Thursday, April 22, 2010

A plea for politesse

On my web site I have a contact page. On that page you'll find an email address: that email address routes to the inbox I use every day. If you email that address then your mail appears without delay.

And every day I receive a lot of unsolicited, non-spam mail. These mails contain suggestions for The Geek Atlas, questions about GNU Make, people asking where they can find some article I wrote n years ago, requests for assistance getting shimmer working correctly, requests for bits of source code or other data that I hold, and much, much more.

I try to answer all my mail within 24 hours.

And here's where I want to rant: most people are grateful when I reply to them, but there are some who simply don't bother to reply. Would it kill you to hit Reply and just enter even a one word "Thanks"? Seriously, I've often gone out of my way to get find something for people to hear nothing back.

Perhaps, it's because I'm British that I expect a bit of politesse, but it cost me (unpaid) time to answer your query, use just a few seconds of your time and say thanks. That's all the compensation I ask for.

6 comments:

gio said...

Well, thank you for the time you may put in answering a hypothetical future mail of mine.

And thanks for the blog!

:D

Charlotte said...

Amen, amen, amen - huge bug bear of mine - have to say that the worst offenders are PR and Journalists.

pqs said...

By the way, which is your strategy? Do you answer e-mail at fixed times everyday? Or do you answer e-mails as they come?

John Graham-Cumming said...

I answer as they come. Unless the mail requires research in which case it stays in my inbox until it's done.

pqs said...

Thanks for the fast answer.

I admire the people that can answer e-mail as it comes and, at the same time, keep productive. For me it is quite difficult to deal with this kind of interruption. In fact, when I answer e-mails as they come is usually a sign of procrastination.

Larry Geiger said...

Hi John

I don't want people sending me Thank Yous, they just plug up my inbox. But it's good that you tell people that you like it. I guess we're a bunch of engineers around here and we don't feel the need to close every exchange. If there's still a problem, they'll let us know. If I had contacted you, I probably would not have sent a return note (thank you) after receiving a useful answer.