). The corpus for this study consisted of e-mailed CEPIC collected between January 2002 and February 2006. CFPIC were related to areas such as linguistics, foreign/second language education and literature. The findings of the research suggest intricate and dynamic relations between a number of the micro- and macro-contextual factors, and some features of e-mails in English written by members of Turkish and British cultures. It is hoped that the results of this study will contribute to enhancing knowledge in the field of politeness and electronic communication, raising awareness of the relationship between cultural and professional identities and the interpretation of (im)politeness, thus providing valuable insights into intercultural communication conventions. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.