When people don’t get simple email rules – II

23Apr09

Here I’m again with another part of the “When people don’t get simple email rules”. Its notably shorter but who wants to read longer stuff that can’t remain interesting?

Why’d you need a subject line? This ain’t a formal mail.

The subject is a mere link.
“Click here” or “Hi there”, its the same, I think
Please read this! Read this now!
Open this mail, and I bet you’d be ‘wow’

This is again a simple but easily overlooked and overdone mistake. The subject line that doesn’t hint you about the mail at all, and basically is sent by someone who thinks you are the total loser fella, who’s mailbox is going through a draught phase, saved by the blessing of a (usually) useless mail with a subject that your desperate (for new mail) eyes can’t bother with. How’d you read mails that really matter?

  • Practically – You read the mails that have subjects that mean something important to you, without screaming “IMPORTANT!!” Subject lines may be good english, but if they don’t tell what’s in the mail, you can show them, what’s in the trash. delete them! Aim for inbox zero. Don’t mark them as spam, that’d be more on the lines of personal enemity issues. 😛
  • Ideally – You could reply back to the mail as the content asks for and in addition, write a line (probably a p.s.) explaining how a more meaningful subject line would help him/her get replies sooner. Just don’t end up spending all your time teaching “how to write english that makes sense”

Quoting in replies. Lest you forget

I replied to your last mail
Quoted all 55 previous ones in the thread,
Sure that your memory will fail
And without context, my mail will be read

Ever get those mails wherein not just the previous mail but every mail before that is fully quoted/copied onto the reply message as well. Worse thing is when the reply is on top of the quoted older mails and you gotta wade thru pages of quoted text to know to which part the reply fits in. Some people are too cynical to believe that mail search features are adequate enough to pin point the previous mails when required. What people don’t differentiate is quoting is not copying. Quoting is to bring back just enough of the previous mail(s) to maintain the context. How’d you deal with that?

  • Practically – Read the top posted reply and reply to it…without context. Copy 400 lines of lorem ipsum text below your reply from lipsum (link) site. You could paste in more lines, if your mail provider won’t have a problem, but that’s again taking it too personally. ;P
  • Ideally – Set an example by trimming all the excess quoted text and replying below snippets of minimal quoted text and also as a footnote you could explain once that the unnecessary quoting text in all the mails makes mail searching redundant, which is far more quicker and powerful.

Well that’s the concluding part of my first attempt at a multiple article series on a topic. Although there were 25 rules discussed in the PC Magazine article, a lot of them help you to be a smarter email or electronic communication user and helps you manage your communication overload with ease and comfort. In fact, think about it, if you tweaked your communication tools and methods to make your life simpler, you’d probably stress out less and choose the ways to deal with email idiots Ideally than Practically 😉

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2 Responses to “When people don’t get simple email rules – II”

  1. 1 rags

    Good work there…Especially liked your Quatrain’s..:)

    I will try to follow the rules ideally, but not sure what I’ll do practically.

    • 2 Diabolic Preacher

      Quatrains…you really know your words! 🙂 thanks for the vocabulary dose. Whatever rules you follow, I take no fame nor blame. 😀


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